You could say that developer Game Freak has kind when it comes to turn-primarily based battlers – the makers of the Pokémon games have stewarded the biggest RPG franchise on the planet for more than two decades. Good operate if you can get it, despite the fact that a never ever-ending cycle of Pocket Monster improvement can take its toll on a group. Game Freak have devised a scheme whereby employees can filter out and stretch their legs on other projects prior to returning to the studio’s most popular franchise refreshed and rejuvenated.
The most current fruits of ‘Gear Project’, initially revealed to the planet as ‘Town’, launches subsequent week on Switch. In comparison to the juggernaut PR make up to the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield, Game Freak has kept a quite tight lid on Tiny Town Hero, and we have been fortunate adequate to have its director Masao Taya answer our queries about the game and talk about how he’s attempting to build an RPG that busy gamers could possibly really have a hope of finishing…
Nintendo Life: Firstly, please introduce oneself and clarify your function at Game Freak.
Masao Taya: I applied to be a programmer right here at Game Freak 20 years ago with the hope of 1 day becoming in a position to make a game I came up with on my personal. Considering the fact that then, I’ve been operating mainly on the battle program in Pokémon. I’ve programmed all of the systems soon after Black and White. And the dream I had when I entered the corporation came correct when I got to direct Pocket Card Jockey. Tiny Town Hero, also, was born out of the need to make the kind of RPG my good friends and I have usually wanted to play.
Could you inform us a small about the story of Tiny Town Hero? Why is Axe so desperate to leave his idyllic village?
He’s not attempting to leave his village. He is just curious to know what the planet outdoors his village is like. And that curiosity is only strengthened by the reality that he’s “not permitted to leave.” You will uncover out far more as you play but there is 1 far more cause that Axe himself is not conscious of. It has to do with his father.
Game Freak has released several non-Pokémon games in recent years – Gear Project games including HarmoKnight, Giga Wrecker Alt. and the brilliant Pocket Card Jockey on 3DS (a personal favourite) – although most players will associate Game Freak with that other famous turn-based series. What was the idea behind developing another turn-based RPG?
First, I’d like to thank everyone for enjoying Pocket Card Jockey. Thank you! I’ve been playing turn-based RPGs since I was a kid, around the time they hit their boom with games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. I believe Pokémon came about in large part because of the steps those first big games made.
But despite my love for this genre, I haven’t really been playing turn-based RPGs other than Pokémon as of late. Of course, becoming an adult has reduced the amount of time I can devote to games, but I believe that’s not all. RPGs are really time-consuming, and with how big the maps are, you can easily get lost and stuck in areas where you only get to battle weak opponents. That was a large part of the reason that I stopped playing as much.
So with Little Town Hero, we’ve been careful not to prepare maps that are infinitely huge, or maps filled with opponents that can defeated just by spamming the attack button. Instead, we’ve aimed for an interesting battle system that really makes you consider how to go about defeating your enemy, each and every time.
In Little Town Hero you battle using ‘Ideas’ – could you tell us a little more about the battle system? How is it different from other turn-based systems?
The battle system uses something like Digital CCGs (Digital Collectible Card Games) as a base. In those games, your units face off, and you need to select characters carefully to put yourself in an advantageous position to win. It’s the same in Little Town Hero— if you don’t get yourself into advantageous position, you won’t be able to chip away at your opponent’s HP.
If you compare other turn-based systems to CCGs, the actions are simple and the number of enemies you face off against at once is limited. (Pokémon is a little different because I painstakingly worked the system so you can face off against a huge number of enemies and go through great hardships… The fun kind of hardship though!)
So unlike other turn-based RPGs you can’t beat the higher-level enemies by just using your strongest move over and over, or simply choosing the best units for the job. You must think about the moves you make.
The Gear Project games seem to allow Game Freak developers to flex their creative muscles. Is Little Town Hero an opportunity to do things you’re ‘not allowed’ to do in the Pokémon games? Is it a testbed for certain ideas you’d like to develop (and perhaps transfer) in the future?
Well, I am just a programmer for Pokémon, so I don’t have any influence on the story or the characters. It’s due to my experience playing other RPGs other than Pokémon when I was younger (Like Dragon Quest etc.) that I wanted to make a game with a story I came up with, so I’m happy that my dream came true with Little Town Hero.
I don’t really think of it as a testbed for ideas, but I do have thoughts like “It could be fun to make a sequel to this part of the story.” Or “If I do this, it could be more interesting…” That’s true of Pocket Card Jockey as well.
You describe the game as having ‘Compact story progression designed with the busy gamer in mind’, which sounds fantastic to us considering all the Switch games being released! There might be fans coming from the Pokémon series expecting something similarly epic in length, though. Could you elaborate on what players should expect and some of the design decisions you came to in this regard? How long will the average player take to complete the game?
This game is not an adventure game with huge maps. The only area the main character will be able to walk around in is a single, small village. Think of it as the amount of space a middle schooler could ride about on their bike in, I guess? (There are no bikes in this game.)
The monsters are big, scary, and you can’t capture them in balls by weakening them. Of course, that means you can’t nickname them and go on adventures with them either. The main character is battling these monsters to protect his village. Protecting an entire village is a grand task. However, there is always a way to win.
As for how long the game will take, for people who catch on to the battle system quickly, about 10-12 hours. If it takes a little longer to understand the system, you’re looking closer to 15-20 hours.
The announcement that Little Town Hero would feature music from Undertale creator Toby Fox went down very well with fans. How did this collaboration come about?
It all started thanks to Ichinose, who is a composer and game creator at Game Freak. He’s good friends with Toby on Twitter. I myself am a massive fan of UNDERTALE and when I asked Ichinose to ask him to build the music for Tiny Town Hero, he agreed.
Soon after that we sent him the visuals and data on Tiny Town Hero and met with him when he was in Japan, taking him out to dinner with the other employees. We parted techniques late that evening, but by the time I had arrived at operate the subsequent morning, Toby had currently sent me the crucial phrases of what would develop into the major theme for Tiny Town Hero. And it was so fantastic. It match the game completely. I was so shocked, I shared it with our employees instantly. Every person smiled brightly.
As we’ve observed with Pokémon Sword and Shield, the Pokémon series comes beneath intense scrutiny from fans, with just about every frame of just about every trailer analysed and just about every alteration becoming the supply of intense on line debate. Conversely, comparatively handful of information about Tiny Town Hero have been revealed prior to release. From a improvement viewpoint, is operating on a fresh IP a lot distinct from operating on a Pokémon entry? What are the pros and cons?
As you mentioned, Pokémon attracts a lot of interest and there are several employees members hunting soon after the PR, so there are items that fans can delight in prior to and soon after the release. As game developers, we never have to be concerned about the public relations.
Even so we have much less employees concentrating on the PR for new games such as Tiny Town so us developers have to also consider about what requires performing. This is a thing I truly delight in but occasionally I really feel I want 48 hours in a day, or possibly a twin me to aid out.
Ultimately, with Tiny Town Hero arriving so quickly, is there any function or aspect of the game you’d especially like to highlight to players awaiting its release?
I’m positive I sound a bit like a broken record now, but this game was developed from our need to build an RPG that challenges the player and can be completed in a quick quantity of time. The battle program is a thing worth understanding, so for men and women who delight in hugely strategic games like Digital CCGs, please attempt choosing it up. Even if you are not a fan of games like that, you will be in a position to win after you figure out the program, so please give it a attempt!
Several thanks to Mr Taya and Tony at Rainy Frog for his aid with this interview. We never know about you, but a bite-sized RPG sounds like just the ticket at this busy time of year with so several games either out now or waiting in the wings. Do you like the sound of what Tiny Town Hero’s placing down? Itching for a Pocket Card Jockey sequel? Really feel free of charge to kind your thoughts into a snappy comment and share it under.