Tokyo RPG Factory announced yesterday that its upcoming role-playing game, I Am Setsuna, would launch this summer on PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam. Notably absent was news of a Vita version, which accompanied the game's launch on PS4 in Japan. According to director Atsushi Hashimoto, the team chose to instead focus on a gameplay experience built for a larger screen when bringing the game stateside.
"I think the focus was leaning more toward that sense of immersion, being able to jump into the world on a larger screen," Hashimoto told Polygon via translator. "That's one of the bigger elements that sort of drove that decision for the no Vita plan.
"Of course, there is the technical market aspect as well. Unfortunately the Vita market isn't as large as the console and the PC-based [market] ... that's the sort of direction the team decided that they wanted to take for the U.S. release, was to rely on the players that are on the Steam platform as well."
When asked if the company still sees the Vita as a viable platform, Hashimoto laughed.
"We definitely see the Vita fans, and we acknowledge that there are very passionate fans out there, and we think it's great," he said. "We do feel it's a viable sort of platform. Of course, it's just a matter of scale. We don't mean to give you the impression that we feel that the Vita market is weak or anything; by no means do we want to make it seem like it's any sort of inferior platform. It is a platform where there are very passionate fans that love the games that are on that platform."
He added that the console is perhaps more popular in Japan because of a large commuter culture.
I Am Setsuna, first announced as Project Setsuna, is heavily inspired by the "golden" era of RPGs, the '90s. It pulls heavily from Chrono Trigger, which Hashimoto credits as an especially memorable game for Tokyo RPG Factory.
"That's one of the major reasons why [it inspired us]," he said. "The second reason is you don't see many RPGs out there in the market that are a spiritual successor to Chrono Trigger, even within Square Enix. Of course it's because it's very rare to see something as memorable as Chrono Trigger. And then the third reason is that title is such a popular and beloved game all over the world."
But I Am Setsuna is not actually a spiritual successor, Hashimoto said. Instead, it's an homage to the beloved RPG. It draws most heavily from Chrono Trigger in its battles, which are turn-based with an active time battle system, better known as ATB. The team also used names for items and spells found in franchises like Final Fantasy to make the game more accessible to those fans.
"Of course, the team could have come up with different, original names that are completely unique to just the realm of Setsuna, but [we chose to go this direction] so that the players can easily accept that sort of classic RPG and familiar elements," Hashimoto said.
Although the Western release won't include any major changes, it's possible it will get additional content.
"[We're] currently considering maybe doing some sort of additional weapon or item for the Western audience," Hashimoto said.