RPGFan Exclusive Interview #3: Takashi Fukushima, president, MediaVision
translated by Chris Winkler

This week, we present you an interview with the president of MediaVision. Founded in 1993, the Tokyo-based company with its 50 employees is the development studio behind Sony Computer Entertainment's most popular RPG franchise Wild ARMs. Since the 1996 debut of Wild ARMs for PlayStation, MediaVision has evolved the series into a popular RPG series spanning a total of five installments. Only in January the company revealed the series' newest addition to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the original Wild ARMs' release: A fourth PlayStation 2-based game titled Wild Arms The Vth Vanguard.

In today's interview RPGFan talked to company president Takashi Fukushima about the series' past, present and future, specifically about Wild Arms The Vth Vanguard.

Mr. Fukushima, we have many questions for you. But first, could you tell us about the impetus that made you enter the game industry?
A: At the beginning I was developing PC-based games, but it was the impetus of porting PC games that got me involved in the development of videogames.

Q: The Wild ARMs series has become a critically acclaimed series worldwide. What do you think are the reasons behind this popularity?
A: The reason is that we are dedicatedly creating games in a way [that] the entire staff feels troubled about them, while the users think "it's good that I bought it."

Q: Could you tell us about the development status of Wild Arms the Vth Vanguard which was announced on January 6th. Also, could you us give any specifics about this game. A: Development is progressing smoothly. It will be the fourth installment of the Wild ARMs series on PlayStation 2, but I think we can deliver a quality [title] that is satisfactory to both the staff and all users.

Q: In which direction will you take Wild ARMs as a series in the future? Are you looking into developing an online game based on the unique universe of Wild ARMs?
A: We are currently looking into that.

Q: Could you tell us about the possibility of releasing a Wild ARMs game for PlayStation Portable?
A: I think PlayStation Portable is hardware with exceptional promise. We are looking into the possibilities of a style that uses its features as a handheld device for a Wild ARMs game.

Apart from western movies, what other works have influenced the Wild ARMs series? One could say that environmental destruction and the world's decline are major themes of the series. What are the reasons for choosing these themes?
A: Various movies and comics have had an influence on the series. However, a particularly big [influence] is the rather strong reflection of values which the scenario writer has cultivated in his every day life. This counts particularly for the creation of strong bonds with friends and one's family, the hatred for cowardly thinking like perceiving good and evil ambiguously, and showing a straight-forward sense of justice in the face of bad things. The game's world is a wasteland not because we are dealing with enviromental destruction, but because of the result of us having searched for a stage that easily lets us incorporate the things stated above into the story; we concluded that a ruined planet would be the best fit. Wild ARMs is not a game that particularly makes environmental destruction a theme.

Q: Is MediaVision already planning and developing a next-generation RPG?
A: We are currently looking into that.

Q: When looking at the game industry right now, one can observe a trend towards the continued spread of MMORPGs. What are your thoughts on this issue? Also, how do you think, will the industry and in particular the RPG genre evolve from here on?
A: I believe, MMORPGs (online game) as a new style of RPG that allows communication between users, will be a market that continues to grow. Thinking about the RPG genre, I believe there will be a coexistence between an enjoyable game system that [allows] for communication between users and a game system that you play while enjoying a scenario and a world like that of the Wild ARMs series.

Q: Mr. Fukushima, what games are you playing yourself?
A: I play RPG and sports games, for instance.

RPGFan would like to thank Takashi Fukushima and MediaVision for their cooperation and support in enabling us to present this exclusive interview to our readers.