RPGamer Feature - Hoshigami Remix Interview with Gail Salamanca

Hoshigami Remix
Developer: ArcSystemWorks Co.
Publisher: Aksys Games
Release Date: June 2007

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When Hoshigami Remix was announced a few weeks ago, fans were skeptical due to the level of difficulty found in the original. Since then, it has been revealed that many of the problems that people had with the original have been addressed in this Nintendo DS remake of the title. For one, the game includes multiple difficulty levels, and second of all, the game has had many tweaks and additions to make the game less frustrating than previously. Today, RPGamer had a chance to sit down with Aksys Games' own Gail Salamanca to chat about the company's first strategy RPG release.

Why did you decide on Hoshigami Remix as your first RPG localization? Can RPGamers out there expect more RPG localizations out of Aksys Games?
Gail Salamanca: When we first heard that someone was remaking Hoshigami, we knew that it had a lot of potential to be a great game with the right changes. I think a lot of people missed out on a great little story due to the difficulty of the original game. With Hoshigami Remix we've made the game more accessible, so that everyone from beginners to hardcore SRPG fans can enjoy it from start to finish.

Since our staff has a lot of experience with the RPG and SRPG genres (I worked on the original Tactics Ogre for PSOne for example), we're definitely looking forward to doing more of them!

There might be some people that have never heard of Hoshigami. Can you tell us a little about the story?
Gail: Hoshigami takes place on the floating continent of Mardias which is made up of 3 countries: Nightweld, Gerauld and Valaim. However, the country of Valaim wants to take over the entire continent and a war breaks out. Our hero, Fazz, is a mercenary who is hired by Nightweld to defend the Tower of Wind from the Valaimian Empire who are looking for a certain artifact that could help them win the war. Fazz later finds out that he is part of an ancient prophecy that could bring about the destruction of Mardias that brings about a few plot twists. Inevitably, it's up to him and his comrades to stop it.

Will this title give players the ability to save everywhere, or at least more often than in the original title?
Gail: Unfortunately, there will be no suspend save where you can save in the middle of a battle. However, there are definitely more save slots and you can change equipment and restore HP between continuous battles (battles that occur one after the other without returning to the main map screen) on the easy and normal difficulty levels. Also, there is a suspend save slot that you can use between continuous battles on all the difficulty levels.

How will Hoshigami Remix take advantage of the dual screens of the Nintendo DS?
Gail: Although the use of the dual screens is mostly aesthetic, they allow for a less cluttered and more informative interface than the original by being able to display things like character stats, terrain information as well as command descriptions on the top screen while displaying all the action on the bottom.

We know that the stylus will be optional, but will players be able to rely solely on the stylus if they choose, or will there be a mixture of button usage as well?
Gail: Yes, the game can be controlled completely with the stylus, or a mixture of the stylus and buttons, or just the buttons alone.

The menu-based confirmation system was rued by many players of the original title. Has this been changed at all? If so, can you explain a little about what will make the updated system better?
Gail: Yes, in Hoshigami Remix there is no need to confirm every action with a Confirm / Cancel command which means less button pressing. Also, in order to make the RAP system easier to understand visually, we changed the battle menu to display the RAP gauge at all times. As a result it should be easier to see how attack and movement affect the same gauge as well as how your actions dictate whose turn is next. Also, commands that cannot be selected due to a lack of RAP points are "greyed" out. A minor change, but definitely one that makes it easier to understand the RAP System.

Hoshigami Remix has three difficulty levels this time around. Could you explain to the readers what is different about them compared to the original Hoshigami?
Gail: Here is a breakdown of what is different on all the difficulty levels. Hard mode is essentially the difficulty found in the original Hoshigami.

  • Enemy levels are predetermined depending on the stage
  • Characters are automatically resurrected after battle
  • Main character starts off with a revive coinfeigm
  • Change equipment and restore HP between continuous battles
  • Increased EXP given in battle
  • Characters have a better hit% and inflict more damage
  • Enemy levels are predetermined depending on the stage
  • Main character starts off with a a revive coinfeigm
  • Perma death for characters
  • Increased EXP given in battle
  • Change equipment and restore HP between continuous battles
  • Special ending graphic
  • Enemy characters are at the same level as your highest level character.
  • Perma death for characters
  • Special ending graphic
All Modes
  • More damage and better equipment given in 1 or 2 Attack Sessions
  • Suspend save available for continuous battles.
  • Continue where you left off in the Tower of Trials

The press release mentioned "one true ending," exactly how many endings are available to players in this game?
Gail: There are 6 main endings including the one true ending as well as 13 individual character endings that are based on what characters you have recruited and kept alive during the course of the game.

What are some factors that determine which ending the player will obtain?
Gail: Most of the endings are determined by who you have in your party and whether they live or die in the last battle. In order to get the true ending there are a few conditions you have to meet, but I won't reveal them here. Although, with a bit of research on a certain FAQ site I'm sure your readers can figure it out.

Does this title utilize Nintendo Wi-Fi connection? If so, what will players be able to use it for?
Gail: Unfortunately, no. However, there is an item trading mode in which you can trade items with another user who have a copy of Hoshigami Remix. So, theoretically if you can con your friends into giving up their powerful weapons when you start a new game, you'll have an easier time getting through the game.

Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the fans regarding Hoshigami Remix?
Gail: First, I'd like to thank RPGamer for allowing us to talk a little bit about our upcoming game. I think Hoshigami veterans will find that the new elements we've added will make it feel like a whole new game. Also, since the game is much more accessible this time around, gamers who weren't able to experience it the first time will be treated to a great little story with hours upon hours of gameplay. We're very excited since it's our first SRPG and hope that we're able to meet the expectations of all the hardcore SRPG fans out there.

RPGamer would like to thank Gail Salamanca for the opportunity to learn a little more about the company's upcoming Nintendo DS debut. Scheduled for release in June, it looks like Hoshigami Remix will only be the tip of the iceburg for Aksys Games and RPGs.

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