13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim might be selling poorly despite being absolutely amazing, but Vanillaware isn’t giving up yet and is working on its next game.
Vanillaware director George Kamitani confirmed the studio is currently developing its next game. Dengeki Online published an interview with Vanillaware’s staff on 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. We have George Kamitani, the director, scenarist, designer, and more, of 13 Sentinels. Koichi Maeno, who was a designer who assisted Kamitani and was a core member of 13 Sentinels‘ development, handling a lot of the characters’ 2D animation. And lastly, we have Yukiko Hirai, one of the character designers, illustrators and animators of 13 Sentinels.
The interview focuses on how some of the characters and story elements of 13 Sentinels were created, such as fan-favorite Tsukasa Okino and his crossdressing, and on the various ways Vanillaware dealt with 2D animation and game development constraints. If time permits, we’ll be translating all that in a separate article as it’s all extremely interesting.
At the end of the interview, George Kamitani was asked by Dengeki Online about DLC for 13 Sentinels and Vanillaware’s future plans. He answered: “For additional content regarding 13 Sentinels, it’ll depend on Atlus and the players. In the past, I had some ideas for DLCs, but this ended up being canceled seeing the delays in the game’s development (cries). But 13 Sentinels‘ characters and Vanillware’s staff will be delighted if fans can imagine side stories and additional stories for the game. As for Vanillaware, we are already working on our next challenge, we are already working on our next game. Our fight with 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim might be over, but we’re not slacking around. One’s lifespan will always decrease even when being idle. So we want to make as many games as we can! Look forward to our next game.”
Vanillaware already teased a new game in the 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Prologue Demo released in March 2019. It’s highly likely this is the game Kamitani spoke of. Back at New Years 2019, he also mentioned he’d like to make a new fantasy-themed game after the sci-fi themed 13 Sentinels. Nonetheless, it’s reassuring to hear Vanillaware is still alive and kicking seeing how 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim bombed in Japan.
In another, older interview with Dengeki Online, the same trio from Vanillaware discussed how low the initial sales for 13 Sentinels were but seeing the game is receiving high praise, they were hoping it will become a sleeper hit. This slightly turned out the be the case as many famous Japanese personalities praised the game since its release on November 28. This includes game directors like Yoko Taro and Masahiro Sakurai, but also popular mangaka and illustrators such as Eiichirou Mashin, AgohigeX, and Makoto Sanda, Word of mouth, excitement, and praise on social media turned into actual sales, something very rare in my opinion when it comes to pop culture works like games or anime in Japan.
Following this, on January 14, Atlus apologized because 13 Sentinels was unfindable and sold out on many stores in Japan, including Amazon Japan. Seeing the game initially didn’t sell, most shops initially didn’t plan on restocking it, and the sold-out situation persisted for a few days. On January 28, exactly two months after 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim released in Japan on PS4, Atlus announced the game sold 100,000 copies, digital and physical included. This is still pretty low compared to many other Japanese game releases, but it’s better than nothing.
An artwork of 13 Sentinels’ idol character Inaba Miyuki by Yukiko Hirai was published to celebrate. Shigatake, another artist who worked on 13 Sentinels, also shared the pixel art above.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is extremely interesting, and I hope the western version will be coming soon so it can reach a wider audience. Each of the 13 protagonists ‘ stories being playable in pretty much any order is quite original. This is coupled with how each story part has revelations and ends in a cliffhanger, something more akin to an American tv series. And yet the game also blends in typical Japanese and anime things perfectly in. I hope George Kamitani will be personally writing Vanillaware’s next game as well.
If you’d like to discover 13 Sentinels as soon as possible, I am translating my own playthrough of the game in a let’s play. The first episode is included below.