Ultimania Interview – Battle Team

Posted By at 10:08 AM on Wednesday October 27, 2010

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We adopted a style ubiquitous to fighting games to calculate things like the bending of the joints.

—–Chrono Cross’s “Cross Sequence Battle System” ambitiously incorporated a variety of elements. Would you say this was done as a service to the players?

“Tanaka (the producer) thought up the general concept, though at first the system was something more approaching a card game. You’d play by using your hand of cards to strike the enemy. That’s how the elements were conceived. However, we set up things to make the game as easy as possible to play and things gradually relaxed into their present form.”

—–It must have been difficult to put each new idea you’d planned into tangible form.

“Certainly, everything about making the game was difficult. No experience points, a mountain of party characters… For example, when thinking up weak, medium, and strong direct attacks, each one has around 6 motion patterns. On top of that, they all have movement data for when when the motion is canceled halfway through. As we made it we joked that it was pretty much an action game.” *laughing*

—–You understand how elaborate the characters’ motions are when you enlarge them in the menu screen.

“In order to display exaggerated movements we opted not to use motion capture. We instead manually created the movements one at a time, but the amount of data that required was nothing to scoff at. However, we had fun creating it and we didn’t think the work was too intense.”

—–The smooth motions had me thinking “Wow, they did a good job.”

“We adopted a style ubiquitous to fighting games to calculate things like the bending of the joints. The most visible result of that might be Dario’s coat. We think we did a pretty good job making it move like real cloth. Also, we want you to see how awesomely the slime- and jelly-like monsters move.” *laughing*

—–It’s really easy to visually understand how much the monsters are weakened by the extent of the damage you deal.

“That’s due to something we call ‘clinging on’. When we started making the monsters, we were shown FFVIII, also in development at the time, and told by the higher-ups, ‘If you fail at this, you’ll know.’ *laughing* ‘Clinging on’, where the monster shows signs of weakening near the end of a battle, is what we struggled to implement in order to overthrow FFVIII.”

We tried to do the battle scenes in the style of a comedy game.

—–For the debut of the only 3D RPG of its kind in the world, when it comes to the characters’ special moves or the battle effects, isn’t there a tendency to cram everything in?

“It was difficult to think them up, but when you wring your brain you get a variety of ideas. This game, especially, had a lot of skilled staff so the planners just passed on the nuances of what they were thinking and the people responsible for various sections added their own arrangements, which made it easy to do. There were definitely parts that were hit-or-miss, but we feel like they were covered by the experience points.”

—–Fire- and thunder-type magic are so common that you can say they’re in every RPG, but do you ever research effects used by other games?

“No, we don’t. *laughing* If you research other games, you’ll be influenced by the memory of their effects. If your thoughts come from within, they’ll always be original. It’s best to create using ideas that float to the top of your head. If there are effects cooler than the ones you made it just means that you should create something new of the same class.”

—–When you were creating the effects was there anything you were careful about?

“Final Fantasy already embodies a cool game in a more orthodox school, so we were wondering if we should distance ourselves from that path. *laughing* That’s why this game has lots of silly effects. Call the alloy, Robo, and he cooks the enemies. *laughing* This idea was rejected, but one of the summon elements that we planned to have make an appearance was a stripper. She’d gradually take off her clothes, then, at the end of her routine, all of a sudden sprout butterfly wings and the camera would move to her back, causing the monsters facing her to get nosebleeds and receive damage from the large quantity of blood loss.” *laughing*

—-That’s amazing. *laughing*

“We tried to do the battle scenes in the style of a comedy game, you see. *laughing* We said that if games like Final Fantasy or Vagrant Story were Star Wars, then we were Austin Powers. *laughing* Trying to make people laugh whatever the situation was a route that hadn’t been taken before, so we got over-enthusiastic and went too far.”

Our job was to squeeze every last drop out of the Playstation’s capabilities.

—–I’d love to ask you about every little detail. When using the command “Auto-Allocate”, what rules are the elements arranged by?

“Each element has a set value depending on how effective it is, how frequently it’s used… a variety of data. Then they’re arranged from the highest value to the lowest.”

—–So, why is Tsumaru (Pip, known as “Packed” in Japanese) called Tsumaru?

“Because we like packing things in. Open a barrel and it’s full of stuff, open a cupboard and it’s full of stuff, that sort of thing. *laughing* We didn’t do much of that in-game, so we figured we had to pack something in and made a “Tsumaru Gun” skill as one of the elemental techniques. It’s a silly skill where you pack yourself into a cannon and shoot out.” *laughing*

—–Starting from the second play-through you can adjust the game speed in real time. Wasn’t that really difficult on the programming side?

“We feel that it’s the programmers’ job to squeeze every last drop out of the Playstation’s capabilities. However, the point isn’t just to show off one’s skill. we think that the most important attitude to have involves considering ways to make the player enjoy themselves, and then doing our best to implement them.”

—–So, is it safe to say that Chrono Cross made the most of the Playstation’s capabilities?

“Well, if we’d tried to do the impossible, there might’ve still been ways we could have made it work for us, but in the development staff’s opinion, we were able to express everything but the tiniest speck. Of course, we might be a little conceited.” *laughing*

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Cool Custom Drawing

4 Responses

  1. Kanthos says:

    Under “—–When you were creating the effects was there anything you were careful about?”, you say, “Call the alloy Robo”; think you mean ally?

  2. GlitterBerri says:

    合金ロボ = Alloy Robo! Thank you, though. =)

  3. Toscanini says:

    Wow, Higuchi and Suzuki look exactly like Ohno and Aiba. This is uncanny!

  4. GlitterBerri says:

    Haha, oops, I overlooked that. Thanks, I’ll fix it!

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