Digimon Survive is going to give people a chance to go on a new sort of journey with Digimon, one where the stakes might feel a bit higher on a personal level. To help give people a better idea of what to expect, what the partner Digimon are like, how the story will be shaped and its music, Siliconera caught up with Producer Habu Kazumasa to talk about tactically surviving in a world alongside a digital monster friend.
Siliconera: Part of Digimon Survive is going to be how humans misidentified Digimon as yokai in the past. How will this be hinted at in the story and could you provide an example of one Digimon that might be shown as a possible “inspiration” for a notable yokai?
Habu Kazumasa: The question “What is Digimon?” is one of the themes for this title. Digimon have been depicted in many products and animated shows/films, but some of the settings have differed slightly in each work. That is because interpretations of Digimon differ from creator to creator. For instance, in Digimon Adventure, Digimon are depicted as creatures that have existed from ancient times, and they are half bodies of “Spirits” that have bonds with humans. On the other hand, in LCD games “Digital Monster” and “Digimon Tamers”, Digimon are distinctive entities that self-evolve, and are seen as AI programs in the digital world created by humans.
In this title, Digimon settings are created using ideas arising from Digimon Adventure.
This title is based on an idea; Digimon are called “Digital Monsters” by being acknowledged and observed by humans through digital devices at present, but actually, Digimon have lived side-by-side with humans since ancient times, and were sometimes called shikigami, yokai or devils. I can’t go into too much detail, but this concept helps us to better understand the title’s themes. There are Digimon that look like evil spirits such as Kyubimon who uses the fox spirit and Dragomon who uses Cthulhu as their motifs. However, the Digimons’ shapes seen by humans might be a clue to understand one of the main themes of this title.
How extensive will the Digimon Survive decisions be? Will there only be major choices that could change the story, or will people be able to make big and small choices as they play?
Kazumasa: There are plenty of opportunities to make decisions such as dialogue options, Digimon evolution trees, and more.
Players can evolve their Digimon by gaining “intimacy points,” which can be accumulated through choosing certain dialogue options. Also, players can choose certain actions during battle, and “karma points” will be accumulated depending on their choice. As a result, the player’s monster revolution diverges and the story route changes depending on “karma points.”
Digimon Survive seems like it could have a darker tone than most installments, what with multiple endings and character deaths being possible. How did you decide to follow this course and what other mature elements could people expect?
Kazumasa: The main games within the Digimon franchise are Digimon Story and Digimon World. Digimon Survive is a challenging title which differs from both of these.
In both the Digimon Story and Digimon World series, we wanted to include a variety of Digimon; thus, the core gameplay was focused on the training aspect.
In Digimon Survive, the storyline changes depending on the player’s relationships with Digimon and other characters like the anime. Digimon Survive is unique in that the setting and story appeals to Digimon fans while also featuring classic, turn-based battle gameplay often found in JRPGs.
Regarding character deaths, the idea came from a simple question: If children wandered into a world where monsters exist like in Digimon Adventure, wouldn’t it be so dangerous that it could result in life or death situations?
What made Bandai Namco decide to bring Tomoki Miyoshi on to compose the Digimon Survive soundtrack?
Kazumasa: The game’s mysterious world is different from the digital setting in previous Digimon titles. Also, the world in Digimon Survive is a transient place that disappears as people forget its existence, which led me to think of Debussy’s “Moonlight” and “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair.” That is why I chose piano-based music, so I asked Tomoki Miyoshi who has composed beautiful songs for previous games, to work on Digimon Survive.
We already know Agumon, Falcomon, Floramon, and Labramon will be appearing in Digimon Survive. Why were these characters chosen as Takuma, Minoru, Saki, and Aoi’s partners?
Kazumasa: In producing a Digimon game, it’s so hard to pick specific Digimon as main characters. The reason for choosing Agumon as the main character’s partner is because this title was inspired by Digimon Adventure. Agumon felt like a suitable choice to expand the possibility of this setting from a different perspective. Also, Agumon was the main character’s partner in Digimon Adventure and plays the same important role in this title, but it can evolve depending on the player’s choice.
As for the other Digimon, they were chosen based on which Digimon have not been featured so far. Then, each partner Digimon is set to reflect each human character’s inner feelings and ideal self. Falcomon has a brave and powerful personality that reflects the ideal hero Minoru wants to become. Labramon has an unfaltering and friendly personality to support Aoi who is unreliable. The Digimon’s evolved forms have also been chosen based on the character’s growth in the story.
Digimon Survive will come to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in Japan and the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in other regions. In case you missed it, last week we talked to Kazumasa about Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth.