Monday, February 17, 2020

Rockman ZX Advent Developer's Report Translation


From May to July of 2007, a set of six "developer's reports" were published on the Rockman ZX Advent Official Blog, which featured interviews of key staff members that worked on the game. These include director Ryota Ito, character designer and scenario writer Makoto Yabe, character chief designer Gyosei Tamura, background designer Hidenori Katsuki, main programmer Tetsuhurio Shishido, and sound producer Ippo Yamada.

Presented for the very first time in English (thanks again to our friend Sider), we're proud to deliver a translation of the developer's reports.

While there is nothing too ground breaking here, it's interesting to learn what these key staff members did and their struggles and highlights during ZX Advent's development. You can find it after the break!

Developer's Report Vol. 1

In the first report, we’ll interview the game’s director, “Ryota Ito ”. 

Q1) Please tell us what your job is 



I am Director and Planner for both the Zero and ZX series. This game will be the 6th Rockman game I direct, but I was planner for Rockman 8 Metal heroes so it’ll be the 7th game I work in. If I look back on my career, over half of my life as a planner has been devoted to Rockman


Q2) Can you tell us more details about the contents of your job and the flow of things?

The main job as a director is to direct the development team, but the weight as a planner is also big factor in the actual work so I work covering a wide range of things such as game systems planning, enemy idea creation, making specification documents, making maps and challenges… 

To explain the making of a planning in simpler terms… The job is about to write up and embody stuff that’s within your head. 

After ordering the planning to the graphics staff and programmers, I check what they produce, and once it goes through fixes and adjustments that’s when the planning is considered complete so the mere writing of the planning per se doesn’t mean the job’s ended.  

During that work, we give names to the foes or NPCs in the cities, think of the attack names, make the materials for guidebooks as well as proofreading. 


Q3) Do you have any tales about struggles or secrets of development?

The Rockman series has a long history so stuff that’s similar in terms of ideas always pops up, so that’s when we either have the users favorably interpret that as “the series’ feeling of security”, or, otherwise they take it as “feeling of stereotyping”... It’s hard to balance between both. Of course, there are parts with homages which we make on purpose. 

We set forth the feeling of security as a series and the “freshness” as a new title, making that smoothly fuse with the game feels easy but it’s a hard part at the same time. 


Also, it’s not directly related to the ZX games but, the other day, due to the exhaust from the job, my feet cramped while climbing the stairs and couldn’t move even if I wanted to. They hurt so much that I thought of massaging them but due to their cramped state I couldn’t even crouch so it was a very harsh sensation. Despite that, I calmly felt like Rockman, thinking “who’d said that not being able to crouch was this painful”... (laughs) 


Q4) Please us tells your suggestions or highlights of ZXA!

Well, as if isn’t obvious, “Trans-On” will the highlight of the game.


I think that people who’ve seen the screencaps must be skeptical, thinking “will we really be able to move such big bosses?” but rest assured, you can move both small and big bosses. 

It doesn’t have a time limit either so skillfully find the right boss for the right place and I hope you make good use of their abilities. 



Also, one of their trait weapons of this game’s protagonists, the Rockman Model A, the “Homing Shot” has a refreshing feeling, it’s different from the classical “Buster” so I hope you have a taste of that thrill. 


Q5) Please tell something to the fans looking forward to ZXA’s release!

It’ll still take a while until the game’s release but we’re keenly developing the game so please wait a bit longer. There are also elements that’ll make fans “grin” so I hope you play it exhaustively once it’s released. 

The game has a tutorial so I’d be glad if people who are new to the Rockman action can challenge it too. 



Developer's Report Vol. 2

Today we’ll interview the ZX series character designer / scenario writer “Makoto Yabe ”. 


Q1) Please tell us what your job is 



I am in charge of character design and scenario of the ZX series.

My first Rockman-related job was background design of “Rockman Zero 2”, and then I wrote the scenario for Kaita Todoroki and Mari Towa of “Rockman EXE Battlechip GP”. 

Afterwards, after having worked in Rockman Zero series background design and scenario, I have reached this stage. 


Q2) Can you tell us more details about the contents of your job and the flow of things?

At the beginning, many people tell me things like “I want the game to be like this” and “what do we do with that foreshadowing / subplot?” and there I combine the answer to the foreshadowing / subplot that I’d readied amongst other things, think of a summary of the scenario, and I design protagonists fitting that story. 

That’s enough to settle on the flow of things, then I go doing things in the order that the staff urges me to (laughs). 

The designs of the eight bosses and of the main characters, writing the scenario, it also includes designing the title logo or each group’s mark such as the Hunter’s Guild one. 

When the scenario and the design are completed, I simply go on drawing illustrations. The package illustration or stuff for magazines, those of events that happen within the game, etc. 


Q3) Do you have any tales about struggles or secrets of development?

When the planning of Advent began, the first thing I was told was by Aizu, the producer, which were “the protagonists of this game will be new characters!” and my head became blank (laughs).

I was convinced it’d be a continuation of Vent’s and Aile’s stories so I was unable to use most of the ideas I’d thought of.

The producer had thought that “I want to make it so that users can enjoy ZX and Advent separately, regardless of the order”, and we creators could begin developing with a fresh feeling. Looking back now, I think that that was the right thing to do. 

Also, as a trait of the ZX series, there’s also anime movies that play at important parts (of the story) so we need a setting drawing when we order the anime company to make them. 

You can’t predict during the making of the movies what movements there’ll be or what’ll be seen so it’d have to be very detailed spots you can’t see in-game… Behind the feet or the structure of the clothes, the fastener of the buster holster, we makes documents (detailing) that. 


Q4) Please us tells your suggestions or highlights of ZXA!

We made a little “set up” in the designs and scenarios of the game. 

I’d like to talk about it but I’d prefer if the users play Advent and check it out by themselves. 


The hints are: “the protagonists of this game are new characters” and “play the game and search every nook and cranny”. Look forward to it!


Q5) Please tell something to the fans looking forward to ZXA’s release!

I think some might’ve noticed from the promotion movie in the official site, but there are still key characters pending reveal. Yes, even with all of this info out there, you still don’t see the whole cast. There’s a ton of content, to the point we creators are surprised as well.

New protagonists, new locations, new foes. This isn’t simply a sequel to “ZX”, we’re developing this “Advent” as a wholly new game, so I think both old fans and new fans can enjoy it.  I’m also looking forward to the release, so I think that I want to line up to pay in cash while having the package in one hand, like all of the other users do. 


Well then, train your smiles and look forward to the release!



Developer's Report Vol. 3

Today we’ll interview “Gyosei Tamura”, the character chief designer who’s worked on many games ever since Rockman Zero.

Q1) Please tell us what your job is 



I’m in charge of character chief (design) of “Advent”.

I worked in “Rockman Zero”, “Zero 2” as background (designer). Ever since then I became character (designer) of “Zero 3”, “Zero 4” and “ZX”.

Ah. I also did chores in “Rockman EXE N1 Battle” and “EXE Battlechip GP” (laughs)

Q2) Can you tell us more details about the contents of your job and the flow of things?

My concrete job involves making a lot of stuff ranging from the playable characters, the protagonists, the bosses, the enemies, the citizens or even the HP gauge “memory”or mushrooms that are in a corner of the stage’s road.

The planner sends me a specification document saying “I want this enemy or this item!”, I think the movements and design and step-by-step, sprites by sprite, I make the graphic data while pouring love into them. Sometimes I ask “how’s this like? (laughs)” and bring it to the planner while expecting bitter laughter but sometimes he approves of them.

Q3) Do you have any tales about struggles or secrets of development?

The fact that the boss characters can be operated as playable characters is the biggest thing in this game.


Both small and big bosses have a rich personality. It’s not easy making them, the usual means don’t work here. Everyone’s used to make them as enemies but when the planner tells us “this boss will climb stairs”, a happy cry “gyaahhh” of the making responsible echoes. 

Next is the bug check and tuning, I guess. 

We in charge of characters finish our job in a relatively early stage compared to other departments. So when we finish the data-making job, we go on playing the game until it’s finished. 

However, the freshly made bosses tend to be stronger than they actually are when the game goes on sale so we spend the days with all of us screaming in agony as they beat us in battle.  They go on making odd voices… (sweats)

Q4) Please us tells your suggestions or highlights of ZXA!

Simple! The boss characters. Like I said before, we struggled with their making so our hearts are filled with deeper emotion. While fighting the bosses we made, we narrow our eyes and go like “aaahh, the dialogue with voices gives out a great flavor!”. 

Even in “Trans-On” mode you can use the boss itself as a player so that was a very innovative thing for us. 

Of course, we’ve also put effort in the small enemies! There’s tons of them: familiar faces, new faces, types you can’t hate, types you’ll hate… They will do a good job of hindering your playthrough!

There’s still unrevealed characters so I can’t tell much more but do face against the bosses with their rich personalities and enjoy controlling them. If you do that I think that they, within the game, will be happy too.

Q5) Please tell something to the fans looking forward to ZXA’s release!

I think that this installment, apart from the character graphics, movies, voices, sound, stage graphics, gameplay… Each of them is so filled with content that’ll make you think “they know no limits!” despite being a Nintendo DS 2D action game.


I’d like of you to take it up on the day of release and check it out by yourself, that’d make me happy. And to enjoy that emotion fully use this chance to train with “Rockman ZX”!! (laughs) 


Developer's Report Vol. 4

Today’s “ZXA” creator interview is “Hidenori Katsuki” who’s worked in all background designs himself ever since the “Zero” series!

Q1) Please tell us what your job is 



I’m in charge of the chief design of “ZXA” backgrounds

I’ve been working on background design for the “Rockman” series since the 1st “Zero” game. And if you count up until now that makes the 6th game I’ve worked on. If I look back on my work insofar, I can see that I’ve been involved a lot in the “Rockman” series… Or so I feel now, after all that time. I plan on continue working on them for the next 10, 20 years, as long as the series goes on


Q2) Can you tell us more details about the contents of your job and the flow of things?

The main job of background design is centered about designing and building the background art of action stages, cities, as well as status screens, game over screen, save & load screen as well as system-related screens.

To go into details, I also make lots of stuff such as the mini-games backgrounds, text font, turning the title logo into data, the end roll as well as other stuff…

To write a simple explanation of how the work flows like…

  • The background (team) members come up with ideas about the area and the gimmicks.
  • We have a meeting with the other sections using these ideas as basis.
  • We grab that ideas built up in the meeting and make them match the plot to then apply them.
  • We sort the ideas amongst the background (team) members and make them
  • Debugging (calibrations and fixes).

And that’s more or less how things flow like.


Q3) Do you have any tales about struggles or secrets of development?

It might be the fate of such series but, as the series progresses, the material for ideas often overlaps with stuff we’ve come up with before, see.  So we do work to avoid that happening yet it’s not that easy to do so we do struggle a lot. 

When we can’t come up with ideas, we improve old ideas that’d been discard or assemble together subtle ideas… If we scratch our empty heads we can come up with some ideas. 

Also, it’s not like it wasn’t hard but the ideas we pour into the background often get unnoticed or skipped by other staff members so I feel like I can’t forgive them for that… *orz 

Translator note: Orz it is a Japanese based emoticon of a man pounding his head on the floor.

I think that spoiling things for myself is losing so I hope someone notices them soon but in the end the walkthroughs end up spoiling the easter eggs. But since this game’s production period was short, we didn’t have as much time as in the prequel to put easter eggs in the backgrounds, which I do feel a bit sad about. 


Q4) Please us tells your suggestions or highlights of ZXA!

As responsible for them, I’d like to suggest the backgrounds but I think that my part as a “foil” is more relevant so...

The surroundings of the characters the players will firstly set their eyes on as well as being able to control the bosses… I think that the “Trans-On” is the best highlight. And the second best one is the backgrounds with a lot of effort put into them. That’s my preferences.

Also, I think you all know this already but… Vent and Aile will also appear in this game so their interactions with Grey and Ashe will be a highlight too.



We’ve also put a lot of bonuses compared to the prequel so please enjoy them once you clear the game.


Q5) Please tell something to the fans looking forward to ZXA’s release!

Of course, we’ve also added a tutorial function for those people who dislike action so I think that a wide range of people will be able to enjoy it.

And we’ve also put stuff that’ll make fans grin at it so it might be good to play it exhaustively… 


Well then, there’s only 1 month left until release so wait for it while keeping the excitement.  Let there be a bright future! 



Developer's Report Vol. 5

Today’s “ZXA” creator interview is Tetsuhurio Shishido who’s been working in the main programming and character-making since the prequel, and also works as the main programmer of “ZXA”. 

Q1) Please tell us what your job is 



I am the main programmer. For this project I made the systems to control the DS and made the playable characters. 

I did the main programming of the prequel and I also programmed a lot of bosses and enemies in the “Zero” series games.


Q2) Can you tell us more details about the contents of your job and the flow of things?

My main job is to combine and make both “sound data” and “graphic data”  which I make as ordered by the planner, move.  I program and give form to the hazy image that the others have within their heads. 

When I calibrate the stuff that I made I tend to talk with people who use onomatopoeic words like “make this more with a snap” or “this is buzzy, makes a boom and cuts through”. 

Looking at it from a corner of the eye, you can get the impression it’s exchanges which make no sense but I can get the idea of the meaning, somewhat. I go on calibrating having that into account. How much accurately I can compensate is the chance to show off my skills. 

I also secretly make graphic data. In the prequel I made the “WARNING” text that appears before a boss battle but in this game I made the texture after the bosses are defeated. It was intended to be a test data but it was used as it was so I was really excited about it (laughs). 

I also secretly warmed up on ideas for puzzles games to use as mini-games.


Q3) Do you have any tales about struggles or secrets of development?

The whole thing relies on the Rockman “theory” to be made, so it was hard. We always struggle with this part. 

The means to walkthrough a stage or a boss must be made so that after repeated playing you must see the answer to those but balancing both is very hard.

The programming calibration of “if I figure out the walkthrough means I can clear it with no damage but I don’t feel that it’s though enough” is what takes up most time. 

Regarding the playable characters’ programming… The bosses can be controlled as they all have their own traits so that meant a lot of struggling. It was a hard topic, whether we should increase the playability of them. We spent many days calibrating.  

It was very harsh to battle with capacity as well. The game itself has a big volume and there’s tons of movies and voice-overs so many things protruded out. 

Even if we struggled to secure capacity, whenever graphics or sound data increased we lost that capacity in the blink of an eye. We cry and keep on trying to secure the capacity until the end, when everything has fit together. That’s what we’re glad of.  

And we sometimes sleep in our seats when we work over the night but when there’s lesser people the AC of the office feels way colder and I ended up in cold sleep state. I remember that I shuddered, feeling an odd empathy… “So that’s how it feels to be inside of that capsule”... 




 
Q4) Please us tells your suggestions or highlights of ZXA!

We prioritized that the game’s playable characters were “easy to control but also feel simply fun to use”. It’s a very varied kind of fun that gives you a refreshing feeling and makes you unwillingly laugh. 

As a result I think we ended up making something that’s not restricted to any restrictions. There’s a lot of types (of actions) so I hope you enjoy all the types of gameplay. That amount of rich variety is the highlight of this game.



Q5) Please tell something to the fans looking forward to ZXA’s release!

I am also a “Rockman” fan but seeing from my point of view, I do think that I’ve made something that’s made me very happy. There’s also a ton of extras that the fans will enjoy too. 

We also added a tutorial for people who play the series for the first time so I’d wish for a lot of people to get in touch with the game and play so that they get to know how fun it is. 


Developer's Report Vol. 6

Today’s “ZXA” creator interview is the “ZXA” sound producer, “Ippo Yamada” who’s worked on many Capcom games ever since the Super Famicom (SNES) age. 

 
Q1) Please tell us what your job is 



I am in charge of the sounds. In the past I was mainly involved in games such as… “Demons Balazon - Makai Mura Crest”, “Super Street Fighter II” , “X-MEN -MUTANT APOCALYPSE-” for the SFC (Super FamiCom), “Super Street Figther IIx” for the 3DO, “Biohazard (Resident Evil)” for the PS, all “Rockman Zero” games for the GBA and “Rockman ZX” for the DS. I recently made (the sounds) for “Kabu Trader Shun” for the DS. I lined it up as well (laughs)

 
Q2) Can you tell us more details about the contents of your job and the flow of things?

The most fundamental part is the sound design. The design of sounds, for example. Will they be real sounds? Pop sounds? What’s the direction of the music? What kind of style is it? It’s a big responsibility since it decides the route and ambience of the game. That’s when the sound producing job begins. 

I use the concepts we’ve made as basis to make the SFX and the songs while deciding what members will join me in the job, I transmit the intent of the game and I handle contractions and schedules. 

As for this game, I’ve had Suzuki, Kawakami, Umegaki, Globes and Hayama work in the songs. As for the voice editing I’ve had Kaneko and Ito. Chuetsu worked on the movie’s SFX. And Itoga worked on the songs. 9 creators have joined me. 

I also laboriously work on stuff. The main thing is, of course, making the game’s data. To play sounds within the game I make sound data matching the hardware and game in-workings to then give it to the programmers. I also make the materials attached to them.  

I make all SFX myself. I make tons, to the point I don’t want to count them. I also make some of the songs, sometimes (laughs)

One factor in our games which we don’t want you to forget is the colorful voices but the voice casting is very important (to do that). That settles most of the image of the game. 

I often go see movies or plays and get info from each production’s manager about the actors and I work on choosing a cast for each characters. 

I also take part in the (voice) recording as recording director. I tell the actors about things they don’t understands or nuances or clear up meanings of stuff. I help improve their acting so that it matches the game. 

 
Q3) Do you have any tales about struggles or secrets of development?

There’s a lot of factors, to the point you ask “this too?”. Instead of secret tales there’s stuff we want to keep secret so I can’t say much… 

Anyway, there were many troubles during (voice) recording and I won’t talk about the contents (bitter laugh)

If I had to say something it, that’d be “Trans On”. One day we were in a meeting and wondered who’d do that. Someone said “of course, the character you’ve transformed into will say it” and I couldn’t believe what I heard. I was like “that for real!?”

What does that mean? In ZX, you change your form through “Double Rock On”, but, basically, it was still Vent and Aile. But in this game the voice will change depending on whom you transform into.

In short: the voice that you can normally share (between both of them) will now become different (each time). Even if it’s Grey and Ashe doing those voices, the VA will be different so that means we’ll have to 30 times more work than it was (in the prequel). 



The VAs of the characters that can transform through Trans-On, the bosses themselves, Grey transformation, Ashe transformation… The voices are the same but they have to play 3 personalities so it was a lot of fuss. 

It’s hard for a man to psychologically act as a woman but, unexpectedly, women have it hard to make a difference when they play women so that actually meant more retakes. 

 
Q4) Please us tells your suggestions or highlights of ZXA!

I’m in charge of the sound so I’ll tell you about the sounds (laughs)

It can also told a tale about struggle but I guess “Trans-On” is the topic here. I hope you enjoy the differences in acting in the battles between the same characters. Some bosses change personality depending on your (playable) character, which is fun too. 

It’s an action game so they fly or twist so I hope you move them around a lot when playing. A lot of sounds will play out so pay attention to those!! (laughs) 

I recommend (each character’s) opening (stage) song. At a personal level, I guess it’s the (BGM) of the city where Legions is at. As well as “their” theme (laughs)

This game is also full of the effort by the members that helped us. I think there’s a lot of a wide variety of songs. If there’s a song that you liked then send me a reply! (laughs)

And, also… Hidden elements, too? Give me a review of the blip blop sounds too (laughs)

 
Q5) Please tell something to the fans looking forward to ZXA’s release!

I’ve had many experiences when working in this world and heard many things but this game is wrong.

It’s not worth it (laughs) There’s so much stuff on it that it paralyzes you. I eagerly hope that Rockman fans and action games fans enjoy the game. 

Oh yes, the usual arranged soundtrack “ZXA TUNES” has a release date fixed: August 30th! (Hyaah! My break…! Heartbroken) There’s a lot of extra tracks on it, too! Make sure to check the goods you get by pre-ordering it!



To celebrate the release we’ll have a free in-store event! There’ll be guests that’ll surprise you as well as a ton of programs! Come shake hands with me at Akihabara (Tokyo)! (There’s no such program)

I’d be glad if you play through Advent from nook to cranny while you wait for the soundtracks! I’ll use that as motivation while I trim down my soul again and work my hardest (laughs)

3 comments:

  1. Is there any way to request a translation of the Rockman - In the Nick of Time drama CD?

    https://vgmdb.net/album/3120

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking forward to seeing Makoto Yabe work on Rockmanin the future. Also, i hope Hidenori Katsuki get to do more work as background designer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for the translation as usual. We did'nt learn anything revolutionary but it's good to put some names on the various things we enjoyed from the game.

    ReplyDelete

Keep it friendly. Disparaging, belittling and derogatory comments are not permitted.