Recently, producer Hiroyuki Ichinose and director Shunji Mizutani of Yume Nikki: Dream Diary sat down for an interview with 4Gamer, talking about Kikiyama’s style of gameplay storytelling, and other things. Of particular interest is how overseas fans had a hand in the development of the game, however subtly.
Here are the highlights:
4Gamer: So this was a project aimed at livening up the RPG Maker creation scene. Yet, why did you go with something other than RPG Maker for this game?
Hiroyuki Ichinose, producer: “Although that was how the project started, when we thought about how widely popular Yume Nikki was worldwide, we saw the option of using something other than RPG Maker.”
“While Yume Nikki is obviously popular in Japan, it is also a popular title overseas, more than most other RPG Maker games. Even with the promotion trailer for Dream Diary, there was quite a large reaction from overseas. Seeing this fact, we thought that instead of forcing ourselves to use RPG Maker, reconstructing Yume Nikki as a modern indie game could be another option of giving those fans a satisfying experience.”
Left: Mizutani; Right: Ichinose
4Gamer: I hear that the development team is comprised from many Yume Nikki fans.
Shunji Mizutani, director: “That’s right. Our development team has a comparatively large amount of people who came from overseas, and especially our art director is such a big fan, that they say they came to Japan just because they were that big of a fan.”
4Gamer: What were the reactions of overseas fans like?
Mizutani: “We had the same large reaction that we received in Japan. Actually, although we had heard before that there was a large fanbase outside of Japan, it wasn’t until we released the Steam version of the original that we understood the scale.”
“From the figures, America leads in the number of downloads by country, and many South Americans also played the game as well. After seeing that, I really felt that ‘Yume Nikki is a global IP’.”
4Gamer: A bigger reaction than expected, then.
Mizutani: “Yume Nikki is a game that, like in Japan, got its popularity from Let’s Plays. Famous Youtubers such as PewDiePie commentated over the game, and maybe that made the game more widely known. It’s precisely because it’s a game without dialogue that it grabs onto players’ hearts.”
Ichinose: “I’ve heard that Japanese and overseas communities had a lot of debates over Kikiyama’s gender, whether it was an individual or a group name. True, most people wouldn’t know.”
Mizutani: “We had a lot of questions asked about the gender of Kikiyama, and how we contacted them.”
4Gamer: By the way, one thing I would like to ask, is Nasu playable in Dream Diary?
Mizutani: “Of course. Our staff worked so hard on it we upgraded it to Super Nasu.” (laughs)
4Gamer: Super Nasu! I’ll look forward to that.
Mizutani: “Our staff put so much effort into Nasu despite being so busy. Honestly, I was like, ‘We’re running out of time, so why are you working on that?!’” (laughs)
Ichinose: “Also, as an RPG Maker theme, there is also a collaboration mini game with Ao Oni in Dream Diary. By fulfilling certain requirements, you can play it on the dream game console, so please look forward to it.”