Disgaea 1 Complete - Mr. Niikawa, (President of Nippon Ichi Software) Interview Part 1/2


Platform(s): Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®4 
Click Here Order here


How did it feel revisiting the first Disgaea game again from a game development point of view? Were you excited or nervous to revisit it?

Niikawa-San: The first thing was realizing that this series has been around for fifteen years and thinking about the legacy it now has. I also felt a sense of gratitude towards the fans for their continuous support of the series. To be honest, I didn’t really feel a sense of nostalgia, because if you look at all the other Disgaea games, Laharl and other characters have shown up in some way or form, so it’s very hard to say I would feel such a way.

With Disgaea 1 Complete we’re hoping that players who didn’t get the chance to play it when it came out originally will have the chance to experience it with the updated graphics and gameplay. One thing we thought carefully about when deciding to release Disgaea 1 Complete was to how welcome a new generation of players who might not have been old enough or even born when it initially released back on the PlayStation 2.

Celebrating 15 years of Disgaea, how does it feel to have the first game in the series still loved by fans after all this time?

Niikawa-San: First of all I didn’t expect the series to last this long.


Niikawa-San: But, I think the most important thing about that was since it was able to release outside of Japan, it managed to pick up such a fan base that continues to support the series till this day and I’m very glad and appreciative of that.

Is there anything that got cut out of the original Disgaea that you’ve been able to implement in Disgaea 1 Complete?

Niikawa-San: So the thing about Disgaea 1 is that it came out on PlayStation 2, PSP, and Steam and every time it’s been released there was essentially something added to it. So all the things that were cut, if you want to use that word, from the original game have been added with every re-release that came out. So what makes this one Complete is that now rather than having to dig around through the other games, everything will come included in Disgaea 1 Complete.

What was your planning process when creating the characters and world of the original Disgaea? Has this process changed over the years with different games in the series?

Niikawa-San: Looking back on everything throughout the years, there have been changes to how the games are created when looking at the development and story, but the thing about Disgaea is that when it gets created it's without a clear plan in mind. The root of Disgaea is that at the very core you have this world where you have demons as the main characters living out their daily lives and anything and everything is allowed in the world of Disgaea. So whatever is considered bad or evil we use it as a base that allows us to do whatever we want. Usually, when you make a game you have a development document, but it was nothing like that with Disgaea 1


Niikawa-San: Everyone on the development team would come up with various ideas and kept throwing them in the game and everyone kept saying “You know in the Netherworld you can do what you want there are no rules, so we should put this in the game!”. In Japan we have a thing called the “Yami Nabe” a type of hotpot which everyone throws whatever ingredient they want and no one knows who threw in what. The fun part of it is adding some weird ingredients to see if the result is a mess, but it’s exciting. This is how we approached the development of the first Disgaea game. This process also continued when we went on to make future sequels in the series with the “anything goes” rule as a foundation.

NISA Europe: Interesting.

Niikawa-San: This is probably a game you couldn’t write a design document for.

*Niikawa LAUGHS*

NISA Europe: So what would you name this process if you had to call it something?

Niikawa-San: Chaos!


When looking at grid-based TRPG genre do you feel there is still space to innovate with so many great titles on the market nowadays?

Niikawa-San: Absolutely! There are definitely things that still haven’t been thought of yet, but they exist and it is our job to look for them and implement them into games. It’s like a treasure map, you might head off to one direction thinking there’s gold over there, but you only find trash. On the other hand, maybe where you started or didn’t go before, might have a whole lot of loot.

NISA Europe: That is a very cool way of seeing things.

Whenever we're at expos or are talking to fans online, a lot of them go crazy over Prinny. Why do you think fans have such an attachment to the character?

Niikawa-San: It’s probably sympathy; they feel really sorry for Prinnies. And of course they’re cute too and, as you know, within every Prinny there’s a human soul, so maybe there’s this idea that fans have a certain level of understanding for them since they were previously humans.


Translation by: Alan Costa