Konami's Love Masters Talk Love Plus 3DS with 4gamer
New title has lots of networking features, but no moms.
Konami shared only a few vague details about the tentatively titled Project Love Plus for Nintendo 3DS at the Nintendo Conference press event last month. For even more vague details, we turn to 4gamer, which posted an interview with producers Akari Uchida and Akihiro Ishihara on the 30th. The two provided some hints about how they'll be putting the 3DS to use for the new game.
As detailed at the Nintendo Conference event, Love Plus 3DS will make use of the 3DS's screen, microphone, camera, gyro sensor and network capabilities to bring players closer to girlfriends Manaka, Rinko and Nene. It's the first totally new entry in the series since the first Love Plus (Love Plus + was just an update, although a major one).
"We want to make it into a benchmark-type title for the 3DS," said Uchida to 4gamer. "I can't say too much, but we want to make full use of the 3DS's capabilities."
It looks like the game will be putting all the system's features to use, even features that are at odds with one-another. At the game's announcement, Konami said it would support 3D output and would also allow players to switch between horizontal (holding the system like normal) and book-style (where you rotate the system 90 degrees) holding modes. 4gamer pointed out that the 3DS's 3D functionality only works when the system is viewed in horizontal mode. Ishihara's response was, "We've thought quite a bit if horizontal holding is truly good, or if we should give up on the 3D output and keep it in book mode. One part of the answer we came up with is in the promotion movie."
Ishihara suggested that players take a close look at that movie, saying that there are a lot of hints in it, even outside of Manaka's commentary. You can view the video, which was first shown at the Nintendo Conference, here:
With Love Plus 3DS being a completely new game on a new platform, boyfriends might be concerned about having to start their relationships anew. This may not be an issue, though. Uchida and Ishiara say they're working to make data import a possibility, and are even getting Nintendo's help. (The difference in platform would presumably be an issue without Nintendo's cooperation).
Even if you do import your data, they're hoping to make it so that players will want to start the game back from the friendship part of the relationship. This will take the form of "recollection," explained Uchida. "Because the expressive ability has increased, we'd like players to enjoy themselves like they watch a movie remake. Also, we think it might be nice if we could include some 'what if' elements. It would be interesting if you could go back in time and enjoy different developments."
It looks like this "recollection" idea will be a heavy focus of the game. Said Uchida, "One of the concepts of Love Plus for Nintendo 3DS is 'fall in love again with your girlfriend.' We're considering what can be done to make players fall in love with their girlfriend again after they've imported their data."
The big reason for focusing on such recollections is to make players feel "I love my girlfriend the most at this very moment" even after they've been going out together for two or three years. Explained Ishihara, "When you're in a lengthy relationship, it's unavoidable that you'll forget the feelings you had at the beginning. But we're taking various measures to make you remember those feelings once again. This is something that can be done because this is a game."
Going along with this concept, they're hoping to strengthen up the game's story a bit. The game will also also be shining the spotlight on previously untouched areas, so it's possible that players will get to see a new side of the girlfriends.
Uchida and Ishihara wouldn't get into specifics about the kinds of changes we can expect for the game as far as gameplay goes, although they did promise some "major changes." The basics of interaction with the girls will be changing. "Because this is a major version up," said Ishihara, "we're looking at it thoroughly and making changes to almost all areas. We're taking it up a level. When we've reached the point where we can share information, we're certain you will be surprised."
One possible change to the interaction with the girls could come from the system's inside camera -- that is, the camera that faces the player. Explaining how the camera might be used, Uchida said, "This is just an idea right now, but we think it would be nice if the game could recognize not just your face but your friends faces too, and you'd be able to introduce them to your girlfriend." Ishihara added, "There would surely be people who would introduce their girlfriend to their parents."
While facial recognition has been confirmed for the game, more advanced voice recognition may be tough. There are a number of areas of difficulty with voice recognition, explained Ishihara, as it's something that is highly dependent on hardware. Making major improvements in this area may be difficult, but Ishihara did say that they'll be trying to find some "different solutions" to the problem.
On the area of sound, Ishihara said to expect improvements in sound quality and other areas as well. It looks like the game will pack a lot of audio. Just the voice content alone could end up being around 60 hours.
All the updates could result in yet another massive cartridge. Love Plus + pushed the cart size barrier on the 3DS as one of the first two 4 gig carts for the system (the other was Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 3, released simultaneously). 4gamer asked Uchida if they'd be using available memory to the limit once again. Replied Uchida, "Regarding the data for graphics and sound, the thing boyfriends most want, we'll definitely be upping the quality. As a result, the memory will likely be filled up."
One of the major features mentioned at the Nintendo Conference event was increased network connectivity via StreetPass. Ishihara and Uchida actually have some regrets about how StreetPass (or its DS equivalent, rather) and DS Station downloads were used in Love Plus +, as unless you lived in Akihabara or in a big city, they weren't easily accessible. For the 3DS title, they hope to balance things out. Uchida said that he wants players living outside of major cities to actually consider themselves lucky this time.
It also seems like the game may use the 3DS's SpotPass functionality, although Uchida admitted that they'd only just recently heard about this feature.
"Regarding networking," said Ishihara, "we're aiming to be at the forefront of all third parties, and maybe even first party as well. We may end up being the first to use a number of the services. With this meaning, we're placing a big focus on wireless functionality."
The network functionality could end up including some sort of download content. Although Uchida joked that if they made it paid download content people would get mad.
As far as network features go, the only thing they won't be using is match making, said Ishihara. (This presumably means that you won't be able to make your girlfriends fight.)
Uchida also said to not expect the following changes. They won't be getting rid of any of the girls (he referred to this as "restructuring," like when people get fired from a job). They won't put girlish looking boys in the game (this may be a friendly jab at Idolmaster 2, whose recently announced boy band has caused some nerd rage amongst fans).
It also looks like you won't get to chase after the girlfriends' moms, even though Uchida admitted that Manaka's mom in particular is lovely. 4gamer suggested that they make a Mama Plus next. "I'd like to make Mama Plus at some point," joked Uchida. "Rinko's mom is also quite lovely."
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