Sword Art Online Integral Factor - we catch up with Tomohiko Takeuchi at GDC

TDF: We are with Tomohiko Takeuchi who is the producer for Sword Art Online Integral Factor. So we will start with a question you probably won’t answer, it is really nice to see a Sword Art Online game that mimics the MMO nature of the anime. Are there any plans for the future to have an MMO style game on consoles? Or would this be brought to console?

Well if this game does well then we may well do.

As it stands there can be 6 players per party but how many players can there be per game world?

So it’s not like there is an actual number but since it is an online world there are a lot of other people playing at a time but people will go to different ones once the server has hit a limit and populate other instances.

Regarding the in app purchases what do you get from it and can you earn everything you buy by playing the game?

So the monetisation at the moment is that we sell the skills. You need to have a strong weapon to get stronger in this game but you can equip different skills to each weapon. You can buy the skills records, which are the character portraits, to equip them. This is one kind of the monetisation right now. But of course you can get these by farming the game as well as the gacha. We also have costume gacha, so with Christmas you can get special outfits. Also when you kill a boss you get items you can turn into different armour and things like that.

Aincrad in the anime has 100 floors, how many floors will the game have upon launch and will it go up to 100 eventually?

So to be honest at the moment we only have 5 floors but we will have 6 on global launch. Whether we will do all 100 is hard to say as some of the bosses in the later levels are very popular but we don’t fans to have to wait that long to face them. We might change whereabouts they are so players can see them soon, we are still thinking about it.

In the anime Heathcliff is the main antagonist, will he be the bad guy here too?

About whether he will be the last boss or not is a secret. However we already have the plot that has his name in it, in fact in the Japanese trailer you can see that he has been caught. So there will be some differences between the anime and the game itself. People in Japan are still waiting for the story too so we hope we can reveal the story to global players.

Will you be keeping the game inside Aincrad or going to Alfheim and Gun Gale Online as well?

At the moment we are still trying to focus on the Aincrad story as we still have some details about our main character and their supporter Koharu. We are trying to find a reason for them to be in Aincrad and the players will reveal the reasons as they play. However we will have other characters like Sinon or Leafa from other eras in the game too so it will be a lot of fun.

As the characters are Beta Testers will they have unique abilities like Kirito’s dual wielding?

Well since all the anime fans are asking the same thing, we are trying to put it in our system but we haven’t done it yet, but we have the idea that we will do it in the future. We are trying to figure out if we should put Kirito’s special ability in or not as it is meant to be just for him.

Kirito is shunned in the anime for being a Beta tester, will the two characters in the game have the same thing?

So basically we don’t think anyone would like to be hated or called a beater or anything so the characters won’t be. But at the same time there will be some worries from them about this as they are Beta testers too and this will factor in to the story.

As well as being an online RPG where you are fighting against the enemies will there also be PvP?

Yeah we do have a concept for this but we are still trying to add in all of the other systems first. So things like the guild system and raid bosses as well which could have more than 6 players at a time. At this point we don’t have the guild system in the game but the Japanese players are making them outside of the game and it is something we want to do as well.

Who are your favourite characters from the anime?

Heathcliff.

In the anime Heathcliff is basically a god, how will this be implemented if the players do fight him in game?

Basically we don’t want to focus on how strong he is but on his back story and how he had the world made. That is what we are trying to focus on.

Okay that was great, thank you very much.

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