Interview with Shouzou Kaga
Notes: This is highly incomplete.
—First, I would like to ask about the character illustrations that are going to be the first releases for the company…Why, this time, did you humbly decide to draw up character illustrations?
Actually, originally the game called Fire Emblem—by that I mean “The Dragon of Darkness and the Sword of Light”, was really never deeply thought out as a product to be sold, rather it was made on a whim as more like a doujin software with the help of 3 job-holding students (lol). So, at the time we couldn’t divide our energy into graphics either. Also in that sense, there was a lot of regrets towards visuals.
But, thanks to everyone “Dragon of Darkness and the Sword of Light” showed to be very popular, so for “Mystery of the Emblem”, planning on strengthening the visual side, we hired a young person with experience with animators, and had him draw dot pictures and package illustrations.
So, in reference to “Mystery of the Emblem” and “Genealogy of Holy War”, that designer put his hands on it, but unfortunately for “Genealogy of Holy War”, in the creation stage we didn’t have the time to spare…For that reason, for me, and I’m thinking probably for him also, in terms of visuals, it didn’t become a level of work that we can be fully satisfied with.
Because that kind of thing occurred, from “Genealogy of Holy War” onward, I’ve always been thinking if there’s any way to tell the users what our visual model was as the creators.
At that time, I had the opportunity to get to know Hirota-san who is responsible for the visuals…I can still remember it now. When I saw her drawing, a bolt of electricity ran all over my body. I thought,
“This is it!”. From there, I had her draw illustrations as a test, and as I saw it my thoughts changed into absolutions. She gave birth to things that I can be very satisfied with. So it came to be that we will ask Hirota-san for the current “Genealogy of Holy War” and also for our next work, and we are having him progress forward with the work right now.
—I See. From the beginning, “Genealogy of Holy War” is a game with a strong storyline. When becoming a core(hardcore) user, it seems that the images of characters in the head expands more and more. You’re saying that Kaga-san as the creator also has an image for the Fire Emblem world, and the visuals for this time is definitely that.
Yes, that’s what it means at least for my feelings on “Genealogy of Holy War”. Of course, for the users, these feelings are going to be different, and if all the users will feel the same way about that visuals this time is a whole different story.
And, on that point, I’m not thinking that I want to force my image. Because I think that each individual’s imaginations cannot be intruded. It means only that it fit my image perfectly. Also powerfully.
North2’s Note 1 : The big letters on the left say:
The illustrations this time is something that I can say with my chest held high, “The visuals that I was looking for was this”.
North2’s Note 2: Doujin basically means like a fanwork, not an actual company. Doujin site is a fansite, doujin illustrations is fanart, etc. etc.
Dot picture and package illustration is the direct translation, maybe someone with more experience in animations can shed some light on what it’s supposed to be.
For example, I can also say these kinds of things. In the middle of making a game, the framework is actually already decided on, but the true completion of the scenario is actually very last.
In those, I’m thinking this is the same for making movies, but if there’s a good actor/actress, then the director can make something good–basically meaning that the characters come to life. It is similar to that, because if I can also receive good characters, then my imagination can expand.
That type of spreading of imagination was there during
“Mystery of the Emblem”, but for “Genealogy of Holy War”–especially concerning the last half, as I said earlier, there wasn’t enough time, and there was a lot of these thoughts that couldn’t spread out.
—So that means, By viewing the drawn character’s expression, eyes, looks, etc., these characters start to move in Mr. Kaga’s head, like wouldn’t these characters move like this, think like this, and by expanding the imagination, the story spreads out more and more.
Yes, that is exactly how it is. That’s why that part may differ for other people. Of course, I do hold some setting and a small image, and have it drawn with that, but in my case I really carelessly ask to have drawn this many people of around that age, and that’s all I say.
Then, from my side the illustrations that come up become picked out for the character’s looks. Meaning, there is an audition (laugh). For example, the general of the country of wherever, and this kind of placement within the game…say we decided on that kind of role. In my case, the other parts–something that can be described as the personality and view of a human, even things like living habits, are imagined by the looks of the character and the image expands.
However, when the image that I first held and the image that floats up when I look at the illustration doesn’t match, then I really struggle. At worst, there are times when the setting that was there in the first place can completely die.
That’s why just because the image went off, there are times when a character that was supposed to shine more drops to a complete sub(non-important, bench-warmer), and stating an extreme case, there are lots of characters that we won’t even use or put in the game anymore.
Of course, there are cases opposite to that…Jamuka for example. In the first setting, he wasn’t a bowfighter, rather a crabby-legged(squatting) axefighter, but Jamuka became very favored to me. That’s why as he changed to a bowfighter, and added more and more skills, he ended up becoming that strong of of character.
Basically meaning that by getting addicted, or not addicted, of course the character’s importance changes, and for some instances the setting may even change too.
From there, this time, answering as to why I thought that this was it when I saw Hirota-san’s illustrations, when I saw her pictures, the images that I couldn’t quite entirely express up until now just sprung up like an explosion.
Adding to that, when asking Hirota-san, there’s only very easy conversations from my side. However, she is also a “Fire Emblem” core user who holds an image of her own, and despite being drawn in that form, she comes up with exactly what I’ve been visualizing.
Perhaps this time’s illustrations of the 12 holy warriors which makes it their first appearance is another form of this. Even though aren’t spoken of to the point where it can be said that they’re not spoken at all, she drew it exactly like the image I held. Instinctively, I even thought that I want to make a story about the 12 holy warriors (laugh).
—So, the illustrations that we are having released in this book are born in an ideal shape.
At first, I was expectedly worried. However, now I am truly very relieved. That’s why I am sure. Sureness in that probably for users also, although not 100%, but an overwhelming majority of them will be happy. If that was wrong, then this is just a problem with my own tastes(laugh).
I’m not thinking that most people will think that this is it from the beginning. Because, for the deep playing users especially, the illustrations in the TV screen and and the illustrations shown in the cover are the only truths. Because of that, when suddenly looking at the illustrations, I think there will be reactions like “That’s wrong”.
For example, when making
“Genealogy of Holy War”, for the first year, I actually thought that it sort of won’t be understood, or there will be more people that are dissatisfied. However, around a year later, I also had confirmation that people that is willing to understand it will understand it. As for the result, well, it was just as expected. There’s even people that play it now.
That’s why, also in reference to this time’s illustrations, as the time goes on it will be understood. Yes I’m hoping that maybe the first month won’t be so clear, but within half a year it will be the norm.
Adding more, for the first time the entire body’s visual was released. From that influence, there’s some talk within the community that there may be more people that will cosplay.
But Hirota-san is definitely a woman. The clothing that she draws can actually be made. Readers that have viewed the illustrations, I’m also looking forward to cosplays (laugh).
First segment of Page 5
—Next, I think I would like to ask a little more about the contents of the game. First, Levin. As for him, Levin in the first half and Levin in the second half is completely different for both gameplay and storyline. Anyways, even if Levin dies in the first half, he comes back in the second half regardless. Celice even states in the end that Levin is the warrior “Forsety of the Wind” from a distant country. At this point, it feels like Levin is Levin and not Levin at the same time. Is there anything you can comment?
Realistically, Levin held a destiny where he was supposed to die, but the Dragon race–The gods that descended during the miracle at Darna Fortress was actually of the Dragon race–intervened and he was kept alive. At that time, one of the ‘Gesshu’…meaning, by binding contracts that can be seen in Celtic mythology with the Dragon race, Levin is living as Levin.
This means that there’s no doubt that the Levin in the second half is basically the same person as Levin in the first half. However, he’s given a part of himself to Forsety… And, when the Holy War ends, Forsety actually leaves, but because of ‘Gesshu’, Levin can’t live as Levin so to speak, and cannot retain his original existence so he cannot go back to Silesia and take the crown.
That is why this part is a discordance where the dragon race who had a law to not intervene with the human race did what they are usually not supposed to do–saving a person who was supposed to die.
Actually, other characters who appeared in the first half are in a similar placement. This means that not everyone died, but they are also not allowed to intervene with the glorious acts of the children’s generation, so they do not appear in the second half.
Adding more to that, the 12 demon lords of the final chapter. Within them are people who carry the blood of the 12 holy warriors–such as Ahato, Zechs, Zhiben, basically exist in the same way as Levin. This means that they were originally skilled warriors or holy workers. The setting is that their conscience has been absorbed. This means, although it hasn’t been stated, each one of them actually have a drama of their own.
In the next game, people like that may appear, or may not appear, but in my image, each of them have a solid background.