The global launch of SINoALICE is at last here, after radio silence for much of 2019. It saw a transfer of management from Nexon to original developers Pokelabo, launching a 100 days countdown filled with character introductions, trivia and occasional Q&A from the core members involved in this dark fantasy, fairy tail project. In our more modest Library, we’re playing host to Yoko Taro as the game’s scenario writer, Square Enix’s Yoshinari Fujimoto and Pokelabo’s Shogo Maeda.
We asked these questions via email, with Yoko Taro answering most of them in his Yoko Taro-esque way, so enjoy.
GamerBraves: What was the most fun thing about twisting fairy tales?
Yoko Taro: It’s work, so it’s not so fun for me… labor is brutal.
Arguably Yoko Taro is known for his dark tales. Has he tried writing “lighter” stories? What does he think of them?
YT: When working on the first Drakengard, I thought that since Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are light stories, I wanted to write dark stories to be original, but after NieR, I’m not aware that I’m writing any dark stories. In fact, I think I write lots of light stories. I’m waiting here in my birthday suit so Disney can contact me at any moment.
It’s been a few years since the original launch of SINoALICE. What does Yoko Taro think of social games now?
YT: I’m disappointed that there haven’t been any revolutionary inventions since gacha. I’m hoping for a diabolical new system that will rip the money away from mankind… or at least their lifestyles and lives.
What is it like conceptualizing the characters and their stories in this grim world?
YT: Hmm. My own feelings when I write the story… that’s quite hard to describe. If I were to give an example, it’s an experience quite like gingerly stacking potato chips on top of each other on a cat’s back without it noticing.
Did you ever expect the game to grow so large?
Shogo Maeda: Honestly, we didn’t. In early development days, internally we thought the game would be our least successful.
Yoshinari Fujimoto: For me, it’s smaller than we thought…
YT: I didn’t at all. But now that Pokelabo and Square Enix have become so conceited that they’re taking on this impossible global launch, I think that will shrink SINoALICE’s popularity. Then the game would be as small as I had imagined, and operation would end. Nothing lasts forever. Flowers are beautiful because they wilt. Don’t you think so?
The characters have their “Reality” self and their “Library” self. Why lean into this instead of making it full fantasy?
YT: The “Reality” is a fantasy. What kind of world has crazy politicians, wealth gaps, and horrible prejudice? Haha!
While SINoALICE is meant to be seen as a standalone universe, people have been working to find connections to the so-called “Yokoverse”. How far are these stories planned?
YT: Not limited to my own work, I want SINoALICE to connect to many other works. For example, we could go to the world of Disney, ruin everything and come back.
What property do you think would make the most interesting collab with SINoALICE?
YT: Oops, I answered that question above. Teehee.
YF: SINoALICE takes around 6 months to prepare for each collaboration. Every single collaboration has that much effort put into it. This includes the NieR: Automata and NieR Replicant collaborations planned right after release. I think players will appreciate that.
SM: For me personally, I think a Disney collaboration would be fun. SINoALICE is a gruesome story, so I don’t think it’ll ever happen though (laughs).
Will Yoko Taro go ahead with the “multiple servers, multiple ending” plan? What does this mean for the game’s story/systems?
YT: Not so much multiple servers multiple endings, but moreso that I want to provide a different ending if operations end at different times. Of course, the last story would be different depending on the ending. Which server would outlive the others… I want you all to enjoy that game.
How about a SINoALICE console game?
YF: For now we aren’t considering it, since the title has been developed with the mobile platform, free-to-play business model, and long-term operation in mind. But these are crazy times, who knows what’ll happen?
Besides Yoko Taro being hashtag relatable, it seems curious to see him say he’s writing lighter stories. Clearly, the man is on a completely different plane of existence. The editor has read some of the manga adaptation of the game, and it’s not something one would call “family friendly”.
On the more business side, SINoALICE has branched out into the aforementioned manga medium, and while an anime adaptation is not apparently in the works, it doesn’t sound much of a risk to undertake should it ever be done. Fans have also enjoyed full on orchestral performances of the game’s OST, and a console game could further expand the musical repertoire for everyone to enjoy, besides getting new fans into this “Yokoverse”.
In any case, we’ll see you in the Library.