How Muramasa: The Demon Blade Was Made To Feel Convincing

By Spencer and Ishaan . March 27, 2013 . 2:00pm

At his “RPG Development: Inspiration and Perspiration,” panel this morning at GDC, Rune Factory series producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto also discussed another game he was involved with—Muramasa: The Demon Blade, a side-scrolling action game by Vanillaware, released for the Wii. Siliconera was in attendance at the talk and we got to hear Hashimoto discuss the game’s development.

 

Muramasa features two playable characters—a princess named Momohime and a renegade ninja named Kisuke. The game has a distinctly Japanese flavour to it, and some details that even go over the heads of Japanese players, Hashimoto shared during his talk.

 

For instance, Momohime and Kisuke speak in two different dialects that make it a little bit harder even for Japanese people to understand what they’re saying. Hashimoto pointed out that Momohime has a more royal dialect, while Kisuke speaks in an Edogawa-style.

 

Dialects aside, other pains were taken to make the game’s older setting feel more convincing, too. If you played Muramasa, you may recall that the game had a system by which you could purchase and eat Japanese delicacies from stores you came across while playing. Hashimoto says that the developers picked delicacies that people would eat in the 17th or 18th century in Japan, pointing out that, at the time, fatty tuna wasn’t very popular and you could get it for cheap. Having realistic elements such as these makes the game believable.

 

Unsurprisingly, while Muramasa was in development, Marvelous were concerned that it wouldn’t be an easy sell in the West, because it looked too Japanese. However, what they found is that this is what Western fans liked about the game.

 

Muramasa: The Demon Blade is now being ported to the PlayStation Vita as well. Aksys Games will release the game in North America with the title Muramasa Rebirth. You can learn more about the game’s new DLC characters from our recent talk with Hashimoto.

 


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  • MrSirFeatherFang

    Marvelous were concerned that it wouldn’t be an easy sell in the West, because it looked too Japanese. However, what they found is that this is what Western fans liked about the game.
    And the hot springs. Statistics say that games sell better with the addition of hot springs.
    source: me

    • kulosterol

      Can’t say that it was the only reason it sold the game to me, but I really liked the hot spring in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/playstationunity DXVII

      Boobs as well ;) source my pants

    • Aoshi00

      Yes, hot spring was delicious, but the food stuffs actually looked delicious too, they bounce w/ each bite lol :) I’m not even a fan of sushi…

      I remember loving the Jpn flavor and music in Mystical Ninja on the SNES, Muramasa just magnifies it..

      I only beat the Jpn ver on the Wii.. so this is a perfect opportunity to revisit it w/ a new translation and trophies :) I’m so glad this game is being brought over, I was quite worried I wouldn’t be able to experience the 4 new DLC chapters..

  • TheFoolArcana

    “Unsurprisingly, while Muramasa was in development, Marvelous were concerned that it wouldn’t be an easy sell in the West, because it looked too Japanese. However, what they found is that this is what Western fans liked about the game.”

    Now we just need to wait for everyone else over there to realize this.

    • AkuLord3

      inorite, at least some of them are listening and looking to see that there are some people who are interested Japanesey or not

    • AdachiTohru

      So we can expect a vita release in Europe?…

    • mirumu

      I’m kind of happy they’re at least open to the possibility. I’m sure there are cases where being “too Japanese” has worked against a game. In a sense it could be argued that even things like the typical JRPG cliches fall into this category to an extent. Outside of Japan there seems to have been a real backlash against that kind of game system in recent years.

      That isn’t really what numerous Japanese publishers and developers seem to mean when they describe something as being “too Japanese” though. Instead they seem to get caught up in having “relatable” western protagonists and eliminating any visible elements of Japanese culture. It’s like they’re making the assumption that the rest of the world just isn’t interested in cultures outside of their own. Even if that was true, producing content that’s just more-of-the-same seems a dubious business model. As with most things, reality isn’t that simple. Is it any wonder games don’t sell or review especially well when they remove the very things that make them different and interesting?

      • Flandre Scarlet

        Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. The audience that likes these kinds of games never went anywhere; instead, we just got a larger, more abundant group of people that disliked them. Unfortunately, this has had the side effect of several games trying to appeal to the more Western gamer, which doesn’t always pay off.

    • Crazy_O

      They don’t realize we have enough western RPGs we produce on our own. I love the Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect and Fallout as much as any other guy/girl but I also love playing JRPGs because of the J.

  • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

    Yosuke Hayashi made a comment about the reception they received from the vanilla version of NG3 that can be applied to other Japanese companies. It was along the lines of they ended up serving a Japanese hamburger when players were really expecting an order of Japanese sushi, thus the outrage.

    For certain games/genres that come from certain companies, many people don’t want them deviating too much from what makes them unique. If I really want a Western styled game, I’ll look for it from a Western studio. If I want a Japanese styled game, I’ll look for it from a Japanese studio. In few cases, it does work when a studio crosses cultural boundaries, but most of the time fans just want studios to stay in their lane and expand on what makes them special.

    In short, keep serving more sashimi and sake, Japan, and I’ll keep returning as a customer (and maybe bring some friends too). =P

    Also, that’s quite a few empty seats in that first pic…

  • z_merquise

    Momohime and Kisuke speak in two different dialects that make it a
    little bit harder even for Japanese people to understand what they’re
    saying. Hashimoto pointed out that Momohime has a more royal dialect,
    while Kisuke speaks in an Edogawa-style.

    Now I wonder how Aksys would make it accurate in their English translation, though I have no idea of what Edogawa-dialect is like.

    • Aoshi00

      yeah, not sure what Edogawa dialect sounds like, usually we hear kansai-ben or Kyoto dialect in period dramas :) I know Momohime uses the pronoun “warawa” for I, like a princess or queen would use, kinda royal and stuck up, that’s how she talks from high above.. probably spoke like a man when she’s possessed. I think the Eng. translation would just emphasize on the tone/attitude of the speaker, like person who calls himself sessha would just speak more humbly like Kenshin.. Kisuke is Bossun in Sket Dance and Takumi in Chaos;Head, right now the evil Bomber Genthru in Hunter x Hunter :) I can’t wait to play this on the Vita.

    • http://www.unit03.net blackraen

      Edogawa classically is marked for have a reduce phonetic distinction over almost every other flavor of Japanese. Notably they don’t distinguish between /hi/ or /shi/.

      As a result if you were going to try and translate the accent character for Momohime and Kisuke directly into English, the best matches would actually be Received Pronunciation for Momohime, and a nice think Bostonian with /r/-lenition for Kisuke.

      Hope they don’t do that though. I couldn’t play P4A in English because of Labrys.

      • Aoshi00

        Wait, the game would be dubbed in Eng. too? I thought it was just getting a new Eng. translation and Wii ver was sub only. I’ll have to play the Jpn ver again to hear Kisuke speak, it’s been too long..

        I haven’t seen Maison Ikkoku in Eng., but I remember my friend told me they gave Kyoko a Southern accent and Yotsuya a British accent, that would be quite weird :)

        I think in Rurouni Kenshin, they made Kenshin speak like “that I am/do” for his “sessha” & “de gozaru”, made him sound like Yoda or something :) But yeah, in Eng. dub, usually they just give people British (RP, Cockney, etc), Aussie, or Southern accent to differentiate the chars’ origins, like Mr Drippy (Shizuku) has a Welsh accent? He sounds really unique and funny :) In Jpn the Kansai-ben was a bit annoying sounding like a mansai comedian..

  • Prinnydoom

    I hope they keep the japanese dub for the vita release it made the game a lot more authentic.

  • brian

    Did they forget about Okami doing well or not pay attention to it?

    • mirumu

      Okami didn’t do well according to Capcom. The intial PS2 release and later Wii release that is. I’m not sure about the HD version on PS3. It does pop up regularly as one of the top sellers on the PSN which is encouraging.

  • http://youtube.com/miyabigaming 水木

    This is so dam cool, it’s the game I’ve been waiting to play!

    Also huge thanks Siliconera, i wouldn’t have known about the limited edition without that link up top. Off to Aksys’s website

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