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Disaster Report 4 Interview with Kazuma Kujo

by Jared Rosenberg - January 7, 2020, 6:20 am PST
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We spoke with the chief producer of Disaster Report 4 and learned some interesting details about the April Switch release.

During E3 2019, Nintendo World Report had the opportunity to sit down with Kazuma Kujo to discuss Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories. Kujo is chief producer of the game and has been involved with the series since it's inception. We talked about the team's decision to bring the game to Switch, the excitement of bringing the new installment to a Western audience, and also disaster movies. The game will be available in North America, Oceania, and Europe on April 7.

Nintendo World Report (NWR): Could you please talk a little bit about the decision to bring Disaster Report 4 to Nintendo Switch?

Kazuma Kujo (KK): In Japan, the Nintendo Switch has been gradually rising in popularity and Granzella has been receiving a lot of requests to put their titles on the Switch. The final push was actually from NISA, who recommended to have Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories on the Switch as it's very major in the West.

NWR: Can you talk a little bit about the new game and explain some of the new features for people who have played the previous Disaster Report games?

KK: The previous games in the series were more action-oriented, like having to flee from collapsing buildings or cracking streets within a span of 1-2 days in the city. This time, we emphasized the realistic aspects of experiencing an earthquake (or just a natural disaster in general), like a shortage of food or immense stress and how to survive for 6-7 days under such circumstances. Betrayal is one theme, as the player will encounter others who may deceive them or act prejudiced towards them. Another example is when you're within a rescue area, several problems come up [and it's up to the player on how to act], so this ability to choose one's own course of action reflects how more in-tune to reality this installment is.

NWR: Granzella acquired the rights to the Disaster Report series. Can you talk a little bit about that process and why you wished to do that? 

KK: There were talks between Granzella and Irem Software Engineering (the previous company we were at) about purchasing the Disaster Report IP, as we still had a strong desire to keep the series going. Our team thought the title had a lot of potential and wanted to produce more installments.  

NWR: Can you talk about the localization process?

KK: When it comes to localizing our game, it's not just limited to North America or Europe! We talk to our partners worldwide and receive feedback on what's the best way to localize the game for that specific audience. Taking such into consideration, the game for each region has its own subtle differences and specialties. Such collaboration comes about more when the game is near completion.

NWR: Can you talk a little bit about the music for the game?

KK: As some may already know, the original production of Disaster Report 4 was halted, so the music for the game's first part was composed with the PS3 in mind. After the IP was purchased in 2014, we found that we still needed a couple more songs to put into the game. So that time, we went to a different composer located near Granzella's headquarters which makes it easier to communicate.

NWR: Has the game been designed with newcomers to the series in mind? Also, are there any callbacks to previous entries?

KK: Disaster Report 4 was intentionally created so that a person new to the series can pick it up and start playing. There are some characters from previous installments that make an appearance, but it's not necessary to know their background to enjoy the game.

NWR: Are there any final things you would like to say to fans in the West?

KK: It's always been our goal to have our games enjoyed by a broader audience, so Disaster Report 4 getting a Western release feels surreal. Since this title has a more Japanese-oriented background and involves a natural disaster that some parts of the world don't really experience, we hope that players can pick up the essence of what it's like to be in an earthquake-prone area. So, please enjoy this game!

NWR: Is being informative about disaster's a core part of the game?

KK: We actually get asked quite often in Japan whether these games are meant to inform users about disasters, but in my [Kujo-san] mind, if people are able to take away helpful information from the game, that's good. However, these games are more for entertainment and to get the player's heart beating fast from the high-tension of being in such situations. I felt that such feelings would make for good entertainment, especially in a game format. Take the United States for example. There are whole movies centered around natural disasters, so I felt it's a good "medium" to put into a video game.

NWR: Do you have a favorite Western disaster movie?

KK: I like the movie "Twister"!

NWR: Thank you very much for your time.

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