GameSpot speaks with key members of Microsoft's Japanese first-party games about games such as Maximum Chase, Nezmix, and Kakuto Chojin (formerly Project K-X).
TOKYO - Microsoft's Xbox console may have launched in North America, but it's not scheduled to release in Japan until February of next year. GameSpot recently sat down with the folks over at Microsoft Production Development--Toshiyuki Miyata, product unit manager; Yoshikatsu Kanemaru, the lead program manager for Nezmix and Kakuto Chojin; and Katsunori Yamaji, the lead program manager for Maximum Chase--to learn about the progress of some of the Japanese first-party titles for the console.
GameSpot: Judging from the press release, it looks like Nezmix, Maximum Chase, and Kakuto Chojin are all being developed by different companies (Media Vision, Genki, and Dream Publishing, respectively). Has Microsoft been involved in the planning stages of the development of these titles?
Toshiyuki Miyata: We work on titles under the Microsoft brand name, so we have cases where we have our own programmers and graphic designers develop the games, and other times we handle the titles externally using outside game developers.
GS: So what was the original idea behind Nezmix? One of our readers suggested that the movie character Stuart Little may have been part of the influence.
Yoshikatsu Kanemaru: They are original characters. Media Vision originally had the suggestion of creating a game where the characters act as a group, so the idea didn't necessarily begin with the mouse itself.
GS: And how about Maximum Chase?
Katsunori Yamaji: I have personally wanted to work on a car action or car chase type of game for a while now. I think it is important for us to present these cars realistically, including details like the roar of the engine, so we think working with Genki, who has experience developing on several car racing titles in the past, is the right choice.
GS: Kakuto Chojin was originally shown as a technical demo. Is Seiichi Ishii from Dream Publishing primarily behind the creation of the game?
YK: The project started when both Mr. Ishii and Microsoft wanted to create a fighting game. In regard to the game elements, Mr. Ishii has more experience, so he is mainly the one working on it as whole, while the character and stage designs are done by artists at Microsoft.
GS: Can you tell us about some of the game's features, like how many characters, stages, and game modes there will be?
YK: For Kakuto Chojin, we have not officially given the number of characters. We are considering somewhere around 10 or more, but we'll try to have enough to satisfy the gamers. The number of stages will match the number of characters.
GS: Are the character models shown in the screenshots and movies the final drafts?
YK: It is not final, but it is close to what we plan to use.
GS: Regarding the stages, will they include features like multiple levels or walls?
YK: We have not decided on that at the moment.
GS: Fighting games involve strategies such as parries and throws. What kind of strategies are involved in Kakuto Chojin?
YK: The basic elements of a fighting game are of course included, but our challenge [during development] is dependent more on a new type of control. Though we can't elaborate much on it right now, we are attempting to utilize a different control scheme and at the same time would like fighting game fans to be satisfied.
GS: You mentioned that the game is like a "street fight" fighting game. Will it be more realistic like Virtua Fighter or a bit more fictional like Tekken?
YK: We'd like to have dynamic movements in the game, so some of the moves look exaggerated. We've added eye candy such as motion blurs at certain times, but overall, it will be a more realistic type of fighting game.
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