Siliconera spoke with Senran Kagura producer Kenichiro Takaki about his breakout beat ’em up series. We talked about Senran Kagura 2, his thoughts about fan service, and if we’ll ever get another Half-Minute Hero game.
Kenichiro Takaki, Producer: I wanted to try a male character at least once, that’s why Murasame is in the game. He’s treated the same as the female characters, he has sexy poses too. [Laughs and makes sexy face]
So, how did you decide on how to make sexy poses for a male character?
[Laughs] I looked at a lot of magazines that show the male form for reference. Yeah, we did our research. [Laughs]
Can you tell us about developing the AR mode in Senran Kagura 2? Was it difficult to implement?
It was not technically difficult to implement and you can change the clothes of the girls and they’ll show up with different costumes in AR mode.
It seems like more games developed in Japan have more fan service with different costumes as DLC and crossovers than ever before. Being the king of fan service with the Senran Kagura series, why do you think this is the trend?
I feel it makes it more entertaining from when you first announce a game to when you release it, to have something fans can enjoy as they follow along with development and then finally they get it in the game where they can enjoy it there too. It’s not just listing out the features, which is boring.
That makes sense to have media updates and not every update can be about gameplay. The beat ’em genre has broader appeal and I think that people may miss that when glancing at all the boobage in Senran Kagura.
I would like to make more normal games again. But, personally this kind of the game with sexiness and violence is the kind of game I want to make.
When does fan service go too far? Have you ever designed something that you felt went too far and had to change your plans?
I keep in the R18+ or Japanese version of the R rating in mind. In Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit there are scenes where you see the girls get covered in food. Originally, they didn’t have chocolate sauce drizzled on them. I added chocolate sauce because I thought the girls showed too much skin and it turned out adding that in was even more erotic.
Speaking of Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit, that’s a rhythm game, but it feels like the gameplay is more simplistic compared to other music games on Vita, even compared to IA/VT, which you’re developing. Did you consider the Project Diva or IA/VT style for Bon Appétit?
In a lot of rhythm games, players focus on icons or the rhythm bar and that’s all they are looking at the whole time. In the Kagura series, you want them to focus on the visuals, the background, and the sexy girls. There is also an extra element in that players will look away from the icons and look at the screen and make a mistake. Then they have to focus back on the gameplay. This "feast for the eyes" fits the Senran Kagura series.
Have you talked to Xseed about bringing IA/VT Colorful to North America?
Jimmy Soga from Xseed: We’re still in talks [with Marvelous], but Tom really wants to do it.
Is Xseed the caretakers of the Senran Kagura series in North America and will handle future releases?
KT: That’s the plan.
JS: We’re taking it case by case. Senran Kagura Burst did really well. It was download only, but there’s enough to say there is a US audience for it that’s why we went with Shinovi Versus. It’s sort of risky, but we localized Bon Appétit at the same time. We think there is a core audience for it, but it’s case by case for now. If these sell well enough of course we want to continue with the series.
Have you thought about considering the Half-Minute Hero series?
I love the series and I would like to continue it in the future. One of the challenges is taking a whole three to five hour RPG session and squeezing it down to something you play in three to five minutes. To create a lot of little stages that are condensed versions of full RPG sessions takes a lot of effort. It’s like cramming five or more RPGs into a single package. Since you can’t do a half-assed job on it, at some point I’ll sit down and do it, but I am focused on Senran Kagura right now.