Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 Interview – Sex, Vita, and Localization

PlayStation LifeStyle recently got a chance to talk with the director Shingo Onodera and CEO of Idea Fatory Internationl, Haru Akenaga about the upcoming Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. In the interview we get some great answers concerning localization, fan feedback, and so much more.

PlayStation LifeStyle: For someone who hasn’t played a Hyperdimension Neptunia game, how would you describe the gameplay?

Haru Akenaga: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is a turn-based RPG in which you play as the upbeat main character Neptune. Neptune is one of the four goddesses known as CPUs who protect their lands from one another. One day, Neptune, under her true name, “Purple Heart,” was defeated by the other three goddesses and sent to the lower realm, where she meets IF and Compa. With those two helping her, she begins a journey to explore the world of Gamindustri.

Neptunia can transform into Purple Heart during battles, which increases her stats and allows her to deal more damage to enemies. Each character has her own skills, and you will also be able to use combination attacks and super moves, known as EXE Drives. Using the special moves and combination attacks requires that the player think strategically in battle.

One of the new systems I’d like to mention is the Remake System, which shows up as “Plan” in the menu. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 gives players options to modify the gameplay by using the Remake System. Players can acquire “plans” from battles, the residents of Gamindustri, and so on. Once a plan’s requirements have been fulfilled, you can add that plan to the game. For example, you can make enemies stronger, give rare items a higher drop rate, make your character jump higher to reach new places, and a lot more. This Remake System allows the player to customize the game as they see fit. This is a new feature to the Neptunia series, so we hope that fans of the original game will enjoy this new gameplay experience!

PSLS: Will Re;Birth 1 have English voice overs?

Haru: Yes! The voiceovers are all new, since Neptunia Re;Birth1 has a different script from the original Neptunia. However, we have kept all the same voice actors as used in the original.

PSLS: What are the biggest challenges you find when bringing a game like Neptunia over to NA and Europe?

Haru: Well, bringing Neptunia Re;Birth1 to Western regions was not a hardship we faced. The Neptunia series does have a lot of hardcore fans, and we knew they were waiting for Re;Birth1 to be released in their regions. The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is that we have to take small steps for certain regions and release formats. We would like to be able to treat all fans in every country equally, and we do appreciate all their support, no matter where they come from. However, in order to make business sense, we sometimes have to make a decision that may seem unfair to fans in certain regions. We want to keep improving on these points even if every step seems like a small one.

PSLS: How do you decide what content makes it from the Japanese version to the localized version?

Haru: We usually evaluate which titles to localize from two different perspectives. The first is to see which titles fans are really looking forward to playing, and the other is the western market and a business point of view. Idea Factory, including Compile Heart and Otomate, have a massive list of video game titles each year. It would be almost impossible to localize every title they release in Japan to the western market. So, we gauge the interest our fans have in these titles, what they’re requesting, and so on. At the same time, we look at the western market and see how it would fare from the business side.

PSLS: What feedback did you take directly from fans of the series and implement in Re;Birth1?

Shingo Onodera: After the release of Neptunia V, we received a lot of feedback from fans of the series. It was unanimous that they would love to play the original Neptunia game using the Nep V system. We’ve had many complaints from fans regarding the original game’s system and story, so we decided to listen to their voices. The dev team also expressed a desire to remake the first game using the Nep V system, using the skills and experience that they’ve earned in creating the three installments of the Neptunia series to make the first one even better.

PSLS: The Neptunia series has a lot of sexual innuendo and some say it unnecessary. How would you respond to those people?

Haru: We at Idea Factory International would like to honor the creators of the Neptunia series. They do listen to fans of the games, and they have been improving each title they release for the series. Therefore, we believe that the innuendo, even if is unnecessary for some, is a part of the series’ uniqueness and characteristics.

PSLS: With Producing Perfection and now Re;Birth1 on the Vita, will the West see Hyperdimension Neptunia U and Planet Destroyer Black Heart?

Haru: We certainly hope that we can bring these titles to western fans. However, we have no set plans at this particular moment. Do you think your readers would like to have these titles localized?

Neptunia Re;Birth

PSLS: What are the biggest differences between Re;Birth1 and the original Hyperdimension Neptunia?

Haru: The biggest difference is the remade battle system. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 was developed using the battle system from Neptunia V on PS3. Also, the scenario has been re-written; the base story is the same, but there are a lot of changes. Even if you’ve played the original Hyperdimension Neptunia on PlayStation 3, you’ll experience a whole new game with Re;Birth1!

PSLS: Why did you feel the need to remake the original and why only for the Vita?

Shingo: We decided to remake the original Neptunia game on Vita after receiving feedback from fans. They said that they wanted to play a Neptunia game on the Vita, and that the Vita had the best capabilities to show off the great characters among the handheld game systems. More than just graphical gorgeousness, the Vita has high-quality sound spec for voice and music. The Vita’s design specs are enough that we could even use the character models and sounds from the PS3 version, which allowed us to cut the development period while retaining the same level of quality as on PS3. On top of that, players will be able to continue enjoying the game after beating it by using PSN to provide new content.

PlayStation LifeStyle would like to thank both Shingo Onodera and Haru Akenaga for taking the time to answer our questions. Hyperdimension Neptunia ReBirth;1 will be releasing on August 26th for the PlayStation Vita.