Interview: Gundam Evolution Game Producer Kazuya Maruyama and Battle Director Ryota Hogaki – Anime News Network | Region & Cash

At Anime Expo 2022, we were invited to meet the creators of the upcoming game gundam evolution, which will be released this year for free on PC and various consoles. There were many video games related to that Mobile Suit Gundam Franchise, from emulations of film and television works such as Char’s counterattack and gundam vs. Zeta Gundamto hack-n-slash action fests like Dynasty warriors gundam. The new gundam evolution Game will go in a new direction that hadn’t been tried before, as Producer Kazuya Maruyama and Battle Director Ryota Hogaki pointed out Bandai Namco Online worked out.

hello to both of you Could you please introduce yourself to the readers?

Kazuya Maruyama: I am general manager at Bandai Namco Onlineresponsible for the gundam evolution Game.

Ryota Hogaki: I’m the Battle Director for gundam evolution. I balance the characters and apps for the game.

How did you get into game programming?

Maruyama: None of us are practically working on the game. I was the assistant producer on various titles before getting this one as head producer which determines if something is needed, if we need to hire more techs and do more promo work.

Hogaki: I was new to Bandai Namco Online and came to work on various projects before gundam evolution. As Battle Director, I take care of everything in the game that has to do with the functioning of the characters. The cards are balanced for the players. I make sure everything works.

You blogged about your game’s developments. What was the biggest realization when you look back on how far you’ve come? What were the biggest challenges?

Maruyama: Unlike the past gundam Games, this one is made for an international market, not primarily for Japan. North America, Asia, EU, whoever. It’s the first ever, more expansive with a larger scale. It’s for non-gundam fans and gundam fans alike. So we had to balance the attractiveness for both.

Hogaki: When creating a first-person shooter, the ability to animate is always difficult from a game design perspective. When a player hits a target, we need to make it feel like it should. We have to make sure that the player feels the impact and hears the sounds well.

You hosted a closed network test where people could play your game. Which feedback impressed you the most?

Maruyama: We recently had console tests. We are still analyzing the feedback from it. We learned a few things from PC testing.

Hogaki: Two things stood out. First we had to work on the character balance. This was the first time we had a large number of players. We extrapolated data and found that sometimes a character can be really good and dominant against newbies, but not so well against higher ranked characters. We’re going over the data with the planners and analytics team to make sure the game is balanced when it comes out. Second, there was a lack of in-game communication. It can be played as a 6v6 game. The players themselves have developed different ways of communication, but our game has only one way of communication. One thing that was widely noted was that there was no location pin in the PC version. Fans have asked about it.

What’s the appeal for a solo player to try out a 6v6 game?

Maruyama: In other shooters similar to this game, the role aspect means that a solo player is usually assigned specific roles. As in fantasy games, a player is used as a healer, shield bearer, warrior, etc. If you have too many character types things can go wrong in combat and it’s not as competitive or fun. You can play this game with any mobile suit or character without any restrictions.


Have you selected specific gundam Characters or shows to emulate?

Maruyama: In most gundam Play usually chooses the most popular character. We have a completely different concept here. Mobile suits are very specialized. They have unique properties. We didn’t strictly choose the most popular characters for this game.

What were your favourites gundam designs and characters growing up?

Maruyama: My five year old self watched [the original] Mobile Suit Gundam. My favorite suit was the Gouf. I really liked Ranba Ral.

Hogaki: I grew up in elementary school and watched shows like Gundam seeds. The freedom to strike gundam Suit was the most memorable in my childhood. As for the characters, I liked Stella or Luna Maria.

gundam evolution coming out this year. As we wrap things up, what do you want fans to be most excited about from this game?

Maruyama: gundam evolution will be free to play. It’s a multi-platform game for different regions and all ages. It’s going to be a very skill-based, team-based game. I hope fans get better at FPS games.

Hogaki: I have similar thoughts as Maruyama-san. I hope fans want to play with friends and fall asleep to this game and wake up to it. In the spirit of competition, I want people to play against each other a lot.

Thank you for your time gentlemen.


Disclosure: Bandai Namco Filmworks Inc. (Sunrise) is a non-controlling minority shareholder of Anime News Network Inc.

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