I had the chance today to interview Hironobu Sakaguchi at the Japan Expo in Paris. I actually videotaped the interview but as you all know, my real identity has to be kept a secret for the good of Mankind (or maybe I had some microphone problems, I forget), so all you'll be granted with will be a transcript of his conversation with me and you should be very happy. I asked him about the European release of Blue Dragon, the long awaited Lost Odysssey and Cry On: Jump inside if you want to know more.
Update: The interview has been updated based on what Sakagushi said in Japanese.
Gamersyde: To begin with, we would like to have some confirmation from you because a lot of people are still wondering if the European release of the game will include the Japanese voice track.
Hironobu Sakaguchi: Not only will you have the Japanese voices but there are also other languages such as English, French, German and Spanish. So you can decide to play with the Japanese voices and then choose the subtitles in your own language.
Gamersyde: Excellent! Blue Dragon sold about 200,000 units in Japan: are you satisfied with the sales so far and what about your expectations for the worldwide sales?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: I think I'm pretty satisfied since we sold about 200,000 packs but we also sold 100,000 games so that's 300,000 total which means that 66% of 360 owners have bought the game. I think it was a successful release.
Gamersyde: Blue Dragon is quite an easy game: will Lost Odyssey be more hardcore? How long would you say it will take to complete the main quest? Also, are there going to be many side quests?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: We're just putting the final touches to the game
now. Right now if you played through it it would be about 60
hours, but we're working on giving it a high tempo
(fast pace), and by doing that we hope to give the
game a new feel that's enjoyable. To be honest, I
don't really know how many hours it would take to complete the game.
Gamersyde: So will it be more difficult than Blue Dragon?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: Yes, a little bit.
Gamersyde: Is the combat system of Lost Odyssey going to be similar to what we saw in the demo, or has it changed since then?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: It's going to be different from the demo, while it's still turn-based
encounters, there are action elements [think FFVIII's
hitting R1 on Squall's gunblade; and I thought we
already knew Lost Odyssey had stuff like this before]. The
system is based on the front line protecting the
backline and the strategy is in how much of a wall you
want the frontline to be. So it's very different than
what was in the demo.
Gamersyde: Is Nobuo Uematsu going to be in charge of all the soundtrack of Lost Odyssey?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: Absolutely, all of it.
Gamersyde: Manabu Kusunoki is now the art lead on Cry On but in the beginning it was someone from Cavia if I'm not mistaken: is Artoon doing all the work on Cry On or is Cavia still working on the programming?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: (laughs) Cavia is still in charge of the development but Mr Kusunoki is the main designer at the moment: I just wanted to make the game more realistic.
Gamersyde: Is there another Manga-ka you would like to work with in the future?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: Toriyama and Inoue are the only Manga-ka that I
really know in detail. I'd also like to work with
Amano. He worked on FF and did some pretty amazing
Gamersyde: Would you like to work for Yasumi Matsuno again?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: (laughs) I haven't heard from him for a while so I don't know how he's doing now to be honest.
Gamersyde: Ok, thank you very much for your time. It's been a pleasure meeting you.
Hironobu Sakaguchi: You're welcome, the pleasure was mine.