Trials of Mana has always been this holy grail for Mana series fans. We knew Seiken Densetsu 3 was out there and was this beloved experience, but it remained an elusive treasure until Collection of Mana‘s worldwide release in 2019 gave us all a chance to play. At the same time, we learned a remake would give even more people a chance to play. Siliconera had an opportunity to take part in a Trials of Mana interview with two of the people who helped make this happen. Mana series Producer Masaru Oyamada, who was a producer on Collection of Mana, and Trials of Mana Producer Shinichi Tatsuke both talked about this remake, the Secret of Mana remake, and characters like Angela and Duran.
Jenni Lada: How long has Trials of Mana been in development, and what led to the decision to bring it back?
Shinichi Tatsuke, Producer: Development began a little before Secret of Mana released, and it took about two years.
Masaru Oyamada, Producer: When Collection of Mana was released in Japan, we received a huge amount of feedback from players overseas saying that they wanted to play the classic Trials of Mana, originally known as Seiken Densetsu 3, too. At the time, the 2018 release of Secret of Mana was still in development, but we wanted to start working on Trials of Mana without leaving much of a gap in between. That’s when Tatsuke came onboard, and with his help we were able to begin development.
How did the response to the Secret of Mana remake influence Trials of Mana?
Oyamada: The reaction we got from fans all around the world saying that they had been looking forward to the Mana series and voicing their anticipation for the original version of Trials of Mana, which was never released in the West, was greater than we had anticipated. Therefore, we decided to vastly modernize the game’s system, starting with its visuals in addition to system-related elements like battle mechanics.
Which party would you personally recommend to someone entirely new to the series and why?
Tatsuke: I would recommend Duran, Angela, and Charlotte. Duran excels in attack and defense, so he’s easy to use even for beginners. Angela can use magic attacks, while Charlotte can use recovery magic, so all together they would make a very well-balanced party.
Additionally, when you put Duran and Angela together, you’ll be able to see dialogue that’s specific to them, which is another point that makes me want to recommend them.
However, we’ve made sure that as a basic rule, any and all combinations are fun to play with, so I would love for players to go ahead and select whichever characters draw their attention.
A new feature involves splitting up in town to meet with members of your party. What inspired this change and which interactions were the most fun to create?
Tatsuke: In the original, your party members would follow behind you even in town. However, when you think of how things would be in real life, if you go to a fun town, each character is probably going to want to venture off on their own. That’s why we decided to incorporate this feature.
I hope you’ll take a stroll around any new towns you enter so that you can see what the other characters are up to.
How did you decide to go with a remake with only single-player options? Could local multiplayer be eventually added with an update?
Tatsuke: For this title, we decided to take what was depicted from a bird’s-eye view and reimagine it in the third person perspective in order to heighten the feeling of immersion offered by the game world.
Although we did consider local multiplayer, that would have required us to create the game from a top-down perspective, as in the original. Instead, we decided to prioritize the sense of immersion into the game world and decided to focus on making it a single-player game.
We also considered an online multiplayer mode, but that would have required changing the way we made the game to focus on ensuring a fun online experience. Doing so would have left the game not feeling fully fleshed out in either respect, so we decided to concentrate on creating a fun experience as a single-player game.
What kind of balancing issues did you have to keep in mind for the Trials of Mana new episode and tier 4 classes?
Tatsuke: We’ve been careful to avoid affecting the game balance or the story of the original title, so we made the new story content and the tier 4 classes available as post-game features. I hope players will enjoy the new stories and new growth that the characters experience post-game.
When it came to creating the new character costumes for later classes, how did you decide which elements to improve or alter? Which outfits do you consider your favorites?
Oyamada: We expanded upon the pixel art imagery as well as the explanations that accompanied the equipment in the original title, aiming to create detailed, fleshed-out designs for the elements that were vague back then. For the Tier 4 classes, which are completely new elements that we added this time around, we started by deciding the class names first, and then we had them use the images those names conjured as hints toward the design process.
Which of the characters’ updated looks do you think turned out the best and why?
Oyamada: I feel that Angela turned out great.
She’s always been older among the six main characters, and she definitely has an air of maturity in the illustrations for the original as well. However, during the game she also shows that she has some childlike qualities in her personality, too. I think we were able to capture those elements just right.
With the renewed interest and appreciation in the Mana series worldwide, could other installments like Legend of Mana return or a completely new entry be possible?
Oyamada: Of course, I hope to work towards being able to make that a reality.
But first, I would love for people to play Trials of Mana and to hear all their feedback, including what they thought of the game and what they are looking forward to from the Mana series.
Trials of Mana will come to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC on April 24, 2020.