Bravely Default And Legend Of Heroes Producers On The Struggles Of Making Sequels

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

This year, we’ve seen several JRPG titles such as Bravely Default: For the Sequel, Conception II, and The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Flash. During a special get-together with Dengeki, the producers of these respective series talked about making sequels and ongoing titles, while retaining fans.


During the interview, Dengeki asks the producers to share their thoughts on the difficulty of making sequels or continuing ongoing series, and what they struggle most with, starting with The Legend of Heroes, which has seen a jump from one series to another in recent years.


“When we first started The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, there were some people within the company who voiced their objections,” shares Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo. “However, what stands out most to me is the memory of Trails of Zero. Trails of Zero had a completely different design to go with a modern image, and there were some who thought ‘We got good results from Trails in the Sky, so why change it now?’”


“I think the biggest part of it was about getting new customers to take a look at our game. The Legend of Heroes is a series that has been connected from the very first title, but there are always customers who will be introducing themselves to the series.”


Kondo continues, “So, I wanted to avoid having a series that progressed with a simple reason such as ‘Because that’s that the previous game was like.’ Especially for Trails of Zero, which was the first game we released as a console title.” [Unlike Trails of the Sky, which was a PC-to-PSP port, as PC games have different retail distribution restrictions.]


“More than PC gamers, console gamers have a strong tendency of being fond of games with nice visuals,” says Kondo. “So Trails of Zero began with the thought of wanting to have its stage set in a city. Up until then, The Legend of Heroes games started in idyllic places, where you could see pigs and chicken running around; however, Trails of Zero had a metropolis called Crossbell as its setting, where we started out with an opening of the protagonist being assigned a task by the police. As a result, it went well, so I was relieved.”


“Again, since Trails of Zero, we’ve appointed Katsumi Enami as the character illustrator to change the image, which I’m certain it was well received,” shares Kondo. “To back it up, when the series was mainly on PC, the average player ages was in the 30s, whereas Trails in the Flash has an average of fans in their teens to early 20s.”


Next, Bravely Default producer Tomoya Asano shares some of his thoughts on the subject.


“That’s quite amazing that you guys were able to properly change the generation of your average players,” says Asano in response to Kondo. “When we released Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, the average age of players was 30, but then for Bravely Default it had changed to 32. So in the end, it feels as though I’m being followed by those of my generation, and that we’re having trouble appealing to the newer generation [laughs].”


“Even for our company’s titles from other series, I’ve heard that changing generations can be a really tough challenge,” continues Asano. “The Trails games is a series that has history, to go with its ongoing story as its foundation. When new players are introduced to the series, they might check out the previous title, or the one before that, so I’m actually pretty envious about that.”


Kondo replies, “But sometimes we get some unexpected opinions coming from our core fans. For example, for Trails in the Sky, we had people who were pretty upset and said ‘for a Falcom game, the girls’ skirts are way too short!’”


Finally, Conception and Danganronpa producer Yuichiro Saito, from Spike Chunsoft, shares some of his own thoughts.


“So, fans seem to have their own established ideas on things such as the length of skirts, like how many centimeters it should be above their knees,” says Saito with a laugh. “When I worked on Conception II, we had a lot of trouble on things like what I personally felt, and how to keep our fans on board while acquiring new ones.”


“The first titles don’t have series fans, so you can challenge yourself without that [burden] from the beginning, without having to think about later, so in a way, it’s easier to do. However, from the second title and beyond, you might need to change favorable parts from the previous title, and you might also wonder if the fans will continue to support it.”

  • Nanaki

    Risk and reward…I like these folks.
    I wonder what they were drinking.

    • negineBIT

      Apple juice :D

  • Tatsumarii

    Great interview. Three fantastic series that I hope perform well in the west. (They deserve better dammit)! 2014, LET’S ROCK!

  • JonathanisPrimus

    “More than PC gamers, console gamers have a strong tendency of being fond of games with nice visuals,”

    Japanese PC gamers sure are different than western PC gamers.

    • Locklear93

      It’s fairly true, though. What few Japanese PC games I’ve played have incredibly dated visuals, console ports and multiplatform games aside.

      • Romancer Ecclesia

        Their indie games are full of passion. When it comes to that, graphics can take a back seat when gameplay and story really shine.

        • Locklear93

          I didn’t mean to imply it’s a bad thing. Touhou and Recettear are great, and there’s a game or two on Playism I’ve been eying lately as well.

    • From what I understand, most PC games in Japan are either indie or 18+. It’s understandable.

    • Pockystix

      I guess one of the nice things about it is that their PC gaming audience isn’t as in-your-face as ours :/

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Hmmm. This is interesting view i see.^_^

    Do you want to take the risk of losing your core fans by targeting new type of fans or you wanted to keep supporting your core fans but with even smaller market.

    We had seen how Falcom is able to transition their gamer generation here while Bravely Default producer is able to keep holding their core fans but unable to expand their fanbase.

    Spike is even stranger i guess. They are quite content with making quirky title and getting those niche fanbase.

    Each company with their each focus. We gamers don’t know which moves is better compared to the other here. But it is going to be very interesting in the future to see how they do compared to each other.^_^

  • MrTyrant

    Oooh I’m very sure that a looooot of people on their 30s will play Sen no Kiseki too. They are still supporting their core fans it’s just the design/setting seems more appealing to teenagers.

  • Pekola

    Bravely Default’s ages are like that because you’re harkening back to people who played Final Fantasy way back when.

    It makes sense that it’s main demographic are those people.

  • Ric Vazquez

    I’ll support all those companies by buying the mentioned games when they come out, my wallet will be hurting though XD

  • Crazy_O

    fans seem to have their own established ideas on things such as the
    length of skirts, like how many centimeters it should be above their

    And why not? :) It’s obviously one of the most important questions that needs to be answered!

  • dahuuuundge

    I wonder what is Kondo’s stance on DLC practices. So far Falcom are doing a great job keeping DLC weapon and story content away from their games, and I respect them for that.

    • I know Kondo once mentioned having interest in doing a DLC based story-game at some point. The way he described it as something similar to the way Tell-Tale does their games. They can do short releases digitally instead of having to do one long story title.

      I’d be very curious to see them work with this idea on something.

      • dahuuuundge

        I’ll be fine if Falcom makes these episodic games as well; they might even be less stressful should companies decide to localize them.

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