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Shoji Meguro 2022 interview – Guns Undarkness & more

Shoji Meguro

We got to interview legendary composer and creator Shoji Meguro (Shin Megami Tensei Persona series) for Guns Undarkness, his new gun RPG that is seeking funding on Kickstarter.

Guns Undarkness is Shoji Meguro’s new RPG that is set in a post-apocalyptic, desolate future where relationships and character development are a big focus. If you’re looking to support Guns Undarkness, you can find its Kickstarter page here.

Without further ado, here’s our interview with Shoji Meguro:

Shoji Meguro

Shoji Meguro interview for Guns Undarkness and more

Niche Gamer: I’m sure you’ve been asked this a lot since departing Atlus full time – why go indie?

Shoji Meguro: Guns Undarkness actually comes from a plan I originally presented while working at Atlus. The development of the game was canceled, and I had a hard time giving up on the dream of bringing my own game to the world. So that’s what made me decide to release it as an indie game. And also it’s worth mentioning that I have a positive relationship with Atlus to this day.

The original reveal for Guns Undarkness didn’t mention crowdfunding, was this a tough decision to make? What factors were considered vs. a traditional publisher?

Crowdfunding isn’t simply about gathering up funds. It’s about getting passionate fans and working with them to polish up the game, I think. So I chose to ignore the potential demirs of it, and stay positive as we made the move.

The use of hand signals is interesting, how much does this affect gameplay? Is this only before battles commence?

Using hand signals to have your allies hide is a very important part of gameplay. In normal JRPGs, you run into enemies and it starts an encounter where you hold battle.

Hand signals are done with a small bit of effort, but that effort gives you an advantage in battle. However, we’re making sure that the game is balanced such that people who think the hand signals are a pain can still complete the game.

How much of a focus is there on stealth? Will there be stealth-only segments?

Shoji Meguro: There aren’t any “reach the goal without your enemy seeing you” type of stealth elements in the game. Essentially, you can just use it to get closer to enemies without being noticed, shoot them to start an encounter, and that’s about it.

However, if you’re seen by the enemies, the caution level on the field increases. So if you’re seen by an enemy, it might be good to shoot them and get rid of them as soon as possible.

Was there any attempt at making the game a real-time RPG? Or a shooter RPG?

Shoji Meguro: The plan was born from the idea of fusing shooting games element with a JRPG. We’ve never considered making the shooting real time.

What I’ve learned working 25 years at Atlus is all about JRPGs, so I’m trying to make use of that while offering interesting systems in a JRPG that will entertain players.

Splitting progress into character and gun trees is fascinating. How customizable and robust is the gun EXP path? Can players expect a ton of guns?

Shoji Meguro: Right now we plan on having about 40-50 types of guns and 30-40 types of customizable parts. However, if during development the fans want more, I would like to increase that amount.

That’s one of the reasons I think it’s important to do crowdfunding, to be able to interact with fans and hear their desires.

This is a loaded question (pun intended). What is your favorite type of gun?

Wow, what a hard question! I’m a fan of the HK416. But if we’re talking pistols, I like the 1911 and M92. I also like the SIG 552, which I often use in airsoft games with friends.

The main character from the Japanese comic Cobra uses a Python 357 (though the name was changed from the real name), and I think that’s a beautiful one too.

I love RPGs with a base you can upgrade. Is the Maroon hub upgrade-able? Customizable?

Shoji Meguro: There’s no way to upgrade Maroon Hub. But you can customize its design. Right now it’s just customizing the rooms the main characters are given, but we plan on making other parts of Maroon Hub customizable as well.

A relationship system makes a return from the Persona series – is this a feature you’re fond of? How is it similar or different to what Persona fans would know?

Shoji Meguro: Yes, I couldn’t help but put that kind of system in this game. Because of that system, it helps dialog between allies progress and it makes your allies that much more precious to the player.

And by leveling up the communication system, you can do combo attacks in battle.

The protagonist(s) and story are teased with discovering the “truth of love,” will there be romantic relationships? Multiple romance partners?

The theme of the game is “the truth of love”, but that’s not romantic love or sexual love. It’s agape (a Christian concept that refers to the love of God for man, and man for God).

However, there are romantic elements. However, you can’t have multiple romantic partners at once.

As this is a post-apocalyptic story, while avoiding spoilers what kind of tone can fans expect? Something more serious, lighthearted, or in-between?

Shoji Meguro: The story is very serious. It’s about how would humanity pull off a revolution. However, there are some parts of events where you can laugh at everyday things. That way you can still relax while you play.

Is the story in any way inspired by real life WEF pledges to a “Great Reset” policy? If it has commentary on modern issues/topics?

I actually started writing the story before 2020, so it has nothing to do with the Great Reset. However, I do find the topic to be quite fascinating, and I’m using other real-world events as inspiration.

There are also classic philosophies like primitivism and “A Thousand Plateaus” that show up in the story.

Since you are the maestro – this may be an unfair question but what is your favorite track made by yourself for the Persona series? Or maybe a few tracks.

Shoji Meguro: The answer to this question changes each time I’m asked it. But I think the one I like the most is Reach Out to the Truth from Persona 4.

I think the hook in that song might be the best melody I’ve ever written.

What kind of soundtrack can fans expect for Guns Undarkness?

I decided to make the OST with an alternative rock theme that might be a bit harsh, and some people might not find it as easy to listen to as the pop music in the Persona series.

However, we are planning on using vocals in many songs. So it might be a bit harsh, but I definitely think people can expect some awesome songs from us.

A final request – can you share a message to your fans?

It might be hard for game fans to accept a composer becoming a game creator, but I promise not only will the music be great, but the game has tried and tested JRPG systems in it, combined with things like guns and futuristic sci-fi elements that JRPGs often don’t have.

So I think we can meet everyone’s expectations. So if anyone out there wants to help me make this game even better, please consider joining me on my journey in crowdfunding.

A reminder that Shoji Meguro’s new RPG Guns Undarkness is seeking funding over on Kickstarter – they have several days left and have several stretch goals still remaining.

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Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic