GungHo and Capcom's TEPPEN has been out for mobile for a week now and the internet has been abuzz with news, guides, and videos of the new PvP card game.
During Anime Expo 2019, GamePress sat down with GungHo CEO Kazuki Morishita and Capcom Executive Producer Ryozo Tsujimoto to shine some light on their super-secret Capcom All-Stars project, TEPPEN. Check out the full interview text on our TEPPEN subsite here.
TEPPEN is a really amazing game where you have all the different Capcom characters. How did this idea come to be? How did the whole process come about?
So it started long, long ago, I actually loved playing Puzzle & Dragons. I started playing it and was starting Monster Hunter myself. I thought it was a great game, so I want to get in touch with someone from GungHo. He's like he does a great game. I asked around and eventually, I got in touch with Morishita-san and met. We started hanging out privately and had a lot of conversations, but we didn't really talk about let's make a game at that time.
We're more talking about like, what they think about making games, logic about games, and got along really well.
After sometimes and we start talking let's try to make a game, and Morishita-san talked about how he would like to have all these Capcom IPs. They're very popular and he wants to include those so he was thinking how about like "an All-Star Capcom game".
A mobile one? That's what's amazing to us, that you're bringing all these Capcom characters, some for the first time, to mobile, really surprising.
About two years ago was when we started.
We know that Capcom weren't really strong with mobile, and we want to use both our experience fully. As opposed to Capcom, GungHo was actually really very strong in mobile. That's one of the reasons. Also, we're talking about making this game a card game, and the best platform to start with will be with mobile devices.
As you know, you can't really make the game just because you guys are good friends. But when we're making the game, it's like oh, this is actually really fun, this is actually working. That's another element that allowed the game to developed much quicker.
What's some of your goals with TEPPEN? There's lots of people, lots of promotion going on? You have people streaming the game, and afterwards there might even be an eSports scene?
In the world of TEPPEN, there's this place called Planet Illusion. It's actually made for just for this game. At Planet Illusion they're trying to you know, compete and find the best hero.
The word TEPPEN, if you directly translate it, it means the top of the mountain, or number one.
So that means for the end game, there's another peak where the player as well as for eSports, they increase and define their skills and become the number one, the top of the world.
In this Coliseum, so this is where the online tournaments with the eSports will be at.
You'll be the ones hosting the eSports competition? Will you be welcoming community tournaments? Where players communities are hosting the tournaments? Will there be plans for that as well?
...One thing we're really surprised by the promotion campaign of TEPPEN was that there were a lot of secrecy. You have been working on this for two years, there was not a single leak that this game is coming.
GamePress was very entrenched in the mobile space, and we haven't heard about it until literally, the servers launch. How'd that happen?
Very, very secretly. Even internally, only the developers knew it and a small portion of the staff knew of it, so people at GungHo were amazed too.
I can imagine! Both GungHo and Capcom are both such big companies, with many branches internationally. It must have been. I can't even imagine the process required to keep everything siloed so well.
Even one of my coworkers asked, "When did we start making this thing?"
We really wanted to say and had to keep it in, keep it in. It was a relief to finally talk about it.
This game is basically real-time strategy. The system itself, we had a hard time making the system as well because the other thing is it's not just a card game, but it has a real-time strategy component to it. So the balancing has to look at both elements in balance, too. The balancing was a really, really tough part for making this game.
It's not exactly a turn-based card game, so how did you come to the design decision?
For card games, the first thing you think about is turn-based strategy, but we want to have people who don't like card games to try it out, get the feel of it, and able to enjoy this. You want to put out a card when you want to put it out. That's when the real-time strategy came in.
It's not like other games, where you wait one turn for your mana to increases, and wait for another turn for your mana increases. In this game, you can wait, wait, wait, wait until you get that...
Yeah, or you can put out your strongest card or highest mana ones in the beginning as well. That's the part I was focusing on, so people can actually play their card when they want to.
But I also want to keep the card game elements when your adrenaline is pumping. You put all your cards out, that's when the active response comes in, which is when you put an action card. That's when turns the game from real-time strategy to turn-based.
That's where you go into head-to-head battle, where you strategize your in your strategy and then they come back with a counter with their strategy. This is where the whole dynamics of the game changes sometimes. You can come back, even if you were losing.
This definitely combine real-time strategy and turn-based elements, and that's why this game is something that has not been made before.
...Everything is happening in real-time, so you could kind of feel, "Oh, this guy's waiting for me right now. Should I go or not go?" Those kind of strategies, thoughts, come in too.
"Is this guy waiting for something big? Is Something big coming? Oh, he doesn't have anything right now, he's bluffing."
Have you two played head-to-head before?
Many times, at least 2 battles per night. Every time we battle, we like to strategize our decks. Trying to reform it, so I could actually beat it. It's been back-and-forth. At first, we'll hide our decks, then alright, I'm ready to play.
Yesterday night, we played three games. I won once, and Morishita-san once. So I went back to my hotel and started reforming the deck against him.
Who won the third one?
I won one and he won two.
We both have that feeling that I don't want to lose to him! The day before that, I lost two times.
We thought that rather than promotional videos on how to play, having streamers that actually stream the game will be more interesting. For instance, for eSports we had like big screen showing the gameplay and get people get super excited. Showing the actual playing of the game will probably get more people into it.
Basically, you believe the game can market itself, if people got a chance to see it...Would you say this is a very community-driven marketing campaign?
Yeah, we do have normal marketing promotion. But to show the enjoyment of the game, why it's fun, it'll probably be from the community as well.
Even though it's a card game, it has the action game elements in there. For example with combo-ing, using these units and using action cards, and started the combo-ing with those kinds of card combinations and then beat the other person. There's that action game element as well.
I want people connect to this game. Not just like big tournaments, but even the community making their own tournament and starting their own events. I wants to have people spread and being connected to each other, even if it's a small community inside their own area.
It sounds like this is a game that is going to have a very high skill ceiling...it's not just you have skills, but there's going to be a great differentiation between like people who is not as good as the game versus people was very, very good at the game.
Very easy to get into, but at the same time hard to master...What kind of directions do you hope to take the game in, like more characters or new mechanics to be introduced?
There's already a plan where we're adding new characters and new heroes and also new packs in the future. We're also thinking about the new modes and new updates as well. We will be eventually saying the announcement of who's gonna be the next hero. They'll be coming pretty soon.
Can we expect more Capcom IPs?
Yeah, we are not restricted to just the eight characters we have here now. Yes, you could look forward to other, new IPs as well.
Who's it going to be?... You'll be surprised again.
That's probably the most exciting part of this project!
This is going to be a big eSports title, obviously. What's the plan? Like when is it when are you announcing that, if you don't mind revealing it? When are you announcing the big eSports tournament you'll be running?
Very soon we'll announce it, the release date.
We are planning the offline World Championship. We'll be announcing details for that as well.
In a very short pitch, tell our audience why we should play TEPPEN?
For people don't play card games as much, this game also the action game elements, real time strategy elements. It's actually all three elements merge together. Even if you never thought card games as great games, I would like to have you play it, because you'll find a difference and even have a lot of fun with it.
It's kind of weird for me to say that, but I think that I have made a really good game...Because it's a really unique game and I would like to have everyone to try it out. When you actually play it, you can feel the excitement and you know how fun it is. When they start to play a little more, they can figure out their own little strategy. How am I gonna make this deck? How am I gonna play this game?
Like I said before, seeing other people play will probably like you know make them want to play as well. So let's try out and you know, just feel free to try it out and shows it to your friends!