Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution Interview with Producer Charles Murakami

At E3 2019, we got to talk to the producer of the upcoming Nintendo Switch exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! game.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is an upcoming Nintendo Switch exclusive based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game and franchise.

Link Evolution also serves as an updated version of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist, which originally released digitally for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on July 30, 2015, and on PC via Steam on December 7, 2016.

At E3 2019, we had a chance to check out the new game as well as interview producer Charles Murakami about new summoning methods, worldwide releases, other Yu-Gi- Oh! games, and more.

GameSkinny: Link Evolution features over 9,000 cards, so is it based more on the TCG (Trading Card Game, which it's called in North America, Europe, and other territories) or the OCG (Original Card Game, as it's called in Japan)?

Charles Murakami: It's actually not based on the TCG nor OCG. If  a card is released in both territories, this game is likely to have it. There might be a few that aren't in the game like some promo cards, but for the most part, if the physical card was released worldwide, then it's in the game. This is the first time in a while that we have a game released worldwide. With each territory having the same set of cards, you can play U.S. versus Japan online. Online play is also ranked. So, if you're ranked number one online, you’ll be number one in the world.

GS: With that many cards featured in the game, how do you work with the balancing for all of it?

CM: Well, the TCG side has handled a lot of the actual card balancing, but putting all the card assets into the game, getting the cards to play correctly, and having the AI be able to play those cards has been quite a challenge, definitely. But we're diligent enough to try to make it happen.

GS: Something a lot of players noticed when Link Evolution first launched in Japan is that it already had full English language support. What was the reasoning for this?

CM: Yes, it has English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, and it has all those languages because we wanted to make sure that the game is compatible worldwide. We didn't do an exclusive Japanese version where only players in Japan can play with each other, and having multiple languages ensures that every release is the same version. This way, there won't be any problems with players competing against each other.

GS: This will be a first time in eight years a physical version of a Yu-Gi-Oh! game will release in North America and Europe. What is the reasoning behind that?

CM: It's been so long that we wanted to do that again, and the thing about physical copies is you can also lend it to a friend. Link Evolution has tutorials throughout, so if you're new to Yu-Gi-Oh! it's a good way to start. So if you're a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan and you have a friend who's interested, you can then lend a physical copy to them.

GS: Some of the cards from the OCG are censored in the TCG for a variety of reasons, but some players noticed the Japanese version still had these censorship changes. Why was that?

CM: If you play the game in English, we want to display the card art you’re used to, so the game will show the TCG card art. If you change the language to Japanese, it will show you the Japanese art for most of the cards. There's some Japanese art that we couldn’t use for different reasons, but for the most part if you play in Japanese it will actually show you the Japanese card. The game's rating is also T instead of E10+ this time.

GS: Recently, the new Master Rules, including new Monster Zones, have been introduced. Are these the only rules in the game or are the old rules in as well?

CM: It's only the new rules throughout, since we didn't want to confuse new players with lots of different types of rules. To make sure everything works with the new rules, we've tweaked many of the AI opponents’ older decks from the original Legacy of the Duelist as well.

GS: So for older players who aren't as open to newer features like Pendulum and Link summoning. What would you say to help them get interested and what did you do in this game to help do so?

CM: So the game starts all the way back from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series. The first series has a little bit of Fusion summoning but the rules are fairly basic. Then, the next show, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX introduces a lot more Fusion summoning (with each following campaign introducing a new summoning method such as Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, and Link).

Each one of these has a tutorial explaining how to use the new cards and a sequence of additional duels that slowly increase in difficulty. By the end, you'll be and expert at everything Yu-Gi-Oh!. So no matter where you may have started or stopped, this game will get you back up to speed. 

GS: So one game Link Evolution is likely to be compared to is Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links; why was the decision to make an updated version of Legacy of the Duelist for Nintendo Switch rather than a Nintendo Switch version Duel Links with an offline mode?

CM: We noticed that although there is crossover with people playing both Duel Links and the physical card game, players dedicated to Duel Links like the fast format, while others likes the longer, combo driven play of the traditional Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. We like allowing players to choose between the two.

GS: So in another comparison to Duel Links, it features some voice acting here and there but Legacy of the Duelist does not. What is the reasoning behind that?

CM: We don't have voice acting mostly because we have over 130 characters with dialogue covering multiple TV shows. That is a lot. We were actually making the game as Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS started airing, so we were literally watching the TV show during development.

It would be hard trying to get voices on top of that when we weren't even sure what the dialogue would be yet. We wanted to make sure to try and get as much of all these shows into the game as possible.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is currently available on the Japanese eShop with English language support. It will launch for Nintendo Switch both digitally and physically in North America and Europe on August 20. The physical version will include three exclusive promo cards.

For more E3 2019 coverage, but sure to head over the conference hub page. Here are a few articles to get you started: 

Correspondent

Writer pursuing a career in Games & Entertainment media. Specialties include coverage of non-Pokémon monster taming RPGs, event coverage, indie game coverage, and coverage of various Japanese games.

Published Jun. 18th 2019

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