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Interviews: Namco Bandai Games - Fragile Dreams

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Some interesting insights into the unique Wii release.

With Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon recently released in North America and hitting Europe today, we thought it would be a good time to get in touch with some of the guys at Namco Bandai in order to find out a little more information about this rather unique Wii title.

Kentaro Kawashima, Producer at Namco Bandai Games and Tomoni Tagawa, Director at Namco Bandai Games, were both kind enough to sit down and answer a few of our questions in this exclusive Nintendo Life interview. You can find out what they had to say to us below.

Nintendo Life: Having already had experience on next generation consoles while developing Eternal Sonata, why the switch to the Wii console to develop FRAGILE DREAMS?

Tomoni Tagawa: Well, we concluded that using the Wii controls was the best match when simulating using a flashlight to explore abandoned buildings. We figured it would bring more realism to the experience and also add a new facet to the gameplay.

Also, our experience with the next-gen consoles definitely helped us make it possible to provide hi-res graphics on the Wii for this title.

NL: Can you tell our readers a little bit about the actual story line that unfolds throughout the game?

Kentaro Kawashima:: In FRAGILE DREAMS, you play as a young boy named Seto, who is the main character. With him as your guide you explore a desolate wasteland and the abandoned ruins of Tokyo as you search for any other surviving humans in the area. Along the way you also gather the lingering thoughts of those who used to live, embodied in the form of small objects that you can collect. Through your wanderings and the ‘memory’ items you find, the sad tale of what happened to the world is revealed.

NL: What about FRAGILE DREAMS: FAREWELL RUINS OF THE MOON sets it apart from the many other RPGs available for the console?

TT: Well, the emotional story and the fact that this story progresses through the main character’s adventure, does make it an RPG. However, the whole premise of FRAGILE DREAMS is to help the player experience something that cannot be categorized by a specific genre.

For example, this game can be the journey of trying to find the items left on an abandoned world by those who have passed on as you explore with a flashlight, or it can be the emotional experience of the user when they find and experience the thoughts of the dead.

NL: What does a controller like the Wii Remote bring to the table when it comes to developing the play control scheme of a game?

TT: Controlling with the Wii Remote definitely involves more of the player’s body than other controllers out today. Because of this, it helps the player get immersed in the game world, but at the same time, it also makes it more of a chore for the players to control. Our main focus was to keep the pros and ease the player’s experience on the cons.

NL: Does problem-solving play a key role in the overall gameplay?

TT: The overall difficulty of the puzzles is quite simple throughout the game. We’re hoping that players are able to connect with Seto as he explores the ruins and have time to see what he sees and hear what he hears, rather than running around to solve puzzles and missing out on the beautiful scenery and emotional experience.

We also added in puzzles unlike those found in current games out today. For example, Seto will play a game of hide and seek with an invisible girl early on in the game.

NL: How is the mini-speaker on the Wii Remote used in the game?

TT: By holding the Wii remote vertically like a phone and putting it close to your ear, the player will be able to hear their in-game companions speaking to them. Additionally, sometimes the speakers will pick up sounds from elsewhere on the map. It works sort of like a radar and adds an element to the gameplay.

NL: The campfire moments where you examine mystery items left by deceased humans can be genuinely moving. How did this unique method of story development come about, as opposed to traditional elements such as letters, photographs etc.?

KK: I’m sure many people have experienced looking at a memorable object and just sitting there daydreaming about the time when you bought/received the item/gift.

We wanted to let the players experience something similar to that with the campfire sequence.

NL: We've heard that the game's audio was composed to go hand-in-hand with the game's various surroundings. Is this true and what prompted you to be do it this way?

TT:We originally did consider making the game using just environmental sounds to create the atmosphere, but when you think about it, if you lived in a post-apocalyptic world without anybody around you, you wouldn’t hear any music let alone much sound. We figured it wouldn’t be very realistic for music to be a huge part of the gameplay.

However, if we had gone ahead with this concept, the game itself would have been extremely quiet. We also wanted to add some mood to the gameplay that would evoke certain emotions in the player such as fear, isolation, and courage. This is why we did eventually add some music, but we were also careful not to let the music stand out too much.

NL: Do you have any other projects for the Wii or DS that you're currently working on that you could tell us a bit about.

KK: Yes we certainly do, but everything is confidential at this time. My apologies.

NL: Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers in closing?

TT: FRAGILE DREAMS was created in hopes of letting players enjoy a new type of game experience while ignoring typical game boundaries.

We hope everyone enjoys exploring the wasteland and hopefully the images of the abandoned buildings will have some kind of nostalgic impact on players.

KK: I believe that if the game leaves even a shred of something emotional in your heart when you walk away from it, then we’ve succeeded, and that would make me ecstatic beyond measurement.

I bid you good luck on your journey with Seto, and here’s to hoping you find something special on your adventure.

We'd like to thank Kentaro and Tomoni for taking time out of their busy schedules to take part in this interview with Nintendo Life.

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User Comments (25)

GC-161

#1

GC-161 said:

I saw this game at last years Anime Expo.

It has a very interesting style and look. Moody. The sort of stuff fans of The Cure would love.

Donatello

#2

Donatello said:

I'm interested, but IGN's 6.7 review is putting me off. It seems that the atmosphere, graphics, flash light IR controls, sound and music are all fantastic, but the combat is weak, there are tedious fetch quests and overall the gameplay is just decent at best...But hey, this is IGN we're talking :p Dewy's Adventure and now this are on my maybe list.

GC-161

#3

GC-161 said:

The dev behind Fragile was obviously too busy creating a moody atmospheric experience than making a game that was actually enjoyable. That's seems to be the main problem the critics have with this one.

I guess Fragile is like the movie "Alien" (moody, quiet, not much action). And some think it needed to be more like "Aliens" (wall-to-wall action).

Sean_Aaron

#4

Sean_Aaron said:

Well, I got my copy in the post yesterday and I'm sure James already has his and is playing it even as I type this so we'll see what's what soon enough!

I've got enough action from other titles, so I'm not fussed to have the odd game centred on exploration.

Hero_of_legend

#5

Hero_of_legend said:

A shame that you had to add the DS to the future projects question. Bcause it's way too apparent that devs love developing for the DS far more than the Wii as of late. I'm not saying it's a terrible thing, it's just that the Wii's release scheduale in Japan... is... well... abysmal. :(

So for all we know he meant "Yes, we certainly have DS projects underway!"

But Wii? "laughs"

:(

James

#6

James said:

@Sean I wasn't playing it at 7.25am but I had a quick play last night and actually enjoyed it more than when I played it for my First Impressions article. It looks and sounds awesome although I do have a few gripes. Review coming next week I hope :)

Oregano

#7

Oregano said:

Awesome, I do hope they come up with something new for the Wii.... Baiten Kaitos!

Going to get Fragile Dreams in just a while.

citizenerased

#8

citizenerased said:

I heard the side stories especially are very nicely written and emotionally engaging. That, along with the atmosphere and style are enough for me to get it. But I might wait until the price drops a bit, doesn't quite seem like it's worth a full price tag; the game's "only" 6 hours.

Sean_Aaron

#9

Sean_Aaron said:

Six hours? That's even better; just not enough time in the day for some of these things so short and emotionally engaging works for me.

TwilightV

#10

TwilightV said:

Sorry, but i'm sticking by my word. Until a certain epic adventure game based on a certain anime property is released here, I refuse to buy any game from Namco Bandai. Too bad too, because this one looks interesting.

Stargazer

#11

Stargazer said:

@ Donatello

Dewey's Adventure is excellent, and well worth whatever low price I'm sure you can find it for. The last world is recycled and fairly generic, sadly, but the rest of the game is awesome.

I remember it getting panned for having 'slippery' controls....you're controlling a freaking drop of water, of course it's slippery :-)

Donatello

#12

Donatello said:

@Stargazer

Dewey's Adventure 'Brand new' on eBay is around $20 including shipping and handeling. I think I will drop the moola and check it out. It's almost like a side kick to Elebits, although the gameplay is totaly different, yet the cutscenes and Character SFX are very simular :p I really love getting underrated gems for cheap on the Wii :D

And I'm totaly leaning towards a yes for Fragile. The atmosphere alone looks amazing, and so what if the combat is dated, IGN went to compare it with Classic Resident Evil, and I'm cool with that because I loved those games and I had a good time with RE: Archives.

I'm also interested in TMNT: Smash-Up!! and Endless Ocean:Blue World....hmmmm. I'm a TMNT nut, and the game looks pretty rad. Especially the Tag team and a near flawless Online mode which Brawl never had. It's a shame though that they never added in some of the more iconic characters like Kraing, Beebop, Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, Leatherhead, Ratking ect ect...But it still looks like a solid fighter even though Ubi skimped out big time on characters. And seriously they should of had alternate looks and costumes. I prefer Shredders 80's cartoon look AND his look in the first TMNT movie

Egg_miester

#13

Egg_miester said:

i love this game and ign review is wrong even 80% of ign comments by fans are disagreeing with matt and his review this is one of the best games i have bought and played this year so far

Popyman

#14

Popyman said:

@tealover: Uh, it's near THIRTY hours. Not sure where you heard six...

Pretty cool interview! I sometimes forget that the Japanese Bamco aren't the jerks that we have here >_<

Objection

#15

Objection said:

Aesthetically appealing with interesting premise and a nice mood to it, but the question of actual gameplay and length are leaving me hesitant.

citizenerased

#16

citizenerased said:

@ popyman:

"A half-dozen hours or so and you'll be through the main adventure." -IGN

According Amazon JP reviews the title is around 10 hours and not that despite its - relative, for an RPG - short length the title still feels stretched out and they've got about 5 hours worth of material in it.

Believe whichever you want, I'm just giving an heads up that I wouldn't expect 30 hours if I were you.

Popyman

#17

Popyman said:

@tealover: Because IGN plays all the way through the games they review, right? >_>

I know someone who has the Japanese version (and a lot of people on GameFAQs say the same thing), it's 20+ hours. But it doesn't matter to me, this whole "A GAME NEEDS TO BE A HOUR LONG FOR EACH DOLLAR I SPEND ON IT!!" mindset is really lame.

Oregano

#18

Oregano said:

I couldn't find it before.:'(

I'll check back tomorrow but I really want this game.

kevohki

#20

kevohki said:

Too bad the gameplay is terrible and it's extremely short. Everything else (atmosphere, graphics, story, etc.) looked great. Crappy gameplay is always a deal breaker for any game regardless if it's 10 or 50 hours.

ZOTZMAN

#22

ZOTZMAN said:

Alrighty, Gents, Mates, Lads, Guys, Bros, Boyos...whatever the prefered terminology. I am about 4-5 hrs into this game; preordered from Gamestop. This gem is completely 100% voice acted throughout! It has original concepts in its story telling, and game play mechanics. The remote is used to enhance the atmosphere with animal noises as you near them, in the right direction, and your partner/comp-pack speaks through it occasionally when she wants you to know somethig. It has an RPG dynamic, though I've played no rpg quite like it. It's very well put together graphically and the story is emmersive and emotional.

ZOTZMAN

#23

ZOTZMAN said:

The controls are not bad and work quite well. There has been only a few times that I have wanted to pan the camera when I couldn't during an action or interactive sequence. For instance when I was using the cat toy to play with one of many cats you see around the desolate and broken city of Tokyo; the first time you do so the camera snaps back behind you and you cant really see the cat anymore but, there after you can always pan one way or another...not a major part of the actual story or game as far as I can tell. You use the ir of the remote as a flashlight and walk towards wherever you point. You press B to focus in past your light and then you can press A to interact or to zoom. The controls work great for me. The combat is fairly one dimentional in that the press of A repeatedly with some timing will produce a combo and dependent on the timing will produce a weak or strong combo. Your weapons do break and your attache, if you will, can only carry ,on your person, a limited amount of iitems. It's always smart to carry an additional weapon and to save room for the items you find along the way. The items you have in your suitcase/briefcase can not be interchanged or accessed away from the firepits, where you can save, adjust your inventory, analyze mystery items and the memories they hold, as well as purchase items from a traveling merchant, of sorts. The overall dynamic and atmosphere of the game are truly of a storybook quality. This is an element that I find quite admirable in quality RPGs and games with enchanting appeal.

pinta_vodki

#24

pinta_vodki said:

Come on, people, what the hell are you talking about? Fantastic mood, design and atmosphere, but crappy gameplay? Did you ever consider thinking that mood and atmosphere can be THE gameplay?

Token_Girl

#25

Token_Girl said:

Nice to see devs at least trying to do a variety of different ideas (not minigame collections) on the Wii that they couldn't do on the HD twins. Makes things more interesting.

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