RPGamer Feature - Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation Interview with Atlus

Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation
Developer: Banpresto
Publisher: Atlus
ESRB: "T" for Teen
Release Date: 08.08.2006

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Hey there!   My name is Chris Beaupre, and on behalf of RPGamer, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about Super Robot Taisen. As a rabid SRT fan myself, I was ecstatic to hear that Atlus would be bringing the series over to North America for the first time ever! (imports aside *stares at his stack of imported SRT games*)

RPGamer: Could you please give us a brief introduction and explain your connection to Super Robot Taisen?
Atlus: My name is Zach Meston, and I’m the PR Manager of Atlus USA. I have no direct connection to Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, other than I think it rocks, and I want to convince your readers to give it a shot when it ships for Game Boy Advance on August 8th.

RPGamer: The majority of our readers most likely have never heard of the Super Robot Taisen franchise, and even if so, have only a little idea what it is all about (beyond robots beating the crap out of each other).  Could you please tell us how the SRT franchise differs from standard Tactical RPGs?
Atlus: Well, you already pointed out one of the most significant differences: it's got giant robots beating the crap out of each other. Original Generation and OG2 (which ships this October) also have the most plentiful and most elaborate animation sequences of any RPG for the Game Boy Advance, tactical or otherwise.

RPGamer: When most gamers think about SRT they immediately think…Gundams and EVAs! However, SRT: Original Generation lacks the big money anime licenses.  Do you think this will effect how well this title does in the States?
Atlus: Not necessarily. We've been very candid with the fans that Original Generation doesn't have the licensed mecha of the other versions, and the fans realize there's no realistic way anyone could afford to bring over the other versions. They, and we, are happy that SRT is coming to North America at all.

RPGamer: Another big question is:  If the title does indeed do well here, would Atlus consider bringing over some of the heavy hitting SRT games, such as the Alpha series? Obtaining all the rights to bring a title that consists of that many anime series seems like a mind boggling feat.
Atlus: It would be very expensive to kick out enough coin to satisfy all of the Japanese and American license-holders, and it would be a political nightmare to go through the localization-approval process with all of the Japanese and American license-holders. That being said, however, if gamers really want us to take a crack at localizing SRTs with licensed IPs, they've gotta buy Original Generation and OG2 in numbers big enough to show the suits that it's worth the risk.

RPGamer: Who at Atlus initiated the idea to bring a SRT game to the states?  We need this info so we can build a shrine in their honor.
Atlus: You can thank the folks at Banpresto, with whom we established a relationship during the localization of Magna Carta: Tears of Blood. They approached us with the Original Generation titles, and we very quickly asked to localize them.

RPGamer: From my experience, SRT titles can be anywhere from 12 to 60 hours long.  How much game play can we expect to get out of SRT: Original Generation?
Atlus: To get through both scenarios in Original Generation should take Average Gamer about 40 hours.

RPGamer: Is there voice acting?  English, Japanese, or both?
Atlus: No voice acting in either game, but that would've been a pretty mean feat for a GBA title, especially one with this much dialogue.

RPGamer: As Atlus is bringing over both Original Generation titles for the Game Boy Advance… are they both self-contained titles?  Are the storylines linked?  If so, are there any bonus features for playing both?
Atlus: The story in Original Generation 2 picks up six months after Original Generation ends, so while they're independently playable, you'll have a better time with OG2 if you've played through OG1 first. As for the storylines, they're sprawling, melodramatic, completely over-the-top space-opera tales with dozens of characters of both genders and many nationalities and temperaments. Anime fans and RPG fans will "wuv" it.

RPGamer: Super Robot Taisen storylines have always been rather ridiculous.  Have any liberties been taken with the story translation?  Could you give an example?  The funnier the better.
Atlus: No liberties whatsoever, actually. Banpresto was very hands-on with the localization process, to the point where they screened and approved every item, weapon, character, and mecha name, and every line of dialogue. Which leads me to issue this disclaimer: if you're an SRT fan, and you dislike one or more of the item/weapon/character/mecha names, please don't blame us for it. Banpresto determines what is and what is not canon, not us.

RPGamer: Half the fun of Super Robot Taisen is upgrading your favorite robots to the max and outfitting them. Could you explain a bit about how this is done?
Atlus: Sho'nuff. During the intermission phase between each battle, you can spend the money you've earned in the previous battle to upgrade your parts and weapons, then equip those units and weapons to any mech with which it's compatible. Some examples: the Booster (increases the speed of battlefield movement), Bio Sensor (increases the mobility of a mech), Thruster Set (improves a mech's performance when fighting in outer space), Custom Heads-Up Display (raises a weapon's hit rate by 30%)… you get the idea.

RPGamer: How about the pilots? How do they advance?  How does the skill system work?
Atlus: As you gain experience, you earn Pilot Points, which you can use to raise the statistics of, or teach new skills to, any character. You can also use the various characters in almost any combination (except for a few key characters), allowing you to form a dream team of mecha pilots.

RPGamer: Are there any Giant Robots hidden under Atlus HQ?  And if so, do you mind if I take it for a spin?
Atlus: There are no giant robots beneath or within our office, alas. About the closest we come is the Armored Core action figure guarding my cubicle… which I'll allow you to hold as long as you wash your hands first.

RPGamer: Thanks again for your time!  Any final thoughts that you'd like to convey to our readers?
Atlus: Only that we seriously busted our buns to make our localizations live up to the high expectations of Super Robot Taisen fans who've been waiting 15 years for a legitimate North American release. We hope they'll be pleased. And for anyone who isn't familiar with Super Robot Taisen, we invite you to check out Original Generation and see why it has such an avid following.

RPGamer would like to extend its thanks to Zach Meston for taking time out of his busy day to sit down and talk with us about this soon-to-be-released Strategy RPG. Expect to see a full review from RPGamer's own Chris Beaupre closer to the game's release date.

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