The Brigandine series has been great since its conception 22 years ago, followed by the remake Brigandine: Grand Edition, we now have a continuation to the story in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia. Honey’s Anime had the pleasure of interviewing Kazuhiro Igarashi, the producer and game designer for The Legend of Runersia, as we asked about his adventures working on the series and what it was like bringing fans their beloved Brigandine back after so many years. So sit back and relax as you read on and find out what Igarashi-san went through during his quest to complete Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia to us all!
• How was the idea of creating a sequel to the Brigandine series decided after almost 20+ years since the initial release?
The first installment, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena, was released 22 years ago in 1998 by Hearty Robin and E3 STAFF, a subsidiary of Happinet. This was also the same year when I joined Happinet. I had hoped to one day join the development team, but unfortunately the E3 STAFF team was disbanded before my dream became a reality.
Since then, I have tried a few times to bring Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena to the latest game consoles, but plans never came through for one reason or another.
It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that we were finally able to reopen the game development department, and once we had built up some experience as developers, we decided to undertake a new addition to the Brigandine franchise with Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia.
It was a long and difficult path, but you might say that these past 20 years were necessary to begin anew for Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia.
• With Hearty Robin being the previous developer for the Brigandine series, what was it like taking over and continuing the story for fans?
The most important thing was to make sure we stayed true to the core "nation conquest strategy" mechanics that defined the Brigandine series.
And although this game is set on a new continent, we wanted to make sure it still had the same basic fantasy settings such as monsters being summoned by knights, controlled through the use of magic, and used to form troops for battle. All of these are deeply intertwined with the core mechanics of the game.
They are also what makes Brigandine such a unique game, so we made sure our new team of creators incorporated these ideas when designing the new game. Considering how a new game would give everyone a fresh, new experience, it definitely offers more value for all players - old and new - than a remake.
• How long was Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia in development for?
Development for this game took about three years.
• Were there any difficult hurdles you encountered when developing Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia?
One of the features of Brigandine is its sandbox-like style and high degree of freedom. Which nation will you choose? Which knights and monsters will you use to build your army? What route will you take as you work your way toward continental conquest? These decisions are all left entirely up to the player.
To offer this amount of freedom, we needed a high level of diversity as well as balance. A considerable amount of our time was spent working toward this.
With over 60 different classes of Rune Knights and over 50 types of monsters, we needed to be careful that no single unit vastly overpowered the rest. Our goal was for players to be able to complete the game with any knights or monsters they wished as long as they used their units wisely.
• Looking back at the first game, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena, was there anything you changed or did differently based on the original concept? This is considering how Brigandine: Grand Edition was a remake but also had many new additions/changes.
All three games share the same basic design concept, so Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is not too different from Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena and Brigandine: Grand Edition.
That is to say, the core concept was preserved so as to make sure anyone playing the game will feel like they’re playing a Brigandine title.
We've added many new features to this latest installment, with the most prominent of which is the Challenge Mode. In this mode, players choose any 10 knights they like and aim to conquer the continent from a single base while building up a score.
That's not all, of course. There are many other new things for players to explore and discover, such as new knight classes, monster races, intuitive yet deeply profound unit builds, new CPU routines, and more. There is also a particularly difficult fight awaiting players at the end of the main story mode.
We’re planning more content for future updates as well, so we hope players will continue to enjoy the game for a long time to come.
• Were there any challenges adding in new factions to the story for the Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia?
The script for Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia was written by Kenji Terada, known for working on games such as Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II, and Final Fantasy III. We both decided that developing the six leaders and giving each nation its own distinct ideology was important. This game also brings into focus the existence of the titular "Brigandine."
In Runersia, there are five pieces of armor embedded with special Mana Stones, known as "Brigandines" and five of the six nations own a Brigandine piece.
Each has a secondary name as well. The Brigandine of Justice, Glory, Freedom, Sanctity, and Ego each exist as symbols of the ideologies of the nations which possess them. Only one nation lacks a Brigandine in the nation, which is a kind of symbol for their own ideology as well.
This gives each nation a different tone that can be felt as players progress through the game as that nation, but can also be seen from a different viewpoint when playing as a rival nation. The game is designed to draw players further into the history of Runersia, the duality of each character's nature, and themes that tie in to the real world.
• For the PS4 port version of the game, is it a direct port or are there some differences between both versions?
There will be no major differences between the two versions of the game, because we believe adding extra content only for the PlayStation 4 version would not be fair to the fans who supported us by purchasing the game for the Switch when it released in June 2020.
However, we do plan on giving all our fans new content to experience for both platforms. The upcoming free update for both the PS4 and Switch versions of the game will include new ways to enjoy the game. We can’t wait to share the details!
• Do you have a favorite character or faction that you like personally?
That's a very difficult question to answer.
Since I helped build the nations and rulers of Runersia from the ground up, they are all very special to me.
There are scenes in which knights converse with each other before a battle, and the ones involving knights I was fond of may have had longer conversations without me realizing what I was doing.
Heroes that are firm, unbending, and loved by everyone are great, but there’s also something special about leaders such as Cain of the Republic of Guimoule who believes they should try their hardest despite knowing they still have a ton to learn.
• Is there another sequel to the series that fans can look forward to later on in the future? Or are there some great additions for Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia in the near future?
Before we can consider a sequel or another addition to the Brigandine franchise, we have to focus on bringing Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia to new audiences.
Our next steps are to launch Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia on PlayStation 4 and include the first major content update, and I hope to return soon with more news on any future developments.
And that is it folks. Igarashi-san did have a final message for us all and it is as follows:
We too want to thank Igarashi-san for allowing us to have this awesome opportunity to interview him as we look forward to more from him and the Brigandine series in the coming weeks to years! If you haven’t played Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia yet, we highly recommend you check it out. Our review on Honey’s Anime is also referenced below so make sure to check it out before you buy in case you are skeptical. We hope you all enjoyed this interview we conducted and make sure to follow us on all our platforms for more interviews and great content here on Honey’s Anime.