Kotaro Uchikoshi Interview – Creating AI: The Somnium Files and Adventure Games for Fans

The adventure mystery genre has some prolific writers and directors who excel in the craft. One of those creators is director and writer Kotaro Uchikoshi, who you might know as the director and creator of the Zero Escape series. Uchikoshi-san is one of those creators who seems to go all in with the stories that he creates. The characters within these stories stick with players for years to come as they make a rather large impact on the lives of the players.

With his upcoming title, AI: The Somnium Files on the way, Noisy Pixel’s Azario Lopez had the chance to sit down with Uchikoshi-san and talk a little bit about his development process when writing new stories as well information about his upcoming adventure game.

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Azario Lopez: A-set’s final video was pretty emotional and I might have cried during it, was it tough for you to come up with the ideas for her videos?

Kotaro Uchikoshi: First of all, thank you for opening up about the emotion you felt towards A-set. We launched those videos after the story was already completed, so I already knew what was going to happen to her in the future, the past, and currently. It was easy for me to make these videos because I didn’t have to re-establish her character for them.

AL: Was it tough to include easter eggs and hints in the video without spoiling too much?

KU: It was extremely difficult, in all aspects, to get everything I wanted in these videos without exposing too much about the story.

AL: Was there ever a time that someone had to stop you from revealing too much?

KU: Well you see, I had the help of Spike Chunsoft team members David Kracker and Alex Flagg to help me and we proofed each scene pretty hard, but if you were to play the game and then watch the videos from beginning to end you might catch some stuff that you missed before.

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AL: AI: The Somnium Files will feature branching paths, is there a path in the game that will answer all the player’s questions or do you expect them to play through multiple paths?

KU: Similar to one of my previous titles, Virtues Last Reward, there’s a lot of multiple ways you can go through the game and each path reveals a little more information, but by going through the, what I’ll call the “Ultimate Ending”, will allow the player to see how everything comes together as it reveals itself.

AL: We had done an interview with you at GDC that got a lot of attention from a response that you gave about fan service. Do you remember?

KU: No, do you remember what I said?

AL: You said something along the lines of there will be “cute and sexy” scenes for the “boys out there”.

KU: Okay, you see, I made this game for the fans so everything about it can be considered fan service. Even like a random comment in the game can have this effect on fans of my games. So there’s my answer.

AL: Do you feel like you’ve accomplished creating a game that your fans will enjoy?

KU: Absolutely!

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AL: You’ve penned many titles in the visual novel adventure genre, from Ever17, to Zero Escape, to Punch Line. You seem to be a creator that one can’t really put into a box. My question is how do you create and pen so many different stories and characters without overlapping yourself and doing something you’ve already done before?

KU: So there are two things. The first being that when I’m thinking of a new story, I expose myself to new things like going on the internet or reading a book, pretty much anything I can do to get something fresh in my mind. The second is that  I like to think of my games as colors for example Zero Escape was a dark deathly color that I had envisioned. While some of those themes appear in AI: The Somnium Files, the players are experiencing the game as a detective and trying to solve a murder. So I change the color of the story in various ways to not completely repeat myself.

AL: Is there a color that you associate AI: The Somnium Files with?

KU: It’s a rainbow!

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AL: Do you fear a day will come where you stop having fun creating these stories?

KU: I don’t really worry about thinking about that stuff that is so far in the future. I do worry more about immediate things like whether or not people will show up to my panels here in the west.

AL: How long will AI: The Somnium Files be?

KU: The game will probably take players 25 to 30 hours to complete.

AL: After AI: The Somnium Files, will you stay focused on the adventure genre, or will you try something new?

KU: So I can’t go into too much detail, but at Tookyo Games where I work, we are working on several different kinds of genres. So to answer your question, I will be creating games in different genres in the future.

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AL: As a personal question, can we expect bathing suit DLC for the characters of AI: The Somnium Files?

KU: Currently, we have no plans of doing bathing suit DLC, but who would you like to see in a swimsuit?

AL: Ota, of course.

KU: [laughs] Okay, I’ll get on that right away!

AL: Is there anything you’d like to say to fans eager to play your upcoming game, AI: The Somnium Files?

KU: As I said earlier, I created this game for the fans. I’m really confident that they will enjoy it and have fun with it. With that said, even if you haven’t played any of my previous titles, I urge you to pick this game up and see what the adventure genre is all about, you won’t be disappointed.


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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.