Back in August last year, Type-Moon announced that they were opening a new development studio, studio BB, headed by Kazuya Nino (Dragon Quest Builders, Etrian Odyssey, 7th Dragon). In a recent interview, Nino talks about how he ended up working at Type-Moon after leaving Square Enix, their team size, and some news on their first game. [Thanks, 4Gamer!]
Here are the highlights below:
Nino’s history with Type-Moon and Studio BB’s creation:
4Gamer: Nino-san, you were the producer of Fate/Extra, so it was understandable you’d join Type-Moon, but what sort of connection did you have with Type-Moon beforehand?
Kazuya Nino, studio BB director: “It was when I was working at Atlus on Etrian Odyssey… around 13 years ago, I think. While working on development, I was searching for what I wanted to create next, and personally I was a fan of Tsukihime, and so I asked Type-Moon if they would allow me to create a Tsukihime-related game. That was my first time contacting Type-Moon.
4Gamer: So you approached Type-Moon first.
Nino: “Right. I didn’t know how to contact them, and I still remember getting the appointment by using the contact form page on their official site. (laughs) However, Type-Moon was in the midst of developing Fate-related products, so that opportunity to work together didn’t come to fruition.
After that, I was working at Imageepoch, and at that time, I once again thought, I want to create an RPG with Type-Moon’s world. Back then, Fate was more ‘in’ compared to Tsukihime, so I proposed an RPG related to Fate.”
4Gamer: And that became the Fate/Extra series.
Nino: “Right. I knew from last time that Nasu-san liked interesting things, so I proposed a title with as strong an impact I could think of. ‘The oldest thing on the Solar System, found on the Moon – the 3cm cube “Type-Moon”, was actually a wish-granting machine that could grant any wish’… It was a prosoal with quite a strong sci-fi feel. The name “Type-Moon” ended up being changed to Moon Cell, but… it’s a bit embarrassing, but yeah!
Speaking of which, I made the proposal for Fate/Extra CCC quite early in the planning stage. I really liked Sakura, so I wanted to make a game where you chased around Sakuras all day, a silly idea like that. (laughs) Personally, I thought there was only a 50% chance of it becoming a reality, so I’m glad we were able to make it.”
4Gamer: Speaking of Sakura, one of Extra CCC‘s key characters is ‘BB’. Was the studio’s name named after her?
Nino: “I think it’s fine if you take it that way. When we were deciding the studio name, I was thinking of just making an unassuming studio name under ‘Type-Moon’. Like Studio A, Studio B, etc. And then I was like, “Well, if we’re going with B, may as well go with BB”, and decided it just like that. BB is a phrase quite familiar to me, so I felt like the name BB would watch over me as I tried out new challenges.”
4Gamer: So tell us about the process of studio BB’s creation.
Nino: “Before studio BB, I was working at Square Enix’s 3rd development headquarters, and it began when I proposed to my then-boss Naoki Yoshida-san (Final Fantasy XIV director/producer) that “I wanted to make a game together with Type-Moon”.
4Gamer: That Yoshida-san, huh! Quite an interesting combination.
Nino: “Around then, I was about done with development for Dragon Quest Builders 2, which I was the director of, and so I proposed we worked together with Type-Moon for our next title. Yoshida-san was quite interested, but the end result was that because of the timing and staff composition as a company, while it would be possible if we spent a lot of time at it, it wasn’t possible to start it immediately. And so, I thought seriously about what to do…
Not to mention, I’m already past 40, and I wonder how many more games I can make before I retire… I don’t have many active years left, so I wanted to continue creating the games I really wanted to make. I couldn’t just plan something else and wait for when that day would come.”
4Gamer: Right. And so, in order to create the game you wanted to make the most, you knocked on Type-Moon’s door.
Nino: “Right. I thought of many plans and talked to Type-Moon about it, and Takeuchi-san (Type-Moon’s Takashi Takeuchi) said, “Well, wouldn’t it be faster if our company did it?” And so, rather than the proposals of past, it suddenly became that we were opening a new studio.”
studio BB ambitions
4Gamer: So Type-Moon and studio BB’s game development will be handled separately?
Nino: “Right. Type-Moon proper will work on its own series at its own pace, and we at studio BB will work on Type-Moon-related titles from a different vector.”
4gamer: It’s been rumored on social media that Type-Moon is creating the new studio to ‘move “that” title into full development’. So that isn’t the case, then.
Nino: “Nope. (laughs) However, we’re aiming to bring the forces of Type-Moon and studio BB to create a large-scale game around 5-6 years later, and I’m speaking to Takeuchi-san and Nasu-san in order to work towards that.”
4Gamer: I’m looking forward to finding out what it is. By the way, what sorts of titles will studio BB handle?
Nino: “It’s not at a stage where we can announce anything yet, so I can’t give details, but there are three projects in mind, and one has entered development. This one will be a joint project with another development company, and will be a mid-scale title. Apart from this, we’re slated to start working on a small-scale title that can be developed and completed within studio BB.
All these titles are steps towards the large-scale title I mentioned prior, and can be taken to be tests to presenting Type-Moon’s worlds, and to bolster studio BB’s strength. If that large title can see fruition in a satisfying manner, I feel like I’d be fine with retiring just after that. (laughs)”
4Gamer: From the games you’ve been involved with like Etrian Odyssey, Fate/Extra, Dragon Quest Builders, a lot of people likely expect that you’ll probably make a great RPG with the new studio.
Nino: “Thank you. I can’t say much right now, sorry. We’re hoping to announce something more detailed by Summer 2020.”
4Gamer: By the way, have you decided on the platforms for the in-development title(s)?
Nino: “Currently, the game(s) are planned for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC, but we’re also looking into Xbox One, smartphones, and cloud options.”
studio BB’s working title is in development.