Crystar protagonist Rei Hatada is a big time crybaby, but she has a good reason for it, especially when it involves getting loot. Siliconera recently spoke with Crystar director Fuyuki Hayashi about what it means to cry to release emotion, and how it became the theme of the game.
Siliconera: What inspired using crying as a central theme for both Crystar’s story and gameplay?
Fuyuki Hayashi, Director: I wanted to emphasize the motif of a light shining in the darkness and moving forward through tragedy and the growth you can gain from that. From personal experience, whenever something that I face that is very hard for me to handle, I would cry. The catharsis and emotional release would move me forward. I would to tie that into the story and the mechanics, as well.
How did you tie catharsis into gameplay?
Fuyuki Hayashi: There is a system that involves tears and it was one of the first systems I wanted to implement in the game. The torments that you see in the afterlife also appear in the real world and she is able to purify those by releasing her emotions. Depending on how rare the type of torment is you gather, she changes the animation when she cries. Since purgatory is a spiritual world, the process of growing emotionally by crying and through catharsis she gains equipment she can take into that world. This was the first system I came up with in the game. The tear system you see in battle came later.
Did you pick a losing a little sister as part of the story to make so players would feel those emotions?
Fuyuki Hayashi: Personally, I have a little sister that is fifteen years younger and when I was making the game, I thought what was important to me which is how I came to the idea of losing a little sister.
What inspired the game’s city-like world where you fight?
Fuyuki Hayashi: When I first came up with the image of purgatory, it was a mixture of reality and fantasy. It’s different from what is different in religion and those themes.
Can you tell us about the monsters players fight in the game?
Fuyuki Hayashi: The monsters in purgatory you fight are correlated with how strong their emotions are and what they bring with them to that world. If you defeat certain enemies you can see their thoughts in the “Memories of the Dead” album. Depending on how many times you defeat these enemies, you’ll unlock more memories. There are different enemies and some of their stories connect too. The information you unlock also know more about purgatory than Rei does so these stories flesh out the world too. I wanted to make this system from the beginning to give players backstory.
What do you want people to feel when they play the game?
Fuyuki Hayashi: The overall theme may be dark, but as they play through the game, I want them to feel a fresh start. I want them to know even through pain they can start over and move forward. The main character’s name is Hatada Rei (read as Rei Hatada in English) and it originated from “Panta Rhei” which means everything flows. The message is even if you’re feeling pain today, you can feel happiness tomorrow.
Crystar releases for PlayStation 4 and PC in North America and Europe on August 27, 2019. It is currently available in Japan for PS4.