Interview with CyberConnect2’s Taichiro Miyazaki about Fuga 2 and More

As you are probably aware, last week was the 4th of July. In addition to being the 4th of July, July 4th was the final day of Anime Expo 2023. While our full coverage of the event is still to come, we thought we should share with you a rather special interview we conducted during the convention.

During Anime Expo 2023, we got to meet with and Interview CyberConnect2‘s Executive Vice President, Mr. Taichiro Miyazaki; during the meeting, we also got to speak with Public Relations Department Chief, Haruhiko Iribe, and Assistant Production Manager, Yoshitaka Matsubara about anime, food, and video games.


Mr. Taichiro Miyazaki and the CyberConnect2’s team were at Anime Expo hosting a Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 panel. For this interview, Mr. Yoshitaka Matsubara (Yoshi) translated Mr. Miyazaki’s and Mr. Iribe’s responses.

Interview Questions

The following is the interview conducted with Cyberconnect2’s team. Unless indicated, most of the responses are from Mr. Taichiro Miyazaki and translated by Mr. Yoshitaka Matsubara (Yoshi).

Matt – So I originally pulled up the wiki to remind me what Fuga is. How was working on the project because obviously each person has a different role so like from your standpoint?

Mr. Miyazaki – So I’m the creative producer for most of the projects that we do CyberConnect2 so not just for Fuga but I’m also in charge of managing the project, project budgets, and schedules.

Matt – So like sort of like the EVP/CFO, Executive Vice President for that part, or the chief financial officer.

Mr. Miyazaki – Yes, you could say that and I just do pretty much everything other than actually making the game.

Matt – so Jack of all trades kind of thing.

Mr. Miyazaki- Yeah. We’re not a behemoth company we have about 250 staff. Basically, I do everything.

Matt – For video games, I’d say that’s is still pretty big for all I’d say it’s like medium big so.

Matt – So I have not played the Fuga series. For those who haven’t played it? How would you introduce/describe it to others?

Mr. Miyazaki – I would call it a very dramatic and plot-driven story. It starts in this little village where everyone is living in peace. Then one day, all of a sudden, an enemy country invades the village and kidnaps many of the villagers. The story focuses on 12 children who are left in the village in the aftermath. All of them have lost friends or family members who were seized during the attack, and they have to go save them.

They find a mysterious tank in a nearby ruin, and decide to board it as a way to go rescue their loved ones. The tank is full of mysteries for the children to discover, and some of them have brutal consequences. The whole game might sound a little intense, like a war game. But at its core, we wanted Fuga to be a story about friendship and the precious bonds the children form with each other. Of course they must overcome many tragedies and go through a lot of pain and suffering, but there are also many moments of joyful surprises and happiness that come out of it. As for what those are, we hope everyone will discover it for themselves by enjoying the gameplay of Fuga!

Matt – Is it bad my brain associated Avatar Last Airbender?

Mr. Miyazaki – Fuga has very compelling storytelling and a plot that keeps you on your toes, and one of the themes is vengeance because the children have to fight to get back whatever was taken from them. As for the game’s genre, we consider it a dramatic simulation RPG. So there are a lot of tactics that go into the gameplay, but it also has an RPG system where you can have a hand in the characters’ growth.

In regards to the art style, I would say the two are maybe similar because of the cell-shading, but we have our own stylized art that is used, which I feel is very unique. And we really put our effort into establishing this universe. So the setting is very war-torn. Yeah. I guess you could say there are similarities in that sense as well.

Working on Other Projects

Matt – Outside of Fuga how was working on Fuga versus like Naruto and the other projects?

Mr. Miyazaki – One clear contrast I can tell here is the production scale, we work on Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections that was revealed at AX this year or such as other games like Demon Slayer Chronicles or Dragon Ball Z Kakarot those triple A and trusted IPs that we work on they take more or less three to five years to work on and involves a bigger scale a production team ranging from 100 people or 200 people from time to time.

Well, with Fuga this does provide a lot of opportunities for our staff. We also like to work on our self-publishing titles on a little bit more flexible basis, if you will, and for those IPs we kind of have another aspect of giving more growth and learning opportunities to our newer staff so that they can get to work on their own game. So this has a little bit of smaller production cycle now about two years and then the scale is a little bit more intimate with 30 to 40 people working on it from time to time.

Matt – What is one franchise that you would like to work with?

Mr. Miyazaki – So I’m just gonna open up by stating that we are fans of Japanese manga and anime. We’re fans ourselves and we get passionate about what they do here at Anime Expo. At the same time, we do have our production lines pretty busy right now. And so our main responsibility is to be committed to those lines that we already have. So, yes and no, we would. We are very interested but there is no specific title or a series from a franchise that we’re interested in. Right now, our current response commitment is to work on our current projects.

Matt- We’ll go with the Anime Expo aspect but how has your reception been at Anime Expo? Like walking around and seeing everything? What have you thought?

Mr. Miyazaki-Yeah, it’s been great so far. The last time we were here was 2019 pre pandemic and the last time we were here we got the privilege of presenting our Fuga: Melodies of Steel panel. And we also got to talk with some media people and so it’s good to be back it’s been great. And we were aware that we have a lot of fans in North America so it’s it is an honor to be here to get to meet those people in person and hear their passion for Japanese anime and manga which we share in common and get their feedback or their perception on our games. So it’s been truly meaningful and grateful that we are here

Matt – If you were to come to a convention like Anime Expo or even PAX West, what character from Fuga: Melodies of Steel would you dress up as?

Mr. Miyazaki – Interesting. So Fuga has numerous characters with distinct personalities and I just love them all equally. So that would be a tough decision. But if I were to choose one, that would be Boron, who’s really kind, would do anything for his friends and he’s very calm and collected. And so yeah, that will be Boron, I’d cosplay as.

Matt – What is Boron like?

Mr. Miyazaki – So again, there are a lot of characters that I just have a hard time picking but that is I’m just hypothesizing. Like, if I’m presenting the panel, those given conventions obviously I want to present myself as someone kind and collected and doing/would do anything for friends and family which are the characteristics of Boron.  He has great reception in America. He will have a lot of fans in America so it will be pretty nice to cosplay as him and again, this game has a lot of brutal plot being war stuff, but underneath it really has a good concept of friendship or comradeship and that the children get to form those bonds throughout those battles and it presents a lot of dilemmas.

So as you can see he has this big heart you know, so this is someone that I would probably cosplay as if I were to present the panel at the convention.

Anime Expo & Food Around LA

Matt – Is this the second Anime Expo that you’ve come to or have you been to multiple?

Mr. Miyazaki – I’ve come here a lot for AX but for presenting a panel this may be my third time doing it AX.

Matt – Is there a favorite place that you’d like to get food in LA?

Mr. Miyazaki – So yeah, I’ve come here quite often and I have a lot of my personal favorite places. I’ve been to Santa Monica and Beverly Hills where like you know those well-known places and but above all my personal favorite will be In-and-Out Burger because they don’t have a place in Japan so it’s just one thing I could just get here.

Matt- There used to be a burger chain called Fat Burger here, It wasn’t as healthy but it tasted delicious.

Mr. Miyazaki – Ahh, so greasy. You should have told me years ago when it was still around.

Matt – I think it is still here but not in the immediate vicinity. Do you like french fries?

Mr. Miyazaki – Most definitely.

Matt – There’s a place a few blocks from the convention center called Dinos Chicken and Burger (Dino’s Famous Chicken).

Mr. Miyazaki & Yoshi – I like those local recommendations. Are you from around here?

Matt- I used to live out here but this is their loaded fries (DUI Fries).

Mr. Miyazaki – Oh that’s great I’ve never seen this before. Is that smoked meat on top?

Matt – I believe that is Pastrami. Pastrami with ground beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, and french fries.

Mr. Miyazaki – That looks really good. What is the place called?

Matt – It is called Dino’s Famous Chicken.

Mr. Miyazaki & Yoshi – Dino’s famous chicken. It is famous for a reason. We’re gonna try to go tomorrow.

Dinos famous Chicken Dui fries

Fandoms

Matt – So as fans of anime and manga, what are some of your favorites? (Asking the group as a whole.) 

Mr. Miyazaki – You know, there are so many great titles out there, it’s hard to pick just one. But if I were to, it would have to be Naruto because we have worked on this franchise for such a long time. We grew together, we’ve been on so many journeys together. And as a game developer, we watch and read manga and anime over and over and over and over. So it’s basically ingrained with us and it’s just really truly meaningful and special in that sense that we got to share so much time together. So in that sense is very special and very fond of it myself as a fan and very fond of this franchise.

Of course, this is the same for our other franchises that we work on. When we work on video game adaptations of franchises, we make sure we only pick the ones that we want to make that we are passionate about making video games on so this is true for Demon Slayer, Dragon Ball, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure; they’re like super special titles that we have been privileged to work on so they’re all equally special in that sense. And of course, there are so many other type a plethora of titles that are out there that we are personal fans of.

Mr. Iribe – I also grew up reading and watching Naruto so it also has a special place for me and I used to play the video games from Cyberconnect2 before joining the company. So it has been in that way more special for me. It’s part of the reason why I joined Cyberconnect2. So yes, Naruto has to be the one and of course, picking one franchise is something that is not easy to do. But yeah, that’s just for the interview’s sake. If we were to have to pick one it would have to be Naruto.

Matt – Have you heard of the band Baby Metal?

Mr. Miyazaki – Yes of course.

Matt – Since you’re both fans of video games, what are some of the video games that you enjoy that are not from your company?

Mr. Miyazaki – Of course, I play a lot of variety of games out there. But if I had to pick from my recent titles, the two of them that come to my mind are The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Final Fantasy 16. You know, they’re the big titles that just came out recently. And, of course, we also follow the Dragon Ball franchise and I enjoy playing Xenoverse. So there are a lot of other games out there that present unique challenges and game designs and art styles that we can also learn from as a game developers. 

Collaborations, Anthrocon, & Pittsburgh

Matt – So since Fuga: Melodies of Steel is in this kind of its own universe, and building its own story, say you were to have like a DLC. What are some characters from other franchises that you would like to be in it? If you were able to collaborate.

Mr. Miyazaki – I don’t have any specific titles at the top of my head per se, but two things that we’re very passionate about for Fuga, which is a kemono franchise (a furries title), is that it has an established universe of its own, and it has its own fan base. We would like to continue to cherish and respect both the universe and the fan base.

Whatever game or franchise we decide to collaborate with, if we were to do so in the future, the decision would have to be based on following those two principles: that the collaboration would match or enhance the universe of Fuga, and that it would present unique opportunities for our fan base to explore more possibilities. Whatever we decide to present, they will be the ones who get to enjoy it, so that would be one of our foremost thoughts if we were to collaborate with another title.

Matt – The one I immediately thought of was Chopper from One Piece in the Wano outfit where he’s wearing the kimono.

Mr. Miyazaki – Oh, that sounds good. The art style and everything I think would be good. Also just last week, we were in Pittsburgh to attend Anthrocon and we had many opportunities to explore and discover new franchises and meet some people. So the thought off the top of my head is that it would be exciting to have an opportunity to perhaps collaborate with one of those new franchises that we just met.

Matt – What franchise per se?

Mr. Miyazaki – Nothing in particular at the moment, because we’ve just met them and we still have to get to know each other. But we had a great reception at Anthrocon and had a panel on Fuga. And we had over 200 people attending the panel! We were very pleasantly surprised and excited to be there, and to share our passion for kemono (furries) characters together in the same space.

So in that sense, it feels like we have great potential to get to know the community more in-depth and in person, so that we could have some great collaboration opportunities down the road perhaps. So aside from conventions like AX and PAX West, Anthrocon would be an event that we are keenly interested in attending in the future.

Matt – I only ask because I am from Pittsburgh.

Yoshi & Mr. Miyazaki – Are you? No way. 

WrestleQuest

Matt – The first developer I thought you meant was Mega Cat Studios. They have a game coming out called WrestleQuest. Do you like Wrestling?

Mr. Miyazaki — I like Sports in general. That sounds really interesting. Is this the game they worked on? 

Matt – Yes, this is their personal project. It’s a wrestling JRPG.

Yoshi and Mr. Miyazaki – It looks interesting, I will have to look it up. 

Matt – How was dealing with all that smog from the Canadian Wild Fires?

Yoshi – So the day we arrived it was basically like Silent Hill. It was very smokey so we were like is it always like this in Pittsburgh? It was crazy and then it got clear all of a sudden on the second day so we got to see the true beauty of Pittsburgh. It was like two different experiences. 

Matt – Pittsburgh during the industrial parts was that bad, but once the steel part moved out of the downtown to the suburbs, it kind of cleared up. Since it was your first time in Pittsburgh, what did you get to try? 

Yoshi – Mr. Taichiro Miyazaki couldn’t make it to Pittsburgh, it was only me and Mr. Iribe. So we were there only for 2 days. We didn’t get much time to explore it but we got to try different food. We had a Black and Gold pizza from Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room. The other was McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood and Steak; they have this crazy dessert called Chocolate Vat.

Matt – A lot of people when they go to Pittsburgh, they go to a place called Pirmantis. It’s a sandwich shop where they serve Fries and Coleslaw on their sandwiches. 

Yoshi – On the Sandwich, an all-in-one package? 

Yoshi & Mr. Taichiro Miyazaki – We actually looked this up and wanted to go but we didn’t get the chance to. If we do make it to Pittsburgh next year for Anthrocon we might actually try this out. 

A Fuga 3?

Matt – Are there plans for a Fuga 3

Mr. Miyazaki – Right now, we just released Fuga 2 in May, so our primary focus is on how the sales go. We’ll be watching how the fans react to it. We do have an interest in working on a Fuga 3 depending on player reception.

Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 was released in May 2022 across PC (via Steam and the Epic Games Store), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

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About

Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.


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