Yoshinori Terasawa Interview (Dangan Ronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc)
Yoshinori Terasawa is the producer for NIS America's recently released critically-acclaimed mystery adventure title Dangan Ronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. The sequel to the PlayStation Vita exclusive was announced last month as well, making 2014 a great year for fans of murder mysteries and visual novel alike. We sit down with the producer to ask him a few questions about the game and its history.
T-ONO: How exactly did the plot of Dangan Ronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc come about?
Terasawa: The main person who came up with the scenario is Kazutaka Kodaka. Based on his scenario, they wanted to create a game that would definitely fit his world of Dangan Ronpa. So that's how Dangan Ronpa was created.
T-ONO: Were there any specific influences from other works (books, movies, manga, etc.) that helped shape both the plot and design of the game?
Terasawa: Saw and Cube were influences, as well as Battle Royale. Also mystery novels that involve a closed circle – where people get locked in – and must find a way out.
T-ONO: Now that the game has been released to the Western audience, how do you feel that many in the West are reacting very positively to both the game as well as the visual novel genre? And now with the announcement of Dangan Ronapa 2: Goodbye Despair, do you feel that you can introduce even more people to this medium?
Terasawa: First of all, we hope to be able to bring all of the Dangan Ronpa series as a game first in America but, we also feel that Dangan Ronpa is not a regular visual novel game. In that it's a completely new and different field of visual novel. We would like to focus on that more. [Note: movement in Dangan Ronpa is in first person, similar to the PSP remake of Persona, rather than by selecting choices in a static window]
T-ONO: The mascot for Dangan Ronpan is Monokuma, who is a rather cute-looking yet also evil-looking teddy bear. His appearance is definitely a stark contrast to all of the murders that happen within the game. Who came up with the design for him?
Terasawa: There have been adorable, cutesy things in movies but turned out to be not so cute. We went with this direction because we wanted to create a gap in having such a cute, adorable bear that's completely evil. It was to create an impact with the audience with the contrast. Rui Komatsuzaki came up with the design of Monokuma and at first, we didn't really think of having a completely white bear at all. We were inspired by those 3D models of the human body that depict a completely human half on one side and the organs/bones/etc. on the other. So with Monokuma, we wanted to keep a similar feel to those types of models.
T-ONO: Thank you for your time!
Terasawa: Thank you!