D(ante): Hello Mr. Mori and thank you very much for the interview. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
M(ori) I am the creator and Producer of BlazBlue at Arc System Works - I have worked at Arc System Works on games like Guilty Gear, you could say 2D fighting games are our speciality.
D: Please tell us and our readers something about the upcoming "BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend". What is going to be new?
M: BlazBlue Extend is the 'Ultimate' version of BlazBlue - we've added in more content, modes, characters, stories and totally re-balanced the fighting system - it's a refinement of everything we've learned over the last few years.
The main additions are the new character Relius Clover. He's a very sinister bad guy from the Story Mode - and the father of Carl Clover. He also fights with a similar 'dual character' system where your drive attacks give you control over his giant robotic puppet, Ignis. Ignis is much faster than Carl's Nirvana, so Relius feels more immediately fun to use.
We've also added in two new modes, Unlimited Mars - which is really tough score attack against the game's unlimited characters - super powered versions of all the characters. We also have an improved Abyss Mode - this is a little like survival, but at points after the battles you can upgrade certain areas of your character like speed and power and special attacks - so it has an RPG-like element of strategy to it.
We have also included Team Battles for the first time similar to the big tournament in Japan, Tougeki. So you can set up your own tournaments and teams - which is great fun and there is more variety to the online experience.
One of my favourite additions is the inclusion of the original Calamity Trigger Story which we have reedited. We wanted to put this in so that new players could enjoy the story right from the very beginning. BlazBlue is unique in that the Stroy Mode is a really big part of the game - we want people to get emotionally involved with our characters and to provide entertainment outside just the fighting and online play - so I realy hope you take time to enjoy this part of the game.
D: How about the PS Vita-version? Was it hard to bring BlazBlues fast gameplay and colorful graphics to the small handheld game console?
M: For Vita no, it has been great. When you see the game running on Vita you will see it is identical to the PS3 and 360 version in terms of visual quality! The PS Vita is a very powerful machine BlazBlue looks very good on it, so that gap between home console and portable is much smaller with Vita.
D: There has also been a Nintendo 3DS-version of "BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II", which was released in Japan, America and Europe last year. What do you prefer: Nintendo's 3DS oder Sony's PS Vita? And why?
M: They are both so different it's hard to say one is better than the other. The PS Vita is very powerful, but the 3DS has two screens and 3D, so different machines can be used for different kinds of games.
D: The BlazBlue-series has come a long way, earned a lot of fans and introduced a lot of cool and interesting characters. Who is your favourite BlazBlue-character (playable or non-playable) ? And why?
M: Hakumen is my favourite character - I actually thought of him a very long time ago while I was in school. His design and characteristics have been in my head for a very long time. It's great to see him come alive with BlazBlue. He is very close to my heart.
D: Last December you said, that you want to make BlazBlue 3 in 2012. Is this your actual plan or just a small idea for the future?
M: BlazBlue was always intended to be a trilogy. I've started the story now - so I have to finish it! I hope gamers will look forward to this happening. If you are unfamiliar with the BlazBlue story, be sure to pick up Extend and experience it from start to finish!
D: A few years ago gamers lost all interest in fighting games due to action-packed shooters, but regained the lost interest thanks to Capcom's Street Fighter IV. Now all upcoming Beat'em Ups are becoming big hits. How would you explain the gamer's love for fighting games?
M: Street fighter has been a big help to fighters. I think once the arcade scene declined in the west, fighting games became less popular. Now I think the community around fighting games is much stronger - with fans setting up events and tournaments all the time. This is great for us to see - and enjoying fighting games is much easier when you can meet up and fight against people side by side.
The fighting games available are much more diverse too - there are lost of different play styles for people to enjoy. One of our goals is to continue to surprise people - to offer them a fighting game experience that they can not find anywhere else. As long as people try to achieve this I think the fighting scene will continue to grow.
D: Our fans want to know more about you: What are your favourite movies, animes and manga? What music are you listening to? And what are the games, that inspired you to become a game designer?
M: Movies I like are Bladerunner and Star Wars - they have had some influence on the design of BlazBlue. For manga, I very much enjoy Kiseiju - which is about parasites falling to earth and taking over humans. As for anime? Giant Robo, a very old anime is one of my favourites, along with Trigu and Neon Genesis Evangelion. One of those three also had an influence on BlazBlue - see if you can guess which one!
D: Thank you for your time! Is there anything you want to say to your german fans?
M: I hope you enjoy BlazBlue Extend! It is the best version we have made, and is very welcoming to newcomers and even non-fighting game fans! I hope many of you will also try it out for the first time and enjuoy playing with friends. Also, a big thank you to everyone who is a part of the Germany Fighting game community - I hope you continue to enjoy playing and meeting up at tournaments!
D: Thank you for your time and good luck with BlazBlue 3!