HAKAMA staff Yoshifumi Hashimoto and Shirou Maekawa gave an interview in the Nintendo Life japanese magazine, mostly about Rune Factory 4S and 5.
It was graciously translated by u/nemurii, enjoy !
Q: What motivated you to found HAKAMA?
Hashimoto: When I saw the many challenges that the gaming industry was undertaking at the time, I thought, “I want to make something new.” And because I was in a gaming organization, I wanted to focus first on careful development, without rushing. I also wanted to cherish the things we had created up until now. When I expressed these thoughts to the internal staff, they all said that no matter what happens to the company, they would follow me. That was when we went from a solo project to a company.
Q: What do you think of the response to the announcements?
Maekawa: This time, we announced Rune Factory 5 and Rune Factory 4 Special at the same time. We are terribly sorry for making everyone wait. We are also incredibly grateful for everyone’s patience. The response has been great, which surprised us. It’s almost so great it’s frightening.
Q: Please tell us about your role in Rune Factory 4 Special’s development!
Hashimoto: Most of my responsibilities have to do with producing, story, world-building, and so on. As for illustration, I am working together with Iwasaki-san (Minako Iwasaki, who was in charge of character design for the original game) to get deliverables to Marvelous. We are also recording the voice work, so in reality my work is quite varied, but this has been true for each game in the series.
Q: Why did you decide to rerelease Rune Factory 4 on the Nintendo Switch? And please tell us about the HD remake!
Maekawa: Fans have been waiting for Rune Factory 5 for 7 years, and since it’s been 7 years since the last entry in the series, I think there are some fans who might have forgotten what kind of game Rune Factory is. So Rune Factory 4 Special is an opportunity to reintroduce the series and remind fans, as well as show others who are interested in RF5, what Rune Factory is like. I believe we can convey a wonderful fantasy life and new hero and heroine on the Nintendo Switch.
The Switch port will not only have new high resolution character and background graphics, but also new animations. Playing Rune Factory on the TV screen will provide a fresh new experience as compared to playing on the 3DS screens. Because we are taking a game that was originally on 2 screens and porting it to a single screen, the UI has also been overhauled and improved. I hope you can check out these changes.
Q: Could you tell us about the new feature, “Newlywed Mode”?
Maekawa: “Newlywed Mode” is a game mode that lets the player continue playing after marrying their chosen partner. It focuses on newlywed life with your partner, and you can play through a new lovey-dovey game scenario.
We created “Newlywed Mode” as a way to delve deeper into the characters and show a side of them we didn’t get the chance to explore in the original game. I believe those who played through the 3DS version will be able to enjoy the new content as well.
Q: Regarding recording new voice work, what’s it like working with the voice actors? Any anecdotes that left an impression?
Hashimoto: In order to get back into the days when we were working on RF4, our recording studio and mixing staff are essentially the same (although for one day we had to use another studio due to scheduling...)
Rune Factory 4 was first released in 2012, which means recording was done even earlier, in 2011. Hearing myself from 7-8 years back, I’d think about how young I sounded, or how embarrassing it was. It felt almost like the recordings were a class reunion.
For RF4S we’re adding more voicework into the game. In some cases, we’re adding on new voicework right after old recordings, so in order to match up with the old content, the voice actors would use the same way of speaking as they did in 2011. It was fun, and I could really feel how professional the voice actors were from their ability to fine tune their voices.
Q: Where in the game can we see the new cutscenes?
Maekawa: The first one is the opening. Both the song and the video will be remade in the new version. On top of that, each character will have a new cutscene in Newlywed Mode.
Q: What’s it like working on a game in this new development environment? Any recent stories from your daily life?
Hashimoto: We’re still newly-formed so it’s been a struggle. Then again, making anything new is tough, and really it has been fun. And when it comes to RF, I’m also working with a product on Marvelous’ side, so we’re putting everything we’ve got into development.
Recently, some people who I used to work with on Rune Factory Frontier called me up for the first time in about 10 years and said that if I’ve retired we should go out to eat together, and I’ve gone a couple times. I thought I’d be meeting new people--I didn’t think I’d be reestablishing old relationships.
Q: Let’s talk about the enthusiasm for Rune Factory 5!
Maekawa: There has been an overwhelming response to Rune Factory 5, and we really don’t want to betray the excitement and anticipation for the game. Release is still a ways down the road, but this great reception has boosted the dev team’s morale. We hope to continue this momentum and surprise everyone with all kinds of information about the game after this. Please look forward to it.
Q: For Rune Factory 5, do you have any prospects or visions for the game?
Hashimoto: Yes, well we’ve already decided on the theme and type of game it’ll be. There are some agreements we must take into account but, if time allows, I’d like to take it slow and make something good. Something where they can live in a fantasy world and think, “This is fun!” or “I want to live here!”