Guns Undarkness – TGS 2022 interview with Shoji Meguro

At Tokyo Game 2022, we had a chance to speak with former ATLUS composer Shoji Meguro to discuss his first indie game The darkness of the gunswhich was recently funded successfully on Kickstarter.

The darkness of the guns is a stealth based sci-fi RPG where you try to hit the enemy before engaging in turn based combat. As Meguro’s first attempt at creating his own game, he turned to Kodansha’s Game Creators Lab, an independent game developer support organization. Although he was not selected, he was awarded 500,000 yen and raised the rest of the game’s development funds via Kickstarter.

Despite leaving ATLUS, he still plans to work with the company as a freelance composer. We ask for details below.

Now that you no longer work at ATLUS, does that mean you might be working with other companies?

Shoji Meguro: “I have a good relationship with ATLUS, so I don’t think I’ll be working with other companies for a while. That’s not to say I can’t collaborate on a song or two with other people, but in terms of making a full soundtrack, I’d only do it with ATLUS right now. But even this is not a promise that I will be the composer for the future Person Games.”

How did your original concept for The darkness of the guns that you invented in 2005 has it changed so far?

Meguro: “It has changed almost completely. All that remained the same was that I knew I wanted to make a JRPG with guns in a science fiction setting. ”

The outline of the story mentions that there was a division between rich and poor. Does this game have a political message?

Meguro: “No, I don’t like to think about politics, so it’s not focused on any political issues. In this world the gap between rich and poor leads to a war in which the world is destroyed and we have to see what humanity does after such a great restoration. “

Silly question, but in choosing the year 2045 for the setting, was that year chosen at random or is there a particular reason?

Meguro: “I try to look at the timeline of events and technological development in the real world and come to the conclusion that, in this or that year, the technology may be at some point. So when I exposed all this, I thought about 2045 “.

In screenshots and videos, the main character’s name is simply “Protagonist”. Does this imply that you can name the character?

Meguro: “Ah yes, the player will decide his name. This is a bit of a spoiler, but there is a scene where Will says something like ‘Hey, register your name’. ”

Characters are also often shown with a particular weapon. Is everyone limited to one type of weapon, like Naomi with guns, or can you change them?

Meguro: “That’s a good question. For the protagonist, you can choose any weapon you want, while the secondary characters specialize in one type of weapon, like guns with Naomi, but they also have a secondary weapon that you can choose for them.

Can you talk a little about the stealth system?

Meguro: “You don’t avoid outright encounters like in some games. Instead you try to sneak up on an enemy and hide your characters in cover to try and get the best positioning for a sneak attack.

“When aiming at enemies, you can see a percentage of accuracy. The longer you point your eyes on an enemy, the more your accuracy will increase, which leads to more damage at the start of the battle as well as not missing. It is a risk, however. The longer you hold, the greater the accuracy, but it also increases the chance that the enemy will turn around and spot you. So you will find yourself in a situation where you aim and think ‘come on, just a little more at 100 percent … please don’t turn around’. ”

Sounds a bit like XCOM.

Meguro: “Oh, I love XCOM. He (points to Yuki Katayama, Kodansha) showed it to me saying “Hey, try this game!” and I got so passionate that I fell behind with my work (laughs). “

The darkness of the guns

I see that there is a system of relationships. It is similar to? Person? What are the benefits of developing your relationships?

Meguro: “Yes, it is very similar to Person. You can talk to your teammates to increase your relationship with them, which leads to unlocking team-based combo attacks in battle.

Now that you’re developing an entire game instead of just music, you need to consider a lot of things like modeling, animation, level design, and so on. What was the funniest and most challenging thing?

Meguro: “It’s all very difficult. (Laughs). It’s hard to pick one thing because I get tired of things quickly. I’ll do one thing for a month or two, then I’ll get tired and I’ll do a different thing for a month or two until I get tired and so on.

When you create music for games, are they created knowing it’s for a specific level or scene, or do you just create a bunch of tracks and apply them later?

Meguro: “80 percent of the time I create a track for a specific scene or level, and about 20 percent are songs I’ve made that are inserted after the fact.”

For video game music, do you have to consider something game-related like matching the beat to the character’s speed or syncing a chorus when an event occurs?

Meguro: “Of course we look at the speed of the track, making sure the song from scene to scene isn’t too jarring or different, there are a lot of components involved. Timing isn’t really something I consider, I just create a different track for a different scene. ”

Before you let go, is there anything you would like to say to the fans?

Meguro: “We are really excited about achieving our goals and making the game for everyone. Seeing everyone’s enthusiasm gave us 120% energy to work even harder. I hope the fans are looking forward to the music and also support us in making our first game. As a designer, I’m just like an inexperienced first-grader. I will continue to work hard to improve the game. To those who funded us on Kickstarter and those who didn’t, thank you for your support. Please wait impatiently.

Thanks for your time, Mr. Meguro!

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