Visions of Mana won't have multiplayer, but producer Masaru Oyamada wants 'to implement features like that in the future'

Two heroes stand side by side
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Visions of Mana is the first new entry in Square Enix's Mana series in 15 years, and with that comes some fundamental changes. Following my hands-on preview with Visions of Mana, I had the chance to ask producer Masaru Oyamada if cooperative multiplayer was ever considered for Visions of Mana, and if multiplayer had a place in the Mana series' future.

"When I played Secret of Mana, the multiplayer co-op mode was something that really stood out and left a strong impression on me." Oyamada said. "So when we were proposing this game internally, and discussing what it should be, we actually had that discussion on whether we should incorporate a feature like that."

Though 1993's Secret of Mana was the second game in the Mana series, it was the first entry to include cooperative play. Many subsequent Mana games carried on this tradition, including the Super Famicom version of Trials of Mana, Legend of Mana, and Children of Mana for the Nintendo DS.

"As things kind of developed further internally, we had discussions on the various things that you can do through a multiplayer mode, but also some challenges a multiplayer mode introduces," said Oyamada. "By having multiple players playing, that could also affect the overall field design, and also the tempo of the playing experience. However, when I think about the series and look towards the future, I myself really do cherish and have fond memories of being able to go on one single adventure with your friends and clear things together. I know what that experience is like, and I do want to consider being able to implement features like that in the future.

"So [once we can address] some of the technical issues, people can experience that element of the Mana series too."

This may sour some longtime fans on Visions of Mana, but this change isn't unprecedented. Oyamada explained to me that the 2020 remake of Trials of Mana—which was singleplayer-only—was very influential for Visions of Mana. In fact, Oyamada's team felt they had laid the foundation for a brand-new title in the Mana series "from the beginning of the development phases of Trials of Mana."

Oyamada mentioned that "there were things for Trials of Mana that we wanted to do but weren't able to," so we'll see if any of those show up as DLC or serve as the basis for a future multiplayer Mana game—assuming Square Enix keeps making mid-budget games, anyway.