Yesterday, Kenichiro Takaki tried to explain what moe is and liked the concept, much to my surprise, Mortal Kombat. Our discussion continues today where Takaki-san talks about designing moe games and hints that his next project is a "serious" game.
Since you’re a big moe fan that’s why you enjoy making games like Kagura.
Kenichiro Takaki, Producer: Yeah, and that’s the kind of game that can only be made in Japan.
True, but I think the beat ’em up feel has universal appeal. Are you still trying to bring this game overseas? Have you talked with other companies about licensing Senran Kagura?
If we can bring it out overseas, we will do it. But, things like moe and the cultural appeal and fetishes between Japan and America are different in many ways. If we brought it out we may have to make some adjustments so it has broader appeal. I know that’s not what your readers want to hear, though.
Before Senran Kagura and moe ninjas, you worked on the Ikki Tousen beat ’em ups. What other setting would you like to add the moe element to?
If I had the budget, I’d like to make a game with really muscular characters who tear each other’s clothes off.
So, this clothes tearing game, where would it be set?
Probably in a school because moe works best with places that are familiar to you.
With Kagura and Half-Minute Hero finished, can you tell us what you’re working on now?
I can’t tell you! [Laughs.]
How about a hint then?
I make it a point to have two projects going at the same time. One of them is a more serious kind of undertaking like Half-Minute Hero and the other is a moe style game. You can guess from there!
Let’s say one day, moe just wasn’t popular in Japan anymore. What would you want to do? What other style would you like to try for your second project?
In that situation, I would want to make a FPS. I think it’s really hard to do, though.
Would you want to make a moe FPS?
Yeah, with squirt guns and you aim at their chests. [Laughs.]
That sounds like a future PlayStation Move title. Do you think moe fans are going after the 3DS? The only other title that screams moe is Sega’s Hatsune Miku game.
Since there are no other moe games for 3DS, they probably don’t have 3DS yet, but Kagura might change that. 3DS is already popular with hardcore fans playing Street Fighter and so forth. Those are the kinds of people who, when they get bored of beating each other up, they want to look at boobs. [Laughs.]
How did you work with the CERO rating board to make sure Senran Kagura didn’t cross any lines?
In Japan, you won’t get a CERO Z rating because of something sexual. You just won’t be able to release it. Something like a sex scene won’t be accepted. There was nothing I had to remove to avoid a "zed" rating and since you can’t show exposed boobs you have to adjust the angle so it’s suggestive, but not explicit.
You have tricks for doing that?
[Laughs and pulls out Senran Kagura’s art book from the limited edition.] So, this is where she has panties on, but from this angle it looks like she doesn’t. This is another moe point or keyword. She really does have panties on! You just can’t see them.
How do you think the moe trend is affecting the game industry? It feels like the number of moe games are increasing every year.
The number of moe games are indeed increasing every year. Even in Japan, we don’t necessarily have a large user base, but the fans are very passionate so they’ll buy moe games. This game [Kagura] is a moe game, but it’s a solid game on its own too. If you can see the panties or underboob, Japanese fans will say "take my money!"
It’s something I’m very serious about, so I want to make serious game with moe.
You’re a serious Xbox fan too. [Takaki mentioned his high Gamerscore earlier. I can’t remember the exact number, but it’s over 80,000]
Yeah, I love it!
How do you think the Xbox 360 can grow in Japan?
It’s really the titles. There are characteristics in the market that limit what kind of games will be successful in Japan. The 360 needs more of those types of games.
The moe games you’re making for Japan, but the serious games you’re making for the world. So for Microsoft K.K. should they make serious games or more moe games?
I think it’s possible to expand their market share if they have both. That way they would keep core fans and add new ones with less serious stuff.
Speaking of serious games, Half-Minute Hero Second… will Xseed bring it overseas too?
I know they were interested in it, but I don’t know if anything has been confirmed with them. You probably have to ask them about it again!