You may recognize his name from Kagura: Portrait of Girls, but Keinchiro Takaki is also the Producer of the quirky lightning RPG Half-Minute Hero. Now, Takaki is designing the sequel, Half-Minute Hero Second. If you haven’t seen the PSP game before watch this trailer.
"When we started out on the sequel, things were not very easy. While the original Half-Minute Hero was pretty successful, many people on the inside (and a lot of people on the outside) thought that a half-minute RPG was just a one-hit wonder," Takaki replied when I asked him how the Half-Minute Hero Second project began. "Then compound this with the feeling that only people who finished the first game could truly enjoy a follow-up. So, just overcoming these misconceptions was hard from the get-go."
"Next, when we sketched out the game plan, we had two directions to go in. One was to just increase the number of stages from 50 to 100. The other plan was to instead reinforce the JRPG style storyline and mix both new and existing gameplay elements into a new experience. We decided to go with the latter plan, since a strict increase in levels just seemed too vanilla for a proper sequel to Half-Minute Hero."
While Half-Minute Hero had different gameplay modes, Half-Minute Hero Second only has Hero 30 mode. Takaki said the decision to not include other modes was "agonizing," but he wanted to focus on the main theme of Half-Minute Hero. There are still different characters to play as Yushia, a tomboyish princess.
"It was very difficult to get everybody involved in the game on board with this approach. Until the prototype was completed, many people had doubts and fears that we took a solid original work, and turned it into a normal JRPG. Others were worried that we were spoiling the experience as a whole. Helping people collectively overcome these thoughts was probably harder than making the game itself," Takaki contemplated.
We’ll have more from Takaki and news about Half-Minute Hero Second soon!