Cubed3's Adam Riley: What made the team choose such a relatively unusual setting for an adventure game? And why make it as a Wii game instead of PS3 or Xbox 360?
Kentarou Kawashima, Producer: The concept for the game stems back to before the Wii console launched, back in 2003. Once the Wii became a reality, it became the obvious choice due to being able to use the Wii Remote to control the in-game flashlight.
AR: What has feedback been like so far, from the hands-on at events such as the Tokyo Games Show?
KK: The representation of the ruins whilst on-stage was popular. After hearing feedback about the action and fighting in the game, we modified the gameplay to please our supporters.
AR: On the game's blog it has been announced that Riei Saito is the composer. In previous games by tri-Crescendo Motoi Sakuraba was employed, whilst games by the Seven/Venus & Braves team used specific Namco composers. What was the reason behind giving a former sound effect designer from tri-Crescendo the chance this time?
KK: Originally the plan was merely for her to create the main theme for the game. However, because it proved to be so impressive, the request was made for him to create the soundtrack for the full game.
AR: What was the goal for the aural landscape? Did the artwork of environments reflect on the sound design and music style employed, or was it the other way around?
KK: The music was built around the visuals to give the best atmosphere.
AR: A recent article in Japan mentioned how a lot of work has gone into the flow of sound in the game. Can you talk about this flow and the co-existence between background music and environmental sounds?
KK: To best bring out the atmosphere in the ruins, we were extremely careful with placement of environmental sounds, their volume and in making them more realistic. When playing the game, if you listen carefully you will find you can hear a lot of subtle sound effects we have added in.
AR: Many people like the solitude shown in the videos and screenshots released so far and are worried that battles would take too much time during the game. How have you balanced both the exploration and battling? And what does the combat add to the adventure?
KK: The main part of this game is the searching aspect, whilst battling is merely a method of eliminating any obstructions you may be faced with during the journey. However, we have carefully designed the battles so you can enjoy the battles just as much as exploration.
AR: Fragile seems completely unlike Seven or Venus & Braves. Who decided upon the direction for Fragile and why? And what lessons were learned from previous games that benefited the project?
KK: I decided upon the idea of Fragile completely on my own! *laughs*
AR: Considering distribution and advertising is obviously not cheap, are there plans to help off-set the costs by selling official merchandise or licensing the characters for an anime TV show?
KK: This strategy will indeed be employed, as we have plans for a movie/show and a guide book (walkthrough) is also planned. In addition to this, the game's soundtrack has been released.
AR: Is it realistically possible that we will see either a Fragile sequel or prequel in the future? Or even a Nintendo DS edition of this version - would that be technically possible if some changes were made?
KK: All of these options are currently under consideration.
AR: It has been said the game should last approximately 30 hours and that the time should be 'very precious to the gamer'. Can this comment please be explained - how will you make the events in the game be very meaningful for players?
KK: I think that the player will be absorbed into the game's virtual 'reality'. In this time, we hope players will experience many moving experiences, and if even one of these scenes were moving, then surely this can be classed as a meaningful experience?
AR: Considering Fragile has been in development for so long, was this originally the Sword of Legendia project that was announced for Wii before the console launched, or is that a completely different game (and is Sword of Legendia still 'alive')?
KK: Sword of Legendia is something completely different, and unfortunately we cannot disclose any further information on the on-going Sword of Legendia project at this time.
AR: Apparently Munehito Yasui (the main programmer) did not like the battle element initially and wanted to make a game that only consisted of the exploration of ruins. Is this true, and can you please explain?
KK: At early stages of development we had not decided on the exact gameplay mechanics of the battles, but we always intended to add them in eventually. I believe that is where this misconception comes from.
AR: How will the battle aspect of the gameplay work?
KK: The power of your attacks will depend on the timing of your button presses, items, attack power and speed of motion. There are many types of weapons, ranging from sticks to spears to samurai swords, and even projectile weapons such as bow guns are available.
AR: How did tri-Crescendo's previous work with Monolith Soft on the two Baten Kaitos games for GameCube help with this project?
KK: Our previous work with Monolith Soft did not factor into the development of Fragile at all.
AR: Will the Venus & Braves team join forces with tri-Crescendo again on other projects in the future?
KK: I think we will work together again to develop another game. However, at this stage in time we have no projects planned with them.
AR: Is the team keen to see its highly acclaimed Venus & Braves game finally be released in the West - possibly as an enhanced port on Wii?
KK: There are no plans for this to happen right now. However, if we were to bring back games like Venus & Braves and Seven, we would make them into games that fully take advantage of the features of the system they are running on.
AR: Recently Monolith Soft told Cubed3 that it was ready to work on a new Baten Kaitos game. Are Bandai Namco and tri-Crescendo willing to collaborate with Monolith Soft on this game?
KK: I am currently unable to respond to this question.