The latest issue of Famitsu has an interview with several several staff working on Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS – Cygames project manager Kondou Kenichi, Cygames senior engineer Iwasaki Junichi, and Konami producer Okamura Noriaki who was in charge of the script of the original Zone of the Enders.
— ファミ通.com (@famitsu) May 15, 2018
The interviewer starts with asking how Cygames ended up working on M∀RS, and Kondou says it was because Cygames president Watanabe Kouichi is himself a huge fan of the game, as are many of their employees: This resulted in them approaching Konami regarding a port.
They project started as a simple 4K port, but as it went on they started to discuss if they should include new features, and since VR was becoming popular, they decided on including VR. At first this was going to be for one stage, or for a few special stages created specifically for VR, but through trial and error they managed to make it so that the whole game could be played in VR, and decided to do make it happen: The VR mode was born entirely of the staff’s passion.
The interviewer asks if the speed of the game would make players sick in VR, and Kondou says this surprisingly did not happen, and Okamura says that he would have wanted to pilot Jehuty regardless of whether it would make him sick or not. He adds that they at first made a VR mode that had third person gameplay, but that it wasn’t any fun, and that when they advanced development on the first person view, one day it turned out that the whole game could be played in it.
They elaborate on further adjustments that had to be made for the VR mode. For example, as the player cannot see Jehuty from inside the cockpit, they put a hologram of Jehuty inside it to be able to tell what the robot is doing. They also had to change the spinning throw as it made people sick. The interviewer asks about the Zero Shift, and though Kondou and Iwasaki refrain from giving details, they do say that it’s still being adjusted and that they want to make it impressive.
They also discuss new features like the “pro” control scheme. Kondou says Cygames came up with it as a way to control Jehuty better, and that switching subweapons and using grabs and throws is easier with it, and Iwasaki adds that subweapons can be preset by category meaning that the player can now do combos with multiple subweapons. The original (“classic”) control is still available for players who prefer the original version.
Other new features include the model viewer allows players to look at Orbital Frames up close, and the cinematic theater allows players to view individual cutscenes. There is also a hangar mode which lets the player look at Jehuty in a hangar from Dingo’s point of view outside the cockpit, from multiple angles. Okamura adds that the secret minigame Zoradius also has Vic Viper transforming now, and that Cygames added it without his knowledge. Kondou calls this “love”, and Okamura says that Cygames’ love for the game is why Konami left development to them, saying that they keep adding new features and improvements to the game. The interviewer asks if Okamura was uneasy about leaving development to a company known mainly for phone games, and Okamura says that he was at first, but he was impressed by their passion, and as development went on he kept getting surprised by how good they were. Kondou says that a demo version will be going up soon, and hopes that people will play it to see for themselves how good Cygames really is.
The interviewer asks if there are plans for a remastered version of the first game, and Kondou says that it is still undecided, and that it depends on the reception and sales of M∀RS. Okamura says that it is not impossible, but that they first need to see the reaction to M∀RS.
In conclusion, Iwasaki says that is aware that people would be worried about how the game has VR and is being developed by Cygames, and hopes that their goal is not just not disappoint, but exceed expectations, Kondou says that the remastered graphics are comparable to that of contemporary PS4 games and again hopes that people will play the demo, and Okamura says that he thinks that while they could have just made a remake like movies do, that would no longer be the same game, and that this is the best way that they could release the game again.
Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS will be released in Japan pm 6th September 2018. The release dates for versions for other regions have not yet been announced.