A sequel to Wii furniture-tossing game Elebits, a launch title and a bit rough around the edges though still a lot of fun, had been rumored for some time. Surprisingly, what we got instead at E3 last as the next installment in the franchise was Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero, which builds a more traditional-feeling 2-D-Zelda-style adventure around the basic idea of catching the little Elebits—and it's for DS., not Wii.

It made me initially wonder if, in fact, Elebits producer Shingo Mukaitoge was actually behind the game; while the demo was a good game and felt fresh, its more traditional feel seemed to me different from the experimental vibe I got from of Elebits and Dewy's Adventure. As it turns out, Mukaitoge-san is behind Kai and Zero as well, and Konami has graciously given us the opportunity to ask him a few questions as well.

I hope you enjoy this opportunity to gain a little insight into the man who brought us these games. I know I did.

It was very interesting to see a more traditional-looking game coming from you this past E3. I admit, I didn't know what to think at the time—I even wondered if you were involved—but after playing the demo, I really appreciate it. What brought about this change in structure—more of an adventure than a series of levels like the original Elebits?
Shingo Mukaitoge:Focusing on the interest factor with the functionality of the new remote device, the Wii controller, I proposed and produced Elebits and Dewy's Adventure for Wii. Then, after two years passed from Wii release I felt that the Wii controller wasn't likely to have the same novelty anymore.

So, I wanted to produce a new game for DS utilizing the stylus pen as the sequel to Elebits. Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero becomes a more intimate game by setting up many challenges and problem solving elements in the game that help create a sense of adventure. However, the core Elebits game premise is still in place for Kai and Zero: search and capture Elebits.

I was surprised to see that there were so many Omega Elebits in the game, and when I went through the press materials was delighted to find some really creative-sounding ones like the Sponge Omega. How did you guys come up with all this? Have any favorites?
Our team always produces games with creative input from many staff members. For the Omega Elebits, we had many designs from multiple designers, and then we chose from their designs. Actually I love all Omega Elebits, but especially the Water Omega is my favorite because the squashed character is so cute.

In a Gamasutra interview you said "I would say Elebits was one of the goals that I've been striving for. But also, the thing I wanted to do from the beginning... how shall I say. I personally love Zelda, and I want to make an RPG that is much better than it." Is this that game? It certainly reminded me of 2-D Zelda... the structure, the perspective, even the pixel art.
Mukaitoge:I don't remember the comments, but I am glad you researched me as well as you did. I made Elebits for DS and I can tell that my design concept was reflected in the game. Because I was able to create most of the things that I wanted to do for this Elebits, I'm very satisfied with it.

Do you think that you succeeded in making a better game than Zelda, or at least something fresh and new? How so? If not, are you still planning to make that game?
Mukaitoge:There are many things that were influenced by Zelda for Kai and Zero. However, I unfortunately cannot compare with Zelda because it's regarded as one of the most revolutionary games in the industry.

I still have a wish to make a greater RPG than Zelda in the future, though. However, there is no specific plan and I'm interested in so many things, so I may or may not do something different, we'll see.

We read in a Siliconera interview with Gregg Nolan at Konami that there are possibly more Elebits titles in the pipeline for both the Wii and DS, with each system maintaining its own unique storyline and gameplay style. Does this mean another Wii title taking place in the real world, and a future DS title furthering the story in Kai and Zero's alternate world? Can you elaborate?
Mukaitoge:As my framework, I'm considering to make storylines that separately connect to Elebits for DS and Wii. The story as it related to the Wii version of Elebits was considered while I produced different stories for the DS. But I haven't decided how I will continue the story for Elebits in the future.

Regarding Elebits' future on Wii, obviously with the first Elebits you were working to get it out as a launch title; if there is to be a second game, do you feel like making it a different experience? Are you hoping to do anything with a new Elebits Wii title that you couldn't do back when you made the original? Will it be more of an adventure, perhaps?
Mukaitoge:We are listening to users' voices. So, if they strongly want the sequel to Elebits, we will attend to their needs. But, we couldn't make anything that I wanted to because we didn't have enough time to make another Elebits release for Wii. I have a desire and challenge to produce Elebits for Wii again though. But, there is no concrete plan right now.

Starting with Elebits, you've really forged your own path, creating new IPs and new experiences. That's really refreshing to see; even when you revisit Elebits as you've done with Kai and Zero it's a very new kind of game. Do you have other ideas, other new properties that you might want to bring to fruition down the road?
Mukaitoge:I'd like to try and have new ideas consistently. But, I'm not sure if it would be Elebits or something else. Please stay tuned to see what comes next.

Finally, what would you say to people who might be unsure whether they should purchase Kai and Zero?
Mukaitoge:The people who looked at the screenshots might not recognize it as Elebits. But after they actually try out the game, they will be surprised by the style of play for Kai and Zero.

They can experience the expanded world view where the problem solving and a collection elements like Zelda are added. We have a download playable game, so please try it out. Then, you can evaluate for yourself. We're very proud of what we've created and feel it's a challenging adventure that all gamers will enjoy.

Thanks, and best of luck with Kai and Zero and in the future! I'm looking forward to playing it, and seeing what your team is up to next!
Mukaitoge:Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to interview with you.

Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero is out now for Nintendo DS. I'm playing it now—though I wasn't when I submitted this interview, hence the tense—and you'll be able to read my review soon.