Games Interview: A.o.T. 2 producer Hisashi Koinuma on lessons learned and taking the series in new directions

Attack on Titan has struck a chord with audiences, reaching a level of popularity at home and in the West that many of its contemporaries can only dream of. A video game adaptation was only a matter of time. With 2016’s successful A.o.T.: Wings of Freedom under their belts, developer Omega Force returns for the sequel. We spoke briefly to producer Hisashi Koinuma via email about what the team learned from the original game and how they’re planning to take the sequel to new heights.

The Iris: Given that AoT is so wildly popular, is there significant pressure to deliver an experience that will appeal to fans? If so, how do you approach that?

Hisashi Koinuma: The challenge is to create something not only for the fans, but also something that the original author would enjoy.

TI: On a related note, how has fan feedback impacted your design philosophy for AoT 2?

HK: The number of characters was a main piece of feedback we heard, and although we focused a lot on the omni directional mobility in the first game, this time we focused on more realistic Titan action, more interactions with characters from the original anime, and online functions – alongside a bigger roster.

TI: What about areas you and team the team personally wanted to improve upon? Was there any part of the original game mechanically or artistically that you were unhappy with and aimed to improve in AoT 2?

HK: In the previous game, we focused on creating, and being able to use, the omni-directional mobility easily and for defeating the Titans, whereas for this game we focused on the more realistic representation of the Titans through their actions and intensity, and worked on the omni-directional mobility to combat this.

TI: What are some of the ways AoT 2 will set itself apart from the first game? What new features and mechanics can fans expect to see?

HK: In the first game, we focused on attacking the Titans and having the action feel good, but this time we focused on making the action more realistic, so we used different movement as seen in the comics, and improved the AI.

TI: In your opinion, what are the most important factors to consider when creating a video game based on a popular property?

HK: Regardless of large or small IP, we are borrowing it from its IP holder, so we pay close attention in its development. We also like to create an experience specific to that IP.

TI: Can you tell us about the story involved in AoT 2? Will you be staying close to the plot of the anime/manga or telling a story of your own?

HK: The first game was season 1 of the anime with its own original ending, while AOT 2 covers anime seasons 1 & 2 with its own original ending.  The first game was from the point of view of an existing character, but this time it is from the point of view of an original character so you can enjoy even the same story but from a different viewpoint.

TI: What do see as the greatest challenges associated with designing and creating an action game like AoT 2?

HK: It’s an action game, so I want the team to create gameplay action that exceeds the anime. The game controls and the movement of the Titans – these were probably the most challenging parts. It’s also creating gameplay that is enjoyable for the player and provide an even better experience than the first game.

We would like to extend our thanks to Koinuma-san for taking the time to chat with us. A.oT. 2 releases on March 20, 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC via Steam.