Question (KONAMI Development Team): You might have been asked this many times, but what does "EDENS ZERO" mean to you, as the original creator of this series?
Answer (Hiro Mashima): This might be common amongst creators, but I just had a contrarian urge to create something different from my previous work. My last work was set in a medieval fantasy world, so this time I wanted to create a fantasy set in space.
Q: That's right, using the right model for Pino was something we took seriously in our development too. (Laughs) Especially for Pino, the characters' personalities change as the story progresses, so we thought it was simply a reflection of that…
Q: After "FAIRY TAIL" ended, we were anticipating your next project, but we never thought that it would take place in space. When reading the manga, you can see how diverse the world is through all of the different planets that they travel to. Creating these settings and bringing it to life must be very challenging at times. What are some things that were difficult?
A: I had been drawing fantasy worlds previously so I was good at drawing round and soft things. However, in space there are more angular and rigid objects. I am actually terrible at drawing these objects so I just suffer through it. It was my idea, after all. I might release all the pent-up frustration from this work, in my next work. (Laughs)
Q: We think it's amazing that you can come up with new designs of machines almost every week.
A: I get bored easily. (Laughs) This is a bad habit of mine since the "FAIRY TAIL" days. Sometimes I forget what happened in the previous weeks. (Laughs) In the case of "EDENS ZERO," Pino's design has changed drastically. At the beginning of the series, it was more "doll-like," however now she has a rounder shape.
A: Let's go with that! (Laughs)
Q: That's right, we were reminded time and time again by Mr. Mashima to "make it so that even the fans of the original work who often do not play games can experience the charm of H&S games."
Q: What were some of the things you envisioned when it was decided there would be an "EDENS ZERO" mobile game?
A: I myself am an avid gamer, and I had thought to myself "I wish this would become a video game" since the very beginning. As the setting of this series is outer space, I wanted the game to express the beauty of space that cannot be created in anime or manga. I was also excited to see all the gravitational action.
Q: Actually, the game that we originally proposed was something very different from what we have now. We originally had a turn-based battling system, but after receiving input from Mr. Mashima, we decided to make it a top-down action game with added hack-and-slash elements.
A: That's right. I think the charm of "hack-and-slash" is that once you get into the swing of things, you can really immerse yourself in the world. And that thrill of finding a good item is unbeatable. I want people who don't play hack-and-slash games to realize how fun it can be, and for people who love the genre but are not familiar with the title, I would love for them to get to know my original work.
(Hack-and-Slash - In this interview, we are referring to this term as an Action RPG game where the objective is to mow down countless enemies to acquire randomly dropped buffed equipment and experience points, and to enjoy character building through its status point/skill point growth system and a myriad of equipment. Can be written as H&S or HnS.)
A: Games with various characters and ones based on an original work often do not use the "H&S" system. They'd usually go the safe route of making the game follow the character or story. But for this game, I wanted the team to tackle the project head-on, without using popular tropes. So, fans of the original work are in for a treat. And even if you're not a fan of the original series, you can still enjoy the gameplay.
Q: We asked you to come up with not only costumes but also various moves that do not appear in the original works. The Demon King's Four Shining Stars, who do not fight often in the original works, are playable characters in this game, so we'll see some new action elements. What kind of process do you have in developing each character's fighting style?
Q: Could you tell us more about the costume change feature of the characters? As game developers, we thought that it was taboo to change the designs of the original work. However, we think you are more on the tolerant side, Mr. Mashima. Is this because you yourself are a fan of video games?
A: If my work becomes a game, I want it to be something I want to play. Costume changes are one of my favorite aspects of gameplay, so I definitely wanted that to be added to this game.
Q: We were always very nervous when asking for feedback on the costume designs…
A: The costume for Alice that I saw today was very impressive. I am thrilled to be able to show the charm of each character in new ways through this game.
A: Basically, I create characters that I would want to control and play as. I remember vividly thinking things like "Sister's whip must be hard to animate," or “Hermit's drones could easily be a game of its own" while developing these characters. By the way, about Sister's whip: I was overjoyed when the team said, "As a KONAMI game, we have to make the whip look good." I was like "Oh, just as I thought." (Laughs)
Q: Overall, what is your favorite thing about this project?
Q: Attacking using Hermit's drones was something that appears for the first time in the game. Did you already have these ideas in mind when you initially created her?
A: Yes. It came pretty naturally. I would also like to add that I drew inspiration from Gladius. (Laughs) Actually, I decided to draw scenes of her using a drone later in the series because we decided to have her controlling drones in the game.
Q: In this game we also see "Ether Gear," one of the core elements of "EDENS ZERO. "Specifically, could you tell us what you honestly think about the expression of Shiki's gravitational Ether Gear, as the original creator of this protagonist?
A: I think it is nice and impactful. The colors are beautiful as well. I also realized how making Rebecca's feet shine changed her impression drastically. It was just as I expected, and I think it's marvelous.
A: Definitely the costume change feature of the characters. I love that there is a wide variety of outfits that add to the freedom of expression in this game. I think this is pretty rare, being able to change outfits as well as hairstyles in a game with established characters. As the original creator, I was very impressed at the variation of hairstyles. In fact, when we made "FAIRY TAIL" into a game, KONAMI declined my request to have customizable hairstyles. They told me "we don't have the capacity for it." (Laughs) So, I thought "let me ask again, knowing it might get rejected again." This time, KONAMI made it happen and the product was more than I imagined myself. To think that there may be more additional hairstyles and costumes to be added in the future makes me really excited. I hope we can introduce more playable characters to choose from, too.
Q: What are some costumes you really enjoyed?
A: I was playing earlier when I realized you can put other characters' costumes on a character. For example, putting Sister's costume on Witch. I had never thought of doing this before, but I really liked it. Giving Shiki's outfit to Weisz, Homura's outfit to Rebecca... You can really play around with that.
Q: Finally, do you have anything you want to tell your fans?
Q: You drew the illustration for the app icon as well. What was going through your mind when you created this?
A: The icon is essentially the face of the product. I drew it with the intention of inviting more players to try out the game.
A: The amount of substance in this game is nothing like other character-based games! You can enjoy your favorite scenes from the original story, as well as customize your own characters and explore the universe in your favorite outfit. Furthermore, "EDENS ZERO" is a story that is based around the connectivity of the world. We will be releasing "EDENS ZERO Pocket Galaxy" to the entire world, so we're excited to see how our overseas fans react as well. I hope fans of "EDENS ZERO" across the entire globe will enjoy this game!
This interview was conducted in January, 2022.