Series creator Kazuma Kujo says Disaster Report 4 was cancelled because the development team couldn’t meet deadlines, not out of sensitivity towards victims of the Tohoku earthquakes and tsunami in March.
According to Andriasang‘s translation of creator Kujo’s tweets, the producer and designer feels responsible for the cancellation. The game is said to have been almost finished, with the team working on optimising code, when the axe fell.
Disaster Report 4 was originally scheduled to release on March 10 – the day before the earthquakes brought massive damage down on Japan’s Tohoku region – but was delayed due to its incomplete status.
Commenting that he hopes to make another disaster game in the future, Kujo gave some insight into his hopes and aspirations for the shelved title.
Disaster Report 4 was to have a “different mindset” to previous games, taking in a full week of post-disaster gameplay rather than the three or four days of earlier games. This subtle change would shift focus from emergency, escape-or-die danger to ongoing survival, and show that the most difficult part of a disaster is coping with the aftermath.
Revisiting previously-explored areas, players would see clean up and repair efforts in progress, civilians gathering in shelters, and salvage operations.
Instead of assisting just one AI companion, players would meet a number of other characters and co-operate with them. One small map boasted 60 NPCs; examples given include an entrepreneurial old man with a makeshift noodle stall, and a child searching for her family.
A greater emphasis on the human side would have allowed the game to confront social issues such as racism and ageism, and feature a plot involving a villainous group targeting survivors.
The Tohoku quake and tsunami of March led to tens of thousands of deaths, injuries and missing person reports; caused world-record breaking damage, and has left a huge number of people homeless. Ongoing aid efforts support the extension of housing, food and water to victims housed in temporary shelters – you can make a donation through your local Red Cross organisation, or any number of similar charities.