Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Rockman X5 Developer/Designer Commentary
For the fun of it, I was digging around the old Capcom BBS when I stumbled upon an english translation of the X5 design notes. The notes describe the trial and tribulations of designing the colorful cast of X5.
It's well worth a read, you're guaranteed to learn something new:
There's been Irregular Hunter organizations in previous games, but we've never seen anyone from them outside of the Hunters, so this time I wanted to add some depth to that area. Bearing in mind ties to the previous games, I considered a young(?) Cygnus having the previous commissioner retire in the sense of taking responsibility for deciding on the Repliforce. Hm? What kind of person is the former commissioner? Well, he has whiskers and looks important, so maybe he's like General? (grin)
Him being an officer, I was worried he'd end up resembling Colonel, but I was strangely aware of it becoming an odd tale of not being able to determine his role from his form, so I boldly gave him a form that was definitive. His big shoulders and the six crystals on his chest convey his "importance level."
By popular demand(?) of the staff in previous games, female characters first showed up in the X series. Personally, I don't feel it's all that necessary, since these are titles aimed at kids.
However, I felt the real problem was, could a female make cool decisions?
So I settled on the result of a female navigator. Aeria was another design that was hard going. We went through any number of bad ones, for which I apologize, to make sure she was a denizen of RockMan DASH and matched with the X universe.
[No Designer Comment]
On top of having parts and weapons, we absolutely had to have a mechanic! And so we set up Douglas. Mind, he doesn't show up that much in the first half of the game... (sweat)
Since he's a mechanic, I tried bringing out an on-the-scene mood in him by making him all arms(?), giving him a hat-like helmet and goggles, etc.
Lifesaver's got a super-slick design. But he shows up even less than Douglas. (sweat) He does touch on the core of the story, though, so go easy on me.
If he seems strong for the role of a doctor, perhaps it's because he was originally planned to show up as an enemy? There was no set-up for him as an enemy originally, but if I could have them [you?] play, maybe they'd realize, "Oh! I wish they'd established him like that!" (Nah, I don't think they would (grin), but this is revealing a bit too much of the idea source, so I can't say any more.)
This was the first of the sub-characters I designed. Pay attention and you'll see he has a more mechanical feel to him than do all the other Repliroids. I thought there was only one of him, so I was a bit surprised that a whole group shows up. Somehow it seems there are at least more than three of him/them.
This really is a ?? armor. (grin) My intention was to make an armor that was above all the rest, so I ended up taking the offensive. (sweat) The source material being the previous game's Fourth Armor also worried me a lot.
I discarded any number of designs proposed by Seito, the designer in charge. (bitter laugh) I was very particular about it design-wise when I made it, since it would be the "poster armor" [as in "poster child"] for selling the game. From the fact that it can fly, he designed it using the image of a hawk. Its name has its origins in that too. I like the beak on the chest. Did you all notice it?
This was the toughest. I caused trouble for a lot of people when I couldn't make it very well. Sorry. Consequently, though, it may be the one I like the best. I drew it with the image of a hawk in mind, and changed its name from Wing Armor to Falcon Armor. This was fun. I'm touched it'll shown up in commercials and in vending machines (since it's the first time for me).
Once again, a ??? armor. (sweat) Finally, you could walk on top of the thorns. Once you make me crouch down on my heels, I've started my mad dash. (grin) Is it because the concept of X5 is a mad dash? (grin) I lie. In order to contrast it design-wise with the Falcon, I had it made with no projections and colored black. All sorts of ideas cropped up, like making the arms symmetrical, and I'm glad the design turned out as fantastic as it did. Actually, this will be the first armor the designer Sensei designed.
It was to look hard, heavy and strong, so I tried giving it a thudding, weighty feel. The chest is a point to note. I even tried making its color subdued, just using the vivid colors seen on armors to date as a point. This was to distinguish it from the other armors.
This time, on top of the story, one of the main themes is the destruction of Earth and XXXX, so I felt there was less necessity for new characters and rival characters than there'd been to date. However, I thought it'd be lonely without ANY rivals, and thus Dynamo was born.
To make him stand out, I set my sights on a character that hadn't been in the series before. He's halfhearted in personality, so he doesn't know if he wants to fight or not. It's not that he hates X or Zero; he fights because it's his job. He may appear irresponsible at first glance, but in fact, he's an adult of the late 20th century, philosophically viewing X and company, who give free rein to their enthusiasm when they fight.
I also quite like him design-wise. It feels like an explosion of Sensei's design sense. Please treat my dear Dynamo well. (grin)
Established as a character who uses both a buster and a saber, the American cavalry flickers across his face. [I'm not sure what he means by this...] We settled on him being a rival for X and company even as we expanded on all sorts of ideas about what kind of past he has. His red visor is a high point of his design.
Actually, he started off as a pig. (grin) I wanted to make him a largish boss, so I'd established him as a pig with poison gas, but I was worried over how ethical poison gas would be as a weapon [Cultural impact: Remember that subway incident?], so I scrapped that idea. (sweat) He's the first boss, but I wanted him to be big and impressive, but all bark and no bite, so I got some feedback from my seniors here and decided to make him a bear. The instant I decided on a bear, I easily figured out his attack methods and name.
He's a bear and a drill besides. (His red hand transforms.) Working from that, there was no way he couldn't look powerful. That's why I tried emphasizing his drill arm by painting it red. Being that he's a Japanese bear [lit., "Ring-around-the-Moon bear"], I was lost as to how to work in the moon marking, but I eventually inserted it as part of the structure around his neck.
I decided from the start I was going to combine a squid with electricity. I fiddled comparatively with his movement in the game up until the very end. Previously, I wanted to invent a pretext for fighting with Octopuld, but when it came time to start thinking up the dialogue, it came to me in a flash: I'll make this guy XXX! (grin) Thinking up the dialogue myself, I got a bit worried...well, no, I got sick of it, so I had Zero express my feelings at that point. (sweat)
Seeing as he's a squid, he'd have plenty of legs, but if we honestly gave him all ten, he'd end up all pulpy-looking. I therefore tried giving him arms, legs, and two tentacles (equivalent to squid arm tentacles) always out for normal attack, plus two more stored away. These two would serve as his shoulder armor. He has a section pointing down from his waist, which is supposed to give the impression of the remaining two tentacles bundled together.
This boss was also settled on from the start. He's not plain evil, he's an intelligent, stubborn professor. I think he got a design that nicely echoes my mental image of him. There's actually a goof-up, though...I screwed up his coloring in the middle of designing him. There were two versions, red and yellow, and I'd decided on yellow, but things went crazy and I had a dot picture made with the unaccepted red. I noticed this at the last stages of the development, but by then it was too late.
The majority of an actual firefly's body is blackish, so I designed him that way, but I didn't want to get people thinking, "Is this a cockroach?" I thus considered red, yellow, or white (doctor's coat) schemes, ultimately choosing red. He's a red-faced old man. His white mustache and glasses convey his scientist feel.
This is a boss that got vetoed for X4. He got nixed because it was difficult to personify a whale. If he wasn't humaniform to some extent, he wouldn't look boss-like. I actually wanted to make him about as big as Kibatodos, but he ended up rather compact.
No matter how you tinker with a whale, it still looks like a whale, so I finished this one up comparatively easily. It's a bit of a shock, though, that even though he's a whale, he's smaller than a walrus (Kibatodos). While this guy was being developed, he got impossibly strong when his power dropped, making me feel like crying.
His rose motif was decided early on. I had a nasty thought that, being a rose, he'd probably be a flashy/conceited jerk, so I modeled him on the Kakyoin in me. (grin) [Note: I don't know if I'm interpreting that right, but I believe it refers to the characterk Kakyoin from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.] With the idea for Zero's learned skill pretty much undecided, it was a tough job. I get the feeling the Twin Vision was the last skill to be decided upon.
At any rate, since he's a rose, I tried not designing him simply in that object's form, but forming his silhouette so that when he spreads his arms, he gives an overall physical impression of a "flowerpot rose." By the way, I found out in researching roses that they come in a whole variety of shapes and colors.
This is our second(?) shot in the fantasy series. In the previous game, X4, we went for a dragon motif, but as a rule for the X series bosses, fantasy types are not existent creatures, so if it's hard to figure out, it becomes unavailable. Well, I broke that rule again this time. (grin)
His attack method was easy to imagine and he looked cool, so I decided on him fairly quickly. The fact that his attack method resembles Eagleed's is because I was heavily influenced by CyberMission, which I was making at the same time, so I tried making them similar on purpose.
He's a soldier, so he's in uniform (as is). I like him rather a bit, but I'd still like to rework the wings. When I was drawing this, I was listening to the theme to Captain Tsubasa over and over. [Captain Tsubasa is a classic soccer manga/anime.] Thus we have the wings (tsubasa) link....
I don't know if he'll make the best use of them or not.
Our third shot in the fantasy series. (grin) Our first, by the way, was X4's Dragoon. I think the fantasy series will be discontinued after this. (bitter laugh) This character didn't have enough capacity, and the designer in charge had a real tough time of it. Instead, we gave him a comparative abundance of attack patterns. Sorry about that.
When I got the idea to have fire blowing out of his back, I felt the illo seemed a lot cooler. I'm happy they gave him such a great name.
This was also influenced by a certain manga, so perhaps they asked the designer, "Please give him a Bat XXras feel!" (grin) [I have no idea to what character/manga he refers. The name is "Kohmori ??ras," where ?? is one kana blotted out.] However, as you can see from the results, he finished up as a smart design, and I really like it.
Just before the game was completed, we discovered a bug that made the Dark Hold perpetually freeze the game. Gave me a real chill. (grin)
Being a bat, he was established as draining his opponents' energy, so in short, he was Count Dracula, and I gave him form straight from that. A monster in full dress. He's the only one this game to have the Sigma mark on him.
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WAIT... "to make sure [Alia] was a denizen of RockMan DASH and matched with the X universe."ReplyDelete
Ah, thanks for finding this. I was just thinking about these the other day when I was referring to them on a DevArt entry, wondering if we had the info in the MMN database.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the assist. :)
"Personally, I don't feel it's all that necessary, since these are titles aimed at kids.ReplyDelete
However, I felt the real problem was, could a female make cool decisions?"
I usually don't consider myself a feminist, but this sort of comment makes me reconsider, considering the rise it gets out of me. Am I being silly? Perhaps his meaning was lost in translation.
Excellent find! I have to ask, though, is there something like this out there for the development of Command Mission? =DReplyDelete
@rew: There's some commentary in the Command Mission Perfect Guide, though much of it remains untranslatedReplyDelete
I can't read Japanese. ='(ReplyDelete
But where is this CM Perfect Guide you speak of? Is it online?
@lo: I think in Japan they still regard women as being somewhat inferior, so it probably is translated right.ReplyDelete
@rem: Not online, it's the Japanese strategy guide. Won't do you any good unless you know the language backwards and forwards :)ReplyDelete
People worry a lot more about issues such as "racial equality" and "gender equality" a lot more in America than anywhere else. Sure, America is more right wing than many other comparable countries, and those issues are associated with the left wing -- but people outside the U.S. are more likely to be on the conservative side when it comes to gender and racial equality.ReplyDelete
Case in point: France's current prime minister was voted in primarily due to native Frenchmen being disgruntled about the influx of middle-eastern immmigrants. Let us not forget to mention that he was running against a woman, as well. Not that I can prove the correlation, but meh.
@ lo, that got a rise from me to. From someone who does consider herself to be an avid feminist, that's incredibly enraging.ReplyDelete
@ Hypercoyote, the whole world views women as inferior. Some places are more subtle about it, is all.
Otherwise, this was an interesting inside look at the thoughts behind the characters of X5.
Old topic, but in regards to this:ReplyDelete
"the whole world views women as inferior. Some places are more subtle about it, is all."
There are societies in the world that view men inferior. They're some groups in India for example. It's usually best not to paint the many societies of the world the same color. Especially when based on just a number of particular societies that one is commonly in contact with.