Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Humble Beginnings of Mega Man Battle Network 5 DS

I've been feeling nostalgic for Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS lately. Maybe it's because I recently found my old, launch Nintendo DS (with BN5 DS inside) back at my childhood home. Holding that hunk of plastic in my hands for the first time in -- man, I dunno, fifteen years -- rekindled good times.

That little moment reminded me of those unusual 3D models found within the game's data, too. That was a major discovery years back. Although we never reached a definitive conclusion, the ongoing theory is BN5 DS was going to feature full 3D graphics. That or the dev team were experimenting with DS hardware in preparation for Mega Man Star Force.

All of this is to say, I got inspired to do a little digging on the game's development. And while I wasn't able to shed further light on those 3D models, I did find a little behind-the-scenes talk that hasn't been translated before. It's a fun read, but you won't find any earth-shattering revelations here. It may, however, spur you to fire up your copy after all this time too! 

Rockman EXE 5 DS Twin Leaders Staff Comments

Originally published on U-Capcom (July 15, 2005)

Nice to meet you all. My name is Tsukasa Takenaka and I am the main planner for Rockman EXE 5 DS Twin Leaders. Huh? If that surprised you, then you're sharp! You must really be an EXE enthusiast. 

That's right -- I, Takenaka, am in charge of this game, not Mr. Yasuma. Do keep that in mind.

Now, EXE5 DS began development last year, when the Game Boy Advance version was completed. The producer of the game said me, "Please make a DS version of EXE 5. It will go on sale next summer."

Yikes. I heard rumors they were going to make a DS version, but I had no idea they wanted me to be in charge of it. 

At that time, I was presented with two tasks:

  • Combine Team of Blues and Team of Colonel into a single game.
  • Include an "opening movie".

You may be thinking, "Oh, it's just a port." But the scary thing about the people at Capcom is they don't just stop there. (No, really; they're scary in many other ways). One after another, they kept throwing new ideas into the mix.

"I've been wanting to add a Party System for a while now."

Ooh. That's a great idea!

"Wouldn't it be exciting if we could watch other peoples battles over wireless communication?"

That's a nice idea!

"Since there are two screens, let's make one a PET screen that can be controlled by touch."

I see, I see.

"Let's make something happen when you insert a cartridge from another EXE game."


"I would like to be able to form teams."

Wait a minute! These are all great ideas but do you know how long it would take to put everything in? We also added character voices, microphone support to allow for cheering, a map for the Cyber World, a collaboration with Shin Bokura no Taiyo, and so much more!

Our development team is full of talented people, some of whom worked on past EXE games and some who haven't but were involved in other major titles. We all agreed that as long as we can make an enjoyable game, we would be more than willing to work through a rather tight schedule. 

Development proceeded at a pace that made me feel like I was going to collapse at least three times. But a lot of things happened in that time.

The Party System, for example, was originally about being able to switch to another Navi in battle. But before I knew it, it expanded to include a new feature that I didn't know was possible: combination attacks. I was amazed. That wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of the programmers and planners. Maybe I'll give them one more thing to have a crack at then.

For those of you who have been playing the EXE series all this time, EXE 5 DS is packed with new features. Please enjoy this third version of EXE 5.

You may think that the EXE series is for children. Well, I'd like to impart a word of advice from one of the programmers who hasn't worked on EXE before (this is the guy who played the game the most intensely during testing):

"I thought at first EXE was just for kids and I wouldn't like it. But it's really fun, isn't it?"

Let us scream together on July 21st -- "Battle Operation, Set In!"

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