While at this year’s Game Developers Conference we had the chance to sit down with iconic creator and developer Kazutaka Kodaka.
In our interview we talked up Kodaka-san’s pedigree and his previous titles, his creative process, potential future projects, and of course – his next opus, Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE.
Without further ado – find our entire interview with Kodaka-san below!
What was the main inspiration behind Master Detective Archives: Rain Code?
I refer to all kinds of detective stories. I’ve always wanted to create a detective story.
For the look and feel, I’ve taken inspiration from Tim Burton among others.
Master Detective Archives: Rain Code is described as a “detective action” game. How did you decide to incorporate action gameplay? Were there scrapped gameplay mechanics?
In adventure games, the puzzle-solving part tends to look boring on screen. First off, I wanted to change that and create a mystery game that looks interesting even if you’re just watching it, so I combined dungeon exploration with puzzle-solving.
It creates an exciting feeling, as if you’re on a ride at Disneyland, and trying to solve a riddle at the same time.
One thing I wanted to incorporate, but couldn’t was making the dungeons and other areas change a little more in real-time, but it would have been too complicated, so I gave up on that this time.
Going with full 3D graphics and environments is a big deal. How does Rain Code fully use the 3D game world?
The ability to move around in 3D immerses you in the world. The characters also inhabit the 3D world with a certain liveliness.
I think you could enjoy the story as if you were watching an anime. These performances make the scenario even more enjoyable.
Compared to the dev team’s prior games, Rain Code appears to be more ambitious. How does the city factor into the flow of gameplay?
You can freely explore the city, and there are side stories as well as collecting elements. I think you will love the unique city that is Kanai Ward.
Through the game, the detectives will take on a major case that will rattle the city.
How do the artists and writers come up with creative ways to kill characters? Is there anything off limits?
In any case, I give priority to what I like. To increase the number of characters I like, I always try to touch on various works.
What is off-limits is creating characters I don’t like.
Will there be side activities or mini-games to participate in? What kind are there and how do they impact the experience?
You can experience different stories outside the main story through subquests that help people in need. By doing so, you can earn experience or “Detective Points”.
As you accumulate points your Detective Rank will increase, and you can improve your skills with an RPG-like skill tree.
In addition to that there are collecting elements, as well as events that let you get to know the Master Detectives better.
Without going into spoilers, how would you describe the Amaterasu Corporation?
Amaterasu is a megacorporation that controls Kanai Ward. Their security department, the Amaterasu Corporation Peacekeepers serve a police-like role.
Therefore the many unsolved cases in Kanai Ward are due to the unscrupulous nature of the Peacekeepers.
Were there multiple real life cities that inspired the look and feel of Kanai Ward? Or possibly movies?
I tried not to have it become a city in any one country.
It’s a combination of Europe, Asia, and North America with elements of cyberpunk and fantasy.
Kanai Ward seems to get rain a lot. Does it have a symbolic meaning? What is the significance of rain in Rain Code?
It rains constantly in Kanai Ward. When I decided to write a detective story, I had the image of overcast skies and rain whenever I thought of detectives.
However, “rain” could have different narrative meanings. What does the rain mean? Play the game and find out.
Adventure games and visual novels have been gaining popularity, have you any thoughts as to why?
In Japan, visual novel have been produced for a long time, and because of that they have become more sophisticated. Anyhow, the genre doesn’t require a large budget, and I think the scenarios are amusing and easy to understand.
I thought that this game genre was unique to Japan, where anime and light novels are popular, but now visual novels are being made all over the world. I hope visual novels will become even more popular.
Would you ever return to making a full visual novel / adventure style game in the future?
Of course. It takes a long time to produce a 3D game. RAIN CODE took six years. I’d like to make a 2D-based visual novel which can be done more quickly.
I’m sure you’re being asked this often but will RAIN CODE come to non-Switch platforms later? Like PC, PlayStation, Xbox?
That’s all we got – thank you so much Kodaka-san for letting us interview you once again!
Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE is launching on June 30th for Nintendo Switch. Make sure to check out our thorough hands-on preview here!