When I originally talked about an amalgamation of Fire Emblem, I said, “I want to get married again.” (laughs) Within the Fire Emblem series, the thing that left the greatest impression on me was the marriage system.88. Marriage system: A gameplay mechanic introduced in the fourth game in the series, Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, released for the Super NES system in May 1996. During the game, characters fall in love and that pairing causes their children’s abilities to change.
This time, a big theme is love for the characters, so I definitely wanted to put in the marriage system and IS agreed.
And that proceeded smoothly?
The concept went smoothly. We wanted to increase the number of variations in marriage and couple pairings and make it so you could become involved with anyone in your unit, but there was the problem of time…
You can marry any of your comrades. So this time, we were like, “I want a special graphic for when you get married,” and “I want voiceovers for when they confess their feelings,” and we ended up preparing that for every character! (laughs)
At first, Kusakihara-san even said he wanted to put in everyone kissing!
We were totally against it, though! (laughs)
Well, there’s something similar to it, so be sure to check it out.
I thought it would add to the experience. That was another “speechless point.”
But this time, despite putting in so much more than planned, you didn’t miss the deadline that was originally agreed upon. What was the secret behind that?
Hmm, that’s a difficult question. (laughs) If I think about it, I don’t really know. But we did put in a lot more than planned, so we decided on a deadline and were prepared to give up if it didn’t work.
Oh, I see. The ship would have sailed even without all this cargo. Everyone somehow shared that attitude, so you helped each other out and loaded up the ship as much as you could.
Everyone really wanted to put those things in!
Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I sense that for the most part, there was a pile of work to be done on a desk, and everyone took care of it piece by piece without any instruction, which is the ideal way to carry out a project. The energy behind your desire to make an ultimate amalgamation of Fire Emblem pushed everyone along.
Yes, the target was easy to see. A big reason we could determine a deadline and plough ahead was that theme of an amalgamation.
Kozaki-san, it must have been hard for you to get pulled into this.
Yes. (laughs) No matter how I looked at it, the schedule they sent overlapped other jobs. In any case, the enthusiasm of the team was incredible. As I worked, I thought, “I admire how they encourage each other.”
When the energy is massive, do you sometimes start moving as if dragged in, even from a different place? When we do something and get a big response from elsewhere, we’re pleased.
Yes. The people working on this project are longtime fans of Fire Emblem, so I wanted to make something that hardcore fans as well as new players would accept. After receiving the job, I went around the fan sites, checked out their illustrations and analysed them, asking myself, “What does everyone like about Fire Emblem?” and “What’s missing?” Then I aimed for designs that would be neither too new nor too old.
He was in touch with Kusakihara-san and if any trouble arose, Kusakihara-san would go visit him.
Yes. He would sit at my assistant’s desk and work together with me from the time I got up until I went to bed.
About three times, we went on a stretch for five days and four nights. When I would finally get back, I felt like Urashima Tarō ! (laughs)
(Editor’s note: Urashima Tarō is Japanese folklore, the tale of a young fisherman who thought he traveled for only three days to an undersea palace, but upon his return to shore he finds out that 300 years had actually passed)
Even over several days, if you make quick progress, the contents can change quite a lot.
For sure. I was so busy with actual work that my head was spinning, so I didn’t get to sit down and play it until the end, and I was surprised at how much we’d made. Sometimes I would play for a bit with Kozaki-san drawing away beside me. (laughs)
I was surprised at how quickly they were implementing what I’d drawn.
As for the character designs implemented in the game, Kozaki-san made most of the main characters. There were a lot of characters and the deadline was pretty tight. Some regular manga work came in at the same time, so Higuchi-san and I were at our wits’ end! (laughs) But the data that came up was amazing. As we were going through that, the data came together and he saw it through to the end without any trouble.
We were able to include a lot of Kozaki-san’s particular tastes.
Yes, that’s right.
It made an impression on me how when we first discussed character design, he wasn’t crazy about green hair. Fire Emblem traditionally has green and pink hair and so forth, but that’s up to the creator’s taste, so we were like, “Oh well…” and accepted it.
Yes, they were fairly flexible.
But later he said green hair would be okay where it was important.
As I was drawing it, I thought, “Hey, that’s not so bad!” (laughs) Princes are central to the game this time, so we made sure to put in princely elements , like in parts of Chrom’s costume, that have been around in Japanese cartoons and comics since the Sixties.
With Kozaki-san’s taste in there like that, it makes quite a fresh impression!
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