By Quentin H. / April 27th, 2018
A remastered version of the 2009 video game that led to a hit anime series, STEINS;GATE ELITE follows the story of a bunch of young students who discover that you can change the past via a microwave and e-mail. As the story progresses, things start to quickly get out of control as they get involved with SERN and a man who claims to be from a terrible, terrible future.
During GDC 2018, I was able to spend some time with Yoko Marron, the Executive Director of Content and Product with Spike Chunsoft and talk with her about the game. I was also given the opportunity to see how the animated cutscenes in STEINS;GATE ELITE work…and it is honestly something else to see scenes from the anime series that you can direct and change with choices.
This interview has been edited for clarity and content.
Operation Rainfall: My name is Quentin H., with Operation Rainfall, and you are?
Yoko Marron [Spike Chunsoft]: My name is Yoko Marron, and I am the Executive Director of Content and Product [with Spike Chunsoft].
OR: Just in general – what is STEINS;GATE ELITE?
YM: STEINS;GATE ELITE is a remastered version of the original game STEINS;GATE. But it is remastered with fully animated scenes, which uses animation from the twenty-four episode anime series, as well as newly created scenes –fully animated scenes- that were not in the anime series.
OR: So – just to be clear- some of the original character paths that were not in the original [STEINS;GATE] anime that were exclusive to the original game have now been animated fully for this release?
OR: This is an updated entry of the 2009 game. Why revisit this particular title and release it, instead of making a new game in the [STEINS;GATE] franchise?
YM: So being the STEINS;GATE series and the anime itself has been such a well-received title in the West, and it has been ten years since the original release, we wanted to celebrate this decade of history and remaster and have an ELITE version of the title.
OR: As you previously alluded to- you’re using the anime as the basis for the animation in this game. What difficulties are there in localizing a visual novel in this way instead of just regular static images?
YM: So, I think the most difficulty for the developers is that the timing of the dialogue and the flow of the scenes is completely different for video games scenes versus anime video scenes. I believe that was one of the challenges that they had.
“The intent of that DLC is that you play the main game and [then] you play [Stens;Gate] Pheonogram, you learn about the characters, get a different perspective, and [then] go back to the main game and play it again.”
OR: Will there be both an English language and a Japanese language voice option in [STEINS;GATE ELITE]?
YM: If we do have both options, then yes, we will have both options for the users to switch between.
OR: In the original version of this game, in order to get the true ending, there are a lot of individual triggers that were determined by how you respond to e-mails, if you make phone calls when you get a chance, and even if you read or don’t read incoming messages. Everything affects the ending. Has this been retained in its entirety for the release [of STEINS;GATE ELITE]?
YM: Yes. It’s exactly the same.
OR: You’re not going to the simpler route of [for example] STEINS;GATE 0?
YM: The gameplay and the content are exactly the same.
OR: What consoles is [STEINS;GATE ELITE] coming out for?
YM: PlayStation 4, Switch, and Steam.
OR: Will it be the same version on all platforms?
YM: The main game, yes. The DLCs will be different. There’ll be STEINS;GATE Phenogram DLC for Steam and PS4 version, and there will be STEINS;GATE 8-BIT [is the] DLC for Switch.
OR: What are those two [about]?
YM: [STEINS;GATE] Phenogram was another game that was released in Japan on [PlayStation] Vita and PlayStation 3 and has never been localized. It features ten different stories on each of the characters in STEINS;GATE and it goes in depth with each character to learn about their background and perspectives and different dimensions. The intent of that DLC is that you play the main game and [then] you play [STEINS;GATE] Phenogram, you learn about the characters, get a different perspective, and [then] go back to the main game and play it again. And it might make [you] view it differently. You may end up liking other characters, you may not like the characters that you originally really liked. So there’s a good replay value there.
For [STEINS;GATE] 8-BIT for Switch – it was made with the idea of ‘What if Nitroplus made STEINS;GATE back in 1998?’ So all the graphics and character art are made in NES 8-BIT graphics.
OR: Other than including animated clips for everything, is this a faithful port – is anything being removed from the original 2009 game?
YM: It is a faithful port.
OR: Will there be trophy support in the PlayStation 4 version?
YM: I am pretty sure that it’s a requirement for the PlayStation 4, so yes.
OR: To people who may be fans of the anime or who played the 2009 game, why should they pick up [STEINS;GATE ELITE], which goes over a lot of those same events?
YM: You can play with fully animated scenes – if you have only seen the anime, then you can access those games that were not in the anime and were newly created for STEINS;GATE ELITE. As well as for the players who’ve already played the original STEINS;GATE, they can have access to [STEINS;GATE] PHENOGRAM [which] has never been localized either, so you can always get your hands on that and learn more about the character and the storylines and background. And the same thing goes for the Switch verison – you can get new content, and the 8-BIT actually is a story based on what happens after the true ending. So it’s a whole new, different path that you can learn about.
OR: Do you have to purchase the main game to have access to the DLC?
OR: Thank you.
What is your favorite episode of STEINS;GATE? Did you play the 2009 original release?
Let us know in the comments below!
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