'Resurgence' may be too strong a word, or even the wrong one entirely, but the DS and Wii have certainly encouraged developers to treat adventure games as a viable option again despite the waning fortunes of the genre on other platforms. Perhaps most significantly, the Nintendo formats have put adventure games together with Japanese developers, who only rarely engaged with point-and-clock games or more traditional adventures on previous systems.
Cing, the Japanese developer of games like and Hotel Dusk: Room 215, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries, not only delivering critically acclaimed DS games that map the unique attributes of Nintendo's current systems to a traditional adventure framework, but growing closer to Nintendo in the process. The company also recently contributed to the excellent Little King's Story, and all eyes are now on Another Code R, the Wii follow-up to Another Code: Two Memories.
Following its Japanese launch in February, it's due out on 26th June in Europe. With the release fast approaching, we swapped emails with some of the developers in Japan via translator. Thanks to game and scenario designer Rika Suzuki, character designer/art director Taisuke Kanasaki, director Shigeru Komine, producer Takuya Miyagawa, and Nintendo-based co-producer Satoshi Kira for their time. Look out for a review of the game closer to release.
Eurogamer: What has happened to Ashley Robbins since the end of Another Code: Two Memories, and what is she doing in Another Code R?
Rika Suzuki: After the end of the previous title where Ashley finally met her father who had been thought to be dead, she started living with her aunt Jessica and father Richard. Richard promised to be with her ever after. [In spite of this], they are getting further apart, with Richard not coming home even at the weekends, after he started to work at the laboratory called J.C. Valley. Ashley turned 16 and was devoted to her band. She was invited to a summer camping programme at Lake Juliet, where J.C. Valley also exists. In this title, Ashley faces her father to solve the mysterious death of her mother.
Eurogamer: What can you tell us about Juliet Lake, and Matthew Cruesoe?
Rika Suzuki: We preferred [to use] what is not in Ashley's daily life in the city as the stage of the story, like Blood Edward Island in the previous title. This time we applied Lake Juliet. Matthew is the shadow of Ashley, who visited Blood Edward Island in search of her father. After encountering Matthew, Ashley starts to know deeper secrets of Lake Juliet.
Eurogamer: The DS game used a lot of stylus and DS functions for puzzles (like closing the DS!). What kind of interactions will be included in Another Code R?
Takuya Miyagawa: In the previous DS version, we believed we could surprise the players with the things which could be realised only on Nintendo DS. Also in this Wii version, we have applied those which can be realised only on Wii. Please look out for them!
Eurogamer: The DS game used both screens very effectively for normal gameplay too. How does Another Code work on the Wii?
Shigeru Komine: In case of Another Code R, as the player only faces one screen, the screen usage on previous DS version was not possible. Thus we decided to split it so that Ashley and other characters can effectively show their emotions. We have applied an easy control, and a single Wii remote covers the most part of it. Also, players often have to compare the Wii remote to something else during the gameplay. Please discover what it is as you play the game!
Eurogamer: Adventure games were rare on the DS when Another Code was released, but they are fairly common nowadays on both DS and Wii. What makes Another Code R stand out?
Takuya Miyagawa: Another Code R consists of non-violent and non-cruel storyline and expressions, compared to other adventure games. It is a videogame which everyone can enjoy by feeling deep human relations and mysterious events, in an in-depth story. Especially as for solving questions, players can enjoy playing as if they became Ashley in the game, with the Wii-exclusive control.
Eurogamer: What do you think about other Wii adventure games? Which do you admire?
Shigeru Komine: There are still only a few adventure games which focus on conversation and story like Another Code R among Wii titles. From that viewpoint, I believe more adventure games of such features will be coming out.
Eurogamer: The Wii is often unfairly described as a console for non-gamers. Does that affect development of a game like Another Code R? Who is your target audience?
Shigeru Komine: We do not believe that Another Code R is only for core gamers. As it can be played as fast or slow as players want, we believe it would be the best next step for those who firstly tried Wii with titles like Wii Sports or Wii Fit. From that viewpoint, we spent so much time to design controls that no kind of players get lost for what or how to do.
Eurogamer: It is more important than ever for Japanese games to be successful in the United States and Europe. Does this change the way you think about new games like Another Code R?
Takuya Miyagawa: For adventure games outside Japan, I have a feeling that very difficult titles which focus more on puzzles than stories, like MYST, have been most welcomed. On the other hand, Japanese titles have not been. But now we think we that adventure titles which mainly focus on story or atmosphere can be more welcomed, because Another Code: Two Memories and Hotel Dusk: Room 215 have succeeded very well. Thus we would like to try to develop titles with more new features.
Eurogamer: Is this the final game in the Another Code series, or would you consider making more?
Takuya Miyagawa: Another Code: Two Memories and Hotel Dusk: Room 215 have been welcomed by a number of players, and their heroine and hero, Ashley and Kyle Hyde, especially became very popular. We are looking forward to seeing what they are going to do in the future, and realizing it someday.
Rika Suzuki: We are looking forward to hearing your feelings and opinions for the title. I believe it will contribute a lot for the next creation of Cing.
Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories is due out exclusively for Wii on 26th June and will be reviewed soon.