Kickin’ it with NIGORO – La-Mulana 2
4cr: Welcome to “Kickin’ it with!” Could you please tell our readers who you are and what your role is at NIGORO?
I am Takumi Naramura, the face of NIGORO. I created NIGORO and have been directing and been in charge of graphics, music, and level design; basically anything except programming.
4cr: La Mulana is a cult classic that got a second chance when it was ported to Nintendo’s Wii as a full remake, which was also the foundation for developing a Steam port. Now, NIGORO and Playism Games are working together to bring us La Mulana 2, a sequel where Lumisa Kosugi (and not Lemeza Kosugi) is the main character. What do we need to know about this sequel and about Lumisa?
To tell the truth, I can’t remember why we made the main character a girl. That’s how long La-Mulana 2 has been in the planning stages. I think I wanted to try a new kind of expression.
Once the Kickstarter succeeds and stretch goals are met, La-Mulana 2’s specifications will be set in stone. From there, we’ll be revealing more of the game little by little.
Because it is a sequel to the first game, playing La-Mulana 1 will allow players to enjoy the new game more. I also think that La-Mulana 2 will be enjoyed more by people who enjoyed the first game.
Completing La-Mulana 2 will probably take more than a year, so during that time, I’d like to challenge players to either complete La-Mulana, or watch gameplay videos to understand the worldview.
4cr: So far the campaign has been doing great, and the limited rewards with original art by Naramura were grabbed soon after the campaign went live, making the campaign jump to almost $90,000 pledged during the first 24 hours of the Kickstarter. What is NIGORO planning to keep this moving past the minimum goal? Are there plans for special Kickstarter updates with previews of the new soundtrack or weekly updates with new concept art with commentary from the team?
This is the first time we’re trying Kickstarter, so we don’t know what will succeed. We do have various updates prepared, however. We have a large update coming soon, so we’re hoping everyone is looks forward to that.
The limited edition rewards went much faster than we expected, so we will think of how much we can handle, then decide what rewards to prepare.
I think we will achieve success somewhere above 200%.
4cr: Going back to the main goal, $200,000 is the bare minimum to get La Mulana 2 made, but there are also several stretch goals for the campaign. If the Curry Party and Curry Hell have been reached, there are stretch goals for more content to be added to the main release or for ports to Mac, Linux, handhelds and consoles. Some people have said that these stretch goals for handhelds and consoles are too high, and that ports to 3DS, Vita, Wii U, PS4 or the Xbox One should come before working on extra content. Have you considered revising the stretch goals list to lower the amount of money for the ports to other formats so that they can reached sooner?
We are listening to our backers and are thinking of revising our goals. [Editor's Note: At the time of posting this, NIGORO are currently evaluating their current stretch goals]
The price for porting the game to other consoles is what it is because we ourselves will be doing the porting, and that is unfortunately how much it will cost us to complete it.
If there is a company that will accept the porting job, or if we get a supporter separate from Kickstarter, the stretch goal prices may also change.
The La-Mulana port to Vita is progressing. If this is successful, La-Mulana 2′s porting will become a reality, and lately, porting from PC to video game consoles has become easier. If La-Mulana 2 succeeds, it should naturally find its way to game consoles.
4cr: The game is still in the early planning stages, but can you give our readers an idea of how much work goes into making a game such as La Mulana 2 and why it has a tentative release of December 2015?
The 2015 December release date is the deadline to make reward goods, so basically the game should be complete within 2015.
When we first made the WiiWare remake, it took us 2 years, so if there is a place where existing systems can be used, it should take even less time to develop and release. The only thing I am worried about is how far we can perfect the puzzles and story in a short time. Because it is the sequel of La-Mulana of all things, we want to spend time on those parts and get them right.
4cr: At $100, backers can get a physical copy of La Mulana 2. At $150, backers will also get a physical copy of La Mulana 1 (something which has NEVER been made before!). To make things even better, at $256 and higher, backers will receive physical versions of the La Mulana 1 and La Mulana 2 art books with sketches, comments and reproductions of the design documents for each game. Have you considered having these physical items signed by the team at Nigoro to make them even more special for Kickstarter backers?
Players want these rewards especially because LA-MULANA is an old school game. We made the player’s wants a reality. I don’t think of myself as a famous creator, so I didn’t consider that my signature has much value attached to it. Because of this, I thought to draw a player’s favorite character, and this was very popular. Despite it being a lot of work to draw them all myself, I would like to increase these rewards.
Depending on our funding, we may be able to appear at game shows abroad. If you see me at any of those events, I’ll gladly sign anything as much as you want!
4cr: This one is a crazy idea but… if the campaign goes over the last current stretch goal, would you consider doing a demake (a reverse remake) for La Mulana 2 in the same style as the original La Mulana? People that played that original version of La Mulana 1 would LOVE to get their hands on a direct sequel that looks like that!
We do have a system for interchanging graphics and sounds in place. This would definitely be my own job to do, so if I have enough time and money it’s totally possible.
4cr: I want to thank you for your time. Would you like to say something else before we end this interview?
I don’t know in what shape La-Mulana 2 will be completed, but I am looking forward to it. I am also enjoying how it feels like I am playing along with the Kickstarter backers. No matter what the end results are, we have no plans to give up on making La-Mulana 2. Kickstarter is there to create even better things. Please continue to support our work.