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GungHo and Capcom at Anime Expo 2019: Full GamePress Interview

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Full Interview Text

Who We Are

GamePress  

Do you mind introducing yourself a little bit to our audience?

Ryozo Tsujimoto

Ryozo Tsujimoto from Capcom.  I am the producer for the Monster Hunter series, for example for Monster Hunter World, and for TEPPEN I'm working as Executive Producer.

Kazuki Morishita  

Kazuki Morishita from GungHo. I have worked as Executive Producer for a few series, in particular for Puzzle & Dragons, also an Executive Producer of TEPPEN.

GamePress  

Thank you so much for sitting down with us.

We were doing some research about what GungHo was about, and one thing that really stood out to us is that in your about page it said that "you believe a game needs to be more fun and need to be profitable." Can you elaborate on that and why is that a core philosophy for GungHo?

Kazuki Morishita   

We create games for mobile, consoles, and PCs, so we are mainly focused on creating games. Both creating and publishing our own games, so that's more of the baseline for us. Many people who might not know that we also help development with other companies to create games as well. 

TEPPEN, Fruit of a Long Friendship

GamePress

Such as TEPPEN?

Kazuki Morishita  

TEPPEN is actually rather unique, because we work together to create it.

GamePress   

TEPPEN is a really amazing game where you have all the different Capcom characters. How did this idea come to be? How did the whole process come about?

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

So is it started long, long ago, I actually loved playing Puzzle & Dragons. I started playing it and was starting Monster Hunter myself. I thought it was a great game, so I want to get in touch with someone from GungHo. He's like he does a great game. I asked around and eventually I got in touch with Morishita-san and met. We started hanging out privately and had a lot of conversations, but we didn't really talk about let's make a game that time.

We're more talking about like, what they think about making games, logic about games, and got along really well. 

After sometimes and we start talking let's try to make a game, and Morishita-san talked about how he would like to have all these Capcom IPs. They're very popular and he wants to include those so he was thinking how about like "a All-Star Capcom game".

GamePress

A mobile one?

Ryozo Tsujimoto

Mobile game.

GamePress   

That's what's amazing to us, that you're bringing all these Capcom characters, some for the first time, to mobile, really surprising.

When and why was that decision made, that we're not only going to make an all star game, we're going to make it a mobile title.

Ryozo Tsujimoto

About Two years ago was when we started.

We know that Capcom weren't really strong with mobile, and we want to use both our experience fully. As opposed to Capcom, GungHo was actually really very strong in mobile. That's one of the reasons. Also, we're talking about making this game a card game, and the best platform to start with will be with mobile devices.

GamePress

So it's not just the two years, a substantial amount of time for mobile game. Would you say it's basically the culmination of a long friendship, what became this game?
 

Kazuki Morishita  

Well, in business terms, we had the Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Hunter collaboration, so we had a good relationship privately and also in business as well. We knew each other, so we knew that if we try to make a game together, it'll work well. It's actually much easier than usual.

GamePress   

It just came together.

Kazuki Morishita    

Yeah, it just came together.

Ryozo Tsujimoto

As you know, you can't really make the game just because you guys are good friends. But when we're making the game, it's like oh, this is actually really fun, this is actually working. That's another element that allowed the game to developed much quicker.

Reaching the Peak of the Mountain

GamePress  

What's some of your goals with TEPPEN? There's lots of people, lots of promotion going on? You have people streaming the game, and afterwards there might be even be an eSports scene?

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

In the world of TEPPEN, there's this place called Planet Illusion. It's actually made for just for this game. At Planet Illusion they're trying to you know compete and find the best hero.

The word TEPPEN, if you directly translate it, it means the top of the mountain, or number one.

Kazuki Morishita   

So that means for the end game, there's another peak where the player as well as for eSports, they increase and define their skills and become the number one, the top of the world.

In this Coliseum, so this is where the online tournaments with the esports will be at.

GamePress

You'll be the ones hosting the esports competition?

Morishita

Yes. 

GamePress

Will you be welcoming community tournaments? Where players communities are hosting the tournaments? Will there be plans for that as well?

Kazuki Morishita   

Yes, absolutely.

Secret Project TEPPEN

GamePress  

That's very exciting. One thing we're really surprised by the promotion campaign of TEPPEN was that there were a lot of secrecy. You have been working on this for two years, there was not a single leak that this game is coming. 

GamePress was very entrenched in the mobile space, and we haven't heard about it until literally the servers launches. How'd that happen?

Kazuki Morishita  

Very, very secretly. Even internally, only the developers knew it and a small portion of the staff knew of it, so people at GungHo were amazed too. 

GamePress  

I can imagine! Both GungHo and Capcom are both such big companies, with many branches internationally. It must have been. I can't even imagine the process required to keep everything siloed so well.

Ryozo Tsujimoto

Even one of my coworkers asked, "When did we start making this thing?"

GamePress   

I can imagine their surprise, "Wow, we've been working on this for two years?"

Kazuki Morishita  

We really wanted to say and had to keep it in, keep it in. It was a relief to finally talk about it.

GamePress  

Oh yeah, it's obviously a very successful marketing campaign, keeping all the secret then bring it out there. The booth was very surprising to see. 

Ryozo Tsujimoto

We have a good friendship. So even though we're meeting each other a lot of times, they're like, oh there's they're just good friends, there's not really secret project.
 

For the Global Audience 

GamePress  

This game is released globally with English. Is that separate?

Kazuki Morishita   

The main services right now is English, France, Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese.

That's the area that is we actually we have the service. In languages we also have Japanese, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese as well.

For those areas, they'll be released. For those other areas where it'll be released, we will be announcing that later on.

Kazuki Morishita  

Two reasons, one was the market. In North America and Europe, the market for a digital card game is really, really big.

As a global title, all these characters we have here is actually made for just for this game. They're all designed for this game, so we want NA and EU to take up this game.

Another reason is if we all start everywhere at once, then there's a lot you know, issues.

GamePress   

Speaking as an American, I really appreciate you releasing at the same time in Japan. That doesn't really happen very often.

The game is global, so everything is in sync together, instead of the Japanese version being way ahead. 

It must be a very big challenge trying to get all these releases happening at the same time, all localization necessary. So we kind of want to ask, like what has been the challenge involved in localizing in time for release in JP, EU, and NA?

Kazuki Morishita    

In the localization part, The hardest part was actually Chinese and Korean, because we can't read.

Ryozo Tsujimoto

Well, Chinese we could kind of make sense, because it's kanji and you can read it in Japanese.

GamePress  

So you do read all the translations yourself? 

Kazuki Morishita   

Yeah, we do have a number of branches, Our company, like Taiwan. Yeah, it's, it is hard to release it all in those languages. For a global title, it's not just recommend, it's needed now. It's hard, but it's something that we needed to do.

But the hardest part is making a game from scratch. 

Real Time Mind Games

Kazuki Morishita   

This game is basically real time strategy. The system itself, we had a hard time making the system as well because the other thing is it's not just a card game, but it has a real time strategy component to it. So the balancing has to look at both elements in balance, too. The balancing was a really, really tough part for making this game.

GamePress   

It's not exactly a turn-based card game, so how did you come to the design decision? 

Kazuki Morishita   

For card games, the first thing you think about is turn-based strategy, but we want to have people who don't like card games to try it out, get the feel of it, and able to enjoy this. You want to put out a card when you want to put it out. That's when the real time strategy came in.

Kazuki Morishita   

It's not like other games, where you wait one turn for your mana to increases, and wait for another turn for your mana increases. In this game, you can wait, wait, wait, wait until you get that...

GamePress   

Specific timing?

Kazuki Morishita   

Yeah, or you can put out your strongest card or highest mana ones in the beginning as well. That's the part I was focusing on, so people can actually play their card when they want to.

But I also want to keep the card game elements when your adrenaline is pumping. You put all your cards out, that's when the active response comes in, which is when you put an action card. That's when turns the game from real time strategy to turn-based.

That's where you go into head-to-head battle, where you strategize your in your strategy and then they come back with a counter with their strategy. This is where the whole dynamics of the game changes sometimes. You can come back, even if you were losing.

This definitely combine real time strategy and turn-base elements, and that's why this game is something that was not been made before.

GamePress   

So it’s more dynamic, strategic, skill-based, and all the mind games.

Kazuki Morishita  

Everything is happening in real time, so you could kind of feel, "Oh, this guy's waiting for me right now. Should I go or not go?" Those kind of strategies, thoughts, come in too.

"Is this guy waiting for something big? Is Something big coming? Oh, he doesn't have anything right now, he's bluffing." 

Playing with Friends

GamePress  

Have you two played head-to-head before?

Kazuki Morishita   

Many times, at least 2 battles per night. Every time we battle, we like to strategize our decks. Trying to reform it, so I could actually beat it. It's been back-and-forth. At first we'll hide our decks, then alright, I'm  ready to play. 

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

Yesterday night, we played three games. I won once, and Morishita-san once. So I went back to my hotel and started reforming the deck against him. 

GamePress  

Who won the third one?

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

I won one and he won two.

Kazuki Morishita  

We both have that feeling that, I don't want to lose to him!

The day before that, I lost two times. 

GamePress   

So it's been very even between you two?

Kazuki Morishita   

Exactly. 

Ryozo Tsujimoto   

Exactly.

GamePress  

That is one thing I love about working at GamePress HQ - sitting down with my coworkers to playing these mobile games together and competing with each other. Is that the goal with TEPPEN? Having friends like the two of you, sit down and compete very aggressively, friendlily?

Kazuki Morishita   

One game is about five minutes, but with active response it can go over. Still, it's very fast pace compared to other games. It's very nice to figure out the result in that quick time frame.

GamePress  

Very short for card game.

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

Fighting games are a little faster, but it shares that kind of feeling where you can go, let's just do one match! We hope that people will like to match up really quick, and it feels like playing a fighting game as well.

GamePress  

Or go multiple rounds.

Ryozo Tsujimoto   

It's also interesting to see other people playing and watch them try new strategies. "Oh, you can play the cards that way? Oh, that's a new way to start!" Learning new strategy by watching other people is really fun too!

Community-Driven Marketing

GamePress   

Is that why you worked with a lot of YouTubers, Twitch streamer to showcase the game? You want people to be able to watch and go, "Oh, this is a very interesting game," with many potential, unique strategies. 

Kazuki Morishita   

We thought that rather than promotional videos on how to play, having streamers that actually stream the game will be more interesting. For instance, for eSports we had like big screen showing the gameplay and get people get super excited. Showing the actual playing of the game will probably get more people into it.

GamePress   

Basically, you believe the game can market itself, if people got a chance to see it. 

Kazuki Morishita   

Yeah, we were hoping that the users themselves would form their own community and start spreading.

GamePress   

Would you say this is very community driven marketing campaign?

Ryozo Tsujimoto   

Yeah, we do have normal marketing promotion. But to show the enjoyment of the game, why it's fun, it'll probably be from the community as well.

Kazuki Morishita   

Even though it's a card game, it has the action game elements in there. For example with comboing, using these units and using action cards, and started the comboing with those kind of card combinations and then beat the other person. There's that action game element as well.

GamePress   

You expect the game to streams really well?

Ryozo Tsujimoto   

I wants people connect to this game. Not just like big tournaments, but even the community making their own tournament and starting their own events. I wants to have people spread and being connected to each other, even if it's a small community inside their own area.

Kazuki Morishita   

It's a mobile game. You have your own device, so you can go,  "hey, do you want to try it out?" You can play it in the moment too.

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

That's really how I hope it'll spread. 

GamePress  

GamePress will certainly do our best to help with that. Connecting the community and building up resources for your community. 

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

Thank you very much!

World Championship and Competitive eSports

GamePress  

It sounds like this is a game that is going to have a very high skill ceiling.

Kazuki Morishita  

Skill ceiling?

GamePress  

Yeah, it's not just you have skills, but there's going to be a great differentiation between like people who is not as good as the game versus people was very, very good at the game.

Very easy to get into, but at the same time hard to master.

Kazuki Morishita  

For example the mastering part, you can only have 30 cards in your deck and 3 multiplies of the same card. For that part, it's not a big hurdle to make and master it.

We also have the rank match, where you could actually rank against someone around your rank. People could just come easily, try out and get a feel, so it's easier for them to get adapted into it.

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

In case of the action game you know, you start playing and you learn about like you know how to hadouken. Just started playing, having fun, learning how to play. Afterwards, you starts to try strategize your movements and getting more into the game, if you play it more and more and more. TEPPEN has a lot of those action game elements as well, so players could get into it. I think people used to playing action games will have the same feeling with this game as well.

GamePress  

What kind of directions you hope to take the game in, like more characters or new mechanics to be introduced?

Kazuki Morishita  

There's already a plan where we're adding new characters and new heroes and also new packs in the future.

We're also thinking about the new modes and new updates as well.

We will be eventually saying the announcement of who's gonna be the next hero. They'll be coming pretty soon.

GamePress  

Can we expect more Capcom IPs?

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

Yeah, we are not restricted to just the eight characters we have here now. Yes, you could look forward to other, new IPs as well.

Kazuki Morishita 

Who's it going to be?

GamePress  

We’re looking forward to it.

Kazuki Morishita  

You'll be surprised again.

GamePress   

That's probably the most exciting part of this project!

This is going to be a big eSports title, obviously. What's the plan? Like when is it when are you announcing that? If you don't mind revealing it? When are you announcing the big eSports tournament you'll be running?

Kazuki Morishita 

Very soon we'll announce it, the release date. 

We are planning the offline World Championship

GamePress   

A World Championship!

Kazuki Morishita  

We'll be announcing details for that as well. 

GamePress  

Please consider hosting it in the States. We want to be there! 

Kazuki Morishita  

Maybe we should do it at Honolulu?

Why TEPPEN?

GamePress  

Alright, the last question, one GamePress always ask guests in our interviews:

In a very short pitch, tell our audience why we should play TEPPEN?

Kazuki Morishita  

For people don't play card games as much, this game also the action game elements, real time strategy elements. It's actually all three elements merge together. Even if you never thought card games as great games, I would like to have you play it, because you'll find a difference and even have a lot of fun with it.

Ryozo Tsujimoto 

It's kind of weird for me to say that, but I think that I have made a really good game. 

GamePress 

Oh, you should be proud!

Ryozo Tsujimoto  

Because it's a really unique game and I would like to have everyone to try it out. When you actually play it, you can feel the excitement and you know how fun it is. When they start to play a little more, they can figure out their own little strategy. How am I gonna make this deck? How am I gonna play this game? 

Like I said before, seeing other people play will probably like you know make them want to play as well. So let's try out and you know, just feel free to try it out and shows it to your friends!

GamePress  

I think that we're good.

All right, Thank you very much!
 

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