Breath of Fire III Memorial Book Developer interview

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Breath of Fire III Memorial Book Developer interview

Postby Rurouni » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:22 pm

Here's the translated interview with BoF III staff that was featured in the Memorial Book. Thanks to RafaelNepo for the scans!

Fun and easy to understand
RPG Standards

The continuous struggles of development work

- Did development went smooth?
Kitabayashi: No (laughs). The smaller parts proceeded without problems. When the project started around two years ago, what became a problem in terms of development was the different hardware the series was to use for the first time. At the time, Capcom's PlayStation lineup only included "Resident Evil".

- There wasn't much technology feedback?
Kitabayashi: From the systems of "Resident Evil", we did get feedback about the PlayStation software afterwards. But, that system is useless for a RPG. So, at that moment, we brought in the direction from the SNES "Breath of Fire II". In such situation, those first steps were very difficult.

- And what about Yoshikawa-san's art design?
Yoshikawa: The character design and world view were determined very early, around May of last year. The design dispatched for the game progressed smoothly, but the pixel art was moving very quickly (Laughs).

- Any difficulties?
Yoshikawa: As typical of Capcom (laughs). All the artwork had to be completely renovated in order to raise the sense of value, so we’d have pictures with a higher entertainment nature. But well, drawing professionally is not the same as drawing as a hobby. One has to account for visibility, color schemes, balance.

Ikehara: It was because the originals were much more maniac. They were eliminated because it was commonly agreed they looked strange.

- What was the Producer's experience?
Takenaka: It wasn't particularly difficult. Well, I guess it was painful not going back home and drink a beer slowly (laughs).

Everyone: Hey, that's not really hard (laughs).

Takenaka: However, I was always conscious that it had to be an easy-to-play RPG. Ever since the time of the first game, I decided to make an ordinary RPG, with nothing special. What I mean is that I wanted it to be easy to play, I hate it when controls are difficult. There's no point in being difficult to understand. The standard I was aiming for was that, after carefully going through a simple area, the user didn't felt like he just wasted 5800 yen.

Ikehara: Even when creating new things, there must be a firm foundation.

Takenaka: I let other game’s teams try to play. Not everyone likes it and I get opinions that are hard to understand. But reflecting on that, could we ever finish a game that is easy to approach for anyone? And then, sometimes it happens that a new opinion comes in at the last minute. "Plase speak sooner!" (laughs). But regardless, this is important.

Ikehara: Well, since it's not wise for someone to be satistified with themselves, such a system is necessary.

- What about Mr. Takeshita's direction?

Takeshita: I was assigned from sales back in April. Therefore, I was more like a freshman or a transfer student (laughs). Since I have sales experience I was doing works like publicity activities and advertising summaries. For a poster's background, I went to ask a famous animation studio and got turned down (laughs). I feel like I had to study a lot.

- This game has a lot of voiced lines.

Nobuyama: Recording, that was pretty tough. A single character has roughly over 100 lines, for about 800 lines in total.

Kitabayashi: We recorded lines for skills the main characters didn't get to use. At the time of recording, we only had a list of lines and no idea who would use which technique. So, at the moment, we just recorded them all (laughs).

Nobuyama: Recording took only five days. It was hard on the voice actors.

Ikehara: But that was because of this one line we didn't know how to say properly. "Abura" (Note: Douse spell) or something (laughs).

Kitabayashi: I laughed when I had to check the voice data. The screaming was like "Aburaaa!" (laughs).

Ikehara: At first, Rei's voice was more affected. Midway through it started to be done with a little Tokyo accent and became a lot better. Rei's voice seems to have been well received by players.

- What about the BGM? Were there difficulties at some point?

Kaida: I did not have any difficulties, until content started to run out. It was good while I was making it slowly, but when I needed to catch up it became really tough. I soon started feeling really exhausted.

- Since there are many songs, were there any more requested?

Ikehara: The songs were fine.

- Eh!? What about the singing in the ending?

Yoshikawa: The ending roll was sung by herself. That's her, the singer songwriter (laughs).

Kaida: It was a sudden emergency (laughs). I was unsure until the very last minute, and in the end, I decided to get ready just before my performance (laughs).

Opening with a phantom narration

- Anything interesting happened during development?

Ikehara: Nobuyama voluntarily sneaked in a narration during the opening's text scroll. Everyone was really in an uproar when a strange voice showed up during bug checking.

Nobuyama: I thought it was interesting (laughs). Since I thought it'd be wonderful if it had a voice, I asked the programmer to keep it secret from Mr. Ikehara. Making the system took up two days. I wonder how it'd have been received if it was used. But right now, I think it ended up much better without it (laughs).

Kitabayashi: That's because everything would have to be changed when the intro narration was inserted. Since that was a serious issue, it was rejected.

Ikehara: Speaking of rejections, the player character was more like that initially. As the hero grew up it would become more and more different each time, and depending on the way he could become a bad person, or even a girl. But because of time circumstances and other issues, this idea was nixed.

Kitabayashi: Initially, I made an estimate for capacity based on the SNES "Breath of Fire II". But doing it that way was a mistake, the total ended up not matching up my expectations at all. Since that was a serious problem, I had to cut down several elements, until I felt it was doable. With all the content from the initial design plan it wouldn't have worked out even now.

Takenaka: But doing it in that way, with that many characters and variations, a single playing time would end up being half of what's currently, since this only works in short stories. This type of changing patterns is best used for repeated playthroughs.

Ikehara: Even the allies were twice in number. For example, the main villains from the first half, the horse brothers, were originally player characters. I might have used other things like a mole, it'd have probably been fun. However, to some extent I knew I wanted to make the production’s volume in a way I could feel a response, and eventually I settled on its current form.

Favorite characters

- Could you tell me who your favorite charcters are?

Takeshita: McNeil and the Codger enemy. When its magic runs out, it starts using the "Flying Kick". What do you think?

Takenaka: It's the Dolphin, no doubt (laughs). Not one you'll want as a friend (laughs).

Ikehara: The Faeries? Due to their unique way of speaking, it was fun writing a scenario for them.

Yoshikawa: It's Rei. I had the most problems drawing him. I mean, I like him, but he's been imprinted on me and never leaves my head.

Kitabayashi: Mine is also Rei. The person in charge of making character sprites likes Rei, and I had to fix a problem in his battle animation. Maybe this is another case of imprint (laughs).

Ikehara: So everyone is talking about the most difficult characters instead of their favorites ones in here (laughs).

Nobuyama: For me its Ryu, the child version. He was the hardest in term of sound, made me spent a lot of time.

Kaida: Mine is also Rei. Rather than a staff member, I see him with the eyes of an outsider. He's so cool (laughs).

The eternal mystery - fishing

- Let's finish with the connection between "Breath of Fire" and "Fishing".

Yoshikawa: Hey, after all fishing was the hobby of the protagonist from the series' first entry. That's simply continuing here...

Takenaka: Well, looks like I got carried away, actually (laughs). Since it was in "II", then I had to add it to "III".

Yoshikawa: That windows was really troublesome to make (laughs). I could have done it by recyling from other parts, but I wasn't convinced and ended up drawing it entirely from scratch.

Ikehara: If the name of "Breath of Fire" comes up when talking about your favorite fishing game, that goes straight to the developer's reputation (laughs).

Takenaka: It actually took the longest time to adjust and was retouched until the end. A little more here, a little more there. I don't know why everyone was so passionate about it (laughs).

In the end, fishing remains the largest mystery of the "Breath of Fire" series (laughs). Thank you very much for today.

Planning - Makoto Ikehara
Development Unit - Production Studio 4
Planning Staff

What was your job?
My main work was the production and supervision of the scenario. Overall planning in general. I came up with the draft for the fishing game like no one else.

Joined in 1992. Planning on leaving in 1999?
My masterpiece is my next work.

Producer - Yoshinori Takenaka
Development Unit - Production Studio 4

What was your job?
In "Breath of Fire III", it was complain about the game, play other games from the company, and drink alcohol while everyone else is noisily working. ...or that’s what it’s said.

Joined in 1986. Masterpieces are "Destiny of an Emperor" and "Mega Man X".

Sound (Sound Effects. Voice) - Nariyuki Nobuyama
Development Unit - Production Studio 1
Sound staff

What was your job?
In "Breath of Fire III", production of sound effects and voice editing. This time, we prepared a lot of voices to enrich the characters' personalities. Everyone should enjoy them.

Joined in 1994. Masterpieces are "Street Fighter: The Movie", "Ide Yosuke Meijin no Shin Jissen Mahjong", "Mega Man 7" and "Breath of Fire II".

Program - Tetsuya Kitabayashi
Development Unit - Production Studio 4
Programming staff

What was your job?
Primarily related to combat. Stuff with the CD, etc. In short, general chores.

Joined in 1993. That's 5 years ago. I've also worked on "Breath of Fire II".

Character Design - Tatsuya Yoshikawa
Development Unit - Production Studio 4
Character designer

What was your job?
Main character designer, spriting, production of illustrations, and other stuff.

Joined in 1992. Been involved with all entries in the Breath of Fire series. I was responsible for illustrations in "I", illustration and sprites in "II" and "III".

Sound (BGM) - Akari Kaida
Development Unit - Production Studio 1
Sound staff

What was your job?
BGM composition, arrangement, etc. Looking forward for the challenge of "singing" with the sound team this time.

Joined in 1994. Masterpieces are "Resident Evil", "Street Fighter Alpha (consumer version)" and "Vampire Hunter".

Producer - Hironobu Takeshita
Development Unit - Production Studio 4

What was your job?
Everything but the game's content. Advertisement, promotion, other basic stuff.

Joined in 1992. Was training in sales operations until this March. I moved to development since April. Breath of Fire III is my masterpiece (or it should be).
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Re: Breath of Fire III Memorial Book Developer interview

Postby Nina Windia » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:05 pm

Thank you for this Rurouni!
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Re: Breath of Fire III Memorial Book Developer interview

Postby NukaCola » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:18 pm

This is ridiculously fascinating! Also confirms another person who worked on Breath of Fire II (Kitabayashi).

My favorite revelation:

"the main villains from the first half, the horse brothers, were originally player characters"

Balio & Sunder were going to be playable. Wooooowwww!
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Re: Breath of Fire III Memorial Book Developer interview

Postby MrBaba » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:32 am

wait, what? Playable horsemen? I would've never guessed to be honest. o.o
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