This week's interview features Tadashi Takezaki, Sega's Sakura Taisen and Shining series manager. In this function the ardent Genesis fan has overseen the releases of Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon for GameBoy Advance, Shining Tears, Sakura Taisen Monogatari: Paris-hen, Sakura Taisen V Episode 0: Kouya no Samurai Musume, as well as the PlayStation 2 remake of Sakura Taisen 3: Paris ha moete iru ka. Today he will not only speak about the upcoming Shining Force Neo, but also about the future of the Shining series.
Mr. Takezaki, we have many questions for you, but first could you tell us about the impetus that made you enter the game industry?
A: At first, I really liked the MegaDrive (editor's note: Sega's 16-bit system known as Genesis in North America) so much that I ended up buying all the games which were released for the system in Japan. However, unlike in the US, the MegaDrive did not spread in Japan, and made few headlines. The impetus was the following: Because I thought, the MegaDrive was a great [piece of] hardware, I wanted to let the world know about its greatness, I joined Sega, decided to do public relations and changed my occupation.
Q: Sega has revived its world renowned Shining Force series, but why is it that Shining Force Neo is being developed as an action RPG, and not a strategy RPG like previous installments. Furthermore, is there a possibility, that Sega will announce a new Shining Force strategy RPG in the future?
A: Because nowadays the strategy RPG Shining Force (editor's note: Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, the GameBoy Advance remake of the original Shining Force) can be played well enough on the GameBoy Advance, when we create [a game] for PlayStation 2, we want to create a game content, which makes [full] use of the PlayStation 2's capabilities and as a result of the members of the development team doing some trial and error [tests], it turned out to be a 3D action game with a character formation and map-captured strategy style a la Shining Force Neo. Since we have created an exciting and at the same time refreshing action RPG, I really hope all of your readers will play the game as well.
Furthermore, if we talk about the future of the Shining series, since the series from the very beginning has featured various RPG genres, I believe, the possibility of a new simulation RPG being developed at some point exists. In this case, the previous game system will probably evolve.
Q: How many copies of Shining Force Neo do you expect to sell in Japan? Also, have you already decided on brining the game to North America and Europe?
A: I think, we would like Shining Force Neo to sell 200,000 copies in Japan. In the future, we are aiming for the Shining series to sell 500,000 copies [per installment] in Japan alone. I really would want Americans and Europeans to play the game as well.
Q: When looking at the game industry right now, one can observe a trend towards the continued spread of MMORPGs. Mr Takezaki, what are your thoughts on this issue? Also, how do you think, will the industry and in particular the RPG genre evolve from here on?
A: MMORPGs are interesting, but the time you spend on one game is very long. Because you spend a lot of time playing only one game, looking at it from the game suppliers perspective, it becomes obvious that it is a genre with an intense [level of] competiton. As far as the future of the game industry is concerned, contrary to the current trend of steadily selling movie-like, dramatic, large-scale titles, I believe, simple games which used to be the starting point of games, might be reconsidered. As far as the RPG genre is concerned, a story-related evolution rather than a system-related evolution will progress. Along with [this trend], the importance of characters will increase.
Q: Mr. Takezaki, what games are you playing yourself?
A: I'm blessed with too much work, so at the time when I test the games I'm in charge of at Sega, [I'm already playing] with all my might (laughs). If I had some time at my disposal, I would like to enjoy the many games I have bought, but not yet played. I would also like to try and re-play all the MegaDrive games.
RPGFan would like to thank Tadashi Takezaki for his cooperation and support in enabling us to present this exclusive interview to our readers.