Weekly Famitsu magazine's Feb 18, 2021 issue (released Feb 4, 2021) included a four-page pre-launch article on BlazBlue Alternative: Dark War, including an interview with MORI Toshimichi ("Mori-P"), producer of the BlazBlue series. In the article, Mori-P reveals plans for future events, including seasonal ones and gag route-based ones, the relationship of Dark War with the C-Series, and various gameplay details focusing on party formation.
The Charm of Another Story of the Azure--
Weekly Famitsu 2021.02.18 issue (released Feb 4, 2021), pp. 38-39
Dark War, Aiming to Capture a New Audience
Famitsu: The genre this time is quite different from previous [works in the series]. What led you to decide on an RPG?
Mori: First, I can only apologize for making fans of the series wait so long. It's been a long time since we first announced this title, and we've finally made it this far. Ever since Central Fiction brought a close to one part of BlazBlue, I've been wanting to make another main entry in the series. As for why I picked an RPG, it's because mobile games are played by young and old, male and female alike, increasing our reach. And if we made an RPG, a genre especially popular on mobile, then we'd be able to allow an even greater amount of people to discover BlazBlue. Those who become interested in BlazBlue's story may in turn become interested in its fighting games. Of course, this isn't a game requiring knowledge of the previous games, but one made to be enjoyable to those playing only it. The protagonist is someone who doesn't know anything about the world, so important terms will be explained to them by the other characters, and we also plan to include a glossary. However, even though we want people to be able to enjoy the game as a standalone entry, we don't want longtime fans to think the game doesn't feel right. That's why I've been included to work on the setting and scenarios. RPGs require a staggering amount of setting, so even now I'm working to the bone to come up with stuff. (laughs)
Famitsu: So there's also a side of the game that encourages familiarity with the series. What kind of character is the protagonist, and what sort of position are they in?
Mori: The protagonist is someone who observes the world of Dark War. Instead of being directly involved, their role is to watch over what happens to the end. Ciel has the role of protecting the protagonist, but also takes part in battle as a friend.
Famitsu: It was announced that characters from previous works would appear. Does that mean the work will be more festive, like a party game?
Mori: No, this story won't be a side story, but one with a proper connection to the series. I want to say this now: all the characters who were relevant to the story before will be showing up, including the ones who had minor roles. All of them!
Famitsu: This time around, a certain someone isn't here. When might they be showing up in the work?
Mori: Their art is included in the main visual… please look forward to it for a little longer. (laughs)
Famitsu: Characters from XBlaze are also included. Seeing them lined up next to the others feels very new.
Mori: Don't worry, the story will explain the reason they're there.
Famitsu: About the story’s chronology, which time period does the story take place in?
Mori: It'll be spoilers if I say when, so it's a secret. (laughs) "Dark War" is in the title, so you can think of it as a time related to the Dark War. That said, I think some people might already know based on the appearance of some of the new characters…
Famitsu: One of the charms of the BlazBlue series was its length. How does Dark War stack up against that?
Mori: This game’s main scenario has about 2,200,000 characters altogether. Central Fiction had about 850,000, so that makes this about three times as long.
Famitsu: That's amazing. From Feb 16 onwards, will the main story be released in parts?
Mori: That's right. My understanding is that on release, only the first two chapters will be available, and over time the other chapters will be released. In the meantime, we plan to have seasonal events, PVP, raid battles, and so on. Our plans also include the promised swimsuit characters, of course, but the staff haven't decided on exactly who just yet.
Famitsu: I can imagine that. (laughs)
Mori: As for seasonal events, we're thinking of using stories from popular gag routes like Brotherly Island and Spectacles of Eros. So fans of Brotherly Island, please look out for that! (laughs)
An Invigorating Battle System Reminiscent of BlazBlue
Famitsu: Please tell us more about the battle system.
Mori: Battle is performed in teams of 4. Roles are split into tank, attacker, healer, and supporter. I hope composing teams from them will be enjoyable. There are 3 attack types: Revolver (R), Drive (D), and Special (S), and combining attacks of the same type or in the order of R → D → S will create a chain. In a chain, each attack will do more damage than if they were used alone, and bonus damage is dealt. Revolver can be chained into any attack, but chaining in the reverse from Special → Drive → Revolver is not possible. The exception is when Overdrive is activated. During Overdrive, chains can be made between any attack.
Famitsu: So BlazBlue's system has been refined for the RPG.
Mori: I think it's similar to MMORPGs as well. In addition to the roles I mentioned before, there's also front and rear positions. So tanks can go in front, while healers and attackers with low HP can go in the rear.
Famitsu: Tager really has the image of a tank. (laughs)
Mori: He does. (laughs) Opponents will target tanks first if they are placed at the front. Players will be able make teams that have high-firepower attackers go all out, or have healers heal, before the tank is defeated, which opens up a lot of strategies and provides another facet of enjoyment. Chaining isn't always necessary either; Special attacks provide additional effects, Drives can become key, and different characters play differently.
Famitsu: So paying attention to how each character plays is a good takeaway.
Mori: Characters also have elements that give them a natural advantage or disadvantage, as well as unique “traits”. Also, if we imagine the NOL or Sector Seven, against characters of certain influences, some characters might take more damage and so on. There's also entertaining stuff like increasing damage when up against the older brother of "the siblings." (laughs)
Famitsu: So Jin is effective against Ragna (laughs)
Mori: BlazBlue has quite a few characters with siblings, pairs of brothers and sisters and so on. But it isn't as if they'll be abnormally effective. Equipment called grimoires can also increase a character's effectiveness. Rather than only having general-use grimoires, we plan to have character-exclusive grimoires with effects like "raises so-and-so character's attack." There's also a system where related characters receive special bonuses…
Famitsu: Sounds like a lot of depth can be derived from party composition.
Mori: All characters, regardless of initial rarity, can be raised to the same heights, so I’d like people to think hard about what party compositions can be formed or how to defeat certain opponents. If this sounds too complicated, the game has a function that will automatically create a usable party. You’ll be able to get through the main story even if you create parties automatically the entire time. (laughs) There's also an auto function during battle that will use distortion drives and overdrive automatically, so even complete beginners will be able to get through tiered and repeating quests.
Famitsu: It's good that even beginners can play battles without fear.
Mori: It was important that even the BlazBlue fighting games included Stylish Mode, because thanks to that children and those not practiced at fighting games were able to enjoy the games. Eventually, the game will progress to a point where you won't be able to win with just auto anymore, but I think by that time you'll have gotten familiar with the system little by little.
Famitsu: After having played this game, are there any previous works that you think will be particularly enjoyable to return to?
Mori: In Central Fiction's ending, there's a bit at the end where characters like Carl, Relius, Nine, and Celica each have scenes, and I think seeing that again will make you think "oh." Also, Ciel herself actually touches slightly upon Central Fiction.
Famitsu: It goes back that far?
Mori: Ever since Central Fiction I've been thinking about how to make a game that's like the next main work. So, just a little, although Dark War can be enjoyed alone, there are also parts where people who know the previous works can have a little laugh. The battle system is also as close to BlazBlue’s as we could make it, so fans should also take a look. There's a large cast of characters lined up, so please look forward to future updates.
- Weekly FamitsuFeb 18, 2021 issue, pp.38-39