CyberConnect2’s Hiroshi Matsuyama, known for his work on the .hack series, is currently the producer for iPhone game Night Runner working alongside with Shinpei Yashima from Gree. The two companies came together and joined forces because of one word: "World".
Fugitive during the day, rebel at night. Those who run from the light are the conquerors of darkness in Night Runner. You will play as the night dwelling Lily Marlene. During the day, Lily has to evade God’s soldiers, who are out to hunt down every night dweller in sight. The tables are turned at night, when Lily’s powers are unleashed, and the hunted becomes the hunter.
Famitsu spoke to Matsuyama and Yashima about developing Night Runner, which has been in development for over a year.
Whose idea was it to join forces in the first place?
Yashima: It was us at Gree. After seeing the way CyberConnect2 made their games, I’ve always thought that I’d like to work with them in the future.
Matsuyama-san, you’ve previously stated that you had no interest making a social game. How did the change of heart occur?
Matsuyama: There are two main reasons for that. The first being everyone around me. The second is just my change of opinion regarding social gaming. At first, I didn’t like the idea of making a game that only required pressing the same buttons. As the years went by, all that has changed along with the evolving Smartphone specs. I feel that the current platform is now more than good enough for us to make games at our full potential.
Night Runner has been in development for over a year now. Will it be an action game or… ?
Matsuyama: It’s an action game to the core. In a way, it’s very similar to CyberConnect2’s earlier titles, Tail Concerto and Silent Bomber, a very simple yet flashy action game. We want to make it a very fun game that will make you want to tell your friends about it, and play with other people. We like to call it "Core Casual".
Could you tell us more about this "Core Casual"?
Matsuyama: Well, social gaming definitely attracts more of the casual players. Let’s say that the games we’ve developed as CyberConnect2, until now, has been for the core gamers. We’d like to find that balance between the two in Night Runner, where we have the gameplay of our core games that will also appeal to the casual players. Thus "Core Casual". On the other hand, there are games that are very easy to pick up but become challenging as you progress. Those would be considered "Casual Core," as it is made for the casual players first, and then the core players.
Yashima: Social and Smartphone are ready to take it to the next level. The basic idea of how they’re played may not change anytime soon; but the idea of how its shown will change. We don’t know if the concept of Core Casual and Casual Core will catch on or not, but that’s why it’s worth trying. It might be challenging, but we’re not worried. As long as CyberConnect2 is making games for everyone to enjoy, we can guarantee you that it won’t be boring
After hearing about that, I’m more interested than ever in trying it out. Speaking of which, around when will it be released?
Matsuyama: Starting early next year, from Canada to Australia, then the US and Japan.
We’re looking forward to that. Any last words for our readers?
Matsuyama: As long as we go by the name, CyberConnect2, we will never release a half-hearted game. We’re looking forward to the challenge of entering the world of Smartphone games and working alongside with Gree.
Yashima: Night Runner is a wonderful game, full of CyberConnect2’s great style. We’re looking forward to having you try it out!
The game is free with premium items available for purchase with cash. Directed by Seiji Shimoda (Asura’s Wrath).
Lily (Lily Marlene)
Night Runner’s main character. Mischievous by nature, possesses the power of the moon to conquer the night. She was caught by God’s army but managed to escape.
A young and skilled soldier of God’s army. He has the power to control lightning and relentlessly chases the night dwellers. People consider him a prodigy of the heavens.
Domingo (Holy Soldier Domingo)
A Soldier of God’s army. He uses his big size to stop fugitives. His 12th class rank is the lowest of the army.
Exia (Holy Soldier Exia)
A soldier of God’s army. Highly mobile with great reach. He uses his speed to chase the fugitives. His class rank is 11th in the holy army.