When you think about to the 90s anime scene, a lot of people will admit they were and are still fans of Yu-Gi-Oh. A few years ago we got one of the best TCG video games in the form of Yu-Gi-Oh Legacy of the Duelist and Konami is doubling down on the classic and released it on August of this year for the Nintendo Switch with new mechanics and additional content. The new game titled, Yu-Gi-Oh Legacy of the Duelist Link Evolution is shaping to be one of the most complete Yu-Gi-Oh games out now. I got to sit down with Fernando Bustamante to chat about their convention booth and the game during NYCC 2019.
Julia Roth: What are you guys doing at your booth this weekend?
Fernando Bustamante: What we are doing here? Konami has a booth dedicated to Yu-Gi-Oh and all things Yu-Gi-Oh. We have something for everybody even the casual fans. We even have things for the competitive players. They can play the trading card game, enroll in tournaments and purchase retail products and the latest sets of cards. We have two video games with the latest updates available for them to demo as well.
JR: Does this mean that the original Legacy of the Duelist is getting updates as well?
FB: That didn’t get an update no. This is for Link Evolution that game out on the Nintendo Switch this year. When we are working on the game for Link Evolution it is something we look at, we get player feedback and the game is doing phenomenal for us and we are really happy about that. So, it is definitely something in our plans and we are considering.
JR: So we have Link Evolution for the Switch this year and it has new mechanics built specifically for it. Why was that?
FB: The Switch leds itself to be a great system for a Yu-Gi-Oh title. I think it’s two things, the multiplayer aspects, the online and local multiplay. So if you and a friend have a Switch you can essentially do couch play and both play against each other. And then obviously with Nintendo Online you can connect and play and compete against somebody else in the world. And also, it has got the touch screen functionality. So a lot of people have said that being able to take the game with them and just move the cards on the field, it is like having a little mini table top in your hand. It plays remarkably well.
JR: The Switch definitely leads to a lot easier play, especially with TCG type games because when you are playing on a platform that requires you to use a controller it takes so much longer. You have to move the cursor around.
FB: Right and it’s not a natural movement. For this game you are confirming a lot and you are progressing and going through the actions and not really using the controller so much.
JR: So how long have you been with Konami working on Yu-Gi-Oh?
FB: I have been here with Konami since November 2013. So five-six years. Yeah coming up on six years. Dedicated to card business since they manage all of Yu-Gi-Oh.
JR: What has been one of your favorite parts building Link Evolution for the Switch?
FB: My favorite part is having it be such a complete version, not the most up to date but the most complete version of Yu-Gi-Oh on a system that you can play. It has over 9000 cards and the latest cards from earlier this year, like sets that were released earlier this year and it just being so authentic to the tv show. So for example the demo that we have on display you can play a couple matches from every series and the first match is a tutorial. A lot of people watch Yu-Gi-Oh when they were younger or years ago and haven’t kept up with it so if they want to learn how to play the latest summoning mechanic they can do so. And then the second match is a classic duel from the show. So a lot of people are choosing to play the classic duel between Yugi and Kaiba, their very first match where after Kaiba steals Blue Eyes White Dragon from Yugi’s grandpa and while they are fighting it out he draws Exodia. You can play with the actual deck that they used from the show, people are just really appreciating being able to relive the story that they saw on the show.
JR: I saw that you are able to use the decks that they had specifically during those seasons or your can build your own. Is that out of cards that your purchase in the store attached to the game?
FB: You purchase by points, so there is a currency you earn by dueling. So by dueling other characters you earn these points over time and there is a shop in game that you can purchase packs to open in game.
JR: Now when you are playing can you swap between game mode and live duels or do you have to do one and then the other?
FB: It is like choosing a mode in a game, so if you want the campaign you choose story mode but if you want to go and play live online then you just go back to the menu and choose that.
JR: Okay, so you don’t have to do one and then wait to finish one to do the other. So what has been your favorite story arc to bring to life in the game?
FB: My favorite story arc? So I’m not too familiar, I am not deeply immersed in the anime. My favorite is classic. I think because, and I think for most people are into classic because that is the first time they experienced it. For the most part just seeing the interactions between Yugi and Kaiba and how that story played out in those seasons. That has been the main reaction here. At NYCC a lot of attendees come and they are obviously into this pop culture and anime and they remember Yu-Gi-Oh but they have all played to varying degrees. Some of them still play and some of them stopped playing after they stopped watching, but everyone remembers the first season. So they get a kick out of it, like oh can I summon Exodia when I play Kaiba? And I am like well yeah you can try.
JR: You can totally try! So what kind of updates can we expect in the next couple months or couple of years?
FB: Well we just released the game, we don’t have any plans for immediate updates now. Like I had mentioned earlier, so we will take into consideration how the game is doing, take player feedback into consideration and then see what future plans we want to have from that but we don’t have any plans for that right now.
JR: Obviously the game features all 9000 plus cards, how do you keep it balanced?
FB: How do you mean?
JR: Like how do you keep one deck from overpowering everyone or is that just something that can happen?
FB: I think the way the game is built it doesn’t necessarily. I don’t think you are going to encounter that, especially when you are playing the game in the campaign mode. You are playing against characters that you see in the show and their decks. At the same time you could use a story deck like from the show or use your own deck. So you can build up your deck as much as possible. When you are competing against people online, you will definitely see players favoring a certain card like Mystical Space Typhoon like card staples and deck staples. Like they have to have Mirror Force or something like that. It has this online aspect to it, but it doesn’t have this competitive aspect to it, liked a rank thing and keeping track with a leader board where you get something if you are top. I think for the most part when people are playing they are playing for the enjoyment of it and obviously competing against other people but not for a purpose. Like for example if you take the Duel Links mobile game we are integrating something called the KC Cup that is an actual tournament that lasts for about two weeks and people play the game constantly and they have it on all the time. The people at the top of the leaderboard qualify for world championships. So that gets very competitive and that is where people invest heavily to get whatever the latest card is and we are always releasing content for mobile.
JR: Sounds great! Well thank you so much for everything!
FB: You’re very welcome!
Yu-Gi-Oh Legacy of the Duelist Link Evolution is available now for the Nintendo Switch. You can grab a digital copy of the game on the Nintendo Store here for $39.99.