Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is kind of like Phoenix Wright, but rapid fire and set in a high school. Hope’s Peak Academy isn’t an ordinary high school though, students here are trying to get away with murder. You play a "lucky" average student named Makoto Naegi who is selected to enter the school which is packed with prodigies.
The concept for Danganronpa is rather dark. How did you come up with the idea? What gave you inspiration?
Yoshinori Terasawa, Producer: Right around the time when we doing the planning and thinking everything the movie Saw came out. I think I got a lot of inspiration from those films. At that time, psychological horror films were popular.
What do you think is the key element of writing a compelling mystery story?
I have to say the element of surprise. More than anything else with a mystery or adventure title, you want to surprise the player. When I was writing, I took care to make sure there are a lot of surprises.
The protagonist in Danganronpa is optimistic, but average. In a situation when you’re dealing with characters like Monokuma why did you make the protagonist an everyday guy instead of someone special?
I think that the way people view their avatar character is different in Japan compared to the West. In Japan, in particular, players like a main character who they fell they can relate to, put themselves into. In that regard, it’s better to have someone who is an everyman rather than someone with a specific attitude or abilities.
One of the things I found interesting is the voice actor of Monokuma is also the voice actor of Doraemon*. Did the voice actor shape the character in how you wrote him or did you hope to get Doraemon’s voice actor while you were coming up with Monokuma?
In this case, the character came first. Then we thought which voice actor would have the most impact we decided on Doraemon’s voice actress and went from there.
*Nobuyo Oyama voiced Doraemon in the anime series up until 2005.
Danganronpa: Another Episode is a departure from the other games. Can you tell us about this game, which takes place between Danganronpa 1 and 2?
Of course, there is always a tendency to want to develop Danganronpa 3, but as a creator I want to challenge myself and more importantly challenge the users to do something that would really surprise them, they wouldn’t necessarily expect. That’s where the idea came from.
How does Danganronpa: Another Episode’s gameplay and progress?
I wanted to do something new and try 3D. In Danganronpa: Another Story you move around in 3D and at the same time there is some concern that it will become very ordinary and like other 3D games. Right now in the studio we are working on making something different and unique so we can’t say much about that.
Are you involved at all on Spike Chunsoft’s Attack on Titan game?
Within Spike Chunsoft, there is a producer’s team and I help with that. It’s not that I don’t have anything to do with it, but there is a different producer attached to this title.