Catherine producer translation bonus!

As promised, this is this month's edition of the regular column Hashino writes for Dengeki Games. It appears in the magazine immediately following the interview. 
 
--- 
 

Miracle at Persona / File 11  "Why Catherine is an Action Game?"         

 A Social Link column from Persona's director Katsura Hashino

A monthly column from the Atlas producer of the Persona series. This month, following our special feature on Catherine, he comments on the origins of the game's action part.

 

This month, I was interviewed for this magazine's special feature on Catherine, and spoke about many aspects of the game's production. Please check it out! In this column, I'm going to go with that flow and write in a little more detail than was possible in the interview about Catherine's action scenes.

Catherine's action-puzzle gameplay was created long before we decided to make the game. It wasn't made by the entire team, but something just me and another programmer wrote. Even though we are mostly involved with RPG projects, from time to time ideas that can't be used in an RPG come flashing inside our heads. This time as well, I took one of those ideas and made one of our new programmers make it under the pretense of development training. Of course, at the point it was decided to use it in our new game, it was still very rough around the edges. That said, the basic mold was complete, and by using it as a base to tell our story through we could spend our time on the structure of the drama scenes and on dealing with HD consoles for the first time. 

If we include design documents, we have a considerable number of this kind of personal, non team-driven test projects at our disposal. When we can use any of them in our games we do so, but of course there are many that are rejected outright. Among the things I made in the past, there was a puzzle game where you had to choose ingredients to put in a pot, and the outcome was decided based on meal you made. In the end it somehow become a game where if you had noodles in your recipe you always won, so we had to let the idea go... But even though such games are rejected, I think we make good use of the ideas and experience that come out of them. There are probably many cases that we game creators don't just make plans on paper, but try our hands at many things and finally create a single game from the scrapes of previous ideas. My hardship-filled team made the Persona series that managed to gain more and more popularity with time. It's a series that many fans support, so I think it's important to concentrate on its continuing development. But it's also true that after making nothing but games in the same series, the team's atmosphere grows heavier. Because of that, we try to clear the air by making a new game that isn't a part of the series, and the result is Catherine. We are not just making it for our self relief, of course. Catherine is our first project on HD consoles, and our first with a game system that isn't an RPG. By making it we could inspire ourselves with a variety of challenges we never encountered before. I am confident that it will be very helpful when we make our next games that everyone are looking forward to.

I am sure there are people wondering why "climbing" is a major theme  in such a challenge-filled production. We have a reason, of course. Catherine is a story of familiar male-female relations, which unfolds around that theme. It may be a stoic, difficult to understand gameplay mechanic that divides player's opinions, but making stair climbing during a nightmare an indispensable part of such a story gives the game its own unique taste. This strange combination is one way to deliver a fresh experience to players. Thinking that, we inserted the essence of a dividing puzzle-action gameplay that some people find addicting into our everyday adult love story. The difficulty of the nightmare scenes will vary from player to player, of course, but since setting the difficulty to easy enables everyone to advance the story and reach an ending without sacrificing the thrill of experiencing the nightmare, and since it the difficulty level doesn't limit the branching of the story, we think if you find any part of the game interesting you're going to enjoy it. By the way, by the time this issue sees print the game's demo version should be available. It's a peculiar game, but please go ahead and see how it feels with your own hands.

8 Comments

Bad novelizations are universal


 Yeah, I was kind of making the same face.

 
Reach Out to the Truth! 
Shaking his head to the speedy, flowing melody and English lyrics, Yosuke Hanamura heard a girl's voice through the loud music streaming out of his headphones. 
"Go, Hanamura!"  
Paying no attention to her fluttering skirt, kung-fu loving Chie Satonaka, who wore green tracksuit over her school uniform, hit the strange figure in front of her with a spin kick. 

  
Those are the opening line to one of the official Persona 4 novels published in Japan, which I just found forgotten on my bookshelf and started to read. The sticker on the back says I paid 210 yen for it at a used book store (the retail price is 640 yen), and I think I may have been ripped off.     
From the first few pages, it seems this takes place a short while after Yukiko's rescue. That first scene is an incredibly badly written prose recreation of a shadow battle -- without the protagonist who is kept unnamed and "off on some errand in town". I can't wait to see the creative ways they keep him out of the plot in the rest of the book. Oh wait, I can.  
I'm going to try to read this to completion for science, but I honestly can't say how long I can stand it. At least fanfic doesn't cost 210 yen.
4 Comments

Catherine producer interview (part 5)

Final part. 
What's next for me? It may be time for some original posts -- there are a few games I played recently that may or may not be localized for western audiences in the future, but that I'm dying to write my opinion on. First and foremost is Dangan-Ronpa for the PSP, which is one of the most interesting games I had the pleasure to play in recent years. 
But I'm also open for more translations - I enjoy them and they're good exercise. the issue I've taken the Catherine interview from alone has something like 10 more creator interviews for recent games, though none as long as this one. It also has a regular editorial column by Hashino, and this month it's obviously about Catherine, so I may translate that as well as an addendum to the interview. Let me know what you think! 
 
---
 
- The game has an action part that takes place in Vincent's nightmare world. What prompted you to make that kind of gameplay?  

Hashino: For a long time, members of the team made small games on their own whenever we were done with a large project. One of those games became the base for Catherine's action part. It was originally something that was made five years ago. At that time, hardware made it difficult to make the game move in 3D, so we left it alone because it would have had to be done in 2D, and we couldn't find a story to attach to it. When we started working on Catherine, we thought it would be possible to take that game's logic and merge it into Catherine's world. A game where you struggle with an intense climb fit Catherine's setup. 

- In the bar, you can play "Rapunzel", a sprite-based game [1]. Is that the original game?  
Hashino: It's not exactly the same, but it's closer to the original than the main game. "Rapunzel" has stages to pass, and if you take it and make it endless, add enemies and mix in a story you get Catherine's action part.

- Why did you not just create a standard adventure game, and added an action part?  
Hashino: We wanted to test if we could use our "storytelling knowhow" in a genre that isn't RPG. If we can do that, it widens the breadth as game creators, so we decided to challenge ourselves with action gameplay this time.

- It's a genre Atlus doesn't have any experience with. Was it hard to adjust the difficulty level and such?  
Hashino: In RPGs you never reach the point where only certain people are able to defeat the game while others never will, so it was indeed very difficult. In the beginning we had the placement of the stones be random. It was an evil situation where there was no one correct solution. Players had to figure out a way to deal with game by themselves, and the trial-and-error gameplay was great, but we soon realized some people just weren't able to do it, so we decided to remake it so that if you know the solution you'd be able to advance the story and complete the game. We left the original random stones in Trial Mode for people who like the challenge. We felt it wouldn't be fair for the main story if the only way some people could see the ending is by going to Youtube (laughs). By the way, not one of our 20 debuggers could solve the last level or Trial Mode. Only two people in our staff could do it - I myself couldn't.

- Many times I thought, "it's impossible", but after trying a few time I finally found a hint and had a breakthrough. That kind of gameplay, where you become more skilled as you play, reminds me of games from the Famicom age. That's another way to excite adult players.  
Hashino: Some players will probably be confused because they wouldn't succeed on the first try. After watching the advice movies they will eventually be able to continue climbing, but then they will hit another wall, and another one, and another one... I think this kind of trial-and-error process is interesting. It's not just a matter of having the action and logic skills, intuition and flashes of insight are also important. There isn't a single way to solve the game [2], and I look forward to see the different solutions come up with.

- We will probably see some players come up with amazing solutions.  
Hashino: The Persona series is an RPG, so there isn't any way to play it in a way the development team didn't plan for. In Catherine's action scenes, there are probably ways that we didn't think of. I'm looking forward to see beautiful gameplay from skilled gamers. By the way, we included an easy difficulty level that anyone can clear. There aren't any scenes you can't see if you play on Easy, so people who are frustrated with the game should have no qualms using it.

- At this point in time you didn't announce any details, but there are online elements in the game, right?  
Hashino: There are parts of the game that everyone can play together. Thinking of 30-40 year olds sitting alone at night playing a game is not pleasant (laughs). There is also a ranking element to look forward too...

- Finally, this is the first game from the Persona team for HD consoles. Can you tell us about the difficulties with that, and about your prospects for the future?  
Hashino: We made this game to free ourselves from the shackles of a single genre, but since our next game will probably be in the Persona series, we also used the opportunity to train Soejima [3] in drawing life-sized illustrations. You can see all kind of details on HD systems. Certainly, the graphics in this game took more effort than we thought, but all the effort payed off by expanding our horizons. By making a totally different game, we could reaffirm what's good about the Persona games and what parts could use a refresh. We want you to play Catherine as you look forward to our next work. You should remember, though, that Catherine and Persona are on different vectors, so don't play expecting to experience a new Persona game (laughs).

[1] Rapunzel: A game-within-a-game based on the Grimm fairy tale Rapunzel. You can play it on a machine at the corner of the bar Vincent frequents. It is similar to the action parts of the main game, but has a strategic focus instead of an action one. There are more than 50 stages to complete.

[2] More than one solution: On first look this might seem like a standard puzzle game, but it does not have one solution and the routes to completion are limited only by the player's imagination and action skills.

[3] Shigenori Soejima: Following the Persona series, he is the character designer for Catherine.     

6 Comments

Catherine producer interview (part 4)

 - Let's talk about the characters. We'll start with Vincent. He isn't a perfect "hero" type, and gives an impression of a lackluster man. Why did you decide to set the protagonist in that way?
Hashino: We went for a "cool bum" feel. He's an indecisive type who can't make up his mind, but in his own way he's a man who faces whatever is in front of him and does his best. It makes it easy for players to project themselves into him. We did decide to make him a handsome man, though. We thought if we made him ugly no one would buy the game (laughs).

- I heard you based him on on Vincent Gallo in "Buffalo '66" [1].
Hashino: His image of a man who isn't just putting on airs is a motif that is easy to understand.

- How about girlfriend Katherine's image?
Hashino: It's a pattern you see a lot -- they're in a love-hate unbreakable relationship, and she's a beauty that makes other men jealous without fail. She's also the hard working type. When strangers look at them they think, "why isn't he marrying this beauty?", but after they speak to her they realize she's hard to deal with (laughs). She's a character that reflects that kind of story. By the way, Mitsuishi-san, who plays her, has a similar personality and basically played herself. In the scene where she discusses marriage plans with Vincent, she really got into it and made the men at the recording studio nervous (laughs).

- On the other hand, how is cheating-partner Catherine [2]?
Hashino: First and foremost, she's a young woman with that hard to describe appeal. In addition to that, she's the type who can easily strike up a conversation with older men, so 30 and 40 year olds think she's perfect. We wrote her in a way that you can't help but feel a delusional attraction to her (laughs). Regarding her voice, we needed someone who could be both cute and carry a sense of devilish grimness and danger, and Sawashiro-san was perfect. We then thought who would be good as someone who is warped around by those two women, and asked Yamadera-san to play Vincent.

- Vincent's friends are also fully realized characters. Did you write them around well-established models of adult men?
Hashino: When we just started writing the game, Japan suddenly succumbed to a wedding rage. Just a short while before, there was a lot of criticism about the large number of men who didn't want to settle down, but suddenly it was like the entire country said "let's all get married!". Since it doesn't match our game's theme, I thought it would be great if that fashion quickly disappeared (laughs). At that time, men who didn't bother with love relationships and found them too much trouble were interviewed in books and magazine articles. It feels like we put these kind of types all around Vincent. By the way, when we were writing the drunk babbling of those four men at the bar, I thought bitterly that if they were the Persona characters the conversation would probably be much more positive (laughs).

- Since you just talked about "Stray Sheep", the bar in the game, why did you decide to use a bar as a central location?
Hashino: Just like using love as a theme, it was a result of thinking about what gathering place most adults have in common. I'm sure there are people out there who are of a more outdoors type, but I think the general tendency is to go and have a drink after work and on weekends. We decided to go for the atmosphere of a bar at the corner of a town, which you go into to see who's around when it's too boring to just go home after work.

- By the way, it seems the action takes place abroad, but it still has a familiar atmosphere to it.
Hashino: To be truthful, we don't have a real reason why we chose to make the characters foreign. It's probably because we had that strong image of Vincent Gallo. At first we thought our protagonist will be this really cool character, and thought of Gallo and Paul Newman. We realized Paul Newman was a little too old, so we modeled the bar owner Wakamoto-san plays after him instead. In addition, we named all of Vincent's friends after Hollywood pretty boys [3] (laughs).

[1] Vincent Gallo: A charismatic American actor. Gained fame for directing and starring in the movie Buffalo '66 (1998). In the movie, the main character, Billy, who was just released from prison, decides to lie and bring a wife along to show his parents, kidnaps and threatens a girl to go with his plan. Even though Billy was clearly up to no good, many men identified with some parts of his character.

[2] Catherine: Regarding naming the game after its two female protagonists, Mr. Hashino had this to say: "We wanted to give it a horror movie touch, so we named the game after the female characters, much like in movies such as Carrie and Miseri. The reason we named both characters the same is not something I want to spoil, but I can say that to Vincent it's the characteristic name of his mind's model woman".

[3] Hollywood pretty boys: Johnny = Johnny Depp, Orlando = Orlando Bloom, Toby = Tobey Maguire.


My own comments:
Regarding the voice actors, the article doesn't add anything about them since they're all well-known veterans. Here's a little about them.
Katherine's Kotono Mitsuishi: Acted in dozens of television series, movies and video games, but is best known for the title role in Sailor Moon and for Misato in the Evangelion franchise. My personal favorite role of hers is Excel Saga's Excel, and realizing that was 12 years ago makes me feel fucking old.
Catherine's Miyuki Sawashiro: A relative new-comer compared to the rest of the cast. but got lead roles in many shows in recent years. It's interesting how the roles in Catherine match age-wise: Sawashiro is 27 while Mitsuishi is 44.
Vincent's Kouichi Yamadera has been in tons of famous works, from Evangelion to Ghost in the Shell to Ranma 1/2 and Pokemon, but you most likely fondly remember his lead role in Cowboy Bebop as Spike Spiegel.
The barkeep's Norio Wakamoto also appeared in dozens of work, and is famous for playing villains. Video game players may recognize him as Street Fighter's Bison and Castlevania's Dracula.    
7 Comments

Catherine producer interview (part 3)

Reposting, since the original was deleted by an administrator with no reason cited. I will keep this out of the forums for now, though. Moderators - this is my own translation of an interview in a Japanese magazine. If this is a copyright problem, I agree that technically this is not cut and clear, but I think some leeway is in order since this is information people not fluent in Japanese will never be able to get otherwise. I am keeping screenshot scans, character details and many of the other information in the magazine that is pure data, and sticking to a textual translation of the interview. 
If this is still a problem, can you please let me know the reason (especially since only part 3 was deleted), so I can have a better idea of how to handle this kind of thing in the future? 
 
---
 
 - When making a game, the real life experience of the developers probably influence the end result a lot. How did your experiences reflect on Catherine?
Hashino: Well, I don't have any experience with infidelity myself, and I couldn't ask my staff about their own (laughs). We tried to tell a story that is similar to what you can find in advice books or in internet bulletin boards. If we write something completely unbelievable players wouldn't be able to identify with the story. Some of the characters themselves are a little removed from reality, but we wanted to leave the impression that it's a story that can happen to anyone. In addition, during development we especially asked our female staff members about their experience. For some reason they had much more experience with this kind of thing than the men... When I finished writing the script, I made the women read it and point out problems with Vincent's character.

- You must be worried about what female players will think when playing this game...
Hashino: Actually, we gave it a lot of thought. When we gave it to our female staffers to look at in detail, it turned out the most trivial things we had Vincent say had a huge impact on them. Things like, "it's so patronizing when he says things like that". We made adjustments based on that, but when we asked them if they can forgive Vincent for cheating they said, "when all is said and done, when he cheats it's impossible!" (laughs). We managed to make him a more rounded character than he was previously, but not to the point where he can be forgiven for infidelity.

- During the game, you get text messages from both your lovers, and can select your answer from several options [1]. Did you adjust that as well following the opinions of the female staffers?
Hashino: We considered their input, but ultimately the text replies were written from a male point of view (laughs). But even the female staffers enjoyed that part of the game. It was a new experience for them - meeting your cheating partner at the bar and texting your girlfriend that you are at work. They said it was exciting.

- Leaving aside the different reactions between male and female players, I'm sure you get different reactions between male players who are married [2] and men who don't have a lover. The former can understand the what Vincent is going through, get mad, and even imagine doing the same. How do you think the latter will react to Catherine?
Hashino: I think they will have a different reaction, but there are a lot of shared elements too. No matter what the circumstances are, I don't think there is anyone who doesn't have love issues in his life, even if what's in the game is a little unorthodox (laughs).  I think Catharine's appeal is indeed quite wide.

- It's just that in many questionnaires, some players showed deep aversion to games with a love theme. They want their games to be complete fantasy, and are afraid of entertainment that tries to reflect life issues.
Hashino: That's one of the reasons Catharine's protagonist isn't in the Persona mold, but is "Vincent", who is his own character. In a way, you're saved by taking a comfortable audience seat. That said, I don't think this is a game that requires you to search for its deep meaning. We tell the story in a light fantastic way -- this is not a simulator. In addition, you can enjoy the game parts even if you ignore all the love talk, so I think even those people can be satisfied with the game.

- The game's ending varies depending on choices the player makes [3]. It feels like people with different love experience will choose different options and get different endings.
Hashino: This is also something we did deliberately. Whether you're married or not, if you're told we can check your love aptitude you'd be interested, right? (laughs). In the past, when animal horoscopes were trendy, you could hear things like "that's because I am a sheep-type" in bars - it became a seed for communication. In that way, I'd like to see people who finished Catherine sit for a drink and discuss the endings they got, as a conversation snack to go with the beer.


[1] Answering text messages - during the game, when you're sitting in the bar at night, there are times when text messages arrive from both C/Katherines, and you can answer them. You can change the nuance and wording of your answer, and with that a mysterious meter that affects the ending moves left or right. Some times, you'll get a message with a sexy picture attached!

[2] Married people - we asked about the marriage status of the Persona team. "We don't have an unusually large number of married people, but we have some - it's probably a good reflection of any random group of people, not that I know about these things. I think all our main programmers have children. It's probably because their work is so tough (laughs)."

[3] Choices in the game - besides affecting the story, the choices players makes can give them an especially interesting "ability". Look forward to it in the game!    

5 Comments

Catherine producer interview (part 2)

Part 2 of my translation of Dengeki Game's recent interview with Katsura Hoshino, "Catherine"'s producer. Part one is here, and there's many more to come -- this is a long interview. 
 
---  

 - By the way, in the west there are a lot of games where the protagonist is an adult, but in Japan it's mostly teenagers or young boys. What are your thoughts on that?

Hashino: I'm not sure I have a general theory about the matter, but if I have to say one thing, it's that Japanese people are under the illusion that adult life is boring. Well, it truly *is* boring, you know (laughs). To complement that, the reverence of young people's life is strong. But I think the tendency is changing. The dreams of people who grew up in the Famicom era were always influenced by the games they played, and a lot of them continue to enjoy games to this day. In a way, these 30 and 40 year olds are also winning in life -- even in their old age they still have a lot of fun playing a load of games. Since then we moved into an even more virtual world, and all sorts of communication tools are now available. That's why even though today's protagonists are mostly kids, I think in 10 years time we will see many games designed to resonate with the Famicom-era people in their 40s and 50s.

- It also seems to me that since the Famicom-era, there were a lot of Atlus games oriented towards an adult audience [1].
Hashino: The developers at Atlas are often not concerned about making games for a specific target audience, but rather about making something they themselves like. As the members of the developer teams aged, they probably started making adult-oriented games. Even in the Persona series, even though we made it with young people in mind, we still left a lot of things in it that resonate with us. When you decide to make something you don't understand yourself, you end up with nothing but calculation and guesses. And even if you're very good with these calculations, they will be easily seen through by the players. It's especially true when writing for adults - it must be something you yourself feel is good and interesting. You have to know yourself what is interesting and what is no good. If I have to sum up what "a game for adults" is, I'd say it have to be something not designed by calculation, but a straight, honest thing.

- When writing entertainment for adults, you must probably entertain some self restraint. What are your thoughts on that subject?
Hashino: For example, when deciding on the gap between your work's character setup and worldview as opposed to simple eroticism, I think you must have some self restraint. In Catherine's case, however, the situations are probably appropriate for people in our character's age group, and their expression isn't extreme. It's also visually not erotic at all. Or is it erotic? (laughs). In any case, erotica is not the goal of playing the game. It's hard to define what is erotic, but I don't think we have scenes that will make anyone scowl. Rather, I'd like to have an experience that can only be felt in a video game, beyond anything that's shown in individual cut scenes. Adults are full of that kind of imaginative power.

- Next, let us hear the reason you made love the theme of Catherine.
Hashino: In the beginning, we had the idea of making a game about "the nightmares of soldiers in the battlefield between one battle and the next", but we soon realized that not a lot of people have had real life experience of being a soldier. When you have a high-school student as your protagonist, it's not difficult to presuppose people will have that "yeah, I understand" feeling when playing school activities, but once you're in your 30s or 40s, careers and life styles start to diverge, and there isn't much shared experience anymore. But there is one thing - the connection between men and women. Love and the problems of marriage - if you're an adult it's most likely a large part of life around you. In addition, while love is a popular theme in movies and TV shows, there aren't many games that tackled adult love issues in a serious manner, so we thought it would be interesting.

- When thinking about the theme of love in video games, the first thing that comes to mind are romantic adventure games and romantic simulations, but Catherine's feel is certainly different from most of those.
Hashino: In your average romantic adventure and simulation game, you try to win over a girl you're interested in. Catherine isn't a "winning over" game. We start in a situation where you already have a lover, and throughout the story it's the girls who are on a full-scale attack (laughs). In a way, it's a story that happens after the romantic simulation scenario is over.

[1] Adult oriented Atlus games - Atlus games such as the "Shin Megami Tensei" series, the "Busin" series and the "Desperia" series deal with gods and demons, as well as with the human condition. They can be enjoyed by young people, but are full of themes that take on a deeper significant for adults.

[2] Romantic adventure and simulation games - In romantic simulation games, the player's approach determines who will become the protagonist's lover between several heroines, and changes the story's ending. On the other hand, in recent romantic adventure games, there are next to no selections to be made, and the games act more like digital novels, where enjoying the drama is the important part.
10 Comments

Catherine producer interview (part 1)

Well, it's been a while since I had an account here, so maybe it's time to try that blog thing. I've had blogs in the past, all abandoned now, so we'll see how it goes. 
  
But we'll leave introductions for a later post. It's best to start with actual content! 
 
My favorite Japanese games magazine is currently Dengeki Games. It's a monthly, fairly thick, and seems to have more actual content than most of its competition. The latest issue, out last week, has a cover shot of Catherine, from the game with the same title that was recently covered here on GB, accompanied by a long interesting interview with Katsura Hashino, the game's producer. Most of the interview is about the concept of "games for adult players", which is not nearly as advanced in Japan as it is in the west (the interview touches on why that is quite a bit). Anyway, I decided it's good training material, so I'm translating it bit by bit and sharing the results. The first part is right here. 
Numbers in square brackets refer to footnotes from the original interview. You'll find them at the bottom. After that I'll add my own comments if there are any (there are for this part). 
 
Let me know what you think! 
 
 
 "Catherine" and Games for Adults
 There was a time when computer games were recognized as nothing more than "children games". But much like a society that shows a multitude of aspects as an era advances, games too continued to evolve in a multitude of ways, and today people of ages that can be called "adult" are playing computer games in many forms. Of course, many of them are people who were children in the "Famicom era", when the TV game revolution took place, and continued enjoying video games into their adulthood. 
In any case, today many people agree that video games are a form of entertainment that can captivate adults as well as children. That said, when we think about "games for adults" (and by that we don't mean games designated for adults because of sexual or violent scenes, but games designed for people with a certain amount of life experience), just how many come to mind, if at all? And what kind of games are they? One answer might include "Catherine", which arrives in stores this month. In this special report, we talk to Catherine's producer, Mr. Katsura Hashino, about the appeal of his current game as well as about the possibilities in "games for adults".
---

- To start, can you tell us the motivation for creating a game that can be enjoyed best by people in their 30's and 40's?
Hashino: Up until now I was involved with the "Persona" series [1], which we designed so both high school students and people who attended high school a few years before could identify with. As we continued with that process, I suddenly found myself wondering if there are any games I, who just turned 30, could identify with just as easily. If we look at TV and movies, we find many works that depict adult life faithfully. But in video games, once you reach those bewildering 30's and 40's, you can't succeed by giving your characters a sword to wield any more, but must show the struggles of adult life in order to have your players identify with the characters. Those were my thoughts that motivated me to make the game.
I wasn't sure it was a good idea to have a 32 year old man as the protagonist, but since he was accompanied by two pretty women I looked forward to make an adult-oriented romantic adventure game. But as we were making the game, our two women turned out very different from those that are in your standard romantic game (laughs). You often hear the expression "my bride [2]" in regard to game and anime heroines, but thematically our two girls are intensely the exact opposite. In that way they can never become "my bride" (laughs).

 - When you play the game, the scene where they come across each other is too real -- in its own way it's even "horror", isn't it? (laughs)
Hashino: When you're drinking with friends it's fun to hear about someone's scene of carnage at home after his infidelity was exposed, isn't it? Because it happened to someone else (laughs). It's kind of a popular story. So we thought it would be quite fun, but when you actually play the scene it's scary (big laugh). That's why as opposed to Persona, where we didn't put any words into the protagonist's mouth in order to make him one with the player, we thought it would be harsh to do the same here, and we set it up so the player enjoys watching this man called Vincent from the side.  

 - What are your thoughts about making a game where the protagonist is an adult?
Hashino: I could insert references that only people of my generation can understand. Like "Golden Play Theater" [3] (laughs). I think people in their twenties will probably not even realize it is a parody, let alone actually know it, but that's actually what's great about it. Besides that, when you become an adult your time becomes limited and your actions are mostly influenced by whether they're advantageous to you or not. I want to create a game that makes you notice the unusual and hazy things in the world.

[1] "Persona" series - Starting with Persona 3, this is the series of games that Katsura Hashino is best known for producing and directing.
[2] "My bride" ("ore no yome") - A typical expression from men regarding their ideal female type characters. In most cases, it's used in regard to 2-dimensional anime characters.
[3] "Golden Play Theater" - As is apparent when looking at the top-left of Catherine's screen, the game is set up as a program of the "Golden Play Theater". The motif is the same as the actual old TV show, "Golden Western Theater". "When we were kids video players were not yet popular, and we often saw movies for the first time on television. There are probably many with intense memories of it." (Hashino)

 (My own note - Golden Western Theater was a Japanese TV show that aired in the '70s and '80s, showcasing mostly American movies. You can see its opening titles here, that are clearly the inspiration for Catherine's opening, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdOz9eKIkOk)     

7 Comments
  • 17 results
  • 1
  • 2