Instead of taking place in a parallel universe, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is a direct sequel to Neptunia that takes place in the past. Neptune is whisked away to a world that looks like the Gamindustri of the 1980’s and a new CPU called Plutia controls the "other" Planeptune. We talked with Neptunia series producer Naoko Mizuno about the changes in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory and the future of the series.
Why did you pick the ’80s as the setting for Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory?
Naoko Mizuno, Producer at Compile Heart: The game industry during the 1980’s was the most stimulating and lively time period so far. There was also a constant flurry of news and events. I thought that adding all of these elements to Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory would be very interesting.
Let’s talk about the characters. How do you design CPUs like Plutia and Yellow Heart for a new Neptunia title? What do the Seven Sages represent?
Because we already have the four original CPUs as well as the CPU Candidates, we designed the new characters in a way that wouldn’t interfere with the old ones. We also made the gap between their “human” form and their “HDD” form very large.
As for the Seven Sages, their motifs are from some of the more turbulent(?) times in the game industry. If I say any more than that, it won’t be fun for the players, so please try to discover what each character represents on your own.
Which character is your favorite and which land would you like to live on?
Each character is unique with her own characteristics that make her cute so there isn’t really an order, but the character who I would like to be friends with is Noire. I would like to tease her a little bit and enjoy her tsundere attitude.
I think Planeptune would be good to live in because it is the place where everyone gathers and it is very lively.
The battle system in Neptunia mk2 was improved from the original Neptunia. How has the battle system further evolved for Neptunia V and how does the Disk Dev. System work?
In terms of how things look, the graphics are much prettier and vivid. You will also be able to experience shorter load times than those in Neptunia mk2. As for the battle system, we have designed it so players can enjoy creating their own combos in a simple manner. We have also added the EXE Drive system where players can fill a special move gauge to unleash devastating EXE Drive attacks with gorgeous animations that are more powerful than SP Skills.
The Disk Dev. System is an extremely important system used to strengthen the characters. As the player advances through the game, after a certain point, they will receive items called Blank Disks. Each Blank Disk has up to three slots where items, called Idea Chips, can be input to add abilities to create a Game Disk. Depending on the Idea Chips used, the player might create an item that provides additional defense in battle or some HP restoration at the end of battle and so on. This system is a big help in battle, so the player can enjoy creating new combinations and customizing their characters.
Furthermore, if the player uses a special combination of Idea Chips, they can create a “Godly Game,” which in addition to the usual three bonus abilities, allows for a fourth ability as well. Please try to make Godly Games!
Dungeons are different in Neptunia V too. You can change events using the flag system and choose to listen or not listen to other characters to further alter areas. How did this system develop?
The Scout System allows the player to dispatch various characters into dungeons to bring back information and items that cannot otherwise be obtained, as well as having some other benefits. That’s how the idea was presented, and we used it as it was.
The flag system comes from the word “Flag,” which is used in video game development terminology, and we thought it would be interesting to put something like this in the game. “Breaking” flags allows players to change things within a dungeon and this adds an interesting element to gameplay. This flag system is linked to the Scout System and it’s a key to getting important items.
Neptunia has a lot of puns like Inafune being a ship based on the kanji in his last name and visual gags like the horsebird or Maoh (from Army Corps of Hell). What are your favorite jokes and can you tell us how you come up with ideas for gags?
I really like the skills for Inafune san, Endo san and Mouri Meijin. That delicate balance (perhaps surreal balance) between the cute characters and pictures of real people is just great as well as powerful.
The Neptunia staff thought of these things. We were worried about whether or not we could get the creators’ permission (Inafune san, Endo san, Mouri Meijin), but all of them gave their consent with a smile, so we used them!
Were there any jokes or references that didn’t make into Neptunia V due to a lack of time?
There wasn’t any particular gag or parody that didn’t make it in, but we did toy with the idea of having the player be able to change the history of Gamindustri by using the Scout System and Flag System.
Neptunia has expanded beyond a PS3 game with an iOS app and anime series. What do you want to do next for Neptunia? Will we see a battle between the CPUs and smartphones or social games?
The idea of a Neptunia anime was present from the first title, so I’m very happy it is going to come out. Of course, we are considering new titles and spinoffs for the series. We are also receiving lots of cooperation from other developers, so creating something with an “all-star” line-up is one of our dreams. If there is something that our fans would like to see or play, I would love to hear their ideas.
Please continue to love and enjoy Neptunia well into the future!