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Disaster Report/Granzella founder on post-Irem future & Disaster Report 4

Great interview, drop a bus on if old.

Credit to Gematsu for the translation:
http://gematsu.com/2015/02/granzell...-report-acquisition-playstation-home-shutdown




It seems like the announcement that your company has acquired the IP and selling rights to the Disaster Report series has been met with a lot of fanfare.

Kujo: It has. The response we got was more than we were personally expecting. In fact, we were really surprised to see so many people happy about the announcement. It’s been about four years since development was cancelled for Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories, making it six years since the series has had a proper game come out with Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3 [the Japan-only PSP installment]. On a personal level, we were just glad to have the rights as a matter of principle, but knowing that we still have so many patient fans waiting for us is something that feels really great. At the same time, I hate that things have been drawn out for so long, so my feelings on this are all a little complicated.

...

Could you talk a little about how you ended up with these rights?

Kujo: Sure. So one of the original goals we had when we founded Granzella was to put out another disaster game. That sort of subject matter makes for a risky proposition, so we set out to make a company where we could assume that risk and the administrative responsibilities that come with it ourselves. Knowing that, if it was at all possible, we wanted to realize that vision with Disaster Report specifically. When we approached Irem about it, they were really understanding and things progressed well from there. And then last year, our talks wrapped up and we made our announcement at the end of last year in the midst of the usual holiday chaos.

...

And now all eyes are on where the Disaster Report series goes from here. How are you thinking things are going to proceed from here?

Kujo: At the outset, right now we want to revive interest in the series again, so by the time this interview is published, we should have the first two games, Disaster Report and Raw Danger for the PS2, available for download as PlayStation Classics [on the Japanese PlayStation Store]. And then from there, we’re working on getting out Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3 out again as a downloadable PSP game, too.

...

Tells us a little about the state of Disaster Report 4 because it was well into development and the standard media blitz when it was cancelled. Will the game you guys put out just be a continuation of what you worked on previously or will it be something completely new?

Kujo: What we accomplished with Disaster Report 4 originally is still something I want the world to see, so it’s not like we plan on scrapping everything and rebuilding it from square one. Things like the basic themes, the summertime setting, the situations that the protagonist finds themselves [the original version allowed for selectable gender] in, I figure those will more or less remain intact. But a lot of time has also passed since we first worked on the game and the industry is in a different place now; the ways games express themselves, the technology they use, we have to incorporate those things now to make it all work.

...

It’s unfortunate it all has to come to an end for sure. If I can ask, have you decided what platforms Disaster Report 4 will come out on yet?

Kujo: We’re not quite ready to talk about that yet. Check back in during the fall later this year and we’ll be ready to talk about that.

...

Disaster Report aside, do you have word on any other Irem properties like R-Type and Steambot Chronicles?

Kujo: We’ve definitely had people asking us in the wake of the Disaster Report acquisition whether there would be more stuff coming from R-Type and the return of Steambot Chronicles II. Believe me, I have a great deal of love for those series, too, but right now I can only guarantee that we’ve got Disaster Report.
...


Oh, actually, one more thing. Do you plan on still doing something special for April Fool’s Day this year?

Kujo: Yes, of course! We’ve been hashing those details out since May last year! (Laughs) So look forward to that, too.
 

Eolz

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Jun 1, 2014
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Interesting interview.

It’s unfortunate it all has to come to an end for sure. If I can ask, have you decided what platforms Disaster Report 4 will come out on yet?

Kujo: We’re not quite ready to talk about that yet. Check back in during the fall later this year and we’ll be ready to talk about that.

What if Nintendo got a game for cheap on WiiU once again?
Personally think it will be a multiplat title, with a PS3 version.
 

Vexidus

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Disaster Report was a guilty pleasure of mine back in the day. Loved that game. I never did finish Raw Danger, I should go back to it sometime. The idea of a new game in the series makes me really excited.
 

dogflaps

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Dec 3, 2014
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Holy shit, I totally forgot about this series. I played SOS Final Escape (as Disaster Report was known in the UK) and absolutely loved it! Branching storylines, varied gameplay segments (exploration, stealth, action, rpg elements) and some really awesome set pieces like running away from a tsunami and collapsing buildings; I was amazed the game didn't get more recognition.

I'd love a PS4 sequel.
 

Pepsiman

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Hey, somebody wrote about my translation here! Awesome!

Yeah, Kujo's a great guy to translate; very earnest, down to earth person who doesn't just tow the marketing line when talking to outlets like Famitsu. I translated another interview he did with them years ago about a Japan-only pachinko RPG he did because I'm a big fan of that, too, and he just came across as super articulate, sensitive, and intelligent. Really rare to see that in the context of pre-release game promotion in Japan; makes my work a lot easier. I want to make a point of translating the ones he did for all of the official Japanese Disaster Report strategy guides at some point down the line, but I digress.

Very interested to see what the future holds for Granzella in terms of both Disaster Report 4 and the other games they apparently have in development. It's nice to see a smaller Japanese studio like that still doing okay in the industry in this day and age. Here's hoping they still do well once they don't have Home to rely on anymore.
 

AtomskEater

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I'm really glad these IPs didn't just sink into inactivity. Looking forward to the next Disaster Report.

And thanks for the translation Pepsiman! :D
 

Red Blaster

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didn't he say like 3 months ago that granzella has a ps4 game in development

i'm guessing it'll be crossgen tho given zzt1 and 2 were released on psn early this month
 

Percy

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Apr 29, 2014
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Interesting interview.



What if Nintendo got a game for cheap on WiiU once again?
Personally think it will be a multiplat title, with a PS3 version.

Possible, but I'm thinking it's most likely going to be on 3DS.
 

dramatis

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Looking forward to their works. It's nice to hear of a revived IP nowadays rather than to see another IP get flushed into some back closet somewhere.
 

speedpop

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I can't be anything outside of salty when Disaster Report was such a mess. I fucking loved the scenario, but the framerate fluctuations killed me. I can only begin to imagine a flock of Japanese developers crammed in a shitty office situation and feel nothing but satisfaction concerning the end product they shat out.
 

theRizzle

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I wonder if they will keep the name Disaster Report, or if it will be Raw Danger 2 or something completely different.

These games are so unique. I would be thrilled to play a new one on PS4 or even Vita.
 

Takao

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Wasn't #4 pretty much done? Couldn't they just, like, put it out on PSN?

Nope:

And to be quite frank, I just don’t think we could release the game quite as it was when we had to abandon it. The reality is that if we hadn’t had trouble finishing the original version to begin with, if development had gone more smoothly, we would have been able to put the game out in a more timely fashion. I’ve done a lot of thinking these last four years about what happened. I’m glad we’ve got the rights to the series, but there’s a lot of self-introspection going on right now as to whether I’m now capable of really making that game what it should be. All of that is going to inform how we develop Disaster Report 4 so that hopefully we don’t get too big for our britches this time and can make something we’re genuinely able to put out.

Read more at http://gematsu.com/2015/02/granzell...playstation-home-shutdown#1qIylhheurltQfb3.99
 

Psycho_Mantis

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PlayStation Dengeki Interviews:


Kazuma Kujou (Granzella)
- A new Disaster Report game is coming in Autumn. Also, two titles coming for PS Vita, and a brand new action adventure game for PS4

.
 

Pepsiman

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Wasn't #4 pretty much done? Couldn't they just, like, put it out on PSN?

It depends on how you define it; in terms of narrative content, my understanding is that it was more or less complete (I actually have a copy of the entire Japanese storyline on my hard drive because Kujo leaked it on Twitter after he left Irem), but in terms of getting it running to retail standards, they were having trouble optimizing the game to the point that they kept missing internal milestones and release dates. From what I recall, the one TGS it was available to play back in 2010, the game had not insignificant frame rate issues, which was pretty par for the course for that team for all of the PS2 era, but arguably more alarming given that they were working on significantly more powerful hardware. Basically, they had and still have their ambitions, but got really close to pulling an Icarus and burning up.


As I wrote in the translation, Disaster Report 4 isn't coming out this fall; merely more information about the state of the project, particularly with respect to release platforms. I wouldn't hold my breath for it coming out in 2015 in general.
 

studyguy

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Thanks for this, I absolutely adore the series and was incredibly bummed when the tsunami caused them to bail out. It was obviously the right step, but a bummer all the same.
 

Jackpot

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Which is the best Disaster Report game on the Wii/PS2? Never played one before. I played Report from Michigan but it was rather clunky.
 

Imbarkus

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Man. If there was one series where I didn't give Shit One about frame rate it was this one. Go ahead and drop that building on me and bring the machine to its knees!

Still this is good to know. It was my previous understanding that the earthquake and tsunami were the sole reasons for the title's cancellation.

Which is the best Disaster Report game on the Wii/PS2? Never played one before. I played Report from Michigan but it was rather clunky.

That's a Suda joint I imported and haven't gotten to yet. As to your question I have to admit I beat the first one but not Raw Danger, but I'd say the first one is still totally playable and a good starting point.
 

studyguy

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Which is the best Disaster Report game on the Wii/PS2? Never played one before. I played Report from Michigan but it was rather clunky.

Michigan Report from Hell was a Suda/Grasshopper game if that's what you're talking about. I think all we've gotten is PS2's Disaster Report and Raw Danger (Disaster Report 2). Everything else is untranslated I think.
 

Red Blaster

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Which is the best Disaster Report game on the Wii/PS2? Never played one before. I played Report from Michigan but it was rather clunky.

raw danger (disaster report 2) is tops but the first one is good too

third game is a psp title that was never brought over
 

mclem

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What if Nintendo got a game for cheap on WiiU once again?

I have to admit, it's the sort of culty hit that I can see them supporting when the other hardware manufacturers don't. It depends on if Kujo is after official assistance in bringing the game out or wants the freedom of not being tied to a first party.
 

Imbarkus

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The third one never got localized, but what's the state of its text, story English or anything? I'd pick it up on PSN even if I had to use a translation guide.
 

UrbanRats

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I'd back a new Disaster Report kickstarter.
Disaster Report 2 (or Raw Danger, as it was called here) was just magical.

I liked the flood theme more than the earthquake one, though.
 

Pepsiman

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Which is the best Disaster Report game on the Wii/PS2? Never played one before. I played Report from Michigan but it was rather clunky.

I played the entire series start to finish for the first time in 2013 and I would say that both of the PS2 entries are still really neat and well worth a look if you're not the type to get hung up on technical wonkiness here and there. Raw Danger is personally one of my all-time favorite games for the way it handles character choice and just certain aspects of its storyline (though I played it in Japanese, mind; the localization... has its quirks), but it's also one of those games that improves enough on the core formula of the original that it might be hard to go in reverse order.

Ultimately, I'd say if you absolutely only have time for one of them, go pick up Raw Danger, you'll have a better time overall. But Disaster Report is also a really neat game in its own right and is also pretty short, even for your first run, so I'd say it's not a huge investment to just play both games if you can. They should both still be pretty cheap to acquire in English.

And while I know you're not asking, just in case other people come across this, save the Japanese-only PSP game for last, especially if you're new to the series. Mechanically, it's an unfortunate regression to a lot of 1's standards in a lot of ways (it has parts of 2 in it, but they're so throwaway you don't actually have to use them to beat the game) and narratively it's by and large the least interesting one of the bunch. I actually did a translation stream of it from start to finish last year (though I forgot you only get the true endings on new game+) mostly because there aren't many resources available for the game in English aside from an okay translation guide on a Blogspot site, but yeah.
 
Sep 11, 2011
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Does this mean Granzella's got all their assets/progress from the last build of ZZT4 but is willing to intervene and restart development from basics? If so, I have confidence Kujo's figured out a more effective way to develop, especially after making PS Home content for a while now. He says ZZT's the only guaranteed IP, so I'm assuming he's looking into reclaiming Bumpy Trot also.