Unearth the secrets of Little Witch Nobeta, a souls-like shooter RPG! | The development team opens their spellbook to reveal behind-the-scenes details

Posted by Team IFI on 30th Jan 2023

Little Witch Nobetaout for the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on March 7th, sets itself apart from the rest with a distinct blend of JRPG elements, action-shooter controls, and souls-like combat. Idea Factory International sat down with the Little Witch Nobeta Development Team to discuss some behind-the-scenes details to get fans hype for this exciting upcoming console release.

*     *     *

Idea Factory International: Fans have begun to make comparisons between LWN and other titles that are now categorized as "soulslike" games. However, LWN incorporates the traditional controls of a 3rd person shooter. With this control scheme and the spellcasting system, LWN turned out to be a unique take on this fairly new genre. How was this concept developed? Was LWN always intended to be a shooter? Or was melee combat emphasized more in early development? How did the spellcasting system influence this choice?

Little Witch Nobeta Development Team: Since the protagonist is a witch, the original gameplay design was based on shooting and magic. However, during the game development process, it was discovered that simply shooting all the time seems to be quite monotonous, so the mana meter was limited and a magic recovery mechanism for melee combat was added. The same monotone feeling comes up for the mechanism of the chanting system too. The chanting process is boring, so melee gameplay was added to speed up the chanting. As for the souls-like part, it's just that I'm so familiar with the souls-like games that it's hard to grasp what a player new to this type of game might experience in terms of difficulty. People who aren't familiar with souls-like might find it more difficult, and in the end, it is true that the game design was influenced by Dark Souls.

Tania, one of the bosses that Nobeta must take on. Illustrated by WhiteM.

IFI: How did difficulty level influence the design choices in LWN? In recent years, gamers have expressed fondness for high difficulty/high reward game design. LWN has a "Standard" (Easy) and "Advanced" (Normal) mode. Are there any plans to implement a "Hard" mode?

LWN Dev Team: The game was not intended to have a particularly high amount of difficulty, so the basic mode is designed to allow players who are not too familiar with action games to have a smooth experience. Hard mode is still under discussion and undecided.

Nobeta conjures up a spell with her black cat guide by her side. Illustrated by WhiteM.

IFI: Elden Ring has a guide, Melina, that assists the player throughout their journey. Why did you choose a black cat as Nobeta's guide?

LWN Dev Team: The original screenwriter thought that someone needed to talk to the protagonist during the adventure of the game, so he added a little black cat to accompany her.

Nobeta braces for impact against Monica - another boss Nobeta encounters. Illustrated by KS.

IFI: When designing the unique bosses in this game, what did you want to convey and accomplish to players facing them? (i.e. did you want the bosses to be huge, difficult, cute, etc).

LWN Dev Team: The original plan was to hope that the bosses would feel oppressive and stressful in battle, just like the first boss. But after discussing with Simon Creative, who co-developed it, we decided to change bosses to cute characters, allowing Little Witch Nobeta to be different from other soul-type indie games by adding more Japanese animation style to the bosses in an attempt to make them more memorable for the players. Luckily, these designs have won unanimous praise from most players.

IFI: Could you see a possible sequel for Little Witch Nobeta?

LWN Dev Team: Still under discussion, not yet decided. Concentrating on perfecting the game itself is our top priority right now.

IFI: What was your process in voicing the game? Did you have a particular voice in mind for each of the bosses? I believe the first boss has 2 voice actors (Spector Armor Boss)

LWN Dev Team: In the first half of the game, the protagonist's personality is naive and a bit confused, but in the later stage, she needs the acting skills of a little girl with an adult tone, so we chose Ms. Konomi Kohara who has rich acting skills. We happened to have an opportunity to work with COVER corporation at that time, so we decided to invite Vtubers, who have been popular in recent years, to voice part of our bosses. This kind of surprise must be enough once, and it will be boring if you do more. In the future, if there are new characters, we will focus on professional voice actors. As for the male role, we commissioned a professional voice actor agency to find suitable candidates for us, and we are quite satisfied with the final result.

IFI: What is the significance of the name “Nobeta?” Other cast members like Monica, Tania, and Vanessa have much more common names. Is there something in the game fans have yet to find that reveals more about the origins of the name Nobeta?

LWN Dev Team: The stage of the story takes place in a fantasy world with a Western background, so we chose Western names to name the characters. As for the names of the three bosses who have similar pronunciations was intended, I hope it will be easier for players to remember.

IFI: Little Witch Nobeta includes cute characters placed against a backdrop of a harsh world both inside and out of the castle. Was this juxtaposition present from the initial concept of the game? Or was this something that came about organically during development? How did this design choice come about?

LWN Dev Team: These were generated during development. Since it was decided early on that the game would be set in a dungeon, this contrast really only appeared after the addition of cute characters.

IFI: Some of the backstory in Little Witch Nobeta is slowly revealed through analyzing items. Is this something that was planned from the beginning of development? Or did the parsing out of lore through items allow for you to explore the Church’s history and Nobeta’s past further? How did the process of creating items that revealed backstory influence the story itself?

LWN Dev Team: After the early access version of the game was launched, many players reported that it was difficult to understand the story of the whole game. Although we considered adding other NPCs to further tell the story, NPCs seem to conflict with the main story and take more time, so we decided not to. Since we hoped to complete the official version of the game as soon as possible, we adopted a fragmented and passive narrative method, telling the story by combining a collection of items, and unlocking hidden stories in soul elements.

IFI: Let’s talk about additional content for LWN… will there be any added info that gives more context on what happens before the events of LWN?

LWN Dev Team: The story of The Little Black Cat and Nobeta's past was made into a prequel, for which an official novel was released in Taiwan at the end of October 2022 to supplement the main story. In addition, we expect to release a comic video of the Little Black Cat in the first half of 2023, revealing a few past secrets of this important character who accompanies players on their adventures.

*     *     *

Are you ready to unlock the hidden stories of Little Witch Nobeta, out for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on March 7th? Preorder the standard edition physically or digitally today! Feeling a little extra witchy? You can preorder the physical limited edition from the official NA or European IFI online stores!