It’s been four years since Kill la Kill ended, and animation studio Trigger, Arc System Works, and APLUS are teaming up to finally make a Kill la Kill game – and from my interview at Anime Expo, they made it pretty clear that there is a big emphasis on working together to get the details of this game right.
During my interview Trigger’s Hiromi Wakabayashi revealed that the Kill la Kill the Game: If’s original story is being written by the Kill la Kill scriptwriter Kazuki Nakashima, which is a promising step toward this game feeling like a good extension of the anime.
“I think there can be a lot fans can expect from the story,” Wakabayashi said. “It’s not a continuation of the anime or a new anime by any means, but it is a very deep look into the story that’s done by Nakashima-san himself.”
The development team had ideas for the game’s title, but it was ultimately picked and given greater context by Nakashima. Kill la Kill the Game: If means a whole lot more in Japanese than it does in English – the kanji used in the title for “if” is made up of the kanji for “alternating” and “cloth.”
“The implication already is not just the English word ‘if,’ but with ‘alternating cloth,’ you can expect something different in the storyline,” Wakabayashi said and pointed out that Ryuko is missing from the game’s promotional key art. During the Anime Expo panel for Kill la Kill the Game, it was revealed that instead of following Ryuko, this game follows Satsuki.
APLUS’ Hideaki Mizota said the project was originally a collaboration between Arc System Works and Trigger.
There’s certainly potential for an interesting story, but the Kill la Kill game has to look right and be fun too. APLUS’ Hideaki Mizota said the project was originally a collaboration between Arc System Works and Trigger. Due to Arc System Works’ bandwidth limitations, their team couldn’t make the game they wanted and the project was given to APLUS, a subsidiary of Arc System Works. For fans worried about the game’s quality because of concerns raised over APLUS’ Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time, Mizota said that there’s a lot different with this project, especially when it comes to working directly with Arc System Works as a publisher.
Mizota, who directed of Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time, said Bandai Namco’s priority with the Little Witch Academia game was promoting and selling the game with certain requested features.
“In the case of Bandai Namco, for better or for worse and I don’t mean this in any negative way, but even if the game’s quality and gameplay design wasn’t really that high, Bandai Namco wouldn’t say much,” Mizota said. “I cannot say the same of Arc System Works. As soon as they didn’t like a mechanic or a system – in fact, I have a story. Our company is located in Osaka, but when [the game] wasn’t fun on the first build, they brought a part of my team to Yokohama where Arc’s office is and we were locked into a room for three months with Team Red, the Guilty Gear team, to learn how to better create these forms of expression [in a 3D space] and just game design.“
Mizota said that Team Red provided lots of advice on fighting mechanics as well. The attention to detail isn’t just on Arc System Works’ side, though. Wakabayashi explained that different teams at Trigger have varying expectations for projects, and his Kill la Kill team is incredibly particular on what’s acceptable.
“Even if it’s the pose of the hand or exactly how it’s designed – something that might slip through with the Little Witch team would definitely not make it through on the Kill la Kill team,” Wakabayashi said. “APLUS has been very diligent in delivering a lot of retakes and meeting our standards of particularness.”
The attention to detail continues with, of course, how the game looks and plays.
“We as Trigger have made a lot of requests to APLUS, especially with the models. I think what Sushio-san has created is being created as a 3D model, and it almost feels very anime in nature,” Wakabayashi said. “I think fans, once they pick up the controller and move these characters around, it is going to feel like are moving the characters in this anime space. That’s something that I’m really looking forward to.”
Some systems of the game pull from unique elements of Kill la Kill, like one-liners being used as a sort of taunting mechanic or system. Toshimichi Mori, a producer and director at Arc System Works, said, above all, Arc System Works games have to feel good and be intuitive. Without going into the mechanical details, he said the Kill la Kill game should play well and be fun at that.
Rounding out the interview was Sushio, an animator at Trigger and Kill la Kill’s character designer. He agreed and emphasized on the team’s goal of Kill la Kill the Game: If feeling like the anime.
“What I look forward to is I hope the fans, when they finish playing this game, that they will feel as though they had finished watching the anime. That’s the feeling I’m really hoping the game [conveys].”
Kill la Kill the Game: If is expected to be out in 2019 on PlayStation 4 and PC.
Miranda Sanchez is a senior editor at IGN. You can chat with her about video games and anime on Twitter.