Many people ask me about where the concept of Steins;Gate came from. It’s based around the idea, ‘What if you could send a message into the past?’. I think it’s an exciting idea because it means, in a way, everyone can become a time machine. You, yourself are a time machine. And what effect would that have on you, your friends and the immediate world around you?
I think time travel has always been an attractive theme in science. It makes creating a narrative very challenging, but for Steins;Gate it also allowed us to think of interesting scenarios that hadn’t been explored before, and brought some intelligent conflicts to the relationships between the many characters.
This is especially true of the main character Rintaro Okabe. He has some real inner struggles to deal with, some very tough choices to make through you, the player – and through that, Okabe shows himself to be a character of extraordinary human depth.
Steins;Gate is a very emotional journey for the player. In fact, when we originally recorded Steins;Gate, the voice cast were so good, that when we came to record the final scenes, the emotion was so powerful we found the recording staff in tears!
I also like the idea of cause and effect that time travel brings – that doing something ‘small’ can have a big impact on something, or something ‘big’ can perhaps make no impact at all. We wanted players to feel the weight, the gravitas of an ‘either-or’ situation. You the player, have to have a cool-headedness as you work your way through decisions with irreversible consequences and then also to deal with the sacrifices of those decisions. However, we don’t want to punish the player, we wanted also to allow players the catharsis of experiencing an alternative ending, and the feeling of discovery for choosing a different path.
This is only possible through the medium of a visual novel. The story has also become present in animation, comics and novels. The interesting thing with these is they don’t just take the original story but they also expand on the story and it’s multiple endings – but they are also linear, a Visual Novel allows you to explore all possible paths.
When we released the original Steins;Gate, I thought no way would this ever be released in Europe. I am so happy that Steins;Gate is now beginning to be better known overseas, and we are really looking forward to hearing your reaction and impressions!