Home Bushiroad Games COO Talks Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact, DLC Plans

Bushiroad Games COO Talks Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact, DLC Plans

Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact (stylized as HUNTER×HUNTER NEN×IMPACT) is the franchise’s first full-fledged fighting game. Bringing classic characters from the series together in a 2D, 3v3 format, the game has shown off some gameplay and offered demos to fans as part of convention programming.

As part of Anime Expo 2024, in addition to getting hands on with the game, we got the opportunity to interview Tomoyasu Miyazaki, Chief Operating Officer of Bushiroad Games, one of the game’s publishers alongside Arc System Works. Miyazaki-san is a 10-year veteran of the gaming industry, and he worked in the general entertainment industry prior to that. The conversation focused on the game’s development, what challenges the studio encountered while putting it together, and plans for the remainder of the roster.

Creating Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact

I first asked about how Bushiroad Games came to work on Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact. Miyazaki-san explained:

“Originally, Bushiroad wanted to make this game. So we put together a deck to, of course, propose it and we gave it to the original author. And we got the go ahead and the clearance from him. So essentially, it came from Bushiroad’s desire to make the game.”

With any video game, and especially for video games that are based on anime or manga, a myriad of things can be top of mind during development. Gameplay, competitiveness, and other aspects of production are possibilities, but Miyazaki-san explained that what was foremost in their minds during the early stages of development for Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact was very specific to Hunter x Hunter as a franchise.

“When thinking about putting Hunter x Hunter into a fighting game format, the biggest thing that we wanted to put forward was showing off the Nen abilities. We wanted that to be the most impressive thing and the strongest expression that was shown. So the biggest concern, even at the opening stages of production, was how do we display, how do we show off, how do we express the Nen abilities from the anime into the game accordingly. The highest priority was being able to show off the Nen abilities correctly.”

When it comes to challenges faced during production, Miyazaki-san again pointed to conveying the Nen abilities as one, as well as making sure the adaptation process as a whole stayed true to the original intellectual property (“IP”).

“The biggest challenge, I guess you could say, is just to respect the original IP. Keeping the visuals that everybody’s familiar with and being able to translate that into the game, express it properly, and include everything. That was really the biggest concern moving throughout the entire development process. In particular, you want to keep the looks and you want to keep the feel of the [Nen] abilities, so it was a consistent challenge to maintain that and stay true the whole way through.”

Characters and Balance

One notable thing about this game compared to a lot of other anime fighting games is that it is a 2D fighter. In the realm of anime video games, arena fighters are incredibly common. This can lead to both good and bad outcomes; some arena fighting games are quite enjoyable, but the relative ubiquity of the format can occasionally make new anime fighting games feel like carbon copies of existing ones. Miyazaki-san explained that making this a 2D fighting game was the intention from the very beginning.

“Making a 2D fighter is a little more simple to put together comparatively, and there was actually a very strong desire to do that from the get-go. So everybody kind of agreed unanimously from the start, this is going to be a 2D fighter, not arena.”

When balancing the characters, he explained that there was an effort made to not make any one character too overpowered and make it possible to play and enjoy the game as anyone on the roster.

“What I can say is that we wanted to make sure that each character was balanced no matter who you choose. We wanted there to be a level playing field when playing against any other character.”

With characters in mind, I asked about the roster. Early versions of the game have shown a character select screen featuring 16 character slots, something some fans have been a bit concerned about. I asked whether this roster size was final, and Miyazaki-san indicated that, apart from the 16 character slots currently revealed, additional characters would be coming via DLC.

“So, we do plan on including more characters through DLC. As for who and when, please look forward to our future announcements.”

As far as single player story game modes are concerned, Miyazaki-san assured they tried to retain as much from the original story as possible when recreating it.

“We’ve tried to preserve the original story as best as we can in the story mode while translating it into the game system visuals. We really want fans to look forward to seeing their favorite scenes from the anime translated into modern gaming visuals.

Finally, I asked if he had a favorite Hunter x Hunter character.

“It’s kind of hard to choose because there’s so many characters, but I guess I’ll go with Machi.”

During a panel for Arc System Works, Miyazaki-san also indicated Morel would be a mainstay on his team, suggesting the character is coming to the roster of Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact. The panel also revealed Chrollo Lucilfer will be joining the 16-character roster.

We’d like to thank Tomoyasu Miyazaki for taking the time to speak with us about Hunter x Hunter: Nen Impact. The game is set to release sometime in 2024.

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