The RPG .hack, released during the PS2 era, was a true classic. The series revolved around the mysterious events occurring in the wildly popular MMORPG series ‘The World’ and followed Haseo in his quest to avenge his friend.
I’m pleased to relate below the interview I had few weeks ago with Hiroshi Matsuyama, CEO of CyberConnect 2, who talked about the series’ remaster and .hack//G.U. Last Recode, the fourth and new upcoming game of the franchise which will be out this Friday, 3rd November on PS4.
To begin with, could you introduce people to the world of .hack in a few words ?
Matsuyama: “.hack is a RPG Series that has just reached its 15th anniversary this year. .hack was born between the cooperation of famous creators within Japan: Evangelion’s Character Designer, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Patlabor’s screenwriter, Kazunori Ito, and us, CyberConnect2 and many other creators.
Looking back at 10 years, ago. 2007 was just when Online Gaming was becoming a trend worldwide. So we used online gaming as a general concept to show the ill will of the Internet, and also the emotion and feelings of young users in the real life. The core factor of the .hack story, is the connection and interaction between online, and real life.”
Why did you decide to remaster .hack//G.U.?
Matsuyama: “The year 2017 is actually the year where the story of .hack//G.U. takes place. It’s the 15th anniversary of the .hack series, but also it has been 10 years since the conclusion of G.U. So when we thought about which title to release with this timing, we thought it was natural to choose .hack//G.U..”
Could you please let us know how this project began? How did your team at CC2 react when they found out they will be back working on .hack ?
Matsuyama: “Two and a half years ago, I was talking with people at Bandai Namco, and since .hack will be reaching its 15th anniversary, we discussed about our hopes to deliver .hack to users once again.
We wanted to satisfy the fans who have been supporting .hack over the past 15 years, and also create a game that even the players who have never played .hack would be able to enjoy. And when we think about our origins, CyberConnect2 all began with this original title, .hack. The members who are currently developing the game used to be .hack fans who played the game 10, 15 years ago. So everyone is determined to create a great game, and are super passionate.”
For this collection you had to redo all of the cinematics from scratch, why did you make this decision?
Matsuyama: “Before this project began, we brought out our PS2 from 10 years ago, and played the original .hack G.U. But when you compare a PS2 title with a current PS4 title, I’ve got to say that the changes are larger than you imagine. Especially because we’ve skipped one generation. We went from PS2, skipped PS3, and are now releasing .hack on the PS4.
Currently, people tend to prefer more exhilarating, high speed attacks with dynamic effects. So we wanted to create a game that will be accepted as a current gen PS4 game on its own. Many adjustments and tweaks have been made. The frame rate is also higher (60 frames), it’s Full HD, and the game in 4K on PS4 Pro. So if you have a 4K monitor, please try it out.”
You decided to add a new volume to the saga, something quite unique for remaster! What motivated you to go above and beyond on this project?
Matsuyama: “Initially, this HD Remaster was planned to cover only Vol.1, Vol.2, and Vol.3. But for the fans who supported .hack for 15 years, the story of the first three Volumes, aren’t completely new. Of course, we have made many adjustments to the gameplay, but we wanted to deliver something more to those fans. So that’s why we decided to include Vol.4, an epilogue type of episode.”