Summon Night 5 Producer Discusses The First Numbered Game In Six Years

By Sato . May 20, 2013 . 5:30pm

Summon Night 5, the tactical RPG where your characters team up with summon partners, called Cross, was released recently for PSP in Japan. In commemoration of its launch, Play.Community (PlayStation Community) ran a short interview with producer Tomokazu Fukazawa.


Summon Night 5 will be the franchise’s first main numbered title in six years. As previously reported, it will feature a conversation system, known as Live 2D, which switches the game’s 3D models into 2D animated portraits.


“Namco Bandai have plenty of games that utilize Live 2D; however, this would be the first time we use it for a strategy RPG,” Fukazawa explained.


“During the development process, we’ve had people from within the company say ‘It’s not going to be the same as the older titles?!’ on quite a few occasions. It was all made possible thanks to the staff members who made an effort to retain the life of Iizuka’s design works.”


Fukazawa went on to share his thoughts on the recently released title.


“As a strategyRPG, I believe that people will be able to  enjoy the Summon Night characters and story,” he said. “The PSP releases of Summon Night 3, 4, and also the latest installment features an Easy Mode, that allows players who might feel that it is a little too difficult, to enjoy it. I recommend those who are more of a core strategy RPG fans start out in Normal Mode. The game can be enjoyed in multiple playthroughs and I undoubtedly expect it to bring many hours of enjoyable game play time.”


Summon Night 5 is the first main numbered release since Banpresto were acquired by Namco Bandai. An unnamed staff member representing the developers, Felistella, talked a little about some behind-the-scenes happenings that went on at the development studio.


“During the first planning stage, it was decided that the story will revolve around a newly reborn world of Linbaum,” he told Play.Community. “I’ll  be glad to see people enjoying Summon Night for the first time. Of course, there will also be plenty of elements that will have players who are familiar to the series say ‘This!’ and notice plenty of things here and there.”


He continued, “As far any story elements that didn’t make the final cut… if you look at the game’s built in illustration gallery, there’s a design for Ienfa (pictured to the right) in a waitress outfit. Due to several circumstances, the idea ended up being unused. We’d like you all to be able to imagine what other scenarios could have been, as we’ve included many similar works in the illustration gallery.”


Play.Community also asked about the process that resulted in the battles being played in 3DCG. The Felistella member replied: “First of all, we wanted to increase the power of expression for battles. However, we did our best to keep the 3D character models close to the ambient feelings of Takeshi Iizuka’s artwork, which you all have grown accustomed to. We actually had a tough time displaying all the allied characters in a beautiful manner—especially for a strategy RPG title on a PSP platform, where you have plenty of characters appearing at once.


In an earlier post, we talked about Summon Night 5’s Brave Battle System, featuring BP (Brave Points) that grant Party Abilities and Brave Medals, which can be used to purchase more abilities. That’s an example of one of the many features that will make Summon Night 5 easier to enjoy for novice and advanced players. Felistalla talked a little about how the game will be more enjoyable and easier to play.


“This time around, you’ll get to switch out party members in the midst of  combat, which should change the mindset behind the play. In addition to the difficulty options, it should be something to help out those who are new to strategic RPG games and I’d be glad to see you guys who might not be the best at the genre, to challenge yourselves with this feature,” Felistella told Play.Community.


“We’ve also worked around many obstacles so those of you who’d like to enjoy more depth to strategy RPGs will also have more to think about. I also believe that the job change system, where you’ll get to change classes to any acquired jobs, as many times as you’d like, will also bring an enjoyable element to character customization.”


Felistella concluded with a short message to the old and new fans of the Summon Night series: “It brings me great pleasure to know that newer fans and those who’ve played our earlier titles will be able to enjoy the game! Thank you for the long wait!”


Summon Night 5 is currently available for PSP in Japan.

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    I never played earlier summon night games but i am loving 5 alot atm.

  • This game is alot of fun hohoho

  • equalequation

    Ironically, most of the complaints and negative reviews surrounding the game all say that ‘I’m disappointed because it’s not like Summon Night 1-4!’

    I’m halfway through the game and while there are some aspects of it that I’m dissatisfied with, it’s actually an enjoyable game in its own right. I’m having a lot of fun with it. The story is pretty good and the characters are charming, if less developed outside of their ‘night conversations’. (Think base conversations in Bioware games; it’s kind of like that. Characters don’t really get developed much outside of them—–a deviation from the past, but not a BAD thing by itself.) Battle system is fun and I’m really liking it so far, though I REALLY miss the ability to just summon the heck out of whatever. But. That’s because the demands of the setting. And I really like the implications of that, plotwise.

    Another point that 2ch seems to highlight as a bad point but is YMMV for me is the fact that some characters seem to be bisexual. That is, they don’t particularly care if you’re male or female to reach their romance ending, although the same-sex pairs don’t get a kiss like the hetero ones do….I mean, should I applaud this for progress or lambast the devs for being lazy? (And really, 2ch, the ends in Summon Night 1 didn’t really care if you’re a guy or a girl, either….)

    • Guest

      Wow! You seem to be a hardcore summon night fan if you known even about the endings in the first game! Cool! I am having plenty of fun with this game too. I deslike some of the new ideas for the setting though. I liked the explanation for the summoning rituals better in the old series, it required natural talent, years of training, determination and some magic tools. However, now it simply happens…out of nowhere, it has no explanation and anyone can become a summoner now…It’s one of those kinds of things that japanese really like: “The power of the heart”. everything happens becuase of love and love wins everything. It’s not all bad, “Tales of” does this quite a lot and I still love this series. I am sure that I will still love Summon Night too, I will just respect it a little less than before. What do you think about this setting? I am about half way in the game so I don’t know everything. Do they explain how this new ritual system works exactly later in the plot?

    • MrTyrant

      I want to play the series, never played a Summon Night before. Is it hard? are the ending hard to get? for someone whose japanese is very bad, I want to know how this game for new players.

      • equalequation

        If you mean the romance endings? Easy! There’ll be night conversations where the game asks you to pick a character at the end of every chapter. Pick the one you want and you’re good for the go! If you want to be able to choose which character to get an ending with in the last chapter, you’ll need to juggle the affection points somewhat. I’ve heard that you can get an ending at affection level 3 (can check this at the MC’s landlord’s shop), but dialogues will be different if you get level 5. Or so I’ve heard.

        Gameplay-wise, though, not being able to read might make it pretty hard. It’s definitely easier than FFT or Disgaea, but it’s not easy without the language. There’s no auto-leveling and you have to juggle your experience points between getting levels and learning skills, which are pretty crucial to surviving the latter stages and unlocking new classes. Unless there’s an FAQ out, you need to be able to read what each skill does. You no longer buy weapons but upgrade your old ones (which is also how you get new spells for your summoned beast partner, actually, by upgrading his/her contract stone—and you’ll need to figure out what the spells do, though there are icons that help), which requires crafting materials and later you’ll want to attach status effects on them, too. Also, if you want to learn party skills—-battle skills that affect the entire party—you’ll need to get brave medals, which are earned by completing challenges during story battles. Such as ‘nobody goes into critical condition’ ‘everyone kills at least two enemies’ and so on.

        You CAN finish it without knowing Japanese, but without an FAQ it’ll be an uphill battle. :s

        Also, Summon Night 5 works very differently from the ones before. In this game you’re basically a mage with a partner. In the older ones you’re a summoner and you HAVE to summon all sorts of beasties to do anything. Of course you can spec into physical attacker, but that doesn’t pay off quite as well…..

    • Gangrelion

      Wow! You seem to be a hardcore summon night fan if you known even about the endings in the first game! Cool! I am having plenty of fun with this game too. I deslike some of the new ideas for the setting though. I liked the explanation for the summoning rituals better in the old series, it required natural talent, years of training, determination and some magic tools. However, now it simply happens…out of nowhere, it has no explanation and anyone can become a summoner now…It’s one of those kinds of things that japanese really like: “The power of the heart”. everything happens becuase of love and love wins everything. It’s not all bad, “Tales of” does this quite a lot and I still love this series. I am sure that I will still love Summon Night too, I will just respect it a little less than before. What do you think about this setting? I am about half way in the game so I don’t know everything. Do they explain how this new ritual system works exactly later in the plot?

      • equalequation

        I’m still halfway through the game, too, you know. :P

        But the setting…..well, if you mean by the fact that ‘anyone can become a summoner as long as they make friends with a summoned beast’, I actually liked that a lot? Summoned beasts aren’t just summons but citizens of their world, and some of the older games show that they aren’t necessarily happy about being summoned. (I’d call that the underlying theme for most of them, really.) Some of them get pretty angry about it, in fact, so in a way it’s like press-ganging someone into servitude/slavery, and giving them no option to go home/ostracizing and hunting them down if they’re ‘freed’ and trapped in Linbaum. There’s a lot of social stratification and other power abuse issues related to it. In Summon 5 the world has learned not to do that anymore thanks to the conflict in Summon 4 and the novel set between 4 and 5, so now summoners only get summoned beasts if they LIKE each other and consent to be partners. And since that’s the ‘modern’ definition of summoners in their world, anyone can be summoners as long as they have a summon beast willing to work with them. But to do it PROPERLY, that still requires training! The MC spent a good chunk of his/her life learning how to draw the summon beast power out of their partner, how to understand their culture (the MC doesn’t need this for their partner because AMNESIA, but everyone else presumably does), et cetera. Of course there might be examples of people with zero such training doing it in the game perfectly, but well, I’d call that story and gameplay segregation. It’s not really the power of the heart. It’s the power of cooperation and being decent people who work together towards a common goal. It’s the world liberalizing itself and progressing towards something better than it was. Of course you’d need more tools and power/talent to pull someone out of their world unwillingly than to invite a friend to dinner, right?

        It’s a gutsy change and I actually respect it a lot. There are SOME things I respect the series less for, but not this one. But maybe it’s YMMV. If you’ve played the series, you know most of these, anyway….

        (If you mean anything else by ‘summon ritual’, though…..sorry! I haven’t gotten there! >_> I’m still, like, chapter 4.)

        • Gangrelion

          Oh! Okey them! Actually I meant to talk about the process in the ritual. I am in the same chapter too but, from what I saw, unfortunately, it’s really doesn’t involve training, I thought the MC didn’t have to do training because of the amnesia thing and their circunstances too but, from what I could understand, the actual ritual is reaaallly out of nowhere. Apparently You just have to like/trust someone for a resonance stone to get made out of thin air and….that’s it. It can be done even by acident…this also includes supposedly “advanced” techniques (like the fusion), no training needed. I think the training part is just so the summoner gets used to the effects of those techniques, but nothing new to learn. Did I miss something or did I made some misunderstanding? Regardless, what others aspects you didn’t like in this new game?

          • equalequation

            OH THAT. Haha, well, I actually raised my eyebrow a bit, too, when suddenly suddenly we have a contract! Randomly! But if you think about it like the Guardian Beasts in Craftsword, it’s not too odd? It seems that’s the one the new method of handling summons is based on, and it’s mostly based on trust. And like with guardian beasts, most of the learning here involves how to work with your partner, not about how to summon more stuff out of your accessories. I don’t think it’s that important that they have to study hard to be a summoner now that the position of a summoner is changed from all-powerful sorceror to civil servant career, at least. (And they still need to study hard for the *career*, just not the art of summoning itself. It’s changed.) It’s not something I was really concerned with….

            EDIT : Also, I just remembered this, but I’m thinking if the fact that the city is WEIRD compared to the rest of Linbaum may have something to do with it. It’s easy to run into a contract here, but….elsewhere, probably not. Otherworlders are hard to find elsewhere, except people from Siltarn. Which probably helps to separate summoners from people who are just good friends with summoned beasts. I’m not sure what ELSE it requires at this point, either.

            Now, the things which DO have me gnashing my teeth….

            1) We have a cataclysmic event that changed the face of our beloved world FOREVER and it’s only referenced? It’s written in a NOVEL? I like this game, but WHY NOT MAKE A GAME ABOUT THAT INSTEAD. It’s an epic war that changed history! We should get to play that!
            2) 5 person per battle is ridiculous. Makes it hard to keep your teammates all equally leveled, now that the leveling system has changed.
            3) What, we can’t use the other summoners’ buddies in battle? They’re glorified spell upgrade systems? WHAT FOR.
            4) I’ve seen wider battlefields on a GBA, for god’s sake. Do we really need 3D if it means battlefields with nearly no room to manuever for your AOEs? Or even terrain height difference?
            5) ….I finished a chapter already!?
            6) Stop. Crashing. On. Me. Yeng-Hua’s Status Screen. (This seems to happen sporadically to other people too, but some people seem entirely unaffected. I have no idea why.)

            …….Aaaand that’s about it for the moment, I guess? Nothing’s a deal breaker and I still like the game a lot, but man, do I have peeves with it.

          • Gangrelion

            You said about how other games were all about racism and slavery, well…I liked that! It made the series different from any other game with cute visuals. It gave an adult feeling and made their world seem more real. Now everything looks too happy and peaceful. Enemies are not so menacing anymore and forces of the law are too strong (summoners were a very neutral force before), making me feel that, no matter what happens, no villain will have a chance against them. This world needs a bit more of darkness to it. I still don’t understand how this ritual thing happens. Did all beings in the summon night universe undertake a surgery to have a device installed in their bodies for this resonance ritual to be possible? Because this never happened in the old series, no matter how much someone trusted a summon. Or maybe it is something that exists only in Sarvole city, like a giant computer that emulates magic from all worlds and creates a magic field around the city so summon resonance could happen. We will never know. I also wonder about what happens if a resonance stone gets destroyed. Does the summoner lose his feelings toward the summon? Does both parts enter in a vegetative state? This would make sence seeing how this stone is the manifestation of all emotions a summoner has for their summon in solid form.

            About your thoughts regarding the novel! I totally agreed! I would even prefer this game to be a light novel and the U:X to be the real 5. I translated this light novel’s prologue and it looks incredibly good! It has funny moments, heartwarming events and darkness! It is a war after all so, apparently, a lot of important character will die.

            I feel that most of your complains about the game are about the same problems with the later Wii RPGs: They don’t have enough disk space to make content, event scenes and systems while keeping the good graphics and voices. This game should not be on the PSP! This should be at least a Vita game!

            P.S.: I still didn’t get the Yeng-Hua bug though…

          • equalequation

            I understand that completely, but after so many games with the same theme…..I’m glad that there is change. I really respect that. Not because I like that the world is more PC or anything, but because……they actually finish a story. Concluded a theme. The story of slavery is done and over with; the cumulative actions of all the previous games had borne fruit in a paradigm shift and the world is changed forever. Linbaum GREW. It’s very rare that worlds do that, and I REALLY, REALLY love it when it happens, it makes me feel as if the world is alive and not just a static playground, you know? (We may have to agree to disagree on this, though.)

            And there’s darkness in Summon Night 5, still. A more realistic one, in fact…..slavery is so distant, so far away from us that we only recoil in horror and see it as something somebody else does. Something inhuman, like genocide. Not us. Not ours. It’s monstrous, not human. But this Summon Night. I don’t know how far they’re going to take it, but there IS definitely a theme about immigration and culture clash, discrimnation and distrust of foreign workers/labor—-not about race, but about other people whose language you don’t speak who share the same living space and take your jobs and you don’t like it even though they didn’t do anything wrong. There’s a lot of xenophobia. That’s a very current issue to tackle, especially for Japan. In that sense, it makes all sorts of sense for the protagonists to be law enforcement, and why Linbaum is much more regulated than ever before. It takes courage to tackle a current issue when you’re a game and you have bright anime visuals. How can I not respect that? It’s not as in-your-face, but it’s still very serious, and a logical continuation of the world as it tries to grow past its slavery-based history.

            Regarding the ritual thing….I have a feeling it might be explained in the novel sequel, when they FINALLY explain why all summon magic stopped working and turned into this resonance thing. They even have a term for it though I don’t remember what they called it exactly, and it seemed to be a pretty cataclysmic event. That happened in the war, right? And there’s no real explanation in the game as of yet, so…..BUT SERIOUSLY FELISTELLA, PUT THAT SORT OF STUFF IN THE GAME.

            And yes, this should’ve been a Vita gam, I agree. I know Vita’s selling like a rock right now, but seriously if SN5 came out on it and was PROPERLY HANDLED with more content, it might even make the system catch on. It’s such an excellent handheld for RPGs that it makes me sad to see it tank. If RPGs are going to be handheld from now on, let’s get it some storage space!

          • Gangrelion

            I think you misunderstood me: I am not asking the old theme to be brought back, but I want a dark theme as strong as the racism problem to be used instead. The game do has the elements you said, but it’s not very important in the game’s plot. Instead, the game focus more in the wonders of the new society and how everybody is happily living together. That’s why I think this game’s plot would work better as a light novel. While this theme is insteristing, it has few conflicts and action, therefore, it would be more fitting as a reading material.

            Even though I really loved this game, I fear that it might fail because it has the same problems found in Summon Night 4 (the game that almost destroyed the franchise): It focus too much in fan service, for example: There is a school and bar…why there is a school and bar? I feel that those were put there just as fan service. I think this game have a problem with its focus. If the game was more about the MC working as a summoner fighting criminals, racism and cultural problems, it could be a lot better!

            I also loved how the summon night world has grown, but I think they did not used this new setting properly just for the sake of fan service because, with dark stuff going on, it would be difficult to fit wacky events about the school or the bar. I would not be surprised if there is a beach chapter later on.

          • equalequation

            Ah, I see what you mean now. To be honest, you sounded like you want the old theme back just then. XD I don’t know, I think it’s a problem with setting it in a city where everyone happens to live happily together? If Yeng-Hua is any judge, it’s a bit different outside. I feel that we’ll probably have to agree to disagree on this though really, since I don’t need a darkness in a game. Seriousness, by all means (and I’m hoping it ramps up later on) but darkness is a bit dime a dozen these days. EVERYONE wants to be Chris Nolan!

            ………..I do agree about the school, though. Hopefully it doesn’t get TOO prominent later on. (EDIT : I think it might be fine if it’s not TOO prominent. I mean, SN2 starts with the MC graduating, and SN3 has the MC tutoring a student going on to military school. So it’s been around for a while, just….not this modern.) The bar I feel fits quite well. Even SN3 has its share of wackiness, and it provides a decent sense of place and a reason why the MC is so well-liked. And the game DOES feature the protagonist fighting criminals and racism and cultural problems, it’s just….he solves these problems way too easily for it to be truly clear, I think. It’d be more interesting if he doesn’t work in a big melting pot city where culture is in flux and everyone accepted everyone else anyway, but sent to the boondocks where people still don’t like otherworlders. It’s certainly an interesting city, but it perhaps doesn’t quite make for as much conflict.

            ……..Also, if they make the childhood friend the final boss/final boss’ victim without a decent reason, I’ll really, really give the writer this STERN FROWN.

            PSEDIT : I don’t think SN4’s problem is too much fanservice. Its problem is that the game relied on fanservice when the protagonists are so YOUNG and so difficult to relate to that the fanservice plain DOESN’T WORK. That’s the most common complaint I hear of it, anyway.

          • Gangrelion

            I think we actually agree pretty well! I also would be more satisfied with the game’s plot if it was set on a different city with less understanding about those new elements. I also totally agree about how easy is for the MC to solve everyone’s problems, like:

            Yeng-Hua – This is weird!

            Folth – No, it’s not!

            Yeng-Hua – Okey them.

            The only thing I think I don’t agree is about SN2. It does had the summoner academy, but different from SN5, it’s one of the main elements. it should be compared with the Eucross from SN5. the school from this new game is just a unnecessary sub-plot to add cute kouhais and a hot principal (and maybe, a super hot great principal).

            It’s really fun discussing about Summon Night with people like you who played even the japanese only titles. I edit the SN wikia and have plans to make a walkthrough for this game once I finish my playthrough. Anyone who is interested, please give a look.

          • equalequation

            If the school in SN5 is like the one in SN2, by all means, make it the feature! I’m just concerned that it feels more like the one in Moe Moe Light Novel #123718379218 instead. XD Since that’s the case, I’d be happy if they limit it to the periphery.

            The Great Principal has the right to be super hot, though. It’s SN3’s MC! And Lex and Aty. Are. Hot. And super awesome. Hnnngh I miss Lex. And he comes with glasses! (Although, Lex/Aty’s presence probably doesn’t come off in SN5’s favor. It makes EVERYONE compare it to SN3, which is suicide since SN3 is arguably the best in the series.)

            Summon Night is a great series. :( Too bad it’ll never come to English-speaking worlds, and the ones that did come over…..kind of sucked. Craftswords were good, but Twin Age…..ugh. That pretty much ruined its chances ever, I think. I might drop by the wikia later!

          • Gangrelion

            Ha ha! “Moe Moe Light Novel #whatever”?! Good one! If they really want to make the school like that, they should make a spin-off game with a visual novel style. It could be named as “Summon Night – There is no way my summon is that cute/cool”. there is also Summon Bride:

            Yeah! Twin Age really sucks!

    • Keyanf

      Damn player-sexuals. Annoying because as far as I could tell, the past of the series wasn’t always like that, and when they were, the male/female versions of the scenes very different and it was one of the few games that actually did that.

      • equalequation

        Summon Night 1 WAS like that, there wasn’t much difference in dialogue no matter who you play as, but 2-4 weren’t (although, you can make a fairly convincing argument for Summon Night 2’s Nesty….). At least there were some differences, if not really that substantial? One player reported a character talking about future kids to female MC where they just moved in together for the male MC.

        Craftsword also had some characters that didn’t really care if you’re a boy or a girl, IIRC, usually the female ones. But this is the first time I know of that goes both ways, at least with this many characters.

  • Here’s to hoping it makes it across the sea and over to me :3

  • Hikaru Lighthalzen

    its better they make summon night : swordcraft story sequel , i love em so much :3

  • Mithfalath

    The real winners here are, of course, the fans.

    Now, if Konami would just stop “listening” and start acting on Suikoden, that would be swell. We’ve done our part and now, we’re waiting. Thank you. ^_^

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