The minds behind .hack//G.U.

Something else between the last games and these games... how much of a change can we expect between volumes this time? There wasn't much, before.

Uchiyama: To answer the question, very simply, yes, there are going to be a lot of changes between volumes. We're looking to do everything we can so it won't repeat the same steps that we did with the previous series. Between each volume there will be a significant amount of changes that keep things fresh and more interesting.

Matsuyama: See this card game here? [points to a Japanese-release real-life collectible card game based on .hack//G.U.] This card game will be included in the next volume.

And it's literally the same card game?

Matsuyama: Yeah, exactly the same. So that's just one little tidbit example. When you play vol. 1, you'll see it allude to [the card game]. The option is there, but it's grayed out. When you get to vol. 2 you'll be able to play it.

With this, and there's a fact that there's a big change happening between volumes, and that it's only three volumes now [the original .hack was four] do you think it's allowed you to put more stuff in the game? Does it help with development?

Matsuyama: Definitely. We've been able to double up the content per volume because we reduced the number of volumes from four to three. Other than just the playtime being longer, pretty much all the content and the quality of the game, since we have reduced the number of volumes, it's given us the time and resources to actually improve and increase the amount of it per volume.

Uchiyama: Based on the information that we've gotten from previous series, and based on our marketing strategy with everything - you've got the game, you've got the anime, you've got the books and everything - what we've determined is that having people play the game through, with three different volumes in one year, is the best way to experience everything, as opposed to having four volumes... that kind of spreads thin within a year.