Koudelka was the first project from the development company Sacnoth. However, several employees from the development studio had previously worked on several high-profile games for SquareSoft. Sacnoth also has former SNK employees on its roster. We sat down with several key members of the Sacnoth crew - Matsuzo Itakura (visual director), Satoru Yoshieda (program director and main programmer of Koudelka), and Hidenori Suzuki (sound programmer of Koudelka) - to discuss everything from Koudelka to PS2 support.
GameSpot: Now that Koudelka is already out in the US and Japan and the release in Europe is imminent, is there something you would have liked to have done differently when you look back?
Itakuru: It was our intention that even adults, who don't usually play video games, could see the ending of the game. For that reason, we've made the battle system a little easier, but it could have been a bit more complicated.
GS: What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Square before you left?
Itakuru: The things that you need to create good games, which are effort, tenacity, and good fortune.
GS: How many people are currently working at Sacnoth?
Itakuru: We have 40 people employed, and the development team for Koudelka consisted of about 30 people.
GS: What are you currently working on? Are you moving to the PS2 now?
Itakuru: Yes, our new project is for the PS2, but nothing can be revealed at the moment.
GS: What is your opinion on the next generation of consoles? Are there some that you prefer and some that you would rather not work with?
Yoshieda: We are now doing some experiments with the PS2. For the Xbox, we only know what we have heard, but it sounds very interesting. As for the GameCube, we've no idea at this time. Basically, we would choose a platform that suits our titles the best.
GS: Can you tell us a little something about your next project? Will it be based around Koudelka or will it be something completely new?
Itakuru: It's an RPG for the PlayStation 2. Will it have something to do with Koudelka? Sorry, we cannot say anything yet.
GS: What do you think are the strongest and weakest points of Koudelka?
Itakuru: The strongest points are the story, the stunning graphics, and the overall atmosphere. The weakest point could be the battle system, which could have been better.
GS: The music in Koudelka is brilliant. How long did you take to create the whole soundtrack? Do you think music is not being taken seriously enough in today's gaming industry?
Suzuki: As there wasn't too much music for Koudelka, it only took us about six months to complete the soundtrack. I believe that music for games is starting to be taken seriously. Still, the overall game direction isn't as good as in other entertainment industries like films or music. You can't only put music in a game and leave it at that. You need to give it a direction. The vision, script lines, and music, they should all be blended under one good game direction. Sadly, this hasn't happened yet in the game industry.
GS: Thank you for the interview and good luck on your next project.