A smash hit in Japan, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc’s story of murder, betrayal, hope, and despair has entertained fans since 2010. With the recent launch of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc in the United States and Europe, Gamers Heroes spoke with series producer Yoshinori Terasawa about the past, present, and future of Danganronpa’s twisted world.
Gamers Heroes: Thank you for your time. For those who have not been following the Danganronpa craze, could you tell us a bit more about it?
Yoshinori Terasawa: Where should I start? [laughs] Have you heard of the closed circle mystery? 15 students are locked inside a classroom, and they are ordered to kill each other. And when a murder does occur, the game offers a very high action-related class trial. The game system that is incorporated in the game title is a very new kind of system, in that even though the genre is a visual novel, it has a completely different feel to it because of the action-related elements added to the class trials.
Gamers Heroes: I should say right now that I’m a fan! [laughs] Now the characters of Danganronpa are unique, but some are more unique than others. What was the inspiration behind Ogami Sakura and Monokuma?
Yoshinori Terasawa: First of all, for Monokuma, they wanted to have the white and the black monochrome to show good versus evil, hope versus despair, but eventually throughout the process, Monokuma becomes more evil, more black of a personality. And you asked about Sakura too, right?
Gamers Heroes: Right. “Ogre” Ogami Sakura! Kind of like “grrrr!” [laughs]
Yoshinori Terasawa: [laughs] Well, she wasn’t like “grrr” from the start! Throughout the process, they wanted to have her stand out even more, so then she started bulking up more than she did in the beginning. So they thought that she wouldn’t be that much more popular than the other characters, but surprisingly in the Japanese fanbase the girls really like the Sakura character a lot!
Gamers Heroes: Wonderful! And on that note, what’s the best fan tribute for Danganronpa you have seen so far? It could be fan art, cosplay…anything of the sort.
Yoshinori Terasawa: This is for Danganronpa 2, but on Valentine’s Day the fans sent chocolates to the characters they liked or presents on the characters’ birthdays. They do receive love letters to the characters, even in Danganronpa 1 as well. He’s the one reading it though, so he kind of feels bad about it.
Gamers Heroes: Letters to who? [laughs]
Yoshinori Terasawa: To all the characters! He never got one personally.
Gamers Heroes: Now Danganronpa is part murder mystery, part school simulator, part first-person perspective adventure…what inspired you to go with this format versus, say, a traditional JRPG?
Yoshinori Terasawa: So the game is originally based around a visual novel style, but since they wanted to do something different, they added a lot of different elements in the game to make it more than a regular visual novel.
Gamers Heroes: So the game has come out on the PSP, iOS, Android, and now the Vita. Are there any plans to bring it to the 3DS? The 2.5D motion graphics would be perfect for the system!
Yoshinori Terasawa: He think it would be cool too! But as of right now he has no plans to bring it over.
Gamers Heroes: Last question : What was your favorite murder to plan?
Yoshinori Terasawa: Aaah. I’d prefer you’d keep it off the record [laughs].
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is out now for the PlayStation Vita in the United States and Europe. Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair will be released on the PlayStation Vita stateside this fall.