RPGamer Feature - Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Interview
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works / Toybox
Release Date: 03.10.2015

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Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is one of the latest RPG IPs that has managed to make its way over from Japan, and is receiving a western release thanks to the efforts of Aksys Games. Despite not being too high on many radars just yet, this visual novel RPG hybrid for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita has grabbed the attention of some RPGamer staff members, and we were keen to find out more ahead of its March release in North America and Europe (being published in the latter by NIS America). Aksys Games was kind enough to give us the opportunity to ask some questions about the game, and the responses can be read below.

RPGamer: Can you give a brief overview or introduction to some of the game's characters and its setting? Is there any particular reason the player is hunting ghosts?
Karen McOscar (Aksys Games, Localization Editor): The game takes place in modern day Tokyo, and ranges through its various wards. Chizuru Furukai's reasons for starting Gate Keepers are mostly unknown, though it's clear by the company slogan that she's definitely down to make money. She'll only allow the team to accept missions for a fee - no freebie exorcisms.

All of the characters have the ability to sense ghosts in some manner, and that has isolated them in varying degrees from the people around them. Many feel the need to protect ordinary people from dangerous ghosts; some took up exorcism on their own before joining the company. Masamune Shiga, Harukichi Kosuge, Moichi Sengen, and Housui Sadoi already work for the company before you get there (Sadoi was with Furukai at the beginning, Moichi invents helpful equipment, Shiga acts as support, and Kosuge flits in and out when he's not busy in his band). Sayuri Mifune is your class president, and while rather stand-offish, she insists on participating and joins around the same time as you.

RPGamer: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters features a unique dialogue system of combining one sense with one emotion. Are there any interesting examples of how it works, and how intuitive is it?
KM: Most of the time it's completely up to the player on how they want to answer, and the characters respond accordingly. There are some points though, such as where you're in a location and asked to search around for clues, and certain combinations yield better results; listening in one room might let you hear the ghost talk, or looking at a wall will reveal a crack in it. A lot of the time it's common sense, though sometimes you can do a strange combo and get results you didn't expect.

RPGamer: Are there multiple endings, and how much variation can we expect between them in terms of end-game events?
KM: Not multiple endings per se, but if a particular character likes you enough you'll get a character specific scene at the end. You only get one, so if you want to see another you'll have to go back a ways and build your relationship with them.

RPGamer: The battle system certainly looks to have a lot of unique aspects, such as ghosts not being visible unless attacked. How might the ghosts react after once they have been spotted?
KM: Once ghosts spot a ghost hunter, they can either retreat or have a Scream reaction, which displays their intention to attack. Their moves are made at the same time as yours; if you move to corner where they currently appear on the map, you may find that they've shifted completely out of your reach. Depending on the ghost type, they can also warp to another area of the map using water pipes or electrical outlets. Your support will let you know when they detect some sort of reaction in the area (a window rattling, glass breaking, etc) to direct you to a ghost's location.

RPGamer: Are the ghost sensors' accuracy less than 100%? Is there a turn-limit for ghost hunting (battle) portions?
KM: There are no false reactions as far as I know, so all the hints are correct. You'll be given a time limit at the start of battle, usually 15 minutes with each turn equaling a minute. You will fail the mission if you cannot defeat the main ghost in that time period (you do not have to defeat all of the ghosts though).

RPGamer: How many other hunters can the player bring along? Can we select which ones are involved and is there any option for reinforcements?
KM: You can have up to four people in your party including yourself, and excluding whoever is your support (usually Shiga). Initially you can't choose who joins you in battle, and some characters are required by plot in certain battles. You can choose who joins you for missions taken from the exorcism board (it is possible to battle alone for those as well). Once a party member's health is depleted, they retreat from battle, and you cannot call for someone else. There's never more than four ghosts at a time; one target ghost and additional secondaries.

RPGamer: Are different party members more suited to different roles, and do you have any examples?
KM: Each character has their own type of attack. Only a few have the ability to heal. Some act as human EMFs, some can predict ghost movement. One can attack omnidirectional with sound, another fires straight forward with a gun. One can repair traps during battle. After they join up with you, once you increase your stats enough you have a chance to learn their techniques.

RPGamer: Is there much variation in the tactics, strengths, or weaknesses of the ghosts?
KM: The only thing I know for sure is that a lot of the ghosts are an elemental type, which determines what they are strong or weak against (useful for traps mostly), and which warp points they can use. The target ghost of each mission seems more likely to act aggressively.

RPGamer: Can pre-battle actions or decisions help players in an upcoming combat? Do you have any examples?
KM: Preparation before battle is one of the most important things to do. Traps are invaluable. The less you strategize before going in, the harder the battle will be. Make sure to level up your party members, go to the store and Moichi's lab to buy items/traps/weapons/armor, and equip everyone going into battle.

It's possible to take on extra missions from the exorcism board before going to the main plot battle, and that can garner you more TP, EXP, and money. Once you get to the battle map, it's important to study it to see your own movement restrictions, number of rooms you'll have to check, possible ghost warp points, etc and set items and traps to set the playing field to your advantage.

Block off doorways so ghosts can't cross, set EMFs so there are areas you can automatically see ghosts, set barriers, direct ghost movement, inflict damage, etc. There's a limit to how many things you can set on each map, and each item has a cost. Battles end up much more manageable when you pre-emptively prepare.

RPGamer: Can players save anywhere? Is there any special system for losing in combat, or it is a straight game over? Are there any difficulty setting options?
KM: You can only save during the interval between story and battle when you are in the editorial office. Once a character's health is down to zero during battle, they'll retreat (but do not die). If you don't defeat the target ghost in the time frame, you will fail the mission and have to do it over. I believe that also happens if your character's health goes to zero too. You can't change the difficulty.

RPGamer: The game features a virtual board game that players can play against the cast, how does it work?
KM: The board game gives you TP which allows you to train with characters and level them up. Each player takes turns moving and attacking including the one character chosen to play the main ghost. Each square on the board requires a movement number (grass requires a movement of 1 while rocks or marshland need a 3 or 4) which you get from choosing a card in your hand as your move card. Most all cards can either be used as move cards or attack cards. The ghosts stay invisible the entire time, though they give hints as to which square they're on.

RPGamer: The story is split over a season of 13 "episodes", how stand-alone are these episodes and how does each episode play out?
KM: A good number of them are stand-alone, and you gain a new potential team member in each. The plot becomes overarching near the end and events carry over. Each episode has an extensive story segment, a character introduction, a gear up for battle, the battle, and a conclusion.

RPGamer: Is there any side-content outside of these episodes?
KM: Aside from the board game, you can do additional missions from the exorcism board from the company website (in game) or train or talk with individual team members (only when they're present in the office). Characters will ask you questions and you can raise their interest in you.

We would like to thank Karen McOscar and Aksys Games for taking the time to answer our questions and for sharing this information about the game. Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters will be released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in North America on March 10, 2015, with a European release set for some time in 2015, courtesy of NIS America. Further updates on Aksys Games' upcoming and recent releases can be found through its Twitter account.

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