With Relayer’s release just around the corner, there was a lot to get hyped about when we got to talk to Kadokawa Games CEO and Relayer series Producer Yoshimi Yasuda.
Mr Yasuda was happy to explain all about the upcoming Relayer- from its systems around building a team of Stellar Gear to even the process of designing its chracters.
After all, Relayer is an entirely new IP- something quite uncommon in the mecha genre as of late.
We actually asked Mr Yasuda about this, who had his own opinions on the state of the mecha genre:
“From a developer’s point of view, it may be that there is not enough demand to mitigate the risk”, he says. “Personally, I feel the lack of motivation on part of creators to breathe new life into the mecha genre is a bit concerning”.
He’s not entirely wrong- mecha is a niche genre, amid the already niche science fiction. Many of the most popular mecha series are basically legacy franchises at this point- Gundam and Evangelion are in the decades of age yet, and many other smaller mecha series only live on in crossover titles like Super Robot Wars or mobile games like Iron Saga.
Of course, the best mecha series are more than just having a robot in them. The mecha genre itself is tied to a kind of techno-futurism, and its creators views about said future will bleed into the work. You only need to look at series like Mobile Suit Gundam’s take on space colonies, or even non-mecha sci-fi like Cowboy Bebop, where hyperspace travel is so common it’s got tolls.
In that sense, Yoshimi Yasuda ‘s vision for Relayer is a lot less idealistic- though that doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in humanity’s ability to thrive in space.
“I believe that humans will soon be able to create artificially intelligent life. I also envision a future in which, as technology advances, our habitable zone within the Solar System will expand, and living on the Moon will become a reality”, he explains. “Mankind will one day be able to protect itself from cosmic rays and solar flares, allowing us to operate freely in space, including on the surface of the Moon. However, I think it will take much longer to achieve high-speed intergalactic travel, such as the super-gravity technology in Relayer that relies on wormholes.”
He did also talk about the core themes of Relayer- even going as far as to explain the extremely cool key art that was first used to announce the game all those months ago.
“The package art depicts a clash between the Original One, stolen by Luna, and the Astoria, piloted by Terra”, he says. “This is where Relayer’s story begins: with Luna crashing into Terra. In fact, Relayer contains an epilogue chapter called Asterism Voyage, which is unlocked after clearing the main story. At the end of this chapter, the birth of the Moon is shown following the collision of a massive object with Earth. Relayer’s story symbolizes the Earth and the Moon’s beginning and end”.
Full interview is as follows:
Relayer Design Questions
In a previous interview you’ve mentioned that the character designer is staying anonymous, could you talk about what its like working with them?
The character designer has requested to stay anonymous, and I will respect his wishes. We have a strong working relationship, so I knew from the very beginning that whatever we asked of him, he would deliver 200%. In Relayer, the Original One is the prototype of all the mechas. When I mentioned my interest in ancient alien civilizations and how the most important aspect of battles is energy, the character designer immediately came up with a rough sketch, and we ran with it.
Despite everyone focusing on how cool the Stellar Gear/ mecha look, human character designs are also a big part of the games success as well. What kind of design considerations did the team make for the cast of Relayer?
We wanted to move away from the traditional “anime hero” character design in favor of one with a cooler, more mature feel.
Relayer Gameplay Questions
Outside of Super Robot Wars, it looks like many mecha games are moving away from tactical RPG, instead going to more action game format. Knowing this, was there a reason the Relayer team stuck to the tactical RPG format?
Our team’s forte is the simulation RPG genre. As such, our goal is to deliver exciting mecha battles on our home turf, so to speak
Are pilots going to be locked to their Stellar Gear? Or can you move them between units?
In Relayer, each character pilots his or her own exclusive Stellar Gear. However, new Stellar Gear models will come once the game releases, so players will be able to switch models in the future
Will Relayer feature any optional or replayable missions? Or will missions be entirely linear?
The main scenario and Asterism Voyage chapter are entirely linear. Players will be able to experience the unique personalities and backstories of every character aboard the Asterism. Conversely, the practice stages can be played as many times as you wish.
Will certain Stellar Gear be locked to specific weapon types?
The two general-purpose weapons that all mecha types can use are the one-handed sword and the machine gun. As for exclusive weapons, Assault-types have the two-handed sword, Tank-types the shield, Sniper-types the rifle, and Scout-types the bit.
Our thanks again to Yoshimi Yasuda for answering our questions, ahead of the buildup to the launch of Relayer on March 24th.