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Kouichi Yotsui Discography [2/3]

[Nostalgia 1907 Succeeeds Explosive Culture]

-You left Capcom soon after the release of Strider Hiryuu.

Yotsui: I had a sponsor in Tokyo, so I went to Takeru.

-The publisher of Nostaliga 1907. Their brand name was Sur De Wave.

Yotsui: They were originally a company that made toy stores. What was with the name Sur De Wave, anyway? (laughs). It was a time when corporate identity was important.

-Was Nostalgia 1907 an adventure game so you could do the opposite of what you did in the arcade world?

Yotsui: Working with arcade games was a great learning experience. It deals with 100 yen sales. If the game isn't interesting, the customer won't put in that next 100 yen. If it is, the person watching from behind will want to play as well. As such, I learned a lot of techniques, but there was some disappointment as well. You can't make a heavy story.

-The arcade is like sketch performances (laughs). So it was your intention from the beginning to make [Nostalgia] an adventure game?

Yotsui: Yes. That company was made to develop games, and I was accepted by it's core members. It wasn't like the guys up top said, "make this kind of game."

-More like, "we'll pay you, just make whatever game you'd like"?

Yotsui: It wasn't quite that simple, but something like that. I wanted it to be radical, but from a sales perspective, what strategy would that require?

-Why was the x68000 chosen as the initial hardware?

Yotsui: Even though the CEO of the company was a salesman, he was also quite a fan, and also I knew nothing about hardware (laughs). He told me, "you can do stuff like this!" to which I replied, "Oh, great".

-So the CEO pulled you in to the 68k (laughs). Was the setting made in 1907 because you wanted to make something with retro images?

Yotsui: For the content of the game, yes. I just followed my instincts and made what I wanted. Looking back now I question whether it was a smart move. (laughs).

-Do you like that Taisho Roman feel of the early 20th century?

Yotsui: I actually don't care much for the word 'Taisho Roman'. The point of view is taken from someone like Ryoutarou Shiba. I thought it was interesting how he would depict countries like one would depict a person. He understood history, and explained things like the Industrial Revolution, and why such things happened in the world.

-1907 is different from other works of the time like Fukurou no Shiro.

Yotsui: It makes no sense to simply take a piece of literature and make it into an image, and there were plenty of images I wanted to create. I created everything according to my interests.

-Even Shiba didn't have anything as high color as 1907.

Yotsui: The events surrounding the incident on the luxury liner have a lot of influence from foreign adventure novels. The plot is obvious, like something you'd find in an American spy novel or comic book.

-Where'd you get the idea for the bomb defusion scene?

Yotsui: The Juggernaut (1974). I thought [the part where he had to cut the red or blue wire] would be great as a game.

-The main character says a few jokes while he's defusing it.

Yotsui: I took that too (laughs). The idea of him mumbling lines in such a dire situation, like diffusing a bomb, was also taken from The Juggernaut. If I took the actual lines, it would've been theft, but since it was just the system, I want it to be seen as "inheriting culture". Worth noting is they wouldn't have said such tacky lines in that movie (laughs).

-I like the fact that failing to diffuse the bomb results in the bad ending and that moody music.

Yotsui: [Yukie] Marikawa (1907's music manager) did a great job. Her boss got mad at me for having her make all those songs though, claiming that a composer's "seed would wilt" if they wrote too much.

-You made people draw too much with Strider Hiryuu, and write too many songs in Nostalgia (laughs).

[Chatan Yara Kuushanku was Ingratiation to the Market]

-You moved to Mitchell about a year after Nostalgia was finished?

Yotsui: Sure De Wave's financial situation became unstable. Since I was partially responsible, I couldn't stick around.

-That's where you made Chatan Yara Kuushanku, an edgy game with deep-seated popularity.

Yotsui: That was completely ingratiation to the market, since it was when Street Fighter II was so popular.

-Oh. I don't think people think that (laughs).

Yotsui: We were in this atmosphere that told us "games are meant to span many genres". But there's a resistance to make something not within a pre-existing genre. That notion is what gave me the idea (laughs).

-Games using an 8-way stick and 2 buttons are easy to control, but it's like you spiced up the game system that uses a karate stance as it's base. Do you have any experience with karate?

Yotsui: I was in the karate club. But it wasn't the style I used (Shito) in the game.

-I guess only those that know it would know it.

Yotsui: But that title sounds so cool. I like titles that make absolutely no sense (laughs). It was also fun to make. Making pixel graphics is very tedious, no matter what it is. I started off drawing this game, but in the end since it was made with film, it had to be [manually] blurred. When the fists would light up, I'd draw a fox.

-It's not that their aura is manifesting or anything?

Yotsui: It was technically supposed to just be a blur (from movement). Utata Kiyoshi who was drawing sprites got pretty mad and said "this will take twice as long" (laughs). Somewhere in the middle of a punch it just doesn't look right, so I thought there needed to be a hit the moment the button was pushed. If you were told to draw it him move directly from his stance, to the moment of impact you'd normally reply that it couldn't be done, wouldn't you?

-It was to help the flow of movement? I think the backgrounds were quite detailed as well.

Yotsui: I draw pictures, so I like to make a beautiful feeling. That's why I like drawing pixels. These days it costs money though, so I'm always told not to.

-They'd ask why they'd see such things in the backgrounds like a cyber buddha, or the full moon from Strider Hiryuu (laughs).

Yotsui: That's just a way of expressing my interests without using words. Addressing the issue of what way to have the characters say their words, you have to have that 1/60 feeling, That's just how it turned out trying to express those feelings. I actually was simultaneously planning "Office Lady Karate". If we made that one, the company might have done okay.

-Was it four years after that when you made Cannon Dancer?

Yotsui: Doing what I wanted got the company in trouble, so I was told to do something I was good at.

-It's said that it's actually the sequel to Strider Hiryuu. The action is quite polished.

Yotsui: That's because [the graphics director] Kiyoshi Utata gained so many techniques from Chatan Yara Kuushank.

-That smooth motion was the fundamental practice, right?

Yotsui: The tension was slightly down. It wasn't that I was doing something new... I was tired. Looking back I think so anyway. I don't think I thought that then.

-What new elements would you say Cannon Dancer offers?

Yotsui: Looking back, nothing really. It's just a self-parody. Since it was a road I was familiar with, I wasn't cutting corners, I was just making it kind of strange.

-One has to be merciless against his own works, too (laughs).

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