Via the Chinese website GNN, we have our first Rockman X DiVE-focused interview and it's with none other than Keisuke Mizuno, the current main illustrator for the X series. In it, Mizuno tackles a variety of interesting subjects such as his involvement in the game, his design philosophy behind RiCO, and his own hopes for the game as a Rockman fan. Don't waste any time and read the interview after the break!
The translation was provided by hjhikari.
Q: What kind of thoughts do you have on participating in the development of “Rockman X DiVE”?
Mizuno: The Rockman X series up to this point has almost always been released on home consoles, so I thought it was something fresh and challenging when I heard it was going to be released on mobile devices. The project idea itself is very appealing, but truth to be told, I was kind of worried whether the same kind of control that’s felt in the Rockman X series can be reproduced. The players should have already experienced it from the CBT beta - the movements were adjusted to suit mobile devices, and even though you’ll need some time to get use to the controls, it was possible to control X smoothly even without using a joystick, and I was very surprised by that.
In this production, I am responsible for supervision, and the art itself is almost all done by Taiwan side’s artist team. I‘m mainly responsible for supervision of finished artworks such as 3D models, making some illustrative artwork of the main cast, as well as participating in designing original characters. The whole Taiwan artist team is creating art with feelings of respect for the Rockman X series, so it is personally a very pleasurable work environment.
Q: Are the 3D models in “Rockman X DiVE” created as brand new this time? Are there any special focus in its design aspects compared to “Rockman X” series up to this point? Is there any kind of deliberate separation from the past?
Mizuno: The 3D model of all character are brand new in this production, whether it’s characters or bosses. The original request was to correspond with the art style of “Rockman X Anniversary Collection” when creating these artworks. With regards to how “Rockman X DiVE” includes characters from other series, I’d carry a feeling of “how would I depict these characters if I’m drawing them here and now?” when I’m supervising. There have been situations where I’d request things to be redrawn during supervision, or sometimes I’d redraw something myself. Even though it’s only supervision work, it’s certainly something that can take up plenty of mental energy!
Regarding designs, when we’re creating 3D models or illustrating artwork, we’d sometimes feel very torn over how there were no back side designs on old design spec sheets, or when a weapon design could only be referred to by the in-game pixelated artwork. At this time the majority of those artwork is done by looking for images of models and commodity goods from the past as references, and it’s probably the part of the process that takes the most effort.
Q: The “Rockman X Command Mission” 3D character models that were recreated in your art style had became a hot topic when it was originally revealed. what do you think about this?
Mizuno: Is that so? Knowing that makes me very happy. “Rockman X Command Mission” was actually a project that I had helped Ryuji sensei [Most likely he is talking about Ryuji Higurashi] on, so when I think about how those characters were the first ones that I participated in illustrating when I joined the company, those memories gives me a lot of feelings. I want to say how back then I might as well have thought of it as some kind of practice, took a bunch of individual art pieces and drew them in a whole bunch of different ways and submitted them, and almost none of them got used in the final version. It makes me happy to think about how I can draw things properly nowadays.
Q: Do you have any special requirements when it comes down to supervising 3D models?
Mizuno: I actually don’t have a deep understanding of 3D models, so I’d leave things such as position of joints and movements up to the 3D artists. I’m mainly focused on giving advice on styling character face and and proportions, to ensure their art style stays in sync with the original series.
I especially pay attention to crafting the character’s faces, since not only do these 3D models appears in stages, they are used in the menu screens as well. After receiving images of 3D models, I would draw directly on the received image with what I hope to be adjusted, and ask the artist to do their best to tune the model according to the image. This part of the process is very much thanks to the help from all the artist staffs.
Q: Would you mind talking about the design process for the original navigator character “RiCO” from Rockman X DiVE?
Mizuno: When coming up with the new character RiCO, the development team had set out a few requirements:
- Having short hair in order to look lively!
- Side pony tail to show cuteness!
- Main concept being military styled uniform!
- Wearing shorts!
I remember we fiercely discussed the above requirements at first. Those elements were used as a starting point, combined with supporting elements of the imagery of administrator and navigator, plus light blue eyes and hair that can be associated to being a resident in the digital world. The world view of this character is different from Alia or Nana, as she’s someone who looks down on Rockman X’s world with a birds-eye view, thus her status is pretty different as well. In a bit of a hyperbolic sense we were not very fixated on her looks, there’s no set rules for her regarding a need to follow the Rockman style where limbs tend to be bigger, and from that aspect it actually felt more difficult to form a design concept. But of course, her final appearance was still in accordance to the world view of “Rockman X” series in the end. I personally found the design of RiCO pretty refreshing.
Q: There might be original characters like RiCO appearing, since the stage of Rockman X DiVE is the digital world. What kind of expectations would you have regarding this part?
Mizuno: I think we can take “Rockman X DiVE”’s particular world view of being game data to create new ideas, such as “what if this kind of character existed” in the history of Rockman X series, allowing ones that had relations to previous characters to retake the stage, or even characters (in its setting) had been planned to appeared in original games but couldn’t make it in due to insufficient space and was ultimately abandoned, this kind of stuff might turn out super interesting. For example a character designed to be a member of the 14th martial arts irregular hunter unit led by Rockman X4’s “Magma Dragoon”, it would be neat to let this character appear as a fighting type character. They might even be very active in PVP.
Q: Who is your favorite character in “Rockman X” series? As well, which character setting touches you the most in “Rockman X DiVE”?
Mizuno: People tend to ask this question pretty often. But since all the characters are appealing in their own ways, it’s really hard for me to select a number one...... for example, Vava and other high ranking officers such as Agile‘s group, or for enemy characters at the boss level, I would develop an intense liking and special feelings for them solely because I’ve had such a hard time fighting them in-game. Especially for captain Sigma, I used to make "head-canons" about his history before he turned on humanity, it feels so dramatic in my head just imagining it, it‘s very alluring. Though main characters like X is also very interesting to me, whom is a robot but having his thinking circuits restrained because of the ability to “worry”. Light’s goal was to have humans and robots live together in harmony, and the kinds of answers X might derive after thinking deeply about this topic on his own, it makes me scared just thinking about it..!
Q: One specialty of “Rockman X DiVE” is having characters that can never appear together in the main series, whom can now appear together in PVP or team battles. do you have any thoughts about this?
Mizuno: It’s an element that can only be experienced in Rockman X DiVE, and I think it’s pretty great. Every character can simply existing alongside one another without having to think about the past or future, and even the same characters sometimes, I think this is the merit of this game production. It’ll probably be really cool to see X and Ultimate Armor X fighting together in the team battle system.
Q: You have often mentioned in the media that you are a Rockman fan. What kind of expectation do you have with Rockman X DiVE from the point of the view as a fan?
Mizuno: The game production itself is “Rockman series” for sure while encompassing a slightly different world view. The main character is the player themselves, and X is only appearing as a piece of game data to be controlled. How will the characters act in such an environment? Would characters I’m interested in appear? What kind of action is RiCO going to take in the future? What’s the true identity of “Blue Zero”, that not even RiCO knows about? All of these items gives me expectation for the future as a fan. Also, having VS battles being the main point of this game is very fresh and new to me, and I’m curious as to what kind of spark would be drawn between the players.
Q: Finally, please say something to the players looking forward to “Rockman X DiVE”, as well as fans of “Rockman X”.
Mizuno: Even though it’s only one part, but I feel very satisfied to be able to participate in the development and be able to provide “Rockman X” to the players in a new game format. The characters in this game have been loved and supported by fans over the years for a very long time, so I often tell myself that I need to become a master at knowing the characters’s charm and appeals. Also, this franchise has had a long history, so I often remind myself that I’m borrowing the accomplishments that my predecessors worked very hard on - I work on the game with those attitudes in mind. I believe the other developers feel the same way as well. As well, I hope everyone will be able get to know the newly created “RiCO” as a character in the Rockman X series. It’s a very interesting game, and I hope everyone gives it a try. I’m already looking forward to it coming online. Once it’s live, let us meet inside the deep log!
Capcom has pointed out that they have received a lot of feedback and opinions from players after the beta period, and they're currently working on fixing and optimizing the game. There will be a series of events and prizes coming up, too, such as a limited number of autographs from Mizuno (pictured). Details on how to obtain them will be available on the official website in the near future.