The Caligula Effect: Overdose - Exclusive Interview

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Platform: PlayStation®4, Nintendo Switch™
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Q1. Could you please provide a brief mention of the developer for The Caligula Effect: Overdose and some of their previous titles?

AC: We licensed this game from FuRyu Corporation, who’ve previously developed games such as The Legend of Legacy, The Alliance Alive, and Lost Dimension. Their first game was Exstetra, which only released in Japan.

Q2. Would players that have enjoyed the Danganronpa and Persona series be able to enjoy The Caligula Effect: Overdose?

AC: Absolutely! To go a little bit further, the story of The Caligula Effect: Overdose is well written; at first glance, it probably looks similar to Persona. This is because the original writer of Persona 1 and Persona 2 worked on The Caligula Effect: Overdose. Furthermore, the game’s director studied psychology, and he really wanted to look at the frailty of the human psyche. In terms of the game’s story, you live in a virtual world called Mobius run by a virtual idol called μ (Mu), similar to the world of The Matrix films. However, unlike the Matrix series, everybody in Mobius is there because they want to be!

They all have some kind of trauma in the real world, whether it's physical, mental, or emotional, and they don’t want to face these traumas in the real world, hence why they end up going to Mobius. The protagonist of the game is one of the people who recognize that this isn’t the real world, and so they try to break out. Like how Persona and Danganronpa have aspects of socializing with characters, The Caligula Effect: Overdose has this. However, the director was actually pretty clear that it’s not as similar to the aforementioned games as one might think. You can build relationships with the characters you meet and befriend, but ultimately your goal is to escape from the false paradise and return to reality.

Q3. The Caligula Effect: Overdose, has a character called (Mu), who is a personified vocal synthesizer software program. Looking at her, would you say that the music and the audio play a big part in the game?

AC: Yes, absolutely! μ’s bodyguards are all composers; they’re called the Ostinato Musicians, and they all have their own unique musical style.

Q4. How does The Caligula Effect: Overdose differentiate itself from other urban/school-styled JRPGs on the market?

AC: Good question! That again really ties to the development aspect of things. As explained earlier, the director was a former psychology student and he told us at last year’s Tokyo Game Show that he really wanted to explore the human psyche in this game. If you look up Caligula, it’s actually the name of a Roman emperor who was famous for debauchery and doing all sorts of crazy stuff. However, that’s not where the name of the game comes from. In fact, the “Caligula Effect” is a psychological phenomenon. In 1979, there was a movie called Caligula starring Malcolm McDowell, who is famous for A Clockwork Orange. When Caligula came out, it was known to have over-the-top content that wasn’t standard for major-release films at that time. In fact, in North America, the film was released in a special way to avoid being given an X rating or being banned outright.

This demonstrated that when human beings are told they shouldn’t do something, they tend to want to do that thing even more, and that’s the Caligula Effect! In this game, you’re tasked with defeating μ, this sweet and beautiful entity, in order to return to reality. This creates the Caligula Effect--would the player want to kill such a divine and lovable idol to return to the real world? I think that concept in and of itself sets it apart from other urban/school-styled JRPGs on the market.

Q5. What sorts of updates are incorporated in The Caligula Effect: Overdose that wasn’t available in the previously released PlayStation Vita version?

AC: Essentially, the game was rebuilt from the ground up using Unreal Engine 4, and now it runs much better on the PS4. The game itself is a bit more ambitious this time around with a new playable female protagonist. There’s also a new story route you can take, where you’re on the Musicians’ side and see things from their perspective. In addition, players can also look forward to more skills, abilities, and a thrilling new ending. So, even for those who played the original PlayStation Vita version, there’s a lot of new content to look forward to.

Q6. The Caligula Effect: Overdose previously had an anime series that came out last year; what would anime viewers look forward to in this interactive experience of the series?

AC: Great question! Luckily, when I went to Japan last year, the director of the game was asked a similar question. The huge difference between anime and video games is that in video games, you’re actually interacting with what’s happening on the screen, whereas with anime, you’re passively watching it. The director of the game had to rewrite the script of the anime to make the protagonist interact more with characters by giving them their own personality. Even though the core themes and story are the same in both mediums, it plays out much differently in the game since players are the ones making the decisions and moving the plot forward, whereas the anime just flows along.

Q7. The Caligula Effect: Overdose will release on a range of different consoles, does it take any advantage of the system it’s on in terms of features looking at (PS4 touchpad & NSW rumble and touch screen) etc...

AC: The game is the same regardless of platform, so players are free to choose which platform they would prefer to play the game on.