Wild Arms and Shadow Hearts developers jumpstart their spiritual successors on Kickstarter
1st Turn: For established developers each with a basic concept of what you had planned based on the slew of information on the Kickstarter page, I am surprised no gaming company was willing to take you on as developer for either game. What exactly were they looking for when you say they needed “proof of concept”?
Armed Fantasia: The era where JRPGs had the most influence has long passed. We think that even now, JRPGs retain what makes them interesting as a game genre.
I think perhaps what they wanted to see if JRPGs like ours were still necessary in today’s market. But more than that, they wanted to see if I had the passion necessary to make a JRPG, even though I hadn’t done so in over ten years.
At the very least, I think that I’ve proven I haven’t lost my passion towards game development.
Penny Blood: About 20 years have passed since we created our last original title, so I think publishers are really nervous about how many fans we actually have left, and whether or not we’re capable of creating new ones. Game consoles has also evolved, so the development costs and time needed to develop games have also increased. That’s just my opinion.
2nd Turn: With the concept of a combo Kickstarter being used, how much interaction is there between each development team? I know each team is doing their own game but is the Kickstarter the only thing connecting the two?
Armed Fantasia: I feel like the two teams have a very good relationship. I very much respect Machida-san and his works.
We even talk about the contents of the games we’re developing now every now and again. It’s very invigorating, and we learn a lot from each other as creators.
I feel like our experiences with the Double Kickstarter as well as the awareness of each other will prove as a positive influence towards both Penny Blood and Armed Fantasia.
Penny Blood: The Kickstarter isn’t the only thing connecting us. It all started from a conversation between Kaneko-san and I, but the members of both teams are good friends with each other. With Armed Fantasia, Kaneko-san is truly attempting to create another old-school, classic JRPG. It’s a game everyone can enjoy, and the visuals look so bright and positive. My Penny Blood is a game that walks in the back alleys of JRPG-dom. (LOL) It’s a bit more aimed toward a niche, and it’s gloomy. But I believe this sun-and-moon relationship ended up doing great things for the Double Kickstarter campaign.
3rd Turn: How long have these titles been in the works? Has either development team hit any snags along the way? Do you have a release date?
Armed Fantasia: I began having wild ideas about a plan like this a long, long time ago. But getting a company together and actually working on it? That started about a year ago.
Right now we’re still in the planning stages, so there really haven’t been any hardships yet. I feel like that’ll start when development starts.
I’d like to decide on the release date after the campaign ends and we see how much work we have to do. But I still have hope that we’ll be able to release it in 2025.
Penny Blood: The project properly began about one year ago. There have been a LOT of snags! We’re aiming to release the game in Spring 2025.
4th Turn: Forgive me as I like to ask this question for each game I interview about. Will there be element of romance in either game? I don’t mean as a focus, just in general. It’s okay if you don’t want to divulge.
I still haven’t finished the script, so I can’t give you a clear answer on this one.
However, I do believe that on their tough journey, our main characters will have to deal with many difficult types of emotions.
There might be time for that to turn into romance. I mean, most of our characters are still quite young.
Armed Fantasia’s story is about a gigantic secret that has been hidden from the world. However, it’s also a story about young people dealing with everyday hope and hardships. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing it unfold.
Penny Blood: There will be. But Penny Blood won’t depict two young people getting nervous about their first love. It’ll depict a romance experienced by adults who’ve already experienced multiple broken hearts and despair when it comes to love. I’m not even sure if I can call it proper romance…but that’s the relationship I plan to depict.
5th Turn: Could you give us any hints for the “complex addition” listed for the “stretch” goal you have listed at $1.5 million? The word “complex” kind of implies that is a big add-on. Am I mistaken?
Both: That stretch goal has since been revealed – it’s for New Game Plus. If we reach it, a proper New Game Plus with all sorts of bells and whistles will be added to each game, so yes, it’s quite a complex addition.
6th Turn: Not only did you clear your initial goal of $750,000, but you also cleared the next stretch goal of one million in just two days. Are you surprised and/or elated at all by this?
I was really surprised. Honestly, I didn’t think it would reach that high in such little time. For that, we have to thank our backers from around the world. Thank you all so very much.
However, at the same time, all we’ve reached is the minimum goal, and one of the first stretch goals. That means development can begin, but it’ll have a very limited amount of game systems and game volume. This means I won’t be able to deliver to you all the Armed Fantasia that I’ve been dreaming of.
I know it is a shameless request, but won’t you please help us get a bit closer to our ideal game? I very much believe that we can create something amazing here. So I’m asking again, please consider supporting our campaign!
Penny Blood: I was really surprised. I expected that we would reach our minimum goal eventually, but I never thought it would happen so quickly. I don’t have the words to properly thank everyone who’s given us their support.
7th Turn: How many languages are planned besides Japanese and English? Will the game be fully-voiced? If so, what languages?
Both: Initially, we plan to localize the games in EFIGSJ [English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese], but depending on the success of the campaign, we may look into other languages. Full voice will also depend on the overall success of the campaign.
8th Turn: I know each team is probably very busy but what games are they playing if any? What games are you looking forward to?
Games are a necessity on not only my days off, but even during work hours. I’m a game fan, just like I always have been.
Even before the campaign started, I’ve been very busy, so I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the latest titles. I still have a sealed copy of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 sitting knocked over on the corner of the desk I work from. I kinda feel sad for it.
I’d love to get to play it soon, though!
Penny Blood: Animal Crossing. I still haven’t played much of Happy Home Paradise, though, so I intend to do a deep dive into it when I get some time.
9th Turn: This question may be getting ahead of things, but I would like to ask anyway. Are the games essentially standalone, respectively? In other words, are any sequels planned should they do well or do you feel you will finish each story in one’s respective game?
I’d like this story to be complete within this one game. I’m not thinking about any sequels at the moment.
I’m putting my all into Armed Fantasia. Forget sequels, I’m working so hard thinking it might be the last game I ever develop.
Also, no characters from the Wild ARMs series will be making an appearance in this game. And one of the reasons for that is because we’ve dedicated ourselves to making a story that even new players can enjoy.
Penny Blood: I hope it’ll become popular enough that we can turn it into a series, but currently I’m planning for it to have a proper ending so that it won’t necessarily need a sequel. I am planning to write a short story that takes place after the game, though, so if we’re lucky, a sequel may be born eventually.
10th Turn: Knowing that these games are essentially spiritual successors to Wild Arms and Shadow Hearts respectively, do any original development members like the composers feel any sentimentality while working on the games?
Since this is a spiritual successor, there isn’t really anything specific from the past that we’re keeping in mind. Armed Fantasia is really about what I currently want to make, the story I want to tell.
If there’s anything to be sentimental about, it would be the fact that my style is prominent in the work.
I have old friends in our development staff, for sure. But I also have made lots of new friends as well.
And with the power of the old and the new combined, we’re going to do our best to bring the best of the 90s JRPG feel into the modern era. That’s our ideal for Armed Fantasia!
Penny Blood: I think sentimentality is part of it. But we’re all trying something new with this game, so we believe that Penny Blood will be able to stand on its own as something completely different from the previous series.
Thank you again for agreeing to this. Say hello to all the development staff for me. I and fans alike wish you all the best.
Note to readers:
Besides the “Bounty” campaign on their respective Kickstarter page which I admit is innovative and kinds of adds game elements via marketing. You can follow both games and their Kickstarter here: