RAIN CODE | Feature Image


During this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to talk with Kazutaka Kodaka (creator/writer of the Danganronpa series) about his upcoming title, Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE. 

Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is a lucid-noir detective adventure starring a detective-in-training named Yuma who is trying to solve mysteries in a city where it is always raining. Set to be released on June 20, 2023, for the Nintendo Switch, Master Dective Archives: RAIN CODE is coming out with both a standard edition and a “Mysteriful Limited Edition” that includes a plush, an art book, a steelbook, a soundtrack, and a physical game copy inside of a decorative box.

You can learn more about Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE at the game’s official website.

You can also follow Katzutaka Kodaka at his official Twitter account

This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

Operation Rainfall: Hello, my name is Quentin H. with Operation Rainfall, and you are?

Kazutaka Kodaka: [I] am Kazuktaka Kodaka, scenario writer of RAIN CODE.

OR: What is Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE? Can you tell us a little bit about the game?

KK: It is a game where the Master Detectives solve mysteries and they will solve these mysteries through the ‘Mystery Labyrinth’. They find paths through the dungeon by solving those mysteries.

OR: Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE has you [reuniting] with several of the people involved in the Danganronpa series: Jun Fukuda, Takekuni Kitayama, Rui Komatsuzaki, and many others. How is it working with these people, and others, again on a new IP?

KK: They know their hobbies, likes, and [dislikes] with each other- so they can share their ideas with me.

“[I’ve] been thinking that the gameplay is something isn’t like one of those elements that shows the scenario. Most of the games are- the gameplay, scenarios- are made for the gameplay. But [I] want to take the opposite- where the gameplay is for the scenario.”

OR: An interesting plot device that you return to time and time again with the works you create is ‘amnesia’. For a pair of examples: in your interactive film adventure Death Come True, Makoto Karaki wakes up with amnesia and in your light novel, Danganronpa Zero, Ryoko Otonashi has anterograde amnesia. Now, in Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE, you utilize that again with Yuma, who is “an amnesiac detective-in-training”.

What is it about amnesia that has repeatedly appealed to you across your career so far? Why did you choose to keep returning to it in each of your works, and was there a specific influence in media for you to do so?

KK: By making the protagonist having amnesia, the players could have a connection with the protagonist. Together, they could see the story together.

RAIN CODE | Shinigami
Yuma’s partner in Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is a Shinigami that only he can see. The Shinigami changes appearance based upon whether you’re in the Mystery Labyrinth or in the city where it perpetually rains: Kanai Ward. (Images courtesy of Spike Chunsoft).

RAIN CODE | Shinigami

OR: You said in a pair of November 28, 2021 Tweets that you’ve been working on Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE since Danganronpa V3, which would mean that you’ve been creating this title since 2016 [and] you also said that you would like to make it a culmination of the detective mystery games that you’ve been making for over ten years.

How has this game and it’s scenario evolved since you started working on it while you were still at Spike Chunsoft, and how are you making it a culmination of the genre you’ve been creating for over a decade now?

KK: For Dangonronpa, [we] wanted to have the scenario in 2D. By having it in 2D, it could be…cheaper, I guess? [We] just wanted to create a fun game with less ‘stuff’. When [we] were creating a new game in 2020, [we] thought: ‘[We] won’t be able to create a new game with the same method as Dangonronpa’. So [we] wanted to create a new genre of the mystery game, that will have a 3D world, so that it will be different from the passive 2D mystery games.

OR: In a 2020 video interview with Archipel Caravan, you were asked: “What do you pay attention to the most in game creation”. You said: “One more aspect is to make games whose existence is meaningful. I don’t want to make something that looks like another game, or seems taken from something else. I pay attention to why the game is being made.” How is Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE meaningful, and why is this particular game being made?

KK: [I’ve] been thinking that the gameplay is something isn’t like one of those elements that shows the scenario. Most of the games are- the gameplay, scenarios- are made for the gameplay. But [I] want to take the opposite- where the gameplay is for the scenario. For RAIN CODE, [I] wanted to create [a place where] you go through the dungeons and solve mysteries. [I] wanted to create [where] the players can have more understanding of the scenario when they do the mystery dungeon gameplay and solving those mysteries. [I] think, for RAIN CODE, players can feel as if they are riding on a Disneyland attraction while they are solving mysteries.

OR: You used to write a regular column series for Weekly Famitsu titled “Total Despair Kodaka”. In your first column for the week of August 21 to 28, 2014, you wrote about how you wanted to become a filmmaker and how you studied film in school. How has this educational background influenced how you write and create video games?

KK: [I] really don’t know if it has had much of an influence. [I] don’t feel that this experience has affected [my] scenario writing. For RAIN CODE, there are many cutscenes that are like film parts- and because [I] learned about filmmaking, I could say something about [that]. And even for music, [I] can say something about it. [I’ve] even worked at a game shop, so I have knowledge about game making so [I] could say things I want to say.

Mystery Labyrinth | RAIN CODE
As you explore the Mystery Labyrinth, you will play various minigames as you unravel the various murder mysteries. (Image courtesy of Spike Chunsoft).

OR: Donald M. Murray once wrote: “All my writing -and yours- is autobiographical.” What of yourself do you see in Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE, and how does this game show who you truly are as a person?

KK: [I] know that my works are fiction, I don’t really put much of my knowledge or [my] experience in games. Instead of having [my] own experience, I put in more elements from the things I like.

OR: What kind of things?

KK: The atmosphere is taken from Tim Burton- I put whatever I like into this game.

OR: You’ve been teasing everyone with how Tookyo Games has been working on an indie game since you launched the company, with most notably during an interview with Famitsu back in August 2021 where you suggested that you wanted to make a game that could not be released on a home console, but would be something instead could be distributed onto a CD-ROM and distributed to fans who come to an event.

Do you have any updates about what kind of indie game that you’re thinking about?

KK: There are making games, but we cannot release or announce it right now.

RAIN CODE | It is always raining in Kanai Ward.
Master Detective Archive: RAIN CODE takes place in Kanai Ward: a stylish, colorful city where it is always raining. (Images courtesy of Spike Chunsoft).

RAIN CODE | It is always raining in Kanai Ward.

OR: I had to ask! To those who are looking to pick up Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE, what do you have to say to them?

KK: [I] think that out of all [my] games, this is the best one. But it’s really hard to explain without spoilers. So players will definitely play it, they will find out how fun it is. Going back to the first question: it will be a mystery game, so many players who don’t play mystery games will enjoy RAIN CODE.

Are you excited for Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE’s upcoming June 2022 release? 

What do you think of Kanai Ward and Yuma?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.