19. Sep, 2016 03:27 (HKT)

Tamaoki and Harada Discuss Fan Feedback and More in Summer Lesson Famitsu Interview

Summer Lesson: Miyamoto Hikari Seven Days Room
PlayStation®VR [Simulator] Release: October 13th, 2016

Weekly Famitsu No. 1450 (2016 09/29) (JPN)  sold

Summer Lesson is about a month away and the latest Famitsu magazine has a full interview with Bandai Namco Entertainment's CS Divisions First Production/Producer & Game Director; Mr Tamaoki Jun and General Manager & Chief Producer; Mr Harada Katsuhiro. Here they discuss fan feedback, adding new situations in the game and more!

You can check out the following translation below:

We have a lot of game details to cover from the long development time and changes from the original games plan.

Tamaoki: Our original conception began to change over time. Many staff members approached each other saying things like "Wouldn't it be really fun if we tried this?" or "I really think we should incorporate this idea into the game!" and so the game began to change over time, but in a great and fun looking way. We really want the players to think "Woah, you can do this kinda thing in VR!?" thinking how they would do so in reality and trying it out in game. We didn’t create this as a simple game, we went into the development of this game which we've named Summer Lesson and created a whole heap of in-game content and adopted the style of "sensation". We're really hoping the players will be able to be moved and even shocked by the feeling of VR this game gives. The only thing that hasn’t changed from the beginning is the above stated the point of the game.

You’ve also announced the name of the girl in the game, Miyamoto Hikari.

Tamaoki: Before we decided upon the name there were a lot of ups and downs but since 2014 we came up with a simple name “Hikari”. We always thought "but there are lots of girls named Hikari", "does the name really suit her appearances though?" among other worried thoughts, but then we finally all thought "the concept of the game is to communicate with your average young female in VR" and so thought "Then Hikari is a perfect name!"

Harada: I wanted people to feel that it was a familiar name. There are a lot of females named Hikari yet there is still uniqueness to the name.

Tamaoki: Also, due to the PSVR Lenses using optical instruments, the name "Hikari" (Light) worked well as the name for her.

What kind of things can we expect to do within Seven Days Room?

Tamaoki: As the name mentions, you have a week as a Home Tutor to help Hikari study. The Demo version has you starting off as a Home Tutor already, but in the full game you have to figure out how to teach Hikari, thinking up your own way of teaching and your own set of rules as you become friendly with her. "Seven Days Room" may also be known as the "Basic Game Pack" but it has enough to offer within the seven days you have in the game.

Will Hikari have more outfits and different items available to decorate her room or even a separate room be available separately?

Tamaoki: We really want people to first enjoy the VR experience given in the basic game pack of "Seven Days Room" but we do have additional gameplay aspects that we are currently thinking of releasing.

Harada: Our primary focus was "first let's decide this mode", "It should be this price", "How long should the game be". I’ll be frank with you, and at this stage, we personally don’t even know how much can be implemented and what are the limits of what we can do within VR.  As stated many times, we want people to be moved and shocked by what they can achieve within a Virtual Reality.

Looking at player feedback and implementing changes and new components into the game is the current way of game creation.

Harada: One great thing about VR is that you cannot explain the game without actually experiencing it for yourself. With fighting games there is a lot of feedback regarding the amount of characters, how amazing the special attacks look and the game modes but with "Summer Lesson" it's hard to really give certain feedback as it's based on feelings that change between people, such as the heart racing feeling looking into a crush's eyes. We would continue to fix the realistic movements of your character and the sense of emotion between you and Hikari so we can create a sense of comfort and enjoyment.  We still would enjoy feedback regarding the game so we can make the game perfect for all players.

I was extremely shocked by the game's price!

Tamaoki: As Mr. Harada previously stated, we want to make the game comfortable yet fun for everyone and if a single person or even a whole population came to us with feedback regarding the game to help us with and future VR games, we believe we want to set a fair price in order for their help. There will be various new situations which we would love people to think "Woah I want to try out that scenario!" which we will make available and hope will make the public happy especially since when you all are happy we are very happy.

Harada: We are currently gaining feedback over the internet regarding the game with people getting hyped up guessing how the final product will work. For example, I have personally heard "Maybe we will have the ability to upload Hikari's AI data onto a cloud so we can view how other people got on and what was different" which we never thought about during development and we all felt it was a nice fresh idea. We didn't implement that, although, we really want players to enjoy the final product that can be found within our game with a variety of ideas that we all put our heart into making sure everyone has a great time.

The catch copy for the game is "This isn't just a single game; this is a new movement, a series in which will envelop gamers and that game is “Summer Lesson".

Tamaoki: We adopted the style of “once we've collected feedback about the first part upon release, then we can begin development on the second part". The two parts will be from the same series, but two completely different games. The same goes for movies and novels. However, we don’t want to cut the game up, we see one part as “Contents for one unique experience within "Summer Lesson". We want people to see it as a story unfolding where you can expect top-tier gaming. Where you can have fun with situations you have experienced and ones you have yet to.

As you previously mentioned the charm of the game is indeed something you need to experience yourself, it is rather difficult to explain it to another person isn't it!

Harada: There is a certain way of how people play games, but with VR as well as the genre of this game, there is a lot to take in and enjoy that would change from person to person. People can agree with each other on say, how great the graphics were in an RPG's movie or the feeling of beating a very hard part of the game, we all have that simple emotion. However, when it comes to VR, each person playing is going to have their own emotions on certain aspects and the only thing you could really say to friends and other gamers is "You have to experience the game for yourself!". There will be a PSVR set with the game included so you could come back day one and after playing the game yourself, you could sit down a friend and let him enjoy in this new experience too.

Also if you do not purchase "Seven Days Room" you cannot enjoy any of the further content?

Harada: That is correct, although, when we release the later content, we won’t do it one after the other, we will offer you a lot of content so that you could pick and choose exactly what you want to play.

With the final product will we be able to communicate with other characters apart from Miyamoto Hikari?

Tamaoki: We are aiming to build on a number of situations and the game's content over extra characters at this current time. With this type of game the cost and time put into it takes a lot more compared to your average game…

Harada: I don't think you understand how expensive in both time and creation it takes just to create Hikari and her expressions.

So to make extra characters in this type of game it would be of greater cost compared to any other genre of game?

Harada: Well to put it simply, in the Tekken series there is a lot of details on each character, but when it comes to Summer Lesson, we have to take careful consideration on the smallest of things such as how long Hikari's eyelashes are so people can really get a sense of realism in front of their eyes.

Could you go further into the specifics?

Harada: The distance between you and the character and mentality is extremely different. When someone's face is up against yours, you become quite unnerved, correct? We have to take consideration into that as well. Again, as mentioned in Tekken, when the character performs their win pose, the cameras position is the main focus whereas the main characters eyes are your eyes which makes you the camera in a sense therefore we have to consider how the player looks at Hikari, from what angle and how will Hikari react. If you look at certain angles, you may be like "woah Hikari looks cute here", but in another angle you may notice how long her eyelashes are. This is how you would act in a real life situation and so we need more realism and that takes time.

Do you have any insecurity regarding the game or release?

Harada: Well we at Tekken Project always try to release games shortly after the launch of hardware, like with Ridge Racer, and sometimes with Tekken although the games come some months after release of certain consoles. We don't know if it sells better or not, but we believe it is a great challenge that helps sell the console.

Tamaoki: We don't know how the game will fare, but we believe that with this brand new technology alongside the brand new type of game it does stand a chance amongst the launch games and even with gamers who are interested in VR and want to try out what Summer Lesson has to offer. Me and Mr. Harada sat down and we thought "When should we release this?" and we realized that whenever we would decide to release it after the main product is finished we have to rely on our fans.

Harada: Bringing out a brand new game type on a brand new console would always carry a risk. Over four years ago, we never even had the idea of gaming in a VR world using a head mounted VR unit and back then we would come up with similar concepts, but we would have no idea how we would develop it, but as soon as the first prototype of a head mounted VR unit was created we realized that we can put a game like Summer Lesson into a VR world where the player could have the sense of realism with a very realistic looking human by their sides. This has been a very enjoyable yet quick four years but I'm glad I am able to show people the charm point of VR.

A lot of people are looking forward to Summer Lesson and it shows. Wherever you go you will find it difficult to find a store in which you could pre-order a PSVR unit and I believe that Summer Lesson is the main cause of it.

Harada: Honestly, if that is true, it would make me extremely happy. I haven’t pre-ordered one myself, the whole world seems to be excited for the unit don't they. Through promoting the game we found that the game is getting a lot of love from a young audience which I find so surprising. Without me explaining the game and just showcasing a trailer for the game seemed to be enough to capture the audiences gaze.

Tamaoki: I agree, we have a lot of excited fans who were brought up with the internet who are keeping up with technology and are very interested in PSVR as a whole, but have expressed fondness mainly on Summer Lesson. Older generations may say "It's all fiction, it's not really in front of you", but the younger generation see it as a real experience which you can feel regardless if it is not in the real world as your emotions are real and that is enough.

Harada: The younger generation may actually find salvation in it. We had feedback about the original trailer in which many people agreed that it's a game without explanation, you can just begin the game and act it all as you would do anything in your everyday life.

Finally is there anything you wish to tell the readers?

Tamaoki: This is just the beginning of VR, we will never know what the future brings. So for now, we hope that you enjoy the experience only VR and Summer Lesson can bring you. Play through the huge amount of contents within the game being moved by certain aspects and even shocked by what you can achieve at this current time. There will be more news coming before October 13th so please keep checking back on brand new information and we'll see you soon!

Harada: We've developed a lot of games and by far this is the first one that we've had people email or tell us through social media "Oh I am definitely buying the game!!" way before the game is even released, it truly is heart-warming. We hope you share the experience with friends, family and fellow gamers and we hope the first experience of the game always stays within your heart as one of the best first game experiences. We hope you can continue to cheer for us as we create more and more content after the release of the game!

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