Q71: While playing 999, I was constantly afraid the next room would lead to my death, or someone else’s death. In that regard, it felt very much like a horror game. In VLR, each room felt a little safer and more elaborate than in 999.
Along with how the characters reacted to their circumstances, this made me feel a little more comfortable and less paranoid. Overall I felt VLR had more of a “puzzle” feel to it.
What inspired the shift in tone between the two games, and which of those two moods do you enjoy writing more?
After the release of 999 we did marketing research in Japan for those who didn’t buy the game. Of the surveys that were taken there were people who stated that they refrained from purchasing because they felt like it would be too scary or gory.
As a result, the higher ups had given me orders to make the next installment more light. So with that I made the penalty of the Nonary Game “death with poison injection” as opposed to being blown up. And overall I tried to make the vibe less gloomy.
The Japanese version’s title is also made to be a bit of a pun. I also tried to make the conversation during the escape parts more light and witty.
And just between you and me…for the Japanese title, I’m honestly not happy with the higher up’s instruction on making it “light”. But if I don’t comply, they won’t allow me to make the game, so what can I do, right? This is the downside for a creator.
I heard in the movie industry there are cases where the production company will give orders and would even change an ending of a movie. (For example, “I Am Legend”). Please go ahead and think something of that sort happened with VLR.
So with that said, I’m sure you guys can conclude which mood I’d enjoy writing for more.