—The PS3 edition has had a lot of new components added, but the main focus is on the new scenario, right?
Shimokawa: Yes. Maruto-san handled not only the writing of the new scenario, but also general supervision of the alterations that were made. Maruto-san has managed the scenarios for a great number of romance AVGs, and a lot of them have been ported to systems like the PSP, but he’s actually taken the stance of not dealing with consumer editions. However, Maruto-san has taken such great care with this particular work, and when we made the request of him, he agreed to take it on, which makes this the first consumer-edition scenario that Maruto-san has ever handled. I’d say that’s something to look forward to.
—What made you decide to introduce motion portraits to the game, like with the PS3 edition of White Album?
Shimokawa: Much like with movies, having the characters move increases the level of empathy, since it makes them seem more alive. Also, it was a pretty difficult technique for the PC, so we added them as one of the production choices for enlivening the story. Plus, after refining this technique through games like White Album and ToHeart2 DX PLUS, we felt like we had to use it. (laughs)
—Is it employed in any ways that are different from White Album, like showing elements moving that you couldn’t move before?
Shimokawa: Basically, the characters are the only things moving. It wouldn’t be impossible to make the backgrounds move, but I think having new event CGs added would make the users happier than getting too absorbed in that.
—Apart from that, what other new components have been added?
Shimokawa: For the scenario, we placed great importance on migrating the world from the PC version over as carefully as possible, so our focus was on quality rather than quantity, but in terms of the visuals, we wound up with a greater number of event CGs than we initially planned. Also, given what a crucially important place sound occupies in White Album, we knew we would be adding new BGM tracks, but it became necessary to add new vocal tracks, as well. The only thing was, we wanted to avoid having a song suddenly start playing over a scene where it didn’t match, so we found places where a song would fit naturally, and added songs to fit those situations.
—Since I know this is something that often happens in ports, have there been any new heroines added?
Shimokawa: There aren’t any new characters. To be honest, this was the topic of a great deal of discussion, and it was something we took time to consider as the whole crew. However, we determined that this story didn’t have room for new characters to show up, so we focused instead on how to broaden the stories of Haruki and the others. We heard a lot of voices from fans who wanted developments that would expand the world, as with a fan disc.
Winter comes for White Album!
—There’s a web radio show starting in August. Is that something it will be okay to listen to before having played the PS3 release? I’m worried about spoilers. (laughs)
Shimokawa: There shouldn’t be any issue. In fact, if you listen, Kazusa and Setsuna’s voices will be familiar to you by the time you do play the PS3 edition, so please do. (laughs) The whole thing is moving forward with Maruto-san’s full cooperation, so it should be very enjoyable.
—Apart from the radio show, are there any other developments in the works, like for an anime or comic adaptation?
Shimokawa: Nothing is definite enough for me to be able to talk about it here. I will say that the staff have been expressing a desire for an anime adaptation, and there are various plans and projects currently in motion. My hope is that, starting with the PS3 release in winter of 2012, we’ll be able to have something for each winter after that, until around the winter of 2014. I guess, if it came to an anime adaptation, it could be almost impossible to consolidate a story that’s basically as long as two book volumes. In which case, given that he is the parent of the story, I may jokingly ask Maruto-san to do the composition and scenario of the series. (laughs)
—It sounds like White Album 2 will end up being synonymous with winter. So, do you have a final message for our readers?
Shimokawa: White Album 2 is a work in which you can enjoy a realistic human drama of the sort that hasn’t been seen much in recent years, in which the story and music have been blended together—not only is the story in a two-part form, but even the BGM is subtly different between the first and second parts. I think that giving too much more information will detract from the experience, so please try to avoid spoilers as you wait for the game’s release. If you really can’t stand the wait and decide to play the previous game first, I think it might increase your enjoyment, even if only by a little.
*This article was published in Dengeki PlayStation vol. 524, released August 9th, 2012.