The following interview was conducted with Ryukishi07 sometime after the release of End of the Golden Witch. The name of the interview, if any, is currently unknown in the English-speaking community.
A partial transcript may be found below. It is translated by chronotrig, the lead translator of Witch Hunt.
How was the reaction after the release of Episode 5?
Ryuukishi: Perhaps because this release included many hints and guidelines on how to think, more people sent us confident theories than the period following Episode 4's release. That includes what might be considered "the best possible answer at the current time". So we felt more of a response than from Episode 4.
It sounds like the rush before the deadline was especially hectic this time.
Ryuukishi: It was extremely hectic(laughs). We had some new staff members this time and some jobs needed to be passed on to others who weren't used to them, which led to an overall slowdown in progress. In the future, we should have more leeway as the new staff grows more accustomed to their jobs.
Were there any difficulties in writing the tale itself?
Ryuukishi: After writing four chapters, the world's layout has become very firm, so the actual writing went very smoothly. Instead, the hard part this time around was "arranging the hints". We want Umineko to be a product people can enjoy as they think, and we paid a lot of attention to the balance between making it fun to read and including the right number of hints. Our goal is to write a story which gives hints to people who don't know the truth and reaffirms the views of people who do understand. We could have written it so that the truth was plainly clear and everyone could understand it, but we believe that might have effected how interesting a read it would have become. The other difficult thing was positioning a message to the readers that "it is solvable at this point". In classic mysteries, the "sign" is always the time that the detective says "I know who the culprit is". However, I think we failed to add such a sign in Episode 4. You really should be able to solve it as a mystery with the information given up to and including Episode 4, but because we didn't give a "sign", people thought "there aren't enough hints yet", and few people seriously tried to solve the series. When we saw this, we thought "yes, a clear sign really is needed", and a "sign" appeared in Episode 5 as: "And then.........I......knew."
Tell me about the new characters.
Ryuukishi: Both Erika and Dlanor are holding a thought game from a very different position than the one Battler has been coming from before now. Their existence is not only a way to make this tale more dramatic, but also a large hint.
It felt as though you had detectives in mystery novels very firmly in mind when you created Erika.
Ryuukishi: That's right. Her character shares many traits that were maliciously extracted from those held by great detectives. With sealing the doors and the like, she is unlike Battler in that she's a hard worker, or maybe you could say she puts a lot of effort into her plans...... People vary on whether they like or dislike Erika. While Battler's enemies before now have specialized in confusing him, Erika comes at him from the exact opposite direction, and I think this leads to a different kind of battle than the ones we've seen so far. I hope this becomes a new light to shine on the riddle-filled world of Umineko. It seems that some of our users have wondered "Did he use her as a representative of users who write malicious theories?", but I leave such interpretations up to you. Umineko's focus on battles every time is part of the world's layout, so we must have a character who stands in clear opposition to Battler. So, if Erika had been a normal person, perhaps the battle and the tale wouldn't have become so exciting. Though I think Erika herself is just bad at choosing her words and not really such a bad person.
Do you plan on reviving her (Beatrice)?
Ryuukishi: In the plot for Episode 6, which we're considering now, we're thinking of a way that we can revive Beato. But if too many other things pop up that we want to write about, who knows?(laughs) However, it does seem that Battler doesn't enjoy Beato being in low spirits all the time and wants the brighter Beato to come back. The thing I don't want you to misunderstand is that Battler doesn't want to return to a world where he and Beato are basically on the same side. He only wants to end this tale in a way that will make Beato satisfied. Shortly after Episode 5's release, many people pointed to Battler's acceptance into the ranks of witches and wondered "Hasn't Battler lost sight of his goal?", but that's not the case. As Bern said in the beginning of Episode 5, Battler has no chance of being released unless he defeats Beato's riddles. At the end of Episode 4, we learn that "Beatrice hopes Battler will win and end this game", so Battler must win. Furthermore, at the end of Episode 5, Battler reaches the fundamental truth behind "who, for what purpose, and why". If he can lay that bare, he will win. So, if we liken it to chess, Battler actually hasn't yet made a move to achieve checkmate. The process that will lead to a checkmate has only been formulated in his mind. So, according to our plans at the present, Episode 6 will be a tale about proving whether Battler actually did reach all the way to the truth. He will actually make and carry out the moves he has thought of. In other words, Battler becoming the Game Master "proves that he has understood everything about the world of Umineko".