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inside-games.jp Mirishita article TL

Jun 5th, 2018
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  1. Why is "Mirishita" so well loved? The importance of 'timing' and the secret to management, asking one who loves idols, HazamaP
  2. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3.  
  4. On June 29th 2017, was the debut of the new smartphone application for "The iDOLM@STER Million Live!", "The iDOLM@STER Million Live! Theater Days" (henceforth Mirishita). Being able to produce 52 charming idols, interact with them, as well as ambitious updates including outfits and songs, it has received the warm support of all the producers.
  5.  
  6. Also, on the 2nd and 3rd of June, they had their real Live "THE IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE! 5thLIVE BRAND NEW PERFORM@NCE!!!" at Saitama Super Arena, as well as Mirishita's upcoming 1st Anniversary on the 29th of June.
  7.  
  8. In today's inside editorial, we discuss the big turning point as well its timing with Mirishita Producer Wakako Hazama. Known as WakachikoP, we discuss with her what she feels about this work, the secrets of management, as well as what she had to keep in mind when developing.
  9. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  10.  
  11. - Thank you for your time today.
  12. Wakako Hazama (henceforth Hazama): I am Wakako Hazama, the Producer of "The iDOLM@STER Million Live! Theater Days".
  13.  
  14. - Is this your first time involved in an iDOLM@STER production?
  15.  
  16. Hazama: Mirishita was the first time that I worked as a Producer. Previously, I worked as a Sales Manager on home products for iM@S. When "THE IDOLM@STER LIVE FOR YOU!" (released on Xbox 360 in 2008) was released, I had to put up promotional posters and negotiate on the sales floor for the following year. For the following works, we worked on putting up special privileges and campaign at different stores, so we always looks forward to everyone's reactions on Twitter and at Lives.
  17.  
  18. (Right now, the author was nervous and at low tension, and while Ms. Hazama was acting the tsukkomi, to relieve the tension, we discuss the STANDING ALIVE event and the episodes where Rio Momose did her best...)
  19.  
  20. - And now the mood comes back (laughs). When making Mirishita, how did you ensure it would stay an iM@S work and yet differentiate it from other iM@S works?
  21.  
  22. Hazama: To keep it an iM@S work, we kept the element of "Producing an idol". For that reason, we kept the theme of Mirishita as the player, being the Producer, supporting and guiding the idols as they shine their way to the Top Idol.
  23.  
  24. However, as to what differentiates Mirishita from other works, we drew on a special feature of Million Live; that is, "Working with the idols to hand-create their own Live" and "Familiarity with the idol". In order to bring across that feeling, we added the element of "interactivity". For example, everyday the idols will greet you at the theater's Entrance, and by increasing their affection, they will gain more voice lines. These interactions are what I believe separates Mirishita from other works.
  25.  
  26. - For communications, was it your plan to have random commus and mails implemented from the beginning?
  27.  
  28. Hazama: From the beginning of development, the team gave me plenty of ideas to further enhance the idea of "interaction".
  29.  
  30. Allow me to deviate from your question slighty; for mail and jobs, I feel that these are more "real" ways for the Producer to communicate with their idol. For example, mail arrives after the real Lives, and for the Tokyu Hands campaign, we had the actual store appear in the background during the job. Our illustration artist also covered the actual store to ensure the background looked realistic. With the development team, we hope to bring forth this "cooperation with the idols".
  31.  
  32. - That's true, and also I noticed that Tokyu Hands, before and after the release of the CDs, they stuck posters at the entrance; I was deeply moved.
  33.  
  34. Hazama: I hope so, the development team will be delighted.
  35.  
  36. - I'd like to ask about matters regarding the game now; are there any policies regarding how gachas and songs are added to the game?
  37.  
  38. Hazama: The card team has already adjusted the entire schedule, but regarding our basic policy, for gacha, in the long term, we want to ensure that all 52 idols have spots and that no one idol repeats too much, as to ensure equality.
  39.  
  40. As for songs, like ballads or pop, we ensure that the next songs will not be the same genre as the previous. As for event songs, we take great care to ensure that the unit members and the gacha do not clash.
  41. We also take into account circumstances like the timing of real Lives and the April Fools' event to add songs.
  42.  
  43. - The latest solo song added to Mirishita was (as of this interview) Ayumu Maihama's "Unison☆Beat", which comes not from the Live Theater Performance series, but the Live Theater Harmony series. Is there a reason for this?
  44.  
  45. Hazama: For solos, it is the best way for an idol to make a first impression. We also considered the rhythm game aspect, as well as whether today's technology could best express a song's charm. In the case of Ayumu Maihama, we considered "Unison☆Beat" as a perfect self-introduction! Which is why the Live team selected that song.
  46.  
  47. - So what is Hazama-san's own job in all this?
  48. Hazama: Right now, I am the Contents Producer for Million Live, as well as the Game Producer for Mirishita.
  49.  
  50. For the former, I have to, together with everyone involved in the content, figure out what people like the most about the content and create it, as well as adjust it, to realize it.
  51.  
  52. For the latter, I work with the development team to think of ways to ensure the Producers have fun with the game, as well as the promotion team to get more people to know about the game; realizing these is my job.
  53.  
  54. - Mirishita is about to hit its 1st Anniversary on 29th June, and yet there have been no major obstacles or maintenance. Is there a secret to your secure service?
  55.  
  56. Hazama: It is a testament to the support of everyone, but I feel the testing team's achievements deserve special mention. The test team structure for Mirishita is devised entirely of experienced members. With the development team, we managed to set up a test environment, consisting of: Testing→Finding Bugs→Fixing Bugs, ensuring any trouble in the main market is kept to a minimum. We are also sensitive to customer demands and can respond quickly when problems arise. Due to this, we are able to meet this challenge.
  57.  
  58. - Even though it's about to be the First Anniversary, since updates have come at a steady pace, it doesn't feel like its been a year since the release.
  59.  
  60. Hazama: Thank you very much. I feel "speed" and "timing" are very important things. In order to maximize the impact and the experience of an event song, the "timing" is very important. In order to create such a "timing", the team works with a sense of speed in mind to realize this.
  61.  
  62. For example, during the recent Nico Chokaigi, the 13-Man Live for "Angelic Parade♪" was added to the game, as well as the outfit "Curely Angelic", when the members of Angel Stars were due to perform on the Super Music Stage. In order to achieve that "timing" the development team worked with that sense of speed to make it by that deadline.
  63.  
  64. - At the NicoChou stage, the "Mercari and Mirishita Original Goods 1st Anniversary" campaign was started up. It's an impressive initiative for the iM@S series, but what was the aim?
  65.  
  66. Hazama: I wanted to set up a place where the Producers could become involved with the 1st Anniversary.
  67.  
  68. Via, this campaign, you can create and sell goods of your own idol. Those who can see the charm of exchanging goods among other Producers will find it attractive.
  69.  
  70. Also, it is a good place to have those "I want this kind of goods" and "I want to make this kind of goods" thoughts align.
  71.  
  72. - One of the most unusual things in Mirishita was for the song "Machiuke Prince", where every idol had a unique clip for "usotsuki"; was this something you wanted to implement from the beginning?
  73.  
  74. Hazama: Having idols with unique vocals for certain songs was something planned from the beginning. Having the unique voice of the idol was a way for us to make it feel more realistic. We received much support from the people of Bandai Namco Arts (formerly Lantis) for that end.
  75.  
  76. As for "Machiuke Prince", that was something the development team thought of themselves (laughs)
  77.  
  78. They wanted to deliver a surprise to Producers on April Fools', since April Fools'→Lie→Liar→"Machiuke Prince" (since the lyrics contain the word for liar, usotsuki), and the idea of association was what lead to the implementation of that song. While opinions were originally divided on who should say the line, the thought process was "Mirishita allows unique vocals for everyone!"→"Let everyone say it!" and that was how it was decided...
  79.  
  80. - Because of that, you had to record the line "usotsuki" for every idol.
  81.  
  82. Hazama: Yes, we only recorded that one line. I have the memory of the development team suggesting that all in my head (laughs)
  83.  
  84. - This may be a hard question, but will you be doing something like this in the future?
  85.  
  86. Hazama: I'm glad you asked, we'll consider it. While the development team may not feel the same, I'd like to aim for a power-up in the future.
  87.  
  88. - One other unique thing for Mirishita, unlike other iM@S titles, is that gachas are announced 3 hours before changing. Is there a reason for this?
  89.  
  90. Hazama: Because I want the Producers to experience the feeling of having fun waiting for an idol. Having to wait that 3 hours helps to improve the value of the produce. During that time, the feeling of "I hope that idol comes!" is what I hope make them feel happy and excited.
  91.  
  92. - 2 of the 52 idols in Mirishita are brand new. Was it in the plan to add them from the beginning?
  93.  
  94. Hazama: Yes, it was. Since Mirishita was like a rebirth for "Million Live!", there were bound to be new elements added to the theater.
  95.  
  96. - For the April Fools' event, the addition of Joey Lotus (the director) made me feel nostalgic. While it appealed to newer players, I felt it was a good way to appeal to the older generation as well.
  97.  
  98. Hazama: Thank you very much. The development team works hard to keep this balance in mind.
  99.  
  100. - As a user and Producer, many things have changed from release. Such as the UI etc, there have been many changes, but was it very trial-and-error?
  101.  
  102. Hazama: Yes, it is. The development team responds to changes like "This would make it more enjoyable", "Is this difficult to play with", and responds quickly to there developments. After changing the UI, everyone gets to see said changes 3 days later in an update.
  103.  
  104. - As part of the development, is there any point you'd like to emphasize?
  105.  
  106. Hazama: I'd like to note the "outfits".
  107.  
  108. - Originally, there were the Shiny Trinity and the Prologue Rouge outfits, and more were added later...Did you want to give the feeling of nostalgia to the Gree players while still appealing to new users?
  109.  
  110. Hazama: With over 300 costumes in Mirishita, and the attention to detail in them thanks to the design team, I'd like everyone to enjoy the moment of your favorite idols shining in those outfits.
  111.  
  112. - The outfit "Top! Clover" from "The iDOLM@STER Stella Stage", with the traditional songs from Million Live produced by Lantis as well as songs like "Machiuke Prince" from Columbia; was it your intention to consider these points as well?
  113.  
  114. Hazama: Since all the Producers were looking forward to it, I decided to take note of songs and costumes beyond the scope of Million Live. We cooperated with the Stella Stage team and added the costumes to the game before launch.
  115.  
  116. Playing through Stella Stage, I was moved by the performance of the idols at the New Year's Live, and wanted to give everyone the same feeling in Mirishita. With this "timing" in mind, the team did their best to realize it.
  117.  
  118. - During Livestreams, you are referred to as WakachikoP, and forgetting about your role as Producer for a moment, who is you favorite idol?
  119.  
  120. Hazama: I like everyone, although seriously speaking, I'd choose Kaori Sakuramori.
  121.  
  122. - You seem to like adult idols, is there a reason for this?
  123.  
  124. Hazama: Well, its kind of a long story (laughs) I feel Kaori is someone I can aspire to be. Like, if she had a job in a company, she would be nervous yet be able to speak about it confidently. However, her calm aura is her charm point that attracts people to her. It's very easy to be close to her. Ah, I really like her unawakened SSR from the MilliFes.
  125.  
  126. - Ah, I don't have that...I do have Tsumugi from the same Fes though...
  127.  
  128. Hazama: You tried your best.
  129.  
  130. - Even in Livestreams you pull from the gacha.
  131.  
  132. Hazama: This might be subjective, but I feel there is an element of "luck" in streams. When their SSR was not available for a while, I was impatient about wanting to do a program, so I thank Asakura-san (referring to Mocho) for getting her SSR.
  133.  
  134. By the way, do you like Rio?
  135.  
  136. (Here I opened my heart to her regarding the charm of Rio Momose, but I omitted it here.)
  137.  
  138. - I apologize for such a personal story (laughs) I think there are many people out there who haven't tried Mirishita yet. Do you have any words for these people?
  139.  
  140. Hazama: "Please try playing even if you are not good at rhythm games". Mirishita has a range of difficulties from 2MIX to MILLION MIX, which can be experienced as a course. 2MIX gives you the feeling of cheering for the idols, and 4MIX gives you a taste of the choreography. Please play the course that suits you the best.
  141.  
  142. - In Mirishita, the release of new event songs is very soon after the event ends. Do you decide the release of the CD after the event schedule?
  143.  
  144. Hazama: Yes. After deciding the event schedule, we decide on the release of the CDs. We work together with Bandai Namco Arts so that the new songs can be released shortly after in digital format.
  145.  
  146. - I buy them, both digital and CD...
  147.  
  148. Hazama: After getting used to the game size, you hear the full version and enjoy the differences between it and the game size.
  149.  
  150. - I listen to the instrumental version of the event songs on the event screen all the time (laughs)
  151.  
  152. Hazama: Ah!!! I understand. I really like EScape... (most recent event as of this interview) I don't want to press anything. I was discussing with the development team about the instrumental (laughs)
  153.  
  154. - Lastly, any final words for the Producers?
  155.  
  156. Hazama: Mirishita celebrates its 1st Anniversary on 29th June. As we approach this day, we could not have gotten here without the support of everyone. Thank you very much. To ensure everyone keeps having fun, we will work hard with the development team. Please continue to produce the idols.
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