In part 1 of our Half-Minute Hero Second interview with series producer, Kenichiro Takaki, we discussed how the first game originally came about, and how the team went about designing the characters and outfitting them with personalities.
Half-Minute Hero Second takes place centuries after the original. In part 2, Takaki tells us a little more about its connection to the first game, what you can expect to see in Second, and briefly touches upon the series’ future.
What can you tell us about the story and does it connect with the original game at all?
Kenichiro Takaki, Producer: Centuries have passed since the last battle. Hero defeated the last boss, but Evil Lord still remained, with small skirmishes and battles continuing in the wake of the final confrontation. Overall, though, the world has been at near full peace.
Evil Lord hasn’t given up the ghost, though. Deep out of view, in the underworld, he and his minions have been preparing a plan to exact revenge on the bloodline of Hero. Second starts with the beginning of this plan, with evil minions disguised as humans entering the human world, ready to kill Yusha.
Even though this story is heavy, and surely up for Pulitzer consideration, don’t worry! Newbies will enjoy this game just as much as Half-Minute Hero veterans!
The Sasha event (she calls the player a "liar" if you fail your promise of protecting her) was one of the most memorable parts of Half-Minute Hero. Did you create any events in "Second" that invoke emotion like that event?
Yeah, I put a lot of effort into creating more emotional events in Second.
I’m pretty sure with the previous game, nearly every player noticed Sasha’s true identity early on. But that didn’t keep them from continuing the story. It’s horrible; you can’t tear your eyes away from what’s unfolding before you.
I’m not making games to make you feel awful all the time, though, so while there are still some dark moments, I’ve tried my best to put in some equally uplifting emotional scenes in Second, too.
While Half-Minute Hero for PSP had a bunch of different modes, "Second" only has the Hero 30 mode. Why did you take out the shooter, escort, and strategy modes?
This decision really was the most agonizing part of the whole project. But this time, I really wanted to fully develop the main theme of Half-Minute Hero. I really hope players will be pleased with this focus!
What did you learn from Half-Minute Hero that you implemented in "Second?"
Second has a lot of elements which we couldn’t put into its prequel due to a very short development period. A major item is the scenario maker, definitely.
The scenario maker sounds like a great idea. How deep is it? What kind of levels can you make? Is it possible to recreate the entire game with it?
This is exactly what we always wanted to make, and we’re glad to have put into Second. Users can create the topography, the events, the placement and properties of enemies, the contents of towns, names, dialog — nearly everything. Seriously, the amount of new content that players can create on their own is incredible.
I’m really excited to see what new heroes await!
"Second" has been delayed a few times already. Are you adding any other unannounced content into the PSP game?
There are many elements that are as of yet still unannounced.
Before we made the delay of Second public, there were some elements which we had cut previously, due to time constraints. But now, with the delay, we’ve been able to revisit these, leading to a much larger game than we even recently expected.
I love the idea of a "lightning" game. If you can extend the concept of a rapid fire game to other genres, what genre would you like to work on?
It’d be fun to make a lightning 3D action game, really riffing on the styles of Kung Fu or Ninja games from before. Or some sort of lightning race game would be kind of fun too. What about a game where users can only increase their speed, without steering? Or how about a 30 second farming game? There a ton of random ideas floating around in my head.
What do you think of the Nintendo 3DS and NGP? Do you think we’ll see a "lightning" game on one of those platforms or perhaps a console?
I think both 3DS and NGP are pretty great pieces of hardware in their own right. The current console generation is pretty fantastic, too.
It’d be great to make a third Half-Minute Hero game with new twists on gameplay and story, but I haven’t gone as far to think of a platform or exactly what I would want to include. This is all stuff that I’m still sort of playing around with.