Danganronpa writer Kodaka Kazutaka spoke to Siliconera about the twists and turns in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. Since we talk about plot details this interview has *MAJOR* spoilers for the entire series. We recommend you do not read this until you beat Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2.
… Byakuya says this is your last warning!
Is it important to have a Tabula Rosa protagonist for a visual novel since a player is projecting themselves onto the protagonist?
Kodaka Kazutaka, Writer at Spike Chunsoft: Originally, it wasn’t planned that way. I didn’t think about having people project themselves on to Makoto. What I wanted to do was to show the difference between how unique the other characters were compared to Makoto. As I was writing, bit by bit Makoto started to grow through the story and forced him to eventually act. Makoto went from not acting to action.
The big twist at the end of Danganronpa 2 was Junko being alive. Why did you bring her back? Did you feel you need an overarching villain for the series?
The ending is open to interpretation. In Japan, there is a pretty big debate among fans. Is she alive? Is she not? Should she be? In America it’s different. There is an idea of un-killable villains that have to stay alive like the Joker from Batman and Magneto in X-Men. I don’t feel that Junko needs to be a nemesis that cannot be killed. At the same time, I don’t know what will happen either way. I’m still deciding her ultimate fate.
I also don’t feel that I can create a character that will top Junko. It would be great if I could make an even stronger villain character, but if not what would I do then?
Why do you feel that you can’t create a stronger villain than Junko?
Danganronpa is a series of games where every character has their own unique qualities and personalities that make them an Ultimate. Coming up with these ideas is really difficult. On one hand, creating a villain character that would play into everyone’s expectations is not difficult to do. At the same time, keeping the same kind of individuality for that character and to make them stand out is difficult. Creating a character worthy of Danganronpa is where the difficulty lies.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has an interesting twist where the player discovers the characters they got to know were really Ultimate Despair, the group founded by Junko. Can you tell us about creating this twist? Was this added because you think anyone can be redeemed?
Yeah, that’s a really good point. Part of it is there is redemption no matter what you have done. No matter where you can turn it around. However, your past will stick around no matter what you do. You can always change your future, but not your past. What I was trying to say with that is no matter how you look at it both options are available to people.
Is Toko your favorite character? [Note: Kazutaka-san was wearing a t-shirt with Toko when we spoke.]
I wouldn’t say that she is my favorite, but she is an excellent representation of the series. When I was writing the first game and figuring out what was going to happen to Junko, I started to write Genocide Jack and how different that character was from Toko. While I was writing this I felt this is the kind of tension and tempo I want the series to carry. At the end of the day, I felt Toko represented what Danganronpa was and the kind of storytelling might have.
Ah, that’s interesting. Danganronpa 2 has a scenario that kind of mirrors the events with Toko and fakes players out in a similar way.
I wrote that scene to trick and trap players of the first game to see if I could get them to think it was the same.
After the events in Danganronpa 2 there are some characters in a coma. What do you think you will happen to them?
When I wrote Danganronpa 2 it was self-contained. Having an ending like it was where characters were in an uncertain state and allowing fans to draw their own conclusion was what I wanted. That being said, there is a vehicle there. If I wanted to write more about those characters I could.