Interview on the Half-year Anniversary of “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory”: Balancing Fun and Mecha Style

Mr. Liu Jiongxi, as a supervisor involved in the development of “Goddess of Victory: NIKKE,” has led the game to great success. On the occasion of the game’s half-year anniversary, “Fami Tongs” magazine conducted a special interview with Mr. Liu Jiongxi. During the interview, he reviewed the process of the game’s planning, development, and operation over the past six months and shared his future expectations for the game.

Supervisor Liu Jiongxi from SHIFT UP (referred to as “Liu” in the text)

Captivating players with Marian

The game is now celebrating its half-year anniversary. How do you feel about it?

Liu: Since the launch of “Goddess of Victory: NIKKE,” I am delighted to see so many friends enjoying this game. Especially on the day of the launch, the overwhelming response still remains unforgettable to me. I really wanted to do something to express my gratitude for the support of players… So I immersed myself in work throughout these six months, which felt like just a month. The players’ enthusiastic support is immeasurable, and I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the players.

In terms of design, what distinguishes “Goddess of Victory: NIKKE” from other similar games?

Liu: There are too many aspects to mention. Should I condense the answer into one? (laughs) We pay great attention to the story, characters, 3D scenes, and more. However, if I were to point out the biggest difference from other similar games, I would say it’s the “Boss Battles.” Boss Battles involve various gameplay elements such as cooperative combat, interception battles, guild battles, and they are very interesting. We have put a lot of effort into this aspect. Additionally, since we need to consider the operating environments of both mobile and PC platforms, designing the Boss Battles has been a constant challenge, and it continues to trouble us.

In the tutorial of “Goddess of Victory: NIKKE,” the story that unfolds around Marian is quite impressive. Why did you decide to depict such a plot development in the early stages of the game?

Liu: Other works usually present dark and heavy storylines during the climax of the story, so our approach of depicting a heavy plot at the beginning of the game may seem somewhat unconventional. However, I believe that creators can only truly create good works when they genuinely find the content they create interesting. Games are no exception to this. We believed that it would be a good thing to show players early on what we understand as “fun.” Therefore, we adopted this approach. In other words, the opening performance can also be seen as a “story tutorial for beginners”… By the way, since “Goddess of Victory: NIKKE” is a completely original game, we had to validate the story arrangements. Before the official launch of the game, we received valuable feedback from players participating in the closed beta test, and we fully incorporated it into the development process.

The game implemented Marian (Modernia) just two months after its launch. Why was she implemented so quickly?

Liu: The entire development team, including myself, unanimously agreed that it was the perfect timing to implement Marian. Alongside the launch of “Goddess of Victory: NIKKE,” we released a substantial amount of storyline content. After Marian’s story concludes, new characters will continue to make appearances, and the story will continue to unfold. Some players may feel that Divine Punishment was implemented too early, but considering the overall content planning of the game, I personally believe that the timing was just right.

Prioritizing the world-building of the near future while avoiding the charm of NIKKE counteracting each other.

How long does it take to create a NIKKE (illustration, animation, super transformation Q version image, script, settings, skills, etc.)?

Liu: Implementing a new NIKKE in the game requires the utilization of various resources, combined with the inherent animation elements of the game. Therefore, it is a time-consuming process, and it takes at least 3 to 4 months to create one NIKKE.

Which aspect of NIKKE production usually comes first?

Liu: In order to define the character’s personality and related storyline, we start with the concept and name of the character. Once the character concept is finalized, the next step is to create the appearance.

I was impressed by the bold decision to abandon 3D and use 2D for character illustrations. Why such persistence in the 2D art style?

Liu: Gun shooting is one of the distinctive features of the game, and we believe that 2D is the most suitable art style to portray it. By the way, SHIFT UP has strong 3D graphic technology as well, and we are not completely bound to 2D. From this perspective, please look forward to our upcoming game “Stellar Blade” (PS5 game, release date to be determined).

Which NIKKE in the production process is the most time-consuming? What is the reason for the time consumption?

Liu: The most time-consuming would be the design of Rapi. Rapi not only appears most frequently in the story but is also a core character of the counterattack force. We need to ensure that she blends well with any other character. As a result, Rapi had to be constantly reworked, setting the record for the most number of revisions among all the NIKKEs (laughs). If we count from the early stages of development, there have been at least 10 different versions of Rapi.

NIKKEs in the game is full of personality, and their personalities are distinct from each other. Is there anything specific you focus on when defining their personalities?

Liu: SHIFT UP has a large number of creators with different skills and abilities. To improve the quality of the creations, we flexibly set or remove design restrictions based on the individual characteristics of the creators. One thing we particularly focus on is avoiding any overlap or counteraction of NIKKE’s charm.

The names of the NIKKE characters are also quite distinctive, such as “Poli” (derived from “police”) and “Liter” (derived from a unit of measurement). Do you have any tricks when it comes to naming them?

Liu: Although most of the NIKKE names are derived from words related to the design concept, there isn’t any special deep meaning behind them (laughs). This naming approach not only makes the names of the NIKKE characters more fitting to their appearances but also highlights the unique humor of “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory.”

The game features a wide variety of firearms, including both real-life prototypes and original designs. How are the firearm designs determined?

Liu: While we do reference the designs of real firearms, considering that “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory” takes place in a near-future world, we need to add a touch of imagination to them. Therefore, we usually design the firearms that align with the character’s concept after finalizing the character design. During the design process, we typically have multiple team members brainstorm the specific firearm actions such as shooting and reloading.

Will there be different weapon versions of the same NIKKE character in the future? (e.g., Rapi with a rocket launcher, Anis with an assault rifle, etc.)

Liu: We hope to showcase various appearances of the characters to the players, so we are exploring the possibility of introducing different weapon versions for the same NIKKE character.

When brainstorming the story, what are the key points you focus on?

Liu: The fundamental criterion is “entertainment.” Additionally, we believe that the theme of “differences between humans and robots” is well-suited for the story of “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory.” While crafting the narrative, we constantly pursue “entertainment” while exploring these themes.

In Chapter 18, the plot centered around Laplace left a deep impression. Why did you choose to focus on Laplace in that scene instead of depicting the entire counterattack force?

Liu: “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory” portrays a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a hopeless and desperate world. Such a world requires heroes, so I wanted to mold Laplace into the embodiment of a hero. It was an idea I had long ago to have her play such a role in the story.

Currently, the game has released 20 chapters of content. What can we expect in terms of the frequency of future story updates?

Liu: Our goal is to advance the main story to Chapter 26 within this year. Additionally, we will continue to release story events that are closely tied to the main narrative. The “OVER ZONE” event implemented during the half-anniversary celebration is a good example of this.

Have you already planned how the story will conclude?

Liu: “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory” adopts a three-dimensional storytelling approach, with various characters appearing from different perspectives to advance the plot. Therefore, it is difficult to define what would be considered the end of the story. In addition to the storylines already implemented, future story updates will also include significant events. We will continue to release new story content at the appropriate time, so please stay tuned.

The opening animation and the animated scenes played in Chapter 0 and Chapter 18 are of extremely high quality and easily evoke emotions in players. Why do you insist on using animation? Are there any criteria for determining when to include animations?

Liu: The key reason is that we believe “diverse forms of media expression” make it easier for players to understand the world of “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory” and unleash their imaginations. Just like the text conversations in the in-game instant messaging tool “BlaBla,” the dialogues of chibi characters in side stories, the introductory stories of 2D characters, and subsequent dialogues, animations are another attempt to provide enjoyment to players. After completing the story creation, if we feel that certain scenes would be better depicted through animation, we choose to produce animations.

Do you have plans to release a TV anime adaptation of “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory”?

Liu: Currently, we are exploring the possibility of creating an anime adaptation, but we cannot provide a definite answer at this time.

When is the next collaboration event expected to be released? Have the collaboration partners been determined?

Liu: We are considering various collaboration possibilities, and some ideas have even entered specific discussion stages. It is currently difficult to disclose the content and release dates of these collaborations, but we indeed have many exciting ideas similar to previous collaboration events. Please look forward to them.

The game has undergone several balance adjustments for the NIKKE characters. What are the reasons and specific directions for these adjustments?

Liu: Although it may not be as evident as last year, new powerful lineups continue to emerge, resulting in a rapid increase in the usage rate of specific characters. Therefore, balance adjustments need to be handled with great care and precision. Throughout the operation, we always pay attention to the players’ needs. For example, if we feel that the strength of a character has decreased due to bug fixes or other reasons, we will provide compensations such as the skill reset item “Skill Removal Program” to the players.

Does the game have plans to release merchandise such as setting materials collections or art illustration books?

Liu: Currently, we have proposed many plans for peripheral products, including the production of setting materials collections. Additionally, we have released guidelines for fan creations on the SHIFT UP official website, and we look forward to introducing a variety of rich peripheral products in the future.

The game was released on PC in early February. Will it be released on other platforms in the future?

Liu: The PC version and the mobile version were recently launched, so at this stage, we plan to focus our efforts on these two platforms. Although we have not discussed it with the publishers yet, personally, I believe that the vibration function and trigger buttons of game consoles and controllers are well-suited for experiencing “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory.” I believe there will be various possibilities for future development.

Delving into Past Stories in the Half-Anniversary Celebration

After the half-anniversary celebration, what are your plans for future updates?

Liu: I believe that “story” and “boss battles” are the greatest joys of “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory.” Our core goal for future updates is to “continuously provide more interesting stories, boss monsters, and events.”

The half-anniversary celebration introduced the Pilgrim “Dorothy,” who showcased her skills in Chapter 19 and Chapter 20. What are her unique features and notable selling points? Why was she implemented at this particular time?

Liu: While the current timeline’s story is indeed interesting, we believe that the past stories of “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory” will help players gain a deeper understanding of the game’s world and characters. We have many past stories we want to share, and this half-anniversary celebration introduced the major event “OVER ZONE” centered around Dorothy. Through meticulous refinement, “OVER ZONE” offers a storyline on par with the main story, including numerous cutscenes. Please look forward to it.

Lastly, please say a few words to the players and fans!

Liu: We cannot thank the players and fans enough for their love and support for “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory.” I want to express my gratitude to all players who have experienced the game, even if it was only for a short while. I am eager to do something to repay everyone’s support. In order to maintain the players’ love for the game, we will continue to work hard. We hope to have more opportunities in the future to express our gratitude. Please continue to support “NIKKE: Goddess of Victory.”

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