NISA Senior Associate Producer Alan Costa on Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories!
We recently spoke to Alan Costa, Senior Associate Producer at NISA, with regard to Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories, which has just released for Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4. Find the full interview below:
The series returns after a long hiatus, having gone under a lot of different names and guises. What was the decision behind going back to the original title?
We never handled any of the previous games in the series, while the games had a sporadic release in different territories. When you are releasing any kind of media, name and brand recognition is of the utmost importance. We felt Disaster Report was the name most familiar to players, so we figured that would be the one to go with.
Is this a sign of a potential series reboot or any possible continuation?
It would be up to the developers to make that decision. Obviously what really helps this is more people playing the game. So I hope that Disaster Report 4 gets in the hands of a lot of players, as this would definitely encourage the developers to make a decision regarding Disaster Report 5 and beyond.
What is the balance between action elements versus the narrative in this game?
There are never really moments in the game where you are just sitting and reading. But equally it’s not a traditional action game as most people think of it. If anything, I think it’s more akin to Quantic Dream-style games; you are moving around in a 3D space where the modeling is very realistic, but you’re not blowing up zombies or things like that. It’s very grounded in reality, in the choices you make and the situations they lead to. You’re always going to be moving, and there’s always going to be action around you, but it’s not an action game.
How did the localisation go for this title, and would you say it was easy or difficult to localise?
It was a very smooth localisation. As someone who has formerly worked in localisation, I would say a game like this is really easy to localise because it’s quite colloquial - the kind of colloquial Japanese that’s grounded in the real world. The manner of speech you are running into is everyday vocabulary, and the speech patterns that people have in the game are very modern and casual.
Given the global changes since the previous release, did now feel like the right time to launch this game, as is it even more topical?
While I’m not a developer, I know that they were working on it prior to the earthquake in Japan. When that event happened however, they kind of revamped the style of the game to a degree. Previously games in this series used to have a bit of a zany or wacky element to them, but this one is very grounded and focused in reality. This is mainly because we wouldn’t want to release a game immediately after a tragedy like this that could be seen as making light of it. Instead, this game is informative and educational. For people in the UK or Europe, earthquakes aren’t something people usually have to worry about or deal with, but these situations in the game are still really relevant. Disasters happen everywhere, even if they’re not necessarily earthquakes, and being put in the shoes of someone who’s experiencing that kind of disaster gives you a chance to think about how you would react in that situation. I think all of us would like to think that we would be the heroes and knights in shining armour and help people out, but maybe we wouldn’t. Maybe this would give us a chance to look at ourselves and see how we would react, and maybe we’d make some decisions that would surprise us. On the other hand, you can kind of play the game as a rogue and make some bad decisions. So just from a purely entertainment standpoint, there is that aspect to the game too. I think Disaster Report 4 offers a lot from both angles.