Project Phoenix is a Japanese RPG combined with a squad-based Real Time Strategy game created by a team of talented Eastern and Western developers and artists who have worked on many blockbuster videogame titles including several Final Fantasies, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Valkyria Chronicles, L.A. Noire, Diablo III, Halo 4, Crysis 3, and much more. As the Director & Producer, Hiroaki Yura will use his extensive experience with not just blockbuster video games but also with top notch anime to drive this project forward, making sure that the team’s effort fits with the game’s vision. Being Kickstarter’s FIRST Japan-based video game project, we thought it would interesting to bring to you an exclusive sit down and discuss the project. Currently, the game’s planned release date is set for June 2015 Mainly for Windows, Mac and Linux via Steam and our website, PLAYSTATION 4 and VITA. iOS and Android will have a different version to the PC counterparts due to limitations.
As funds grow for the project, more people are being recruited to the team. Is there a handful of reserve creatives already handpicked whose experience and expertise match the project’s scope and scale? Or do you only think about expansion once funds allow?
Hiroaki: The key devs were already recruited from the very beginning. The staff may seem to be growing but they are people we chose to not announce from right at the beginning. We are careful about how we grow our project, we do not want to over-extend ourselves.
Even though the game has exceeded its goal in term of funding, are you feeling any additional pressure due to this game being the first of it’s kind? The first JRPG successfully funded through Kickstarter? It could pave the way for a lot of future game developers! Any thoughts on that?
Hiroaki: I’m not sure if we’re the first JRPG to be funded on KS, but we sure are the first Japanese game to be funded! Yes we feel a lot of pressure from the expectations from our fans but we are confident that we can deliver. The most worrying factor is time, but we have kept that open.
What was the process like to recruit Nobuo Uematsu to the project since he never worked on a indie developed game. Did it take a bit of convincing or did the project peak his interest right away?
Hiroaki: It was simply a phone call away. He didn’t really need much convincing!
Why has there been a sudden shift in gaming? It seems the Call of Duties and the Gears of War type games are oversaturating the market while JRPGS are coming out in limited timeframes. Do you feel JRPGS need to make a comeback and are important to gaming at it’s core? Is that what Project Phoenix is setting out to do?
Hiroaki: I think just like fast food, people want quick and fun games. Also FPS has been a very popular genre since it’s beginning. JRPGs take a long time to play, and enjoy. I believe it’s the same feeling as it’s easier to flip a magazine to read rather than a 500 page book. Project Phoenix isn’t trying to change people’s trends, we’re just trying to make a good JRPG that will become successful enough to be a series.
Could you tell us about the flexibility of customizable heroes who can be recruited as you progress through the game? Will there be a lot of options for players to pick and choose?
Hiroaki: Well player can pick the class, sex and limited aesthetics. There will be a moderate number of options you can choose from.
Having an extensive background in anime, do you have any favorites? and have any directly influences the making of Project Phoenix?
Hiroaki: My favorite anime is Akira. I guess somewhere deep down, there may be some influences in making of Project Phoenix but I don’t think there is an open connection between the two. I think anime and video game are two different things and a JRPG is a wrong place to connect the two, despite many other companies attempting to do so.
Not many games put a character like Rafel at the forefront. What brought upon the decision to have a female protagonist?
Hiroaki: Well, the main character is Marcus, but Rafel was a natural choice… if you can see the whole story like we do! Sorry, we can’t go into details yet.
What can fans expect the gameplay to be like?
Hiroaki: The gameplay will be easy and intuitive to control. It will be fast and fun, however it won’t get into micromanagement details. We’ve designed it so a small child can have fun playing this game, but at the same time, adults can increase the difficulty to really have a challenge and fun in playing this game.
What hurdles do you have to overcome to get Project Phoenix onto Playstation 4?
Hiroaki: Well porting is no easy task so that’s the biggest hurdle we have!
Lastly, are there any other bits of details about the game that you could tell us about that people aren’t aware of yet?
Hiroaki: As a Kickstarter, we’ve definitely tried telling most of our plans, but expect a nosy Felinian (humanoid cat race) to play “where’s wally” during your adventure.
With the game already funded, stay tuned to the official website below for all the latest news and developments: