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Filed under: Straight from the Source (Interview)

Straight from the Source: Over Fence Co. LTD (Mekuru, Switch)

We sat down with a representative of Over Fence Co., LTD. to discuss one of the newest indie titles for the Switch, Battle Sports: Mekuru. In this interview we get confirmation on a Western release, discuss the removal of Mii characters and the inspiration behind the title. This is part of our BitSumit coverage. We still have a lot more interviews coming, so please subscribe to us on Twitter. You can see our previous interviews by checking out the BitSummit Category on this site!

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The interview was conducted with Ms. Senri Tsunokawa of Over Fence Co., LTD. She works in the Contents Produce Division in the Direction Group Toky-GR.

*Special thanks to Bri Bri from Japanese Nintendo and NantenJex from Source Gaming for their help with transcribing this interview! Some edits were made for clarity. 

The interview was conducted with Senri Tsunokawa from OVER FENCE CO., LTD.

How did Battle Sports Mekuru start development? Did you approach Nintendo or did they approach you?
Battle Sports Mekuru was born from a small idea that I had one day.


Was that you personally?
Yes it was.


What were the main inspirations behind Battle Sports Mekuru?
I forgot who the developer was but there is a game called Lights Out that you can play online somewhere, and it was while playing that game that she got inspired for Mekuru.


Before this, Over Fence had worked exclusively on mobile games so what brought about this shift to consoles?
Although we had only done mobile games before this it didn’t mean we were exclusive to mobile games. We wanted to put our games on whatever system we felt they worked on best. So, this time we wanted to work on a console.


I think it was the right choice, I don’t think Mekuru couldn’t really exist as a mobile game.
Thank you.

What has it been like working with Nintendo?
So this is Over Fence’s first time working with Nintendo, however, a lot of our staff originally came from Hudson which had worked with Nintendo. It was because of this connection that we decided to work with them to make this game possible.


…did a lot of the ex-Hudson staff work on the Mario Party series?
I personally never worked for Hudson so I don’t know for sure. They probably worked on many titles and not just Mario Party.


Was the game always planned for Switch or was a Wii U version also considered? This game was shown very early.
No, it was planned for the Switch since the very beginning.


Originally the game used Miis as its main characters however, these were changed to generic men in space suits in the end. Why was this change made?
So, we decided that with the premise of this game, whatever characters we used needed to fit that premise. We didn’t feel the Miis fit that premise so made our own original characters instead.

You recently announced that the game would feature free post-launch updates similar maybe to Super Bomberman R, or are we expecting something similar to Splatoon with new maps or something much smaller?
So, we are planning on adding in new areas and different maps for the games. Right now we have two areas called ‘Green Field’ and ‘Blue Arena’ and we plan on adding another two areas like those in future update(s).


Mekuru seems to be Over Fence’s second original IP after Seishun Express. Will you be utilizing other IPs in future projects, or will Over Fence prioritize creating new IPs in the future?
I don’t really have the authority to answer that sort of question but as a company we have to keep our options open.


The game has just released in Japan. Are we likely to see a Western release soon?
No Comment.
Note: After the interview, they confirmed directly to us that a summer release for the West.


Would you like to see a Mekuru stage appear in a future Super Smash Bros. title? The flipping mechanic seems like it would be interesting as a hazard.
Of course (laughs). Personally, I’d love to see that.

How long do you plan on continuing development of Mekuru?
We don’t have any official timeline for how long we’re going to support the game but we’re going to update in the future and we think it’s worth maintaining as a series like releasing a Mekuru 2 and a 3 in the future and that’s something we want to do.


…Would this continue with the ‘Battle Sports’ tagline?
We haven’t even begun to think about stuff like that as we are still working on the first game, but continuing with the Battle Sports theme could be an interesting idea.


Finally, what does “being indie” mean to you?
Personally, I’ve never really thought about a distinction between ‘indie’ developers and regular developers. I feel there isn’t really a need to differentiate as long as everyone is making games that are fun for people to play. But, one of the big benefits of being an indie developer is that you can go forward with any idea and try to make a game out of it. This is something really meaningful to every indie developer, I think.

This is part of our BitSumit coverage. We still have a lot more interviews coming, so please subscribe to us on Twitter. You can see our previous interviews by checking out the BitSummit Category on this site!