Tokyo Mirage Sessions devs #FE share some deep messages about the RPG
The Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Special Edition contains several goodies. Probably the neatest of the bunch is an art book. Towards the end, you’ll find messages from three of the project’s most important developers: chief director/game designer Wataru Hirata, director Eiji Ishida, and producer Shinjiro Takata.
After going through the book, I thought it’d be worthwhile to share those messages here since each one is quite interesting (and lengthy!). Hirata’s note hits close to home in particular, as he thanks late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata – who passed away just a little over a year ago.
Head past the break for transcripts of Hirata, Ishida, and Takata’s messages.
Chief director/game designer Wataru Hirata
I think it was in 2011 when I was first approached by someone saying, “Hey, there’s going to be a collaboration with Fire Emblem – want to do it?” Next thing you know, five years have passed, and here we are handing the final product over to all of you. I’ve been making RPGs with Atlus for over ten years, but I think my anticipation for a project like this goes back even further… It’s hard to express the exact feeling I had when I heard the news about this project, but it was something like, “Finally”.
As a creator looking back on Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, the opportunity to collaborate on such a storied franchise as Fire Emblem, to work side by side with an industry giant like Nintendo, to have such interesting partners as Avex and Toi8, and to be developing for unique hardware like Wii U… it made for a fresh and stimulating time. And when you get the feeling tat the project you’re working on may be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, it really fuels you to keep going. But when the road ahead is five years long, you still may feel sometimes like you’re going to run out of fuel.
When that happened, I would shift gears from the creator side of me to the fan side for that extra bit of fuel that would restart the engines and propel me forward. “If I want to hold people’s interest, I can’t do it halfway – it’s time to swing for the fences!” “People have been waiting for this, so I need to make it the best!” This was what my creator side was constantly hearing from my fan side over the last five years.
Now that it’s all over, I feel a bit lonely, and I might still feel over the course of the next year or two that I’m still working on this game, haha. But of course that’s not so. We developers have stepped away, and the time has come for Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE to belong to you. I do think that when it releases, I will turn back into a fan and play the game from that perspective. All I can hope is that you play the game with the same feeling.
Finally, I want to say a word of thanks to Satoru Iwata, who created the opportunity for this game to come into the world. It was my own small dream to be able to share stories of developing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE with him in an “Iwata Asks.” Thank you, Mr. Iwata.
Director Eiji Ishida
I was on this project as a director, assisting the main director, Mr. Hirata. I also oversaw the game’s battle system.
Has everyone reading this now played the game already? Or are you digging into the box impatiently as you make your way home, oblivious to the stares of those around you? Regardless of which camp you may fall into, I want to thank you for picking up Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE out of so many possible games. I am terribly grateful.
As I write this on October 16, 2015, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is still in development, but hopefully much anticipated. We are in the home stretch, doing a test play and balance pass as PR efforts and testing ramp up. In fact, I just now confirmed the staff list that will appear in the final credits sequence. When I think about this project ending, I feel a sense of emptiness, but also a bit of relief as well, haha. This mix of feelings persist even as we proceed through these harried, breathless final days of development. (Oh, there’s a cool surprise waiting in the final credits, so please make sure you see them through to the end.) And don’t forget, if you run into a boss that’s breaking your spirit, you can adjust the difficulty at any time!
Looking back on this project, I think we’ve created something truly unique this time. Compared to what we’ve worked on in the past, this seems like something altogether different, haha. But what do you think? Did you pick it up thinking this is exactly what you’re after? If so, I would be very happy to hear that! Or did you pick it up thinking, “might as well give this a shot!”? If so, I would certainly like to hear your impressions after you try it out!
Atlus has created many versions of Tokyo, whether it is the end of Tokyo, the conception of Tokyo, imperial capital Tokyo, or even underground Tokyo, but I think we have created a new Tokyo here: Showbiz Tokyo. I hope it brings color into your gaming life, which seems like a fitting note to end my dedication on.
Producer Shinjiro Takata
One of the themes of #FE is serendipitous meetings, I think. The starting place for this project, after all, was the question of, “What would happen if Atlus and Fire Emblem met in an alley?” The title began development as a result of the energy and the efforts of a lot of people who came together somewhat serendipitously.
You have a lot of encounters like this when developing any game. This project profited enormously from the contributions of wonderful creators who joined it, like character designer toi8, Mirage designer Hideo Minaba, and music composer Yoshimasa Fujihara. It was my first time working with each of them, but we came together with enthusiasm and dedicated to develop TMS #FE. Foremost among these collaborations, working with Nintendo and Avex was a rare treat for me. We may not have any ongoing involvement with the Fire Emblem series, but my first encounter with Nintendo was on “Itsudemo Purikura Kiradeko Premium,” and the principal development staff who experienced the highs and lows of that project went on to create the SRPG Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. I think it may have been that project which convinced them to see what Atlus could bring to Fire Emblem. (There was a time at first when we thought TMS #FE might also be an SRPG.)
I also want to talk about the setting of #FE, the dazzling world of show business. Most of our staff only knew about the entertainment world by the final products they’d consume. Since we didn’t want to present some pale imitation of how this world really works, we met with Mr. Aburai, who has produced many artists with Avex. Mr. Aburai taught us a lot about the entertainment world and helped us greatly with a critical element of this project: the songs. He treated each character in the story as an individual artist and took it upon himself to produce their work as if they were his own clients. He created several variations of each song, leading it through an authentic process of working with lyricists, composers, directors, engineers, choreographers, dancers, and all of the other necessary personnel at the forefront of production. I think the quality of these songs really comes through as you listen to the special edition CD and play the game.
TMS #FE is the result of all these valuable encounters harmonizing to create the final product. I don’t think we could have made this game by ourselves without the knowledge and techniques everyone involved contributed, so I would be very pleased if you enjoy their efforts. In closing, I hope that playing this game provides you all with joyous and serendipitous encounters that making it provided for us. Farewell.