Q&A: We chat to Masaru Oyamada and Shinichi Tatsuke on all things Trials of Mana
Trials of Mana releases next week, it’s been a while since E3 2019 when it was first revealed – but it’s almost here!
We were recently granted the pleasure of being able to ask Masaru Oyamada, Mana Series Producer and Shinichi Tatsuke, Trials of Mana Producer some questions about the game. They got back to us and here’s what they had to say.
Vooks: The previous remakes in the Mana series have all played somewhat similar to the original games in that they still play as top-down adventure games, what was the reasoning behind remaking Trials of Mana as a 3rd Person adventure game?
Masaru Oyamada: When we released Collection of Mana in Japan, there were calls from lots of fans overseas saying that they had been waiting over 20 years to play Seiken Densetsu 3 (the original name for Trials of Mana in Japan). We were in the middle of developing the remake of Secret of Mana at that point, and started discussing if there was anything we could get to the fans earlier. As Seiken Densetsu 3 had not been released overseas when it was first made, we felt that we should remake it in a style closer to a new, modern game to avoid it feeling dated and so decided to do it in 3D.
Vooks: What was the reaction of the development team, when they learned they would be working on a remake of this classic title?
Shinichi Tatsuke: I was initially asked by Mana series producer Masaru Oyamada if I would be producer on Trials of Mana in order to help expand the series. After taking on the role we first decided on the overall direction for how we wanted to do the remake and approached a development team that we have worked with before. It just so happened that many of the staff on the team had liked the original game, so we decided to work with them on the development of Trials of Mana.
Vooks: The Mana series is known for its amazing soundtracks, how have you gone about approaching redoing the music for Trials of Mana?
Oyamada – The original background music that everyone loved was made with a limited number of sounds available due to the hardware limitations, and has been romanticised in people’s heads over time, but we have remade it so it will still live up to those fond impressions when fans hear the tracks again. Even the orchestral pieces have such a high-quality finish that you will wonder if they weren’t like that in the first place! We also have an option in-game to change between the new soundtrack and the original, so fans can play however they prefer.
Vooks: Out of the six different characters you can play as, who is your personal favourite and why?
Oyamada: It’s Duran. He is simply really nice to play as and his additional episode (unlocked after you finish the game) is electrifying!
Tatsuke: I originally liked Reisz when I played the original Seiken Densetsu 3, but I think Charlotte is really sweet and comical in the remake.
Vooks: After playing through the demo I was really impressed with just how faithfully you were able to revision the first few hours of the game and how you bring that 2d world into 3d. What challenges did bringing the game to 3d pose for you and are there any part of the game you are particularly proud of?
Tatsuke: Thank you! When we were making the game in 3D, we had to make large scale amendments to the placement of the maps. You will probably get an understanding of this if you play the demo, but we changed the layout of some of the maps that were designed in 2D, in order to make hunting for treasure chests and items more fun in 3D. For the event scenes too, there were sections that felt right in 2D, but which lacked substance when translated into 3D, so it was hard work going back and adding in new dialogue and character performances to flesh those out.
Vooks: Other than the new gameplay and visual style are there any other changes that were made to the game for fans of the original to enjoy?
Oyamada: In addition to a fourth class and additional episodes after completing the main story, we have also beefed up the conversations between party characters. There are simply loads of different combinations to see, so I invite you to try out many different parties.
One other thing is that a certain creature in black who was only present on a specific route in the original can now be encountered whatever route you play through, so I think fans will enjoy discovering this again.
Vooks: I know you most likely cannot say much on future projects however where would you like to see the Mana series go next? Are there other games in the series you’d like to remake or would you rather make an all-new entry?
Oyamada – It goes without saying that I would like to make a sequel, but at the same time I would also like to make it so people can continue playing the series past titles such as Legend of Mana.
Many thanks to Masaru Oyamada and Shinichi Tatsuke for their time and for answering our questions.
Trials of Mana is out next week, April 24th on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. There is a demo now available on the Nintendo Switch eShop, you can download that here as well as pre-order the game.