Siliconera recently caught up with Yasuhiro Wada, creator of the original Harvest Moon (now Story of Seasons) about his next game Little Dragons Café that features cute and useless misfits as its main characters.
What do you want to do want to do when creating Little Dragons Café that you haven’t done before with your other games?
Yasuhiro Wada, Creator and Producer: Usually, I build the story and characters first. As a game, there is no combat. It’s an adventure where you fly around on a dragon exploring the world for ingredients. There are other action elements like moving objects around to get to goals. In this sense, it’s a pretty normal game.
What really makes it unique is the characters and story. All of the characters in the game are misfits. [Laughs] All of these characters are losers in the beginning and throughout the game they accomplish many things and help others. It’s a game where you become more confident in yourself by contrast. If a loser like this can accomplish so much, then I should be better than that! I really love these misfits. They are so useless that I feel like I have never seen characters more useless than these. [Laughs] But, these useless characters, surprisingly, in the end they walk away feeling accomplished.
As a creator, you’ve looked on the bright side of life in games. Did you want to bring out the best out of people with Little Dragons Café?
Wada: I think people will feel better about themselves in comparison when looking at the misfit protagonists. These two characters are cute, but they can’t do anything in the beginning. Then they [the protagonists] meet other characters and together they can accomplish a greater goal. Is it normal that there is a main character that is really powerful and challenges a foe?
Yeah, especially in RPGs.
Wada: No More Heroes has a loser [protagonist] too, but he is a pretty strong character.
Why did you want to make a game with a protagonist who isn’t an archetypical powerful hero?
Wada: When you watch movie and dramas on TV, there is a theme where a weak protagonist would grow and become stronger. Have you seen the movie Major League? It’s about a baseball team who is a 2A team who worked really hard to reach the top. I wanted to make a story about a weak character who could grow to accomplish their goals.
Can you tell us more about how the dragon evolves?
Wada: The dragon growing isn’t like a simulation game where you make the dragon grow. It is part of the adventure, where the story progress the dragon will naturally grow. You can cook dishes to feed the dragon, which gradually changes its color. For example, if you want the dragon to have black scales you would need to feed it certain dishes as it gradually changes color. Instead of raising the dragon, the dragon does the action elements in the game like flying or breaking objects in the field. There might be small holes in the world players can’t fit through, but the dragon can fit through.
Also, there is no way for players to fight back against monsters and they would chase the protagonists. The dragon can fly in and tackle them and then meat would come out which would be ingredients for recipes.
Could you tell us about the game’s beautiful art style?
Wada: I wanted the world to feel like a storybook. I thought of Okami as a comparative art style. That’s a game I like a lot and the art style with the brush strokes in the environment. I wanted to make something different than using a brush. For example, inside the café that artwork is hand drawn used as a texture. We directly implemented the hand drawn artwork and it was purposely made to be curvy to give a cartoony look.
Little Dragon’s Cafe releases in Japan on August 30, 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The game releases in late Summer 2018 for North America and Europe.