Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino and Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada recently sat together for a special interview with 4Gamer, where Hino shared bits on the his company’s 20th anniversary title.
Katsuhiro Harada: This goes back to our talk about a world-simulation game, but you’re fond of MMORPGs, correct, Hino-san?
Akihiro Hino: I started MMOs with Ultima Online, and played all kinds of titles.
Katsuhiro Harada: I see, doesn’t it personally make you want to make an MMORPG?
Akihiro Hino: It does. I would very much like to make one of the occasion arises. However, the wound of True Fantasy Live Online’s development cancellation is still fresh on my heart.
True Fantasy Live Online (cancelled game)
Katsuhiro Harada: Ahh, so it was that bad.
Akihiro Hino: In order to make an MMORPG, you need the ability from the company, online game knowledge and technology. You can’t make one with half-hearted aspirations. Actually, at the time, since we went based on our mood we couldn’t stick to our schedule, and as a result of issues regarding the Xbox platform itself, the development was cancelled.
Players had big expectations, and the development side wanted to return those feelings, but since it is was an administered game, and considering that meant players will also change after release, it was decided that it wasn’t the time for it.
Katsuhiro Harada: And even after going through such experiences, you still want to make one. I don’t know if you have such plans now, but if you had the investment, then would kind of theme would you pick, Hino-san? If I had to guess based on trend, I have a strong feeling it’d be an orthodox fantasy game.
Akihiro Hino: We have an idea. Although I don’t know if I can call it an MMORPG, we plan on making a big title of that same scale. Since the company is nearing its 20th anniversary, I figured we could do something we like. If we can recruit those with knowledge that is currently lacking in Level-5, then I believe we can make it. Also, it’s not a fantasy but something “modern.” That’s the commemorative title we’re preparing for the 20th anniversary.
Katsuhiro Harada: Uh. Is it okay for you to be saying that here?
Akihiro Hino: I believe I said we’re working on a 20th anniversary title somewhere, so I think it’s okay. While it is a commemorative title, it doesn’t mean we’ll release it on that year, but I believe we’ll time the announcement for the 20th anniversary. Looking back, Ni no Kuni was a 10th anniversary commemorative title, but it actually released two years after.
Level-5 was founded in October 1998, so this is the year we can expect to have their new project announced. Again, keep in mind that Hino is saying that the game’s development scale is close to that of an MMORPG’s, not that it will be one.