Which games receive sequels and which ones don’t probably have a lot to do with the budget. However, some sequels appear to be created out of pure passion. The Gust-developed Blue Reflection isn’t talked about in too many gaming circles, but it’s highly regarded by those who play it. When we heard that Blue Reflection: Second Light will act as a follow-up to the magical girl adventure, I was surprised. I didn’t expect it, but I greeted the return with open arms.
As we approach the November 9th release date, we had the chance to talk to development producer Akira Tsuchiya on the game’s systems and development of the series.
Azario Lopez: The original Blue Reflection was a surprising new IP from Gust; after release, did you feel like you provided the kind of emotions and experience you hoped to convey to the player through that story? Was there anything that didn’t entirely work in the original that you aim to address in Second Light?
Akira Tsuchiya: After the launch of the previous game, I think we were able to convey the main points of the story, graphics and BGM, and that came through in the feedback and reviews. At the same time, there were a lot of points brought up about the playability, so we aimed to improve those points in this game. In Second Light, in order to get further involved in the relationships between the characters, we centered the game cycle on the bonds between the characters, as well as overhauling the battle specs, and also improved the over pacing, as well as adjustments to the difficulty. I think players will enjoy the improved gameplay experience.
AL: While the Blue Reflection series is still niche, what was the deciding factor in green lighting this new entry?
AT: Actually, while we were developing the first game, we were already thinking about creating a sequel, so even after the first game was released we were working on the plan for a sequel behind the scenes. We genuinely wanted to relaunch this series once more, and felt that we wanted to create it into something even bigger. After going through the positive and negative points about the first game, we then started development with the goal of making something that will meet the expectations of the players. And during all that, hearing the fans cheering us on was a really big encouragement.
AL: Blue Reflection: Second Light emphasizes the bonds of this group of friends. In terms of the returning characters, can players expect to see some growth within them as characters and their friendship?
AT: The protagonist from the first game, Hinako Shirai, like the other characters, will form deeper friendships through interactions. For Hinako, players can learn more about her story that reaches back before the events of the first game which are revealed in this game, and participates in a capacity similar to the other characters. So for both those who are playing the series for the first time and those who played the previous game, they will find out new things about Hinako.
AL: The easiest path would be to have Hinako Shirai lead this new adventure, but we have a new story centered around Ao Hoshizaki, Kokoro Utsubo, and Yuki Kinjou. Why did you decide this was the narrative worthy of this sequel? Was there ever a time during development where it would have been another Hinako adventure?
AT: No, we had planned from the start that we wouldn’t make Hinako the protagonist of the sequel. The characters worry about their friendships, their future, and they seek to resolve them in a way that only they are able to. The concept of this series of having an ‘ordinary’ female also focuses on this point. For Hinako, we already portrayed this in the first game.
AL: The world of Second Light doesn’t seem to be based in reality. However, some of the best moments of gameplay happened during boss battles outside of the school. Can players expect these types of impactful encounters in this new entry?
AT: In this game, there will be instances when the school is under attack. The school mainly acts as a living space, and it is a space of comfort, so I think that the threat of it being destroyed will have a bigger impact than the first game.
AL: How has the battle system evolved from the first entry, and what is one of the more significant battle features found in Second Light?
AT: In the first game, while players waited after they used the ether they accumulated they could take certain actions, but basically they would have to wait until their turn and not be able to perform any small countermeasures. In this game, we decided to make the strategy so that players can decide how long they want to wait. Players will see the current situation, and maybe decide to attack first before other characters to inflict a debuff, or wait until the enemy attacks and then restore health. So the wait time for each character can be changed according to their battle style. Also, the new One-on-One phase allows for 1 vs 1 real-time battles, so overall players will be able to feel how the battles have evolved with improvements in real-time elements.
AL: When it comes to post-launch content and DLC, what can players expect from this new entry? Aside from bathing suits and additional uniforms, do you have plans for other collaborations similar to Ryzas uniform?
AT: Post-launch we are considering additional content such as costumes and dungeons. In terms of collaborations, we do have a Ryza costume for the Limited Edition.
AL: Graphically, how has Second Light improved from the previous entry? Are there plans for a PS5 update for additional optimization?
AT: Graphically, it has been greatly upgraded from the previous game, and players can feel even more like they’re “actually there”. We don’t have any plans for a PS5 version, but we’ll see what kind of response there is.
AL: Is anything you’d like to say fans waiting for the release of Second Light?
AT: In this game, we promise that we can provide the highest quality graphics and an excellent game experience from the Gust brand. We will be releasing a demo before the game’s launch, so will be able to get a sneak peek at the game. I hope you will continue to support us towards the game’s launch and also after its release. Please look forward to the game!
Blue Reflection: Second Light is coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC-via Steam on November 9, 2021.
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