Fans of The World Ends with You will, at last, get to play its long-anticipated sequel this July. Key developers from Square Enix talked about how NEO: The World Ends with You finally came together in an interview with 4Gamer.
The interview features Series Director Tatsuya Kandoi, Producer Tomohiko Hirano, and Director Hiroyuki Ito. Below are highlights from the developer interview about how plans for NEO: The World Ends with You started:
Tomohiko Hirano, Producer: “Since the release of the 2007 Nintendo DS game, the passionate demand for a sequel was loud and clear from the fans, especially the fans overseas. Square Enix considered plans for a sequel on numerous occasions, but since the original The World Ends with You was such an outstanding title, it would’ve been difficult to develop it concurrently with other projects. We needed some time until we could situate ourselves to focus on its development. However, we were finally able to put it together and will deliver it to you all this July.”
Tatsuya Kando, Series Director: “Up until now, it’s been a repeat of making plans for a sequel then scrapping it. This time, the plan started coming together around the time we added an illustration of a character appearing in the sequel in the ending of the smartphone port.”
Hiroyuki Ito, Director: “When the project finally started, I looked at old folders in my PC and found the proposals for various versions. At the time, we were thinking about the project and how it would go with the latest platforms at the time, so their contents were all different.”
The first game featured 2D graphics with touchscreen controls. Now that things will be in 3D for NEO: The World Ends with You, the developers chimed in on what kind of systems we can expect to see in the sequel:
Hiroyuki Ito: “The previous game certainly had many elements made just for the Nintendo DS, and fans highly appraised them. We feel that it is necessary for the sequel to provide a ‘new experience,’ just like its predecessor TWEWY did. The experience you’ll get from the sequel is an action system that allows you to control all party members in real time. You guys will get to experience controls with a sense of freedom and speed like never before. Furthermore, we designed it in a way that even people who aren’t good at video games will get to enjoy.”
Tatsuya Kando: “For the previous game, it was one of the selling points to fully utilize the Nintendo DS functions. It featured an outstanding system that had battles going on simultaneously on the top and bottom screens. However, I also regretted hearing that the hurdle was a bit too high for some people that wanted to play it more casually. When we released the smartphone version, we put the two screens into one and offered a control scheme that allows players to control two characters at a time. The battle system for the sequel started from further expanding on that to have more characters in action.”
NEO: The World Ends with You launches for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on July 27, 2021.