Last week, Bandai Namco held Digimon Con, a brand new event dedicated to celebrating the franchise. During the Q&A section of the event, Kazumasa Habu, producer of the long-awaited Digimon Survive, revealed new information in regards to the title.
The most notable piece of information to come out of the Q&A was the reason behind the lengthy delay of Digimon Survive. Habu explained that the development of the title had been impacted greatly as a result of Bandai Namco choosing to switch developers of the project. Digimon Survive was originally in development at Witchcraft, however, the project is now being worked on by HYDE.
Throughout the Q&A, Kazumasa Habu answered many more questions regarding the the upcoming title, giving insight into both the story and gameplay content that players can expect. Below is a transcript of the Q&A session, from Gematsu:
What kind of story will be developed in Digimon Survive. Can you tell us about worldview and concept? Also, did you have any influences or references in creating Digimon Survive?
Habu: “This work has a worldview that a bit of an outside story for those who have been following the Digimon games. But with a bit of a core fan leaning. The previous game, Cyber Sleuth, depicted the incidents that occurred when Digimon appear in a human society with a unique world view. In the process of creating the world of Cyber Sleuth, what is Digimon? What is the Digital World? I felt that there was a discrepancy between the concept of digital as we perceive it, and the nature of Digimon as depicted in the story.
“As an answer to the question, I decided to depict Digimon as a lifeform from another world that can be recognized and contacted through the digital gadgets of the human world. As an image that takes this interpretation a little further, the director of the Digimon series Digimon Adventure, Kakuto, told me that Digimon are ethereal beings that have been with us since ancient times. But their perception has changed over time, and they are fragments of souls that have been transformed into digital monsters by being recognized through digital gadgets in modern society. This is the first time that monsters who used to have an ethereal existence are interacting with people in the modern world. For this reason, we refer to Digimon as ‘monsters,’ ‘beasts,’ ‘monstrous creatures,’ etcetera, in this work and in promotional messages.
“Also, since the target audience for this game is the adult fans who are game users, the story is a little darker. Since Digimon are described as half of one’s inner self, there are dark expressions that are not common in conventional Digimon works such as denying Digimon by refusing to face oneself, or hurting Digimon as a manifestation of self-harm. If you are a fan of the TV anime or other Digimon works, you may find some of the descriptions unpleasant, so please be aware of this in advance.”
Please tell more about the content of Digimon Survive.
Habu: “The game consists of text adventures and tactics battles, and the story is divided into chapters. As for the ratio of the game, the volume of text adventure and tactics battle is about 7:3, and the game is mainly text adventure.”
As for text adventure parts, can you give us more details about how that system works?
Habu: “In the text adventure parts, the game progresses through conversations with the characters and investigating objects that can be found in various places in the background. In each chapter, there are two situations that occur in the progression: free expedition and exploration. The number of times you can act in free expedition is limited. And time passes by selecting a destination from the overall map and moving to it. By executing conversation events that occur in the destination. On each map, you can talk with your friends, engage in free battles, and examine various locations in the area. By talking with your friends, you can increase your intimacy and receive items.
“Events to digivolve your Digimon may occur depending on your story progress and affinity with your friends. Additionally, by increasing your affinity, your friends might come to your aid in battle, which can be vital during Free Mode. In Free battles, you can level up and make friends with wild Digimon. You can obtain hidden items by examining various locations in the area. In Exploration, incidents occur according to the scenario and the story progresses. The story progresses by moving around the map, investigating areas, and talking with friends.
“When investigating areas, you can switch between the naked eye and the camera while exploring. By observing through your phone’s camera, you can see things that are invisible to the naked eye as noise, and make new discoveries. Sometimes you’ll be attacked by an enemy and a battle will occur, and you’ll have to fight off the attacking monsters as your adventure unfolds. The flow of the adventure part consists of adjusting your equipment in order to win battles, as well as training and preparing your Digimon for battle, while leveling them up in free battles.”
Can you give us some details on how the tactical battle system works?
Habu: “Battles progress in a traditional tactics battle style. At the start of a battle you can select up to 10 units to join the battle. Battles are turn-based with the order of action determined by the speed of the units. When it’s time for your unit to take action, use the commands to choose your action. You can use ‘Move’ to move your units according to the squares on the field. The distance traveled and the ability to climb the height difference are different for each monster. If an enemy is within your attack range, you can attack them. The range of the attack really depends on the technique. The amount of damage varies depending on directional elements such as side, back attacks, height differences, compatibility of monster species, and compatibility of attack attributes.
“Monsters can consume SP to unleash their techniques and digivolve their units. Digivolving to a previously unlocked evolution will greatly enhance the performance of the unit, but it will continuously consume SP while digivolving. SP is gradually recovered each turn when the digivolution is unlocked and the unit returns to the growth phase. You can also recover SP by using items, talking with some partners, and getting support from your friends. SP is an important energy that can be used to your advantage in battle. So SP management is very important.”
How many routes will there be in the story? And under what conditions to the branches occur?
Habu: “There are 12 chapters in the scenario. And from chapter 8 onwards, the story branches into three routes: Morality, Harmony, and Rage. When you reach any one of the three endings of Morality, Harmony, and Rage, the secret route will be unlocked.”
How long does it take to complete Digimon Survive?
Habu: “Assume about 40 hours per route. It may vary depending on the level of difficulty and the use of the fast-forward function of the text. It will take about 80 to 100 hours to complete all routes including challenging elements and end content.”
Please tell us the total number of Digimon that will appear in the game, as well as how many can be trained as friends. How did you decide which monsters appear in the game?
Habu: “The total number of trainable monsters is 113. The selection of Digimon was based on the priority of matching the worldview. The concept of this game is based on the encounter with lifeforms from other worlds, and it is set before monsters spread to the world as ‘Digimon.’ For this reason, I prioritized a selection of monsters with designs that give a sense of wildlife from the early LCD games ‘Digital Monster,’ to the monsters that have appeared since ‘Digimon Pendulum.’ Therefore, more players may feel that all Digimon are familiar, but we’d appreciate your understanding of course.”
Can I have a non-partner monster as my partner? How can I befriend them?
Habu: “By playing Free Battle, you can make wild monsters your partners. One of the battle commands is ‘Conversation,’ which allows you to have a conversation with a wild monster. You can use this command to have a conversation with wild monsters by answering their questions with choices. If you succeed, you can recruit the monster as a partner, or receive items from it.”
What conditions must be met in the game in order to digivolve a monster?
Habu: “The main character’s partner will digivolve as the story progresses. The destination of the digivolution depends on the karma point of the choices you’ve made up to then. You will not be able to unlock all of them in one playthrough. In addition, the digivolution events of fellow Digimon will be unlocked as the story progresses, and the level of intimacy with the main character increases. Clear these events to digivolve. In the meantime, you can digivolve wild monsters by using items obtained through exploration and elsewhere.”
After finishing the game, can I carry over data in my second playthrough?
Habu: “There will be a New Game+ function. The data that can be carried over includes Digimon levels, unlocked digivolutions, items and equipment obtained, and wild monsters you have acquired.”
Are there any challenging or hidden elements after completing the game?
Habu: “The content that occurs when you go into your second playthrough include dungeons with high-difficulty battles where enhanced enemies appear. In these dungeons, you can get a lot of reinforcement items, and for each level you reach, you can get powerful skill equipment that is not available in the main story.”
Will there features like a gallery mode where you can re-watch the story scenes?
Habu: “There is a backlog function in the game, but the animation scene is only in the opening movie, so there is no recollection of the scene later on.”
What kind of difficulty levels are there?
Habu: “The difficulty level can be selected in battle. There are four difficulty levels to choose from: Difficult, Normal, Easy, and Very Easy.”
Are the characters fully voiced?
Habu: “It will not be fully voiced. Only the main part of the scenario will be partly voiced.”
Are there any multiplayer or communication elements in Digimon Survive?
Habu: “There are no multiplayer or communication battles in this game. Only a single-player mode.”Digimon Con 2022 Q&A Session – Source: Gematsu
Bandai Namco Europe also posted Q&A transcripts from several parts of Digimon Con on their website.
Digimon Survive Release Date
Unfortunately, we didn’t receive a release date for Digimon Survive during the Q&A session. Producer Habu announced that fans will have to wait a little longer as the team is still adjusting internally. This seemingly point to the title still being someway off and if it is to launch this year, as intended, it will likely be around the holiday period. We at least know which platforms Digimon Survive will launch on: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. Digimon Survive will also be playable on both PS5 and Xbox Series X|S through backwards compatibility, however a native version of the game for these consoles has not been announced at this time.