RPGamer Feature - Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard Interview
Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
ESRB: E10+
Release Date: 06.17.2008

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Shigeo Komori, director of Etrian Odyssey II, recently took some time to answer some questions for RPGamer. RPGamer would like to thanks Atlus USA for helping to make this interview happen. Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard for the Nintendo DS is set to release on June 17.

What were some of the problems you found trying to create such an in-depth game on the Nintendo DS?
Shigeo Komori, director of Etrian Odyssey II: Since the first Etrian Odyssey was already such a complete game, it was difficult to decide what to leave as is and what to change.

For this title, did you need to re-use assets from the first game or was everything created from scratch?
Atlus USA: The basic game engine is the same as the first one, but all of the art and visuals in Etrian Odyssey II are unique to this game. The various strata of the Labyrinth are all new and much more diverse, and any returning character classes or enemies have completely redrawn art.

Are there features that you couldn't fit into the original that you will be implementing in the sequel? If so, which ones?
Komori: Yes, we did add some such features. In order to make the game play smoother, we made minor but crucial adjustments to such things as the controls and the way screens switch between each other. This includes being able to walk sideways in the Labyrinth, displaying the characters' status inside stores, and being able to switch characters with the L and R Buttons.

What changes have been made to the game that might have a large importance on how people will play the game?
Komori: As a developer, I tried to make it more generally convenient for players. I hope that people who have played the previous game will play Etrian Odyssey II and feel that it's more streamlined compared to its predecessor.

Will this title's difficulty be any different than the first game?
AUI: There are a few things that Etrian Odyssey II does to keep people who have played the first game on their toes. You can be attacked while scavenging at item points now, so you have to have a battle-ready party when you go out for item runs. On top of that, FOEs no longer give experience points, so they function more as pure roadblocks that you should try to avoid rather than fight. (Though if you do fight them, the items they drop can still unlock powerful equipment in the shop.)

Some people are still trying to play through the original game, will the length of the sequel be similar to this?
AUI: The main storyline is probably about as long, but there are a lot more sidequests to do this time out. A lot of the sidequests form mini-story arcs over the course of multiple quests, and you'll get to learn some backstory for some of the denizens of Lagaard that way.

Were online capabilities looked as something that might make sense for this game?
AUI: The Etrian Odyssey series has always been focused on a lone party exploring the dungeon, so there really isn't much you would be able to do online other than maybe trade maps, which runs counter to the exploring spirit of the game.

But in one sense, the Etrian Odyssey games have a very strong online component: I still see people on forums and message boards discussing the original game to this day, sharing mapping tips or party build strategies with one another. It's just like it used to be in the old days, when it made everyone's experience better for people to try things and let their friends know how it worked. The second game will undoubtedly be the same way, so if you're having trouble with an FOE or can't figure out how best to use a Beast, hop online and join the discussion!

Was the decision to turn this game into a series based on sales or was it already decided?
AUI: Based on the existence of the password feature in the first game, I think it's clear that Atlus Japan had decided to do a sequel in some form while the first game was still in the planning stages. The fact that it was a surprise hit there certainly helped, though!

RPGamer would like to thank Shigeo Komori and Atlus USA for taking time out of their day to sit down with us. Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard has been rated "E10+" by the ESRB, has a suggested retail price of $29.99, and will ship to stores in North America on Tuesday June 17.

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