Drillimation Systems on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 announced that they will be developing a new Touhou Project fangame titled Touhou Meijinka ~ Song of Divine Tempest. Development is not scheduled to begin until the second half of 2023 while Drillimation’s previous game, Touhou Kourinden ~ Mythos of Phantasmagoria, is in post-production.
This is a co-production between three individuals. Drillimation Systems will do the soundtrack and programming. Studio Emiko directed the game and wrote the screenplay, while E. Enthusiasm will do the majority of character graphics.
The history of Studio Emiko’s involvement goes back as early as September 2021 after the release of The Phantasmagoria of Dimensional Dreams NES Demake. Studio Emiko, then known as Akira Akagi Games, was creating her own title when she needed a composer. Susumu Takajima of Drillimation Systems immediately stepped in and began writing music for Touhou Tenkijou, an RPG where many of its songs got repurposed for Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess, which was in its preproduction phase at the time.
Touhou Tenkijou was planned to be made in RPG Maker, but this was a disappointment as many of the engine’s limitations were too restrictive. Some critics thought Akira Akagi Games had a lack of technical skill, but Drillimation had faith in the studio that her initial plan would be successful. Emiko was the director on that title before it was cancelled and repurposed into several other titles that were also cancelled.
In early 2023, Studio Emiko is hoping to make a resurgence with Drillimation giving Emiko the opportunity to direct her own title, while Drillimation would program. Studio Emiko had spent all of last year developing a concept for a title that never came to fruition because of complicated programming circumstances. Despite having some knowledge of creating a game from scratch, she didn’t have the capabilities of producing a high-quality product that could be enjoyed by millions, scheduling development time outside school, or dealing with technical issues and quality assurance. As a result, little progress was made on Touhou Tenkijou and its subsequent iterations.
The process of developing a game is broken down into six phases:
- Pitch Phase: Developers brainstorm and propose ideas and concepts for a new game, conduct market research, and submit a project proposal to the producers. The proposal includes information such as core game elements, key differentiators and strengths of the game, development scale, target market, target sales, and external IP holders/licensors.
- Prototyping Phase: If the producers approve the project proposal, the project enters the prototyping phase. During this phase, a playable version of the game is produced to check the core fun and competitiveness elements to assess the possibility of success for the game. There is a high chance that projects fail at this phase.
- Pre-production Phase: If the management approves the kickoff of the project, it enters the pre-production phase. During this phase, the team identifies the direction of the game, sets quantitative targets and detailed development plans, and plans distribution and servicing. Afterward, the completed playable version of the game undergoes testing. The prototyping and pre-production phases typically take six months to one year.
- Development Phase: If the game passes the tests and management approves the game, the game enters the development phase, which usually takes one or more years. In this stage, the developers integrate the various elements and modifications based on feedback from milestone reviews (in-house alpha test, focus group test, and beta test) in order to create a high-quality product that players can enjoy.
- Post-production Phase: If the game passes the in-house alpha test and management approves the game, the game enters the post-production phase, where external tests are conducted to correct errors and evaluate gaming conditions to increase the performance of the game. Additionally, the team drafts marketing plans, business projection reports, and content update reports.
- Release: Upon management approval, the game is launched to the public.
Touhou Meijinka would be the first Drillimation game to be directed by a woman
Drillimation has given Studio Emiko one last opportunity to put out at least one title where Emiko Hosokawa is the director. If the game is completed and released, it would not only be the first Drillimation game not to be directed by Susumu Takajima, but Touhou Meijinka would be the first Drillimation game directed by a woman and of non-American origin. Ever since Drillimation adopted their new philosophy at the start of 2023, Drillimation has been hoping to reach players of all different cultural and religious backgrounds, and helping them take the chance to explore cultures and civilizations that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to or interested in.