Games can do good, says Eternal Sonata director

Games can do good, says Eternal Sonata director

By Ed Fear

July 18th 2007 at 3:41PM

360 developer aims to subconsciously teach players about music composer Chopin

Hiroya Hatsushiba, director of the forthcoming Xbox 360 title Eternal Sonata, has expressed a desire to show the “good face of games” in an interview with Japanese game site +D Games.

“In today’s modern world all sorts of incidents are happening all the time, and I feel that in many of these cases games are implicated as the bad guy,” commented Hatsushiba.

“Thinking it’d be good if playing a game could affect or improve that person’s life - even if it’s just a little bit –I wrote Eternal Sonata’s story to be mainly about the preciousness of life.”

Eternal Sonata, known as Trusty Bell: Chopin’s Dream in Japan, is one of the few Japanese RPGs to be developed for the Xbox 360. The game revolves around the famous 19th Century pianist visiting another world – a world where terminally ill people have magical powers - whilst lying unconscious on his deathbed.

“A setting where terminally ill children can use magic is an immediately sad one, but it’s like ‘risk and return’ - if you get something, then you lose something as well. So I’ve taken an extreme example and presented it as a fantasy story.

“There are doubtless similar things in real life. If we can make people think the converse - I may be in a bad situation now, but because of that something good will happen - then that’d be great.”

When asked why he chose Chopin as a theme for the game, Hatsushiba explained: “I’m a fan of Chopin, I think there are many people across the world who don’t know about Chopin’s songs. We’re aiming to introduce and familiarise players with Chopin’s music through just playing the game, and maybe they’ll come to appreciate it.”

On the decision to release the game for the Xbox 360 – a platform struggling commercially in Japan – the game’s producer Shinji Noguchi said: “When we started the game, names like Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 didn’t exist – we were simply aiming to make a RPG for the sort of high spec that these next-gen systems would have. Initially we were developing for the PC, but then as the Xbox 360 was the first of the next-gen systems to launch we decided to release on that.”