Interview: Yuya Takayanagi discusses what Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL brings to the beloved franchise

Interview: Yuya Takayanagi discusses what Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL brings to the beloved franchise

Konami recently released Yu-Gi-Oh! Cross Duel, a new entry in the long-running series, that brings a new rule set to the popular TCG. We recently had a chance to chat with Yuya Takayanagi about the game. Together we discussed where the idea came from and the challenges the development team faced.

Q: Please could you introduce yourself and your role on Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL for our readers?

I am Yuya Takayanagi and I helped launch Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL as a producer.

Q: Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL presents an interesting way to play the card game we all know and love. Where did the idea originate?

A: In developing ideas for a new Yu-Gi-Oh! game, I thought it would be interesting to change the perspective from previous Yu-Gi-Oh! Duels and have four-player battles. Furthermore, the idea for the four-player Duels and the framework of the game were inspired by the Battle City semi-final match-up Battle Royale in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters animated series.

Q: How different do you consider the rule set of CROSS DUEL compared to the TCG? For example, would veterans of the card game have a distinct advantage over new players?

A: I don't think that can be said for one side or the other.

In terms of Deck construction and card knowledge, veterans may have an advantage.

However, this is just my opinion, but I think that in typical 1 vs. 1 Duels, it is important to play tactics, such as how to realize your own strategy and how to prevent your opponent's strategy.

On the other hand in Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL, I think that it’s not only strategy but also adaptability in any scenario that is important. Since Duels are played by four players at the same time, the players must consider their own situation and all possibilities all at once. They must make the best move within the limited time for each phase, which is an interesting part of the game and a strong point that differentiates it from other TCG games.

Q: Each Duel ends when either a player’s Life Points hit zero or when eight turns have passed. How did you decide the eighth turn as the last? Why not let the game play out until someone's life points hit zero?

A: We tested the game many times, considering the time it takes for one Duel and the game balance, and came up with the current rule of eight turns.

As for the rule that you must wait until someone's life points reach 0, we naturally tested it.

We found that the game was biased to focus on a single player, and that the game became less exciting, and diminished things like the timing of playing the Ace Monster.

By limiting the game to a maximum of eight turns, I believe that the game is balanced to maximize the excitement of Duels, as does the Ace Monster being in your hand from the beginning.

Q: What were the main challenges you faced when creating Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL?

A: The main challenge was to create a game that was both new and unique to Yu-Gi-Oh!

It was difficult to create a game and a worldview that would make players feel that, while it was a new game, it was still Yu-Gi-Oh!

Q: How were some of the cards that appear in the game chosen?

A: We have chosen the cards with a variety of actors in mind, including popularity, name recognition, game balance, and based on the different Yu-Gi-Oh! series.

Q: Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL is described as easy to learn but hard to master. Where do you believe the depth of the game lies? What will separate the top Duelists from the average players?

A: As mentioned above, I think it is in adaptability. In addition, I think that knowing the characteristics of each card and knowledge of Deck types are also important to be a top player.

Q: You have initially included three ways to play (4-player versus, 4-player co-op, and single-player). Can you tell us why you thought it was important to include multiple game modes?

A: We wanted to make the game in line with the tastes of various Yu-Gi-Oh! fans, so we prepared different ways to play the game for different tastes. We also included various game modes based on the possibility of future expansions of the game.

Q: What can players expect in future updates to the game?

A: Please wait for future announcements!

Q: As card games grow, they often become more complex and introduce new mechanics. Is this something you're hoping to avoid with CROSS DUEL? If so, how will you keep the game fresh while ensuring it keeps its accessibility?

A: We are trying to make the game as uncomplicated as possible.

One of the features of YU-GI-OH CROSS DUEL is that the game is designed to be understood step by step, which we believe will mitigate the complexity of the game.

The game is designed in such a way that it is easy for new users to understand the game as they build their own strategies. So even if the game becomes more complex, we do not think the difficulty of the introduction will change much for new users. I think the benefit of increasing the depth of the game is greater.
Nevertheless, we believe that balance is important.

Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.