Idea Factory and Knights in the Nightmare developer Sting formed a new company called Super Sting. Their first title together was Generation of Chaos: Pandora’s Reflection for PSP, which is actually the sixth game in the series and the first numbered title since Generation of Chaos V which came out in 2005. Pandora’s Reflection is quite different than other entries in the series. In fact, it’s more like the Yggdra Union spinoff, Yggdra Unison.
How did the partnership with Sting to create Super Sting start?
Idea Factory: We kept persistently getting in touch with Sting, and after a while things finally came to fruition.
Idea Factory worked on characters and the story. Where does Pandora’s Reflection fit into the Generation of Chaos series and can you tell us about the process Idea Factory goes through when making heroes?
Hidetoshi Ishitoya, Director at Super Sting: In order to maintain the same feel, we used the same terminology and setting as previous Generation of Chaos games. For the gameplay, we made it very Sting-esque. With this approach, we think we made it a good mix of IF and Sting. In terms of character design, because the story was more on the "heavy" side, we designed everything to feel serious and a little gloomy.
Can you tell us about designing the gameplay? The way you draw a path for the character on a map filled with traps reminded me of Yggdra Unison.
HI: That’s right. We used our Yggdra Unison system for this game, which involves taking over strategic points and increasing the number of units they can dispatch. The battles can be tough, but by utilizing special gameplay features such as Chaos Attacks and Summons, victory is certainly achievable.
When you encounter an enemy, Pandora’s Reflection plays kind of like a rhythm game where you have to press circle to strike an enemy. Where did this idea come from?
HI: The key to winning battles depends on the use of combo-based Chaos Attacks, so we didn’t want to make it too simple. At the same time, we didn’t want to make it too complex and drive up the difficulty that way. So we decided that a good approach would be the rhythm-based combat that made it into the final game.
Sting is known for making games with complex systems. What’s the key to making a battle system that has strategic depth and feels balanced without the computer cheating because it predicts a player’s actions or is over-leveled?
HI: We do realize that our games can get pretty complex sometimes. But we’re always conscious of not making the enemies too strong, while still making sure that winning requires a good amount of thought and strategy. For us, games are a form of entertainment where players have fun while engaging their brain. This is why we allow our battle systems to involve a lot of strategizing. In terms of level design and AI, we go through multiple iterations and fine-tune them as we progress.
It seems like Generation of Chaos: Pandora’s Reflection would be best suited for a system with a touch screen like Vita, 3DS, or a smartphone. Why was Pandora’s Reflection made for PSP?
HI: With the Vita’s touchscreen movement possibilities, we would have loved to explore that. However, because the game began development well before the Vita was even announced, and because the PSP still has a very large audience, we decided to focus on releasing the game for the PSP.
What other Idea Factory titles would Sting like to work on?
Sting: Idea Factory has released many unique games, and we have a lot of interest in all of their titles. Among all of them, we would love to work on a simulation-based game for either Hakuoki or Neptunia.
What is Super Sting planning on for 2013. What platforms are you focusing on and will see a new game?
IF:We are now really busy working with Sting on titles such as Date A Live, but be sure that you will hear from us really soon with more “Super Sting” titles.
Edit: First Generation of Chaos: Pandora's Reflection review is up!