Interview with Librage, developers of The Legend of Kusakari
We’re really excited to be publishing The Legend of Kusakari, our first game from a Japanese developer, on Nintendo 3DS. The game is released in western markets this week.
There’s always a lot of interest in the west about the Japanese development scene so we thought we’d find out more about Librage and their quirky game.
Read on to find out more, including what Nintendo of Japan thought about The Legend of Kusakari.
Nnooo: Can you tell us about the team?
Librage: Our Kusakari development team consists of 4 members. Librage was established in 2014 between acquaintances who met in the games industry. We are located in Akihabara [in Tokyo], the central place of animation and games in Japan! Our team includes one person who founded a testing company, one who entered into the games industry after being a bank officer, another who came into games from an advertising agency and one who dealt with programming related to Nintendo and other game companies over 20 years. Each of us has different talent and experiences. Our office is located about 10 minutes walk from Akihabara station.
Librage: Our aim was originally to become a Nintendo publisher/developer from the establishment of Librage. Fortunately, we knew a person who is related to Nintendo right after our start-up. We have worked for more than 10 years (including our experience before Librage) in the games industry in Japan, so we were fairly certain that Nintendo could trust us. So, we were able to be a Nintendo publisher/developer.
Nnooo: Do you only develop Nintendo games or do you develop for other platforms?
Librage: Only Nintendo so far, but we are planning to release a game for smartphones. Kusakari is the first game for Librage and we are discussing in the office about other games for Nintendo platforms. At the moment we can’t divulge any further information on this.
Nnooo: Tell us about the inspiration for Kusakari.
Librage: The inspiration is the Legend of Zelda itself as you can see from the title logo and its game elements!
Nnooo: What was Nintendo’s reaction to the game’s title and imagery and the fact that it is a homage to The Legend of Zelda?
Librage: This is just our subjective impression, but they seem to be very favorable about this game. We visited Nintendo headquarters for a meeting and explained our project. They said this game was easy to understand because the title and content are consistent, and praised us.
Librage: “Kusakari” means grass-cutting work in Japanese, so it is not a character name. There is someone who becomes the legend by this work. He is “Shiba Kari”, the hero in this game. The brave warriors are fighting around him, but Shiba Kari is not strong enough to fight enemies. However, he wants to assist their battles by any means! Then he came to the idea that he helps the warriors by cutting grass so that they can fight on stable ground. This fact expresses Shiba Kari’s kindness.
Nnooo: What’s going on with that out-of-tune band?
Librage: Only one band member is out of tune, and he joins the band for a certain reason. You may know the reason if you look at the out-of-tune band carefully! The band member has a feature which is similar to someone important in the game.
Nnooo: There’s a Green Thumb Almanac in the game in which you can collect various plants by completing missions within the game’s levels. How did you come up with the whacky names for the plants in the almanac?
Librage: These are originally a kind of play on words in Japanese!
Nnooo: What is your highest score on the leaderboards? Has anyone beaten you?
Librage: The highest score of Librage staff is 2,000. The current highest score in Japan is 8,566 (As of August 2, 2016). What an extraordinary score this is!
Nnooo: Is there anything else you think fans would like to know about Librage?
Librage: We hope we have many western fans. In fact, we made this game with the difficulty which western people can enjoy. That is why we are excited even now to see western users’ evaluation after the launch. We would also like to express our appreciation to Nnooo who contacted us faster than any other publisher.
We would like to thank the team at Librage for answering our questions and giving us some insight into their studio and development. The Legend of Kusakari is released on Nintendo 3DS in The Americas, Europe, UK, Australia and New Zealand on 25th August for US$4.99 / €4.99 / £3.99 / AU$6.99 / NZ$7.99.