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GamingI am Koji Takaya, a founding member of the Arcana Heart series. I have been making 2D fighting games for almost 20 years now! AMA!!!!!!

Jul 29th 2017 by ArcanaHeartKS • 25 Questions • 179 Points

The Samurai Shodown series, the Arcana Heart series, Daemon Bride, Aquapazza Aquaplus Dream Match and Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel are some of the games I have been involved with. Fighting games are my MAX LOVE.

My Proof: https://twitter.com/takaya_coucho/status/891093198231044096

皆様こんにちは!それではAMAを始めましょう!何でも聞いてください!

Hello everyone! Let’s get started! I am doing this with a translation team, so please understand it may take a little longer to reply.

ARCANA HEART 3 LOVE MAX SIX STARS!!!!!! is on Kickstarter now! Please check it out!!!!!!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/99831120/arcana-heart-3-love-max-six-stars-2d-fighting-game

Thank you everyone for all the questions! I feel your MAX LOVE! みなさん、たくさんの質問ありがとうございます!とても楽しかったです!最後まで応援よろしくお願いいたします!

Please visit the ARCANA HEART 3 LOVE MAX SIX STARS!!!!!! project for some serious fighting action! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/99831120/arcana-heart-3-love-max-six-stars-2d-fighting-game

Q:

Hello Takaya-san! Thank you for doing this AMA.

Is there a plan to include Shark Girl, Omega and Dark Heart in the game in another way if funding is not met? Will there be any additional rewards announced to try and raise the funding as the goal nears? Thanks!

A:

If we get enough funding during this Kickstarter, we will consider the addition. We are also planning to look for partners who are willing to add to the development budget.

About the additional rewards, we in talks with another illustrator to do a special guest signed shikishi.


Q:

Hi, Takaya-san. Thanks for this opportunity.

With the Kickstarter hitting the goal and some more, Will there be a possibility to see Arcana Heart come to Consoles (PS4, XB1, and maybe Switch?)

A:

We do have some stretch goals in mind beyond Omega, If we get close enough we might reveal them...


Q:

If the three stretch goal characters are not met, will they still appear in Arcana Heart 4 or will they be permanently scrapped?

A:

To add new characters, I need to pay our staff. I want to make it happen, but not at a significant loss. We will, however, do our best to get more funding even after the campaign ends.


Q:

Are you still friends with people who work at SNK? It was many years ago and some left, but others have returned. I'm curious about if you've maintained relations after Samurai Shodown V many years ago. Any chance you could collaborate on a new SamSho game? By the way they're rereleasing SamSho V to PS4! Congratulations!

A:

Arcana Heart's main designer, Mano was my direct supervisor at SNK. We have been working together for a long time. I haven't really kept in touch with the other staff members, but the Samurai showdown team is having a get-together this summer and I am planning to be there.

As for SamSho, I did everything I wanted to do in SamSho 6, so I don't really have any ideas left that for that one. If anything, I'd like to work on a new title that features samurai and ninjas.


Q:

Just wondering if now Arcana heart has a succesfull crowd fund is there a chance for Daemon bride ?

Also is Arcana Heart 4 in the works ?

A:

I really want to do it!


Q:

Tapestries and dakimakuras would be a really awesome addition.

A:

Right now we are only thinking about adding illustrations as rewards during the KS, but we are looking into the possibility of offering certain merchandise for retail after the campaign has ended.


Q:

Who thought it was a good idea to give Clarice a 1 Frame Low?

A:

Sorry, I don't remember off hand, but I think the staff member that did that was the same person making adjustments to Parace. Parace is planned to be introduced as a new Arcana, and the person in charge for that will be the same. Keep those expectations up.


Q:

Hi, Koji, thanks for doing the AMA. I have a bit too many questions I want to ask, but I'll try not to spam here too much.

How did you get in the industry? Did you graduate university/college in a related area? Were you always interested in making fighting games, or is that something that happened throughout the course of your career?

Again, thanks for reaching out to the overseas community with this, and best of luck to all in the remaining days of the kickstarter.

A:

At that time, the advancement of game hardware was really clipping along, and I thought there would be a need for better graphics, so I entered technical college for animation.

As far as how long I had been into games, when I was in school, I spent all the money I earned from part-time jobs on games.

I had arcade system boards for SF2, SF2 Champion Edition, and Super Street Fighter 2, so I could play them on a arcade style cabinet that I had at my house.


Q:

By any chance will there be any last minute reward tiers to push the funding up? More character varieties for acrylic statues or tapestries?

Thank you kindly. :)

A:

Yesterday, we've increased the $2,500 and $5,000 rewards. As for new rewards, I am thinking about it as I read your questions!


Q:

デモブラのキャラのセリフは正直失笑してしまうほどの個性的なのが多いですが、セリフを考えていたときのテンションはどんな感じだったのでしょうか?

(終始真面目だったのか、それとも面白おかしく考えていたのか等)

A:

会議では真面目に考えてますよ。みんなで台詞をしゃべってニュアンスを少し変えたりしてました。あまり笑いながら考えてた記憶はないですね。

Q: I feel that the dialogue in Demon Bride is very... "unique". What kind of mood were you in when you were thinking about that? Did you have your serious face on all the time, or snickering through it?)

A: In the meetings I was very serious. We were saying the lines together to check the nuances of them. I don't remember laughing so much when I was thinking about it.


Q:

Hello!

Regarding the $5,000 kick-starter pledge, would it be possible to request illustrations of the new kick-starter goal characters (specifically shark girl)? Or is it only limited to Original arcana heart characters?

And just out of curiosity I might as well ask, "our staff will draw pretty much anything you want", does this include nsfw drawings, or strictly work-safe sketches?

A:

You will be able to request illustrations of the new characters! We do have to ask to keep all illustration requests are kept work-safe.


Q:

What Samurai Shodown game did you start with? Also, if a new Samurai Shodown was made, what changes do you feel the series would have to make in order to work in today's gaming environment? It's a series I'd love to see come back, but I am afraid of it losing what made it unique.

BTW I picked Maori in Arcana Heart because of how some of her attacks reminded me of my favorite SamSho character, and because I like miko outfits, so thanks for Maori!

A:

When I entered SNK, I was placed in the SamSho team. Initially I was doing graphic related work, but I was the best fighting game player among the team, so I was in the planning team from SamSho 3. After finishing SamSho4, I left SNK. 6 years after that, SNK asked me to participate in SamSho 5, 5SP, and 6. I did everything I wanted to do in SamSho 6, so I'm not so inclined to do another Samsho game.

I worked on Samurai Showdown from the first Debugging phase.

I think SamSho's characters and systems hold up pretty well even now, so besides upgrades to the graphical side, I don't think I would make many changes.


Q:

Hello Takaya-san. Many fans of your games like them for various reasons. For example, I like the Arcana Heart series and Nitroplus Blasterz because of the strong options available to the defender while guarding: guard-cancels in Arcana Heart and shields in Nitroplus Blasterz. I also like the character balance in AH3LM and AH3LMSSS, and the large number of options an attacker has using jumps, homing, homing cancels, and extend force cancels.

What do you like the most about your own games, especially AH3LM/AH3LMSSS? What are you most proud of? For example: good character balance, guard-cancels, fast movement, unique characters, easy combos, etc.?

Is there anything you don't like about AH3LM/AH3LMSSS? Is there anything you regret?

I enjoy Arcana Heart and Nitroplus Blasterz a lot, and I would like to play Daemon Bride as well! Thank you for helping to create them!

A:

The Arcana selection and homing system are two things that I have really taken a liking to. The idea for the Arcana select came when I wanted to see Zangief throw a Hadouken. As for the homing system I wanted to make everything possible that was possible in other games so far. I am very proud that Arcana was able to find an unique voice among all the other fighting games.

The only thing I regret a little is adding so many characters, the game has become a bit complicated and hard to make. I'll have to do my best!


Q:

Takaya-san, congratulations on the successful campaign! As years go by we see that Examu has continued to make sprite-based fighting games despite other companies moving towards the use of 3D models.

Is it safe to say that future games by Examu will stick to sprites? Or is the company also planning to take a stab at a 2.5D or 3D fighting game in the near future?

A:

We are always researching new possibilities. We have a new project in 3D that we are mulling over, but we are super busy right now, so actual progress on that one would be quite a ways down the road.


Q:

Why are there so many lolis in arcana hearts?

A:

Originally, Arcana Heart was supposed to be released in Japan only. Ten years ago, anime with junior high school girls fighting each other were popular, so that was the main reason.


Q:

What's your favorite NEO GEO fighting game?

A:

The Samurai Shodown series.


Q:

How is your process of designing a fighting game character? Where do you start from?

A:

I have a stock of new game ideas stored away in my head. Publishers and investors tell me what they want and I pick out those ideas which make sense and put a plan together from there. There are games that I want to make for myself, and there are games I want make that the players want, but I want to do it in a way that fits those ideas in my head.


Q:

Will there be another Heartful Booklet following the release of SIX STARS?

A:

That's a nice idea! I'll talk it over with the staff.


Q:

They designed the Examu Ex-Board which supported wired joysticks and was a dual arcade board /home console. :)

A:

I am always thinking about ideas for network-centered games, but until the you actually play the game and work through the bugs, it is hard to give an answer.


Q:

Takaya san this will be the last version of Arcana Heart 3 right? So when will development of Arcana heart 4 start? I hope new HD sprites will be used for AH4 the sprites in AH1-AH3 are really old almost Melty Blood level of old they are pretty but very pixelated. If the sprites are closer to Blazblue or Nitroplus would be much better the future AH4 will be very pretty and more people will be attracted to try and play it.

A:

We are working on it as the last version of AH3. The planning has already started and character design is also in progress. But I don't know when we can start full-scale development yet.


Q:

Hello Takaya-san! Thank you for doing this AMA.

Nitroplus Blasterz is my favorite EXAMU game but I love every game EXAMU makes. I specially love the 'EXAMU touch' with a game with strong neutral and room for combo creativity.

Can you discribe a little on the thought process/philosophy on your works?

And please consider a port of Daemon Bride. Even a no online port would work for me! Thank you again, best regards!

A:

I always carry around a notebook for ideas. So whenever I have a new idea, that's where it goes. When I actually plan out a new game, I pick and choose my ideas from there.

What I always do is to talk to other people about my ideas and get their feedback. In the end, I will push ideas through if I feel they are interesting, regardless of the opposition. Ideas with some opposition can make for a really good game. But there could be opposition there for reason too, and they fall flat.

When I think about new characters, I use people around me as references. If I get dumped hard by a woman, I come up with a really good female character.


Q:

If you could do a crossover game with Arcana Heart and any other fighting game series, which one would it be?

A:

I would rather want to do a collaboration with anime. Madoka Magica or Strike Witches, maybe?


Q:

Were you inspired at all by Guilty Gear? It seems like Arcana Heart plays like it. Also if you don't reach the stretch goal, will you include Dark Heart in Arcana Heart 4? I really like characters who wield 2 weapons & she looks pretty cool too. Thank you

A:

I don't think I took any particular inspiration from Guilty Gear, but they always have new ideas and beautiful graphics, so I respect them a lot.


Q:

Who is your waifu? Are traps gay? Will you implement GGPO in SIX STARS!!!!!!?

A:

My waifus are Leina Stol from Machine Robo and Noriko Takaya from Aim for the Top GunBuster (Top wo nerae!).

In Arcana Heart, traps are also welcome! I can't say I dislike the idea.

For SIX STARS, GGPO won't be implemented due to cost and development time frame constraints.


Q:

What do you like the most about Arcana Heart?

A:

As far as game features go, I like the Arcana selection and the homing system.