CyberConnect2 Interview – Self-Publishing Fuga, .Hack Series, and What’s to Come

For years now, CyberConnect2 has been the studio behind some of your favorite anime fighters Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. However, alongside these releases, the team has also been dipping into the self-publishing space with the release of the Fuga series. Now, with the launch of Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2, we were able to sit down with Executive Vice President Mr. Taichiro Miyazaki and discuss what it’s like for the study to develop this series and what we can expect from future releases.

Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 is available now on all platforms. Check out our review to learn more.

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Azario Lopez: Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 is the second self-published title from Cyberconnect2. I’d like to know how your experience has been as a development studio self-publishing.

Taichiro Miyazaki: We’re very excited to be working on our original series, and we’re focused on production, which comes with various learning curves that we’ve encountered while self-publishing. But when it came to Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2, I think we’ve figured out what it takes to work on and release an original series. This means there were no delays during production, and we were able to utilize some of the lessons that we’ve learned from publishing the original Fuga: Melodies of Steel.

AL: I was wondering if there are any plans to release Fuga: Melodies of Steel physically. I know a lot of fans have been asking about that.

TM: We would love the opportunity to release physical copies of this series. Having said that, there’s nothing concrete or planned yet, but we do want to work toward this and focus on bringing more attention to the series.

AL: Fuga: Melodies of Steel received several updates since its release up until the release of Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2. Will Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 continue to receive updates in terms of more story DLC or balancing?

TM: We pride ourselves as developers, and since Fuga: Melodies of Steel was the first title we did ourselves, we wanted it to be up to our standards and the standards of players. We searched through player feedback on social media on ways we can improve the experience, which resulted in several patches for Fuga: Melodies of Steel.

Our approach to Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 remains the same. We already incorporated user feedback to make the experience better. Our approach is the same, and we remain sincere to our players and their feedback.

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AL: Given that there are other sequels planned, how do intend to break our hearts more than you already have?

TM: I just want to say thank you so much for suffering. We want to create truthful, compelling gaming experiences by presenting hard choices and dilemmas to the player experience. This is true for our other titles. We announced the Vengeance Trilogy (Editor’s note: this refers to the Trilogy of Vengeance, which makes up three Fuga titles) and are still working on Tokyo Ogre Gate and Cecile. When it comes to the Trilogy of Vengeance, we wanted to create something deep, full of raw emotions for the player to experience. This is something that we set out to conceptualize for this trilogy. So I guess that you could say, yes, we’ll bring more pain and suffering. Please look forward to it.

AL: Where did the original concept of Fuga: Melodies of Steel come from? I know it’s loosely based in the Tail Concerto universe, but what made you guys really want to push forward with this kind of furry JRPG adventure?

TM: We have always been fans of this kemono fandom or furry fandom. Our very first titles were in this style. As we make new endeavors as a developer, we always come back to furry fandom because this is what we know. So, when we were creating Fuga: Melodies of Steel. Our first self-published title. No question. It was going to have furries.

AL: Since the launch of Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2, how has the general reception been in consideration of sales?

TM: When it comes to reception, because we worked on so many updates for Fuga: Melodies of Steel, while we worked on those updates, we also wanted to incorporate that into Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 so that we didn’t have to work off of a blank slate. This allowed us to improve the user experience while also expanding on the narrative and characters. So in terms of the fan reaction, I think we are seeing what we wanted to see. In terms of sales, Fuga: Melodies of Steel launched, and then slowly but surely, we increased the fan base. We expect pretty much the same thing to happen for Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2.

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AL: Fuga: Melodies of Steel has a game flow that allows each player to have a unique experience. Depending on your choices, the ending can be wildly different, and my playthrough can be completely different from someone else. Was this meant to be the approach to gameplay?

TM: We love hearing that player experiences are unique. This game forces players to make choices throughout their journey, and with choices come different consequences. That allows players to walk, tread on different paths based on their choices. And because of that, although the gameplay may be consistent, they go through so many various paths depending on what they choose. This comes with a lot of different personalities and characters.

AL: Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 has a system where you may be forced to use the Soul Cannon during a boss. In the first game, I could just avoid using it at all costs, but here, it’s possible for a timer to appear and force the player to make a difficult choice.

TM: Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. Absolutely. While play-testing, we really wanted to make Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 challenging and compelling for players to make these decisions. We’re happy with our strategy to really deliver meaningful experiences to players, and I’m happy that it seems to be working.

AL: Are there any other genres that you’d like to explore as a self-publishing developer?

TM: We’re aware of what we are good at, which lies mostly in making action games and building detailed settings and universes similar to what is found in the Fuga: Melodies of Steel series. So I’ll just say those two genres will be what we continue to expand on.

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AL: I know I asked you three years, but I’m just going to ask again, when are we going to get a remaster of the original .Hack series or a reboot?

TM: I hate that this might sound repetitive. We’re very passionate about the .Hack series, and bringing back the original quadrilogy and even remaking those is something I’d like to do. However, although this is our original IP, its license is held by Bandai Namco Entertainment, and without their green light, we can’t really do anything. So at this time, we urge the readers to fire away all the requests to them so that we can get the green light from them to work on those titles.

AL: Is there anything you’d like to say to players who have played Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 and even players who are interested? I guess that’s a two-part question.

TM: So, for those players who already played Fuga: Melodies of Steel and have yet to play Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2. Fuga: Melodies of Steel ended, but these characters didn’t live happily ever after. They must now set on New Journey. The plot is bigger and better, and I just can’t wait for you to experience their new journey.

For whoever hasn’t played Fuga: Melodies of Steel before, you should definitely play this before the sequel. I’m so excited for you to discover this universe. These characters live in a peaceful village where they get attacked by invaders. The children are left while their families are kidnapped. They find this mysterious tank and set off on an unforgettable journey. It might sound like a brutal war game, but as the concept theme, I just want to emphasize that it’s really about friendship and how these children overcome challenges together.

And lastly, for those of you who already played Fuga Two. First of all, thank you so much for playing this game. I’m really happy as a developer that we were able to deliver this experience to you. As you might have noticed, there are a lot of mysteries that need to be revealed throughout the adventure. We made sure to scatter a lot of these so that you can’t necessarily reveal them completely in one playthrough. I hope you get to have more fun.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.