What SNK used to be know for? Fighters and Metal Slug. Witch-touching adventure game Doki Doki Majo Shinpan has changed that. The title has been a sleeper hit. SNK isn't forsaking the fighters, but is branching out. This February, the Osaka-based developer opened an Akihabara development branch. Doki Doki Majo Shinpan was originally conceived as an adventure cell phone game, but later shifted to the DS and subsequently reworked. "I was inspired by the touch panel, and it was a good fit", says producer Yoshiyasu Matsushita.
The game was unveiled at last year's TGS and snowballed. Just before release, the game posted higher on the Amazon Japan charts than The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. The game has launched a line of products that range from pillows to coffee mugs. "The reaction really surprised me", Matsushita says. "I wasn't expecting that. I was trying to make an adventure game". What about a possible English localisation? "I don't know if it would suit American or European tastes. The game is designed for Japanese players," says Matsushita. A DS Doki Doki Majo Shinpan sequel was announced today. Does that mean Doki Doki is a new series, and we can expect endless sequels? "I don't think about it", he says. "I'm just trying to make Doki Doki Majo Shinpan 2. Then we'll see how that does". Matsushita is keen on a Wii version, "I am interested in doing a Wii version, but right now, I am very busy with Doki Doki Majo Shinpan 2".
The sexual themes have raised some eyebrows, but Matsushita says he was never concerned what rating the game was going to get. "If you make something that's interesting", he says, "people will play it no matter what".