Phantasy Star Compendium pages 36 to 40
- Kazuyoshi Tsugawa:
- I guess every one of us sort of knew what to do and which part to compromise or confront with.
- Back to Millennium - is it true that Fal was developed from the original Nei?
- Well, I was thinking about using the first Nei [in Millennium], but the other staff members had a lot of things to say about that. They still do, in fact.
- I said something. (laughs)
- At one point, I seriously considered just drawing up another character altogether, but, one way or the other, we worked things out among ourselves, and, in the end, I got the feeling that everyone would let me keep her in. I made the tips of her ears black to get away with her. (laughs)
- I thought that if she just had the long ears it would've been fine.
- I said it would've been all right to leave their [Fal and Nei's] ears the same.
- Now I don't remember why I objected. (laughs)
- Was there any reason?
- It was probably a "why now?" kind of thing. Because, at that point, it had been three years since II came out.
- Each of you please tell us your favorite title and character in the series.
- I think my favorite title would be, of course, Millennium, since each of us contributed to it. I don't know what I would say for my favorite character. (laughs) I had just joined Sega when I worked on the PSII characters, and, even though I had just been given such a great job, I actually had no idea of what it was like to work for a company at the time, and, until I decided to join the company, I didn't know of the existence of any game systems beyond the Famicom. (laughs) When I was given II, I was so thrilled to be able to work on an RPG that the characters really just flowed from my pen, so I'm terribly sorry [but I can't choose a favorite character]. Even now, I don't understand why I drew Nei the way I did, why I gave her those ears or that leotard, much less why I used so much purple.
- Nei originally had a tail...
- Yes, she did! I thought about adding a tail and made a graphic of her in which her tail swung back and forth when she walked. She didn't have a tail in the battle graphics, though, and I had a talk with my superiors over whether to add the tail or leave it out. Even though they [my superiors] were in charge of the battle graphics at the time, they told me that, since I was the one who added it, it was OK, but I wound up cutting it off anyway. I just thought it would be better to leave it off. It would have been too much if it were there... Anyhow, Nei is probably the character who's closest to me.
Greatest works - Phantasy Star II, At the End of the Millennium. In charge of story, planning, character design, graphics, etc. for At the End of the Millennium.
Comments from Other PS Development Staff Members
PSI, PSII - Main program supervisor
(currently) Co-producer and chief programmer, Consumer Software Research & Development, Planning, & Design
What I remember most about the production of PS is, of course, the production of the dungeons. [The scrolling] was so smooth that the villains seemed to pop up one right after another. Judging from the jokes that were made at the time, like "Are we making an airplane-flying shooting game here?" [since the scrolling was so smooth and fast], I think that it was judged as a success. But, in the end, that speed wasn't there in the final version, thanks to the dungeon data being compressed. If I ever get another chance to make an RPG, I think I'd gladly accept and look forward to the challenge of [creating] 3D dungeons on the Saturn.
PSI - Parameter planner, enemy, player, & item numerical value supervisor
(currently) publicity team
Sorry for the unbalance. I fixed and fixed the data for the monsters (especially the zombie-type creatures) that I thought were especially rough when it was their turn to attack - I thought that "it must be when they form groups from one enemy image" and the great amount of data involved - but the balance was still not good, especially at the beginning. I still remember clearly when we lined the chairs up and slept on them in the meeting room with the planning team.
PSIII - Program
(currently) Part of First AM Research & Development
I remember what happened the night when we had finally reached the end. Having completed the final release version and handed it over to the checkers, I had taken a break from my all-night vigil and collapsed in the nap room. When I opened my eyes, S-shi (who was involved with PSII and PSIII and, if my memory serves, was hospitalized with an illness at the time) appeared before me and said, "T-san, we found some bugs...". "Eh......!" I heard myself shout - and then I woke up. For a second, I thought, "Heh, heh...it was all a dream" - and then the door to the nap room opened - and S-shi appeared. "T-san, we found some bugs...". "Eh......!" I heard myself shout, and then I woke up...ad infinitum.
Miya Saru [?? name may not be correct]
PSIII - Character designer, package illustrator
I remember the great hardships involved in creating what started out for me as a home-spun game.
- Personally, my favorite [title] is, of course, Millennium, but I is closest to my heart. PS I came out after Dragon Quest. That was the time when RPGs started to sell well, right? Then we came up with the idea of making one. It was really fun because that was the first time to make both what they call small characters and realistic, well-proportioned characters. It [Nei] is one of my most favorite characters of all.
- If I remember correctly, somebody asked that one time on some questionnaire, and I wrote down "the Slime from I". (laughs) I played up to II when I was a student, and, so when I first played I, that Slime really shocked me. I remember being so impressed that such a thing was possible, so I wrote down "the Slime". In the time that I made Millennium, it became my favorite project that I'd worked on thus far. My choice of favorite characters are somewhat repulsive, but I have to say Dark Force and the final boss. (laughs) I can't really say why I like the enemies so much. I guess that since there are so few impressive monsters that I think are well-drawn and that fill the screen, I'm glad when I do see some. (laughs)
- My favorite character is Hahn, but, if Yoshida was the one who gave birth to all the characters, then I suppose that I feel like I'm the one who raised them. I feel that way towards every character, and each one has their own personality, and because of that, I'm quite fond of all of them. I'm partial to Raja's jokes and Freyna's way of speaking, so I like those characters in their own way. And since the main heroes in RPGs generally don't talk much, they tend to suffer from a lack of individuality, so I made sure that, in Millennium's case, the lead would be plenty talkative. So I added "investigative messages" [the messages that appear when you inspect part of the terrain with the A/C button] as I wanted, at will, and I read afterwards in a game magazine where someone said that "we can't make sense of this babbling Rudy!". (laughs) No matter how much of a sad and tough situation Rudy was in, I made him say such things like, "what a dirty kitchen." I thought to myself how silly that dialogue was. But I guess that Rudy is my favorite character.
- Honestly, I think that "what a dirty kitchen" was a big help! (laughs)
- I see. By the way, what about the possibility of a Saturn version or a sequel?
- What about it? (laughs) We have discussed a continuation of Phantasy Star, but we're not restricted to the Saturn. We've talked about that there should probably be a change of scenery, trying to set it in a different world or something.
- Myself, I want to see about killing off the Great Light this time around. (laughs)
- We really thought up of a lot of different ideas.
- Yeah, I remember. The idea was that Lutz would finally get a starring role, since Alisa and her companions would have died generations ago; the heroine would have lost her memory at the start of the game, but would eventually remember that she was a follower of the Great Light called Neta, and she'd go on a journey with the fourteenth generation Lutz. [Note: I use "she" when referring to Neta, but the character's gender is never given in the interview. I'm sure Tsugawa knows, but I can't tell from the text. I'm basing my guess on the name, but I suppose that, in RPG-land, "Neta" could be either a male or female name.] At least, that was the story we thought up at one time. Whether or not it'll ever come to pass is out of my hands; as it is, it was something that we thought up in our spare time.
- If you ever make a sequel, which system and what kind of story would you like to use?
Millennium - Programmed all the enemies in battle
(currently) Part of products management
Well, what I remember most in the great staff around me and my appreciation for having such a great job. I was the one who made all the enemies in the battle scenes, but there were so many of them, and so many attacks, that it was horrendous (especially the last boss!). But really, I have affection for all the enemies. The most anticipated [effect] was where the Igglanova would perform fission and spawn children, and how the eggs cast their shadows. At the time, I don't think I found [the game] very enjoyable to play, since I knew all the enemies' weak points, but now that I've forgotten them all, it was fun to finish PS the second time around.
Millennium - Game system, fields, event sub-programmer
(currently) Software Research & Development, second division
At the time, I was a new recruit on my first-year assignment, and, since this was my first job after completing my studies, I remember that I was rather stressed to be working on such a big title. Since I didn't understand its importance from a software standpoint at the time, a lot of the memories the project gave me are of extreme lack of sleep and longing for a bed. And, since I was the one who made the Toy Show OP, of internally screaming "That's not my fault!" when the display jittered in and out of sync.
Millennium - Programmer
(now) Software Research & Development, second division
Now that I think about it, with my role in the project changing in mid-production and my environment changing with the replacement of my superiors, I feel that I performed my job rather capably. Since I did not know about PS when I first joined the project, I used to play PSII with the strategy guide, controlling the parameter. I think it was how all the members of the production staff did their best that made such a great game possible.
Millennium - Programmer
(currently) Software Research & Development, second division
Honestly, it was a tough project. Personally, I intended to create a speedy game and I think we did a great job from that aspect, compared to other sluggish games. In terms of its content, we were easily able to alter things depending on the circumstance. We came up with various ideas and made detailed work in it. It turned out very well. It was never drudgery; the enthusiasm of the creators pulsated throughout and flowed into the making of the product, and that was what shaped the development of PS.
- Well, I still have motivation to create something like that, but ... .
- Because what was once impressive on old hardware has become ordinary now. That was the significance of Phantasy Star. If we make it now again, its concept is difficult for people to accept.
- Very difficult.
- What about drawing the dungeons in polygons or changing the perspective?
- Those kind of techniques are not innovative any more. They were very innovative back then, but I think they have already become conventional. So these techniques are not great or anything even though they are used on the [Sega] Saturn. Then we started to focus on the concept of the game. It's difficult to clearly say.
- We are thinking to stop using Algol. So in the next game, we are going to start the premise of the game with Algol's story. But if the beginning of the game is like that, the whole system of the game will change and the game would lose the clear framework of Phantasy Star. Because of this, if we are going to make the game again, I think we should not rebuild the new structure of Phantasy Star until we can find our clear definition of Phantasy Star as a framework.
- Whom did you tell we quit using Algol?
- I thought I said that.
- And what of cutting off the connection to the Great Light?
- That's the only way to connect everything, isn't it?
- There were also plans to give Phantasy Star's battles a Shining Force-like feel. They eventually faded away, but they did exist at one time. If they had eventuated, in Millennium probably would have had 8-10 characters appearing at a time. I think I would've liked to have seen some variant of that system.
- [I would've liked to have done] some side stories, stories exploring the past, Alisa's story, stories like those.
- And the older stories have a lot of holes.
- I've thought it would be interesting, if I got the chance, to tell the individual stories of the existing Millennium characters after the game. (refers to pg. 55 sketches [of an older Fal and her son, Rui]) These are just little diversions I dreamed up for my own amusement. But if a Phantasy Star were made for new hardware, I'd probably completely change the game system and characters. I'd probably keep the technique names and the prices in meseta. (laughs)
- If we go to the Saturn, with the breaking down of hardware barriers, we'll be able to use a great number of new animation-style techniques, and, even though it'll be a difficult road, I think that we could lead the way in revolutionary stories and characters.
- Well, then, I hope we'll be able to talk again in the future, since I know that the fans will be looking forward to it. Japan deeply thanks you. (Sega offices, July 1995)
Greatest works - At the End of the Millennium, Magical Knight Rayearth. In charge of At the End of the Millennium's overall scenario, character animation, and title screen graphics.
Commentary on Illustrations Drawn by Hitoshi Yoneda-shi and Tohoru Yoshida-shi
A presentation of the illustrations drawn for posters and CD packs. Since both Yoneda-shi and Yoshida-shi are so well-known and -liked among PS fans, I wonder why they [Yoneda and Yoshida] aren't more grateful?
The illustration used in this book's poster supplement and in the Memorial Drama CD & Fan Book "Phantasy Star" released by own company. The touch of the transparent watercolors finishes the piece and brings it to life.
When we asked Yoneda-shi, he gave us two rough drafts. He settled on the draft at left. The orthodox design balanced the main characters of the CD drama well. There weren't any big changes [made to it], even when compared with the final versions.
Unfortunately, this one was not used. Except for NM-2011, it uses the same characters in Draft A, but their poses are distinctly different. [NM-2011 is the Numan in red armor on Draft A and the final picture; apparently, she's a character in the CD drama, though the book doesn't say anything about her role in such. Judging by the hairstyles, though, I strongly suspect that NM-2011 is also the Numan with the short hair and narrow eyes pictured in the leftmost image on pg. 40.] The characters are grouped together in one area. Those who'd like to learn about the characters in depth might want to try listening to the drama CD, on sale now.
A Profile of Hitoshi Yoneda-shi
Illustrator. Involved with a wide variety of projects centering around fantasy and sci-fi. His greatest works are collected in the artbooks entitled Enuma Elish and Quintessentia, and another, an illustrated story collection called Kaleidoscope, just came out. He started designing Megadrive packages with Phantasy Star II and At the End of the Millennium, as well as Sorcerian and the like.
MEMORIAL DRAMA CD AND FAN BOOK
A presentation of two pieces by Tohoru Yoshida, who was in charge of character design for Phantasy Star II and story planning and character design for At the End of the Millennium.
- [Mieu/Rika/Myau/Nei/Rappy group shot]
- This is a CG done on a Macintosh. This superb piece of the series's heroines gathered together was included in the CD booklet. It was also specially made up as a poster for this book. But why is that "Rappy" so small?
- [Rudy/Fal et al. shot]
- The piece used on the CD case for the Memorial Drama CD & Fan Book put out by our firm. Nei and a 13-year-old Rudy are the focus [foci], with the other characters that appear surrounding them; the piece is conscious of the contents of the drama CD.
MEMORIAL DRAMA CD & FAN BOOK "PHANTASY STAR" WELL-RECEIVED AND ON SALE!!
Actual Price 3,786 Yen [without tax]
Phantasy Star is transformed into an original CD in an original scenario created by Sega's own talent. A fan book with commentary on the series and the making of the CD was also included.
- Nei - Kotono Mitsuishi, Rudy - Daisuke Sakaguchi, Thray - Kazuhiko Inoue, Forren - Shou Hayami, Fal - Yukana Nogami, NM-2011 - Sakura Tange, Freyna - Junko Iwao
- Inaka Kami [we *think*. Or at least Gray Brangwin's sister *think*s, since everyone else apparently is as stumped as I am]
- Two Five
Price includes tax. Please look for it at a bookstore near you.