NEO: The World Ends with You Director, Battle Designer and Game Director Interview with Square Enix Discusses Combat Development

Square Enix recently posted an interview they conducted with NEO: The World Ends with You Director Hiroyuki Ito from Square Enix, Game Director Koji Yamamoto from UQIGMO, and Lead Battle Designer Hideyoshi Shimomoto from h.a.n.d., Inc. This interview mainly regarded challenges that arose from developing the title’s battle system and the role of Pins in particular.

One of the most prominent and expected challenges when developing this sequel was creating a battle system that could live up to the original game’s, but now on modern platforms. The prior title used the touchscreen heavily, and with this entry being on PlayStation 4 and PC, that design decision wasn’t feasible anymore. The mechanic of the first game that allowed players to control multiple combatants simultaneously provided the needed inspiration to solidify NEO’s gameplay identity. The ability to use multiple characters at once was the crux of the experience.

Still, appropriate steps were taken to make combat readily approachable and straightforward regardless of the number of tools typically at a player’s disposal. Additionally, creating a semblance of balance across the 333 available pins was quite a challenge, to say the least, but the team enjoyed taking it on.

You can read this thought-provoking interview in its entirety on Square Enix’s official website.

If you missed it, check out our very favorable review of NEO: The World Ends with You’s Nintendo Switch version. We also shared our impressions of the title’s recent PC port.

The story of NEO: The World Ends with You takes place in Shibuya. However, the main protagonist, Rindo, felt like something was off, which leads him to witness a psychic battle in the center of the Scramble Crossing. This is when he’s introduced to the “Reapers’ Game.” Sadly, this game comes with a few life-threatening rules: You cease to exist if you don’t win. So now, Rindo and his friend Fret fight against other players to find a way home.

NEO: The World Ends with You is currently available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via the Epic Games Store. Purchasers of the PC version will automatically receive the ‘Legendary Threads Set’ and the ‘Reapers’ Game Survival Set’ DLC, which are helpful pieces of equipment.


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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual. Fan of JRPGs, Action, Platformers, Rhythm, and Adventure titles.