Guild01 brought together notable Japanese designers Yoot Saito, Yasumi Matsuno, and Goichi Suda together on one 3DS cartridge – each with their own game. Level-5 International America localized three of the four games in the collection for release on the Nintendo eShop. Liberation Maiden is out now. Aero Porter will be next followed Crimson Shroud.
In this interview we talked to Level-5 about the Guild01 project, the Japan-only weapon shop running game, and Level-5 International America’s plans.
How did the GUILD01 project begin? Why did LEVEL-5 want to bring famous creators together and who coded the games?
LEVEL-5: The “GUILD” project is a very aggressive enterprise that began as an experiment where LEVEL-5 and the other game creators brought together by it are challenged to create a game based on their own ideas, inspirations, and creativity in a world of games where it’s becoming harder and harder to be innovative.
We were already acquainted with the creators featured in GUILD01, and they were supportive of such an experimental idea, so we asked them to come on board with us.
As for the companies doing the programming, we’ve disclosed some while not announcing others to respect the wishes of the creators we collaborated with, but you’re welcome to play the game to the end and look for their names in the credits.
Can you tell us how any of the games were pitched?
The way each title was created and how it came about differed for each title. For example, Suda51 is a game designer who always has various concepts on hand, and he chose this one as the idea he wanted to try out with GUILD01. We can’t really disclose much about the original pitches since that process is directly tied to how we produce our games, but we can say it was a very fun production environment.
How did development on Liberation Maiden begin? Did Suda51 have any other scenario ideas?
This question hinges off our last answer, but again, we had a fun time creating the game and working with some very talented and excellent staff. We can’t really say much about SUDA51’s unreleased ideas, except that they were all excellent.
Aero Porter is pretty addictive. What are some tips you can give to aspiring baggage handlers?
In a nutshell, the simple yet addicting gameplay in Aero Porter encapsulates the world of Yoot Saito. If you’ve played any of his other works like The Tower or Seaman, you’d know that he strives to make as much gameplay as possible happen on a single screen: the player’s progress, the game play itself, the leveling up or progression, basically everything takes place on “one screen.”
Aero Porter holds true to this style, and it’s a game where every player can experience the game’s fun and depth to the fullest. Take the game little by little, and play when you have the time. Don’t rush yourself, and make use of the helpful options you unlock as you play. Follow these principals, and anyone can become a “master” baggage handler.
Crimson Shroud is interesting since it’s a throwback to older RPGs. Can you tell us about the story and how the game progresses?
Crimson Shroud is a game created by Yasumi Matsuno in the style prescribed by GUILD01, aiming to digitize a game that returns to the origins of the RPG in a world created and cut like a short film. Creating an RPG in this style resulted in a completely different experience that many RPG players are probably used to, so it’s all about how you approach it. You could equate this to the RPG version of a fantastic short story, though the game has plenty of hours of content.
As far as the game’s story and flow, we think it best that players experience it for themselves!
What happened to the "Omasse Rental Weapon Shop" game? Is LEVEL-5 International America planning on bringing this over?
We’re still wholeheartedly considering how to or whether or not we can make that title work at the moment. The game is actually extremely text-heavy, and it functions on the expressive power of its text and language. Hirai-san, the creator, is a famous comedian in Japan, and the game is deeply rooted in his talent for expressing Japanese culture through language. We need to consider the high pedigree of translation required, and the time and money needed to do that with this amount of text may surprise you. Another factor we need to consider is whether or not a large enough audience outside of Japan would appreciate a game that relies so heavily on knowledge of Japanese culture.
Is LEVEL-5 considering to release GUILD02’s games overseas?
We hope to do so at this point, but the Japanese version is still in production, so we kindly ask for your patience for an announcement if we do decide to bring them over.
What else is LEVEL-5 International America working on? Will we see any other titles like Time Travelers, Fantasy Life or The Little Battlers Experience in the West?
LEVEL-5 International America works alongside LEVEL-5’s headquarters in Japan to assess the markets for titles in both North American and Europe. Their goal is to figure out how to maximize the potential of LEVEL-5’s entire spectrum of current and future properties in each region, whether that be for existing franchises such as the Professor Layton series, which is popular in the West, or for Inazuma Eleven, currently being broadcasted in over 10 countries throughout Europe and South America.
Essentially, L5IA doesn’t exist solely to self-publish titles that have already been released in Japan; its mission is to explore all the possibilities of a given title and how best to deliver it to our fans. The feasibility of releasing our titles sometimes hinges on business decisions, but the goal of L5IA is to make our titles available to as many people as possible.