By Laura . July 7, 2013 . 11:00am
Expansions to the main story aren’t the only expansion of content in Digimon World Re:Digitize Decode. In fact, the director and producer have stated that, despite the strong story in the PSP game, the whole point of Digimon World is not to concentrate on the story of the game. Instead, it is to adventure through the Digital World and communicate with the Digimon who live in it. And, as you do so, the story just plays out by itself.
This was the essence of what they wanted to recreate when they were first told to revive Digimon World, a game created thirteen years ago.
Not only did Digimon World have a unique system and atmosphere, adjustments had to be made from the original PlayStation game’s design. If the game was directly ported, it would be “nothing more than a fan item”. In addition, the Playstation game’s difficulty is, compared to games today, fairly high. Changes were made to make it easier to play while keeping in mind comments from fans who had played the original PlayStation game while making sure to ease new players in to a series with fifteen years of history. Subquests were changed to be more modern while still retaining a familiarity for old fans.
Among some of the most important aspects of “Digimon-ness” that they felt had to be kept were the cycles of life and death and Digimon evolution. This is why, despite complaints about the death system, the creators instead decided to make it easier for players to see the benefits of raising more Digimon (through the Decode system) rather than remove the system altogether.
Another identifiable aspect was the freedom of the game. While reviving the game system was fairly easy (in theory), recreating a “world where Digimon live” with a story, while giving the game a sense of freedom, was difficult. For example, the trigger for main story events was a point of debate. If the balance between main story and subquests wasn’t done properly, the game could have ended up a regular RPG, where the player rushes through the story without exploring the island.
As such, sometimes the main story took a break where the player has to complete some subquests— one of the main ways to interact with the Digmion—to advance the main story. The player isn’t told this explicitly, though, and you also have the freedom to choose which subquests you want to do. On the other hand, you aren’t ever pushed to stop your adventuring and hurry into the main story.
Many of the new functions also reflect this theme of adventure and freedom. The Digitter (basically Digimon Twitter) was originally thought up to show what your allies were up to, but because they wanted to make the Digital World come alive, they added Digimon tweets as well, which gave subquest hints and background information. Even wild Digimon hint what they’re doing or thinking at the time. Because there may be some noise (as is the case with Twitter), you are also given the ability to organize events and to also flag important tweets.
Another change to expand upon the world of Digimon was made with the help of fans, who commented that, after you completed the subquests and brought the Digimon back to the city, they didn’t do anything. The city was “too neat”. Thus came about the Doremifa Lodge, which expanded upon these subquest Digimon and shows what happened to them after they returned.
The director and producer both admit that this was probably going too far, but they felt, “if we’re going to go this far, then we may as well not go easy on ourselves”. Aside from expanding upon the events that happened to each Digimon and providing more side quests, the events change depending on the situation. As an example, they said, “If this Digimon were already in Doremifa and this other Digimon just came to the city, it would be strange if nothing happened.” While not all Digimon can move into Doremifa, most can.
This sort of variation also appeared outside of the Lodge. Just in the city, the lines the NPC Digimon say have been vastly increased—up to approximately three times that in the PSP version. The Digimon’s actions, location, and lines change depending on the time of day, Prosperity rating of the city, your Digimon partner’s personality, and on recent events in the story. The producer stated that most of these changes probably won’t be noticeable in one run, they felt that it helped a lot in bringing the in-game Digimon to life.