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The World of Fantasy Novel
Interview with Takahiro Baba and Shinji Orito

• The VisualArt’s is a developer of game software applications for a fantasy novel, which is a novel, but the story development depends on the player’s choice. Consequently, the story conclusion differentiates with the players options. Thus the fantasy novel is usually called as an adventure game. While VisualArt’s provides game engines, it also creates adventure games with franchisees or its own section called “Key”.
• Takahiro Baba is CEO of the VisualArt’s and Shinji Orito is a creator of the company.

• Q: How are American fans different from Japanese ones?

• Baba: Surprisingly they are the same. Guys in both countries come up to me with their shining eyes to say hello.

• Q: Key’s adventure games always attract users’ emotions. How can you make them that way?

• Baba: Basically, a visual novel is consisted of monologue and conversations and is a medium that allows the expression of many happenings in the characters’ minds. Thus users are moved by the emotions of the characters. Especially the ending part of a game, we describe minds of the characters by using a half of the story. When we make an anime from the game, we do the same.

• Q: Why are you going to release the English version of Harmonia before releasing the Japanese one?

• Baba: Because we want to know about the response from English-language users. The release is delayed because I didn’t like the sound effect setting, so I ordered it modified again and again. I’m sure it’ll be completed soon.

• Q: You have signed franchise contracts with your former creators, who became independent, to support them. Do they face difficulties?

• Baba: They are at a loss to see their own abilities. They want to make a game what they were impressed before; however, in most case, they don’t have enough talents to create it. It’s an important point to me to lead them to work step by step.
• Another important point is to let them concentrate on their creations. In the recent networking society, there was too much noise to allow them to do their jobs.

• Q: Kanon was released from Key in 1999, and converted to anime in 2002 and 2006. Why did you make it twice?

• Baba: The technologies in anime have tremendously advanced in these 15 years and made it possible to express game contents in an anime more accurately. That was the reason we did it twice.

• Q: Anime “Rewrite” is going to be made based on the game “Rewrite”, and new characters will appear in it. Why have you changed it?

• Baba: The entire story of Rewrite is very difficult to fully understand. Even most users who finished the game don’t see the real meaning of the story. So we added new expressions and characters in the anime version to make the story more understandable.

• Q: Do you have a plan to make an English version of visual novel “Rewrite”?

• Baba: Yes. We are going to release a new visual novel “Rewrite Plus” along with the anime story. When it is completed, we’ll work on the English version.

• Q: Japanese anime and games have become popular in the world. How do you take account of the world audience?

• Baba: So far, we haven’t reached the level to know about the world audience. Basically, our creations are fantasy, so creators are making what they want. However, I know that we have to explain the contents more for the world audience. For example, the Japanese college life is different from that of Americans, so we have to think about it in the future games.
• I have an idea to ask an American writer to describe the American college life, but writing for visual novel has so much work, and a great deal of patience is required. Can you do that?

• Q: How did you get into this profession?

• Baba: I was a scenario writer and released my own work, but I know that I’m not very talented, so I decided to ask talented people to write.

• Q: Mr. Orito, you composed the theme music of AIR “Tori no Uta”, and other creators have worked very hard to catch up with your Tori no Uta. What is the perfect composition to you?

• Orito: I think that no such perfect composition exists because if you think that a piece is superlative, it is your limit. I don’t want it and I look for making a better piece.

• Q: Have you faced difficulties when you make a piece?

• Orito: I didn’t have much difficulty when I composed Tori no Uta. If you make many pieces of music, you open your own drawers and use up your ideas that you have stored there.
• Well, I was nervous and under the pressure when I composed a piece for the theme song for VisualArt’s 20th anniversary. It was a very important piece as a milestone, so I had so much works for it. Mr. Baba wrote its lyrics.

• Q: What kind of new games will be possibly developed?

• Baba: Our visual novel is closer to paper books rather than games. So a possibility would be one that the age or gender of a main character changes by the age and gender of a player.

• Thank you very much

Takahiro Baba, CEO of the VisualArt’s and Shinji Orito, Creator of the company