Little Dragon Cafe Creator Yasuhiro Wada @ Anime Expo 2018
Yasuhiro Wada is best known for creating the Bokujō Monogatari series, better known as Harvest Moon in the west. His games have entertained countless gamers and inspired the creation of the widely successful Stardew Valley. CFG Games had the opportunity to chat with Wada-san during Anime Expo 2018 about his latest project, Little Dragon Cafe.
Interviewed by Arlette Agati and William Hong
Translated by Keiko Mimura
You’ve described Little Dragon Cafe as a story about a bunch of losers. Why did you decide to create a story about a group of underdogs?
When you say losers in Japanese, it sometimes has a cute connotation. I use it as a loose term, so it’s not really about any bad losers. When I talk about losers, I’m not talking about one person in particular. I’m talking about me, everybody. Everybody has days where they’re happy, but not always. Nobody is 100% happy all the time. So I try to show this in different characters throughout the game.
Not everyone is happy all the time, but I want to show in this game that there’s ways to overcome that and people can come out being winners.
There have been many game developers that have left their companies to form their own studios. Why you decide to create your own company?
I was with Marvelous for a long time, which is known for the Harvest Moon series. Initially when I started I was developing games, but as it became more successful I had to move onto management. I’m a creator at heart and wanted to create games, so that’s why I decided to part ways and form my own company.
What was it like working with an unconventional developer like Suda51?
Great creator! Crazy and great creator. If there’s an opportunity I’d love to work with him again.
What’s your favorite Harvest Moon game?
It’s difficult to choose. The second Harvest Moon, the one on Nintendo 64. Wonderful Life on GameCube. Animal Planet on Wii. Those are my top three.
Harvest Moon has been an enduring franchise and inspired games like Stardew Valley. When you developed the original game did you have any idea it would be this popular?
When I created the game I didn’t imagine it would be this big. I wanted to create something that wasn’t already out there but also meant something. I’m very glad it was a hit and also that it affected Eric (Barone, creator of Stardrew Valley). His also became a big game, so I’m very happy.
Was it a challenge bringing Birthday Beginnings and Little Dragon Cafe to the Switch? What are your thoughts developing for the Switch?
Birthday Beginnings used a special engine for PC and PS4. Then it was brought over to the Switch, so that portion was difficult to do. Little Dragons Cafe was made for Switch and PS4. In that respect it wasn’t as difficult to create.
How would you describe Little Dragons Cafe to someone unfamiliar with the type of games you create?
I want to people to enjoy the game play, the world it’s in, and the adventure aspect. As I mentioned before, it’s about losers but it’s not about one person. It’s about everybody and I want everyone to be happy. It’s not about one hero since everyone is a hero. Everyone has something in them and I want them to have confidence in themselves. I hope everyone realizes this as they meet with the different characters in the game.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I always listen to music and read books before I go to sleep. I’m in a band right now. I play guitar and shout “Aww yeaahhhh!” [laughs]
What’s the name of the band?
Useless! [laughs] We’re not losers, we’re becoming useful. [laughs]