The World Ends With You (TWEWY) was a lot of things–an innovative RPG that put the Nintendo DS’s touch screen to good use, a stylish experience that demonstrated youthful expression through fashion and music, and one of the most experimental games in Square Enix’s history. But despite the game’s cult status, TWEWY has not had an official follow up in the 14 years since its release. Until now, that is, with the upcoming NEO: The World Ends With You.
The original TWEWY came back around with the Switch remaster in 2018, dubbed Final Remix, albeit with mixed results from the retooled controls to accommodate the platform change. However, this upcoming sequel, NEO: The World Ends With You, is a sort of rebuild of what made the original special. I recently had a brief interview with its key developers, which included Tetsuya Nomura (creative producer and character art designer), Tatsuya Kondo (series director), Hiroyuki Ito (director), and Tomohiko Hirano (producer). And from talking with them, I have a clearer picture of how TWEWY is being modernized not just in a gameplay sense but also in its attitude.
We covered NEO TWEWY’s character designs and their conception, storytelling and ties to the original game, and how the combat has shifted from touch controls to a fast-paced action-RPG with a dynamic party system. We have a better understanding of what we can expect from this anticipated follow-up, and it seems that bringing the series into a modern era isn’t going to take away from what made TWEWY unique, either. My only regret is not leaving enough time to talk about the soundtrack and eccentric jams that have made the series resonate with so many of us.