Kazuya Niinou, director of the original Etrian Odyssey (as well as Trauma Center) left Atlus last year before any work began on the sequel. The design responsibilities were given to Shigeo Komori, who wrote the scenario for the first game, and who seems to understand what made it so great. 1up's Jeremy Parish interviewed Etrian Odyssey II's director about the classic style of the Etrian series and its surprising popularity.
The decision to almost blank out the party's storyline (as in, they don't really speak or have backgrounds, nor do they appear) is unusual for a Japanese RPG, but not for a classic dungeon crawler. "But I thought, on the other ... There must still be those players who like classic RPGs where you create your own characters and go on an adventure," Komori said. "As a developer, I like those types of games." Despite this, the characters have become popular among fans, which Komori attributes to the art by Yuji Himukai.
Due to the mapping feature, Komori feels that the Etrian series is at home on the DS. "The foundation of this game is drawing a map on the Nintendo DS' touch screen, so if we were going to bring it to a home console, we'd have to come up with a new 'hook.'"