Update 11/15/2016: We've added a note to one of the questions we asked Cygames regarding changes they made in the Western release of Shadowverse, to make it more obvious to our readers that the video we linked to for context isn't an official Cygames video.
The original interview follows below.
Shadowverse is a mobile collectible card game in which players construct forty card decks built around one of seven distinct classes—Forestcraft, Swordcraft, Runecraft, Bloodcraft, Dragoncraft, Shadowcraft, and Havencraft—and compete against each other in ranked matches or tournaments, or play through the games solo story mode. Despite having an audience based primarily in Japan, Shadowverse has become very popular in North America due to both its intricate and strategic game play, as well as its stunning card artwork. Recently, Shadowverse made its debut on Steam, and TechRaptor had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with the game's development team, Cygames.
TechRaptor: For some of our readers who might not be familiar with Cygames' history and various titles, would you mind giving a brief description of the company history and what titles it has worked on?
Cygames: Cygames, which was founded in May of 2011, is a relatively young company, but, thanks to the many talented and amazing people who work here, we’ve already developed a number of hit games including Rage of Bahamut, Granblue Fantasy, and Shadowverse.
TechRaptor: Shadowverse has been very well-received in Japan and North America, with players drawing comparisons between it and other trading card and collectible card games. Where did the inspiration for Shadowverse come from?
Cygames: For Shadowverse, we took a close look at what makes the best traditional and digital CCGs great, and then we added our own unique spin to try to make our game even better.
TechRaptor: Shadowverse isn't Cygames first venture into card games; in what ways, if any, have the experience in making Rage of Bahamut influenced the development of Shadowverse?
Cygames: Overall, our experience localizing Rage of Bahamut and subsequently running it in markets outside of Japan has made it much easier to handle similar challenges for Shadowverse, which has enabled us to focus on making the game more fun.
TechRaptor: The solo story mode currently follows seven characters, each specializing in one of the seven crafts. Are there any plans to introduce further characters to these crafts and have the solo story mode follow them?
Cygames: While we do plan to add new characters to help shake up the Shadowverse game experience, there are no current plans to add stories for them. I’d like to tell you more, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise for our players!
TechRaptor: After Shadowverse was released on Steam, some players noticed that alterations have been done to certain card names and artwork, as well as the artwork of certain story characters. What was the reasoning that led to these alterations? (Note: The following video from Censored Gaming is meant to bring context to the question we're asking Cygames and is not an official Cygames video.)
Cygames: The changes we made were intended to help make Shadowverse more enjoyable and accessible to as many players as possible. Although we might have to make similar changes in the future, we would like our fans to understand that such revisions will always be carefully considered, and they will always be for the greater good of the game.
TechRaptor: Let's talk a little bit about the competitive Shadowerse scene. Currently, the top rated decks are in Forestcraft, Swordcraft, Runecraft and Havencraft. Is the prominence of these types of decks surprising?
Cygames: Although we do everything in our power to ensure the balance of the game, we are not especially surprised by the way the metagame has shifted due to the release of the first card expansion. We were actually hoping to make Havencraft in particular more viable, but we will keep watching the game closely to make sure that no class becomes too strong.
TechRaptor: Are there any interactions in Shadowcraft, Bloodcraft and Dragoncraft that players are missing that would give them more of a competitive edge against higher tier decks?
Cygames: There is always a possibility of our brilliant players discovering new card interactions, but it does not seem clear that these classes need much more help. During a major tournament held on October 22nd and 23rd, for example, aggro Bloodcraft and aggro Dragoncraft decks placed in the top eight, and these decks have since seen play in high level ranked matches. We are also looking forward to players discovering more effective ways to play aggro Shadowcraft decks. As I mentioned before, however, game balance is a major priority for us, so we’ll keep our eyes open!
TechRaptor: One of the biggest problems trading card and collectible card games face is "power creep," where older sets and mechanics are rendered obsolete by new sets and mechanics. In what ways is Cygames prepared to deal with this issue?
Cygames: One of the main tasks of our balance team is to ensure that power creep never becomes a major issue, because we understand that this can limit deck diversity. At the same time, as many of our players are well aware, as the metagame of any CCG evolves, some cards will occasionally see less use while others will become powerhouses, and this is one aspect of these games that makes them so thrilling! While we will do our best to avoid any shifts in power that are too sudden, our number one goal is ultimately to make sure that Shadowverse is as dynamic and fun to play as possible.
TechRaptor: Related to this is the concept of "formats," which limit the number of set expansions players can use for deck building. Is this concept something that Cygames would be interested in exploring?
Cygames: Can’t answer.
TechRaptor: Are there any special tournaments or events planned for Multi and Arena play?
Cygames: Can’t answer.
TechRaptor: The company has said on Twitter that it plans on releasing a new set expansion every three months. What are some of the challenges Cygames has encountered in trying to stay on track with this schedule?
Cygames: Can’t answer.
TechRaptor: Is there any information you can give our readers on the next Shadowverse set expansion?
Cygames: Can’t answer.
TechRaptor: Rage of Bahamut received two anime adaptations from MAPPA; is there any interest or plans for Shadowverse to receive an anime adaption of its own?
Cygames: We understand that many of our players outside of Japan are diehard anime fans, and we’d love to possibly work on a Shadowverse anime adaptation in the future. That said, whether we can actually do so will really depend on just how positive the response to the game is as well as the needs of Shadowverse as a whole.
TechRaptor: Finally, anything you'd like to say to our readers in closing?
Cygames: We’re hard at work on another exciting expansion set for release near the end of the year, and we’re doing everything we can to pack it with all the fun and excitement our players expect. On a more personal note, I’d like to thank all of our fans outside Japan for helping to make our community great. All of you are a crucial part of Shadowverse, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
TechRaptor: Thank you for your time and doing this interview.
Shadowverse is currently available free-to-play on Steam, as well as on Google Play and the App Store, with some minor optional microtransactions that can be avoided without any noticeable impact on gameplay experience.
Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more information about Shadowverse and for more games from Cygames.
Disclosure: The interviewer received Steam funds from the development team to purchase Shadowverse product in preparation for this interview and in future reviews and metagame/deck analysis.
What are your thoughts on this interview and on Shadowverse? Let us know in the comment section below.