By Quentin H. / July 17th, 2017
During E3 2017, I was able to meet up with Nicalis and try out a variety of different titles that are coming out this year and beyond. Jessica and Monica, both with Nicalis, were also kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about Blade Strangers, Ittle Dew 2+, Tiny Barbarians DX, and The End is Nigh. We finally concluded the interview by discussing why Nicalis was so supportive of the Nintendo Switch even before it was known that it would be a hit, an amiibo for The Binding of Issac, and I inquire about the status of Yatagarasu: Legend of Raven.
(This interview has been edited for content, length, and clarity).
Operation Rainfall: My name is Quentin H. with Operation Rainfall, and you two are?
Nicalis (Jessica): Jessica Nicolas, Production Assistant.
Nicalis (Monica): Monica, Producer.
OR: A few days ago, [Nicalis] showed Blade Strangers, which is a game coming out for the Nintendo Switch, the PlayStation 4, and PC. In the press release, there was a mention of an Xbox One [version] as well that was not mentioned in the Twitch livestream when the game was demoed. Is this still anticipated to be released for the Xbox One?
Nicalis (Monica): It’s what we’re hoping for. At the moment we want to make sure it’s happening. So the Nintendo Switch is what we would like to focus on.
“I feel that a person who’s used to fighting games will be able to jump into [Blade Strangers] fairly easily.”
OR: [Blade Strangers] is being made as a partnership with Studio Saisenzen. How did y’all get involved with them?
Nicalis (Monica): So the president of Nicalis, Tyrone Rodriquez – he told me “I want to meet these people when I go to Japan”. So I actually went to their website and sent an e-mail saying ‘Hi, do you guys happen to be available?’. They were very welcoming and replied ‘Actually yes, we want to meet.’ So we made an appointment, we visited their offices in Saitama[-ken], and they were like ‘Actually, we have a game for you [that] we want to show it to you, it’s a fighting game.’ And Studio Saizensen didn’t know how hardcore of a fighting game lover Tyrone is. So Tyrone was immediately sucked into the actual whole gameplay, he said ‘I love this, let’s work together.’
And that is how Blade Strangers came to be!
OR: So far, the characters that have been shown are from Code of Princess – Solange, Ali, Master T, Liongate; from Umihara Kawase – Kawase, and from Cave Story, Curly Brace. We have seen six of the fighters so far. How many fighters should we expect at release?
Nicalis (Monica): At release, there is going to be ten characters. Maybe if everybody is really excited to see more – anything can happen.
OR: Any chance you’ll tell us any of those other missing core fighters?
Nicalis (Monica): We’ll have to see. We’ll slowly give some secrets here and there along the way to the date the game is released.
OR: Are there going to be color variants for these characters in the game?
Nicalis (Monica): Yes, there [are] going to be different color pallets-
Nicalis (Jessica): I think there [are] four for every character.
OR: Are these locked, or do you get them from the start of the game?
Nicalis (Monica): That is something we will have to see, because this game is still really fresh and under development. The final one might be different.
OR: There are a lot of fighting games out there – Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is coming, Injustice 2 was just released- how will Blade Strangers stand out against the crowd?
Nicalis (Monica): Well, a very typical fighting game – I feel that a person who’s used to fighting games will be able to jump into [Blade Strangers] fairly easily. Those types of games – they can memorize different combos and everything like that. But for Blade Strangers, the cool thing about it is that the controls are very simple. There’s actually no commands system, and once you get the controller [and] start pressing buttons, you [will] see results.
And I feel that that is something that both hardcore fighter game players and people who’ve never played, but have always wanted to play a fighting game – they can all join in and enjoy [Blade Strangers].
OR: This is a four action-button control scheme, and you’ve eliminated the traditional quarter-circle and half-circle input commands. What was the [reasoning] behind limiting the controller action buttons and eliminating the quarter-circle and half-circle input commands?
Nicalis (Monica): So back to what I was talking about making the command as simple as possible – it’s the fact that our developer studio, [Studio] Saizensen – they’re actually very influenced by game developers as well. They’ve created Blade Arcus in the past. When [Blade] Arcus came out, we were like ‘This game looks amazing, I want to play it – but the commands are kind of difficult. I want to jump into it, but it’s kind of hard to jump into something that’s already there.’ So Studio Saizensen took that feedback in, and they wanted to make it as simple as possible. And hence, the four button system.
OR: Will this limit the potential move pool for the characters?
Nicalis (Monica): Oh, it does not. It’s still well-planned out, it’s definitely a fighting game. There’s also ‘supers’ as well, those are input on two [shoulder] buttons. So people can experience the same level – or even more of the gameplay- with Blade Strangers.
OR: What framerate are you aiming for with [Blade Strangers]?
Nicalis (Monica): Sixty.
OR: Is that across all platforms?
Nicalis (Monica): That’s what we’re aiming for.
OR: With the Nintendo Switch, [the] Joy-Con are wireless. Is there any concerns about a lag delay in the input commands to the console itself?
Nicalis (Monica): Based on what we’re looking at – because this is still under development- there is not – it is very smooth, and it should be running properly. So we’ll have to keep you updated on that to make sure that is still possible.
OR: There’s different modes in this game. There is a Story Mode, Mission Mode, Train Mode. Can you tell us a little bit about each mode?
Nicalis (Monica): It’s a very typical fighting game. I feel like for the Story Mode in particular, each character does have their unique storyline. They will be voiced in Japanese. They’re actually- Studio Saizensen was actually at the voice recording studio during the weekend because they’re such hardcore workers. That will also be for the American audience as well. So there will be Japanese audio, but we will make sure to localize the English so they can see and enjoy the story with the English text.
OR: You mentioned that there will be Japanese voice acting. Can you tell us any of the voice actors?
Nicalis (Monica): That’s up to Studio Saizensen. So we’re looking forward to it- maybe there’s a Curly talking! Maybe!
OR: Will there be an English dub as well?
Nicalis (Monica): Not at the moment, it will be Japanese audio.
OR: Will the versions [of Blade Strangers] be the same in Japan and America?
Nicalis (Monica): That is still up in discussion.
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