Rygar: The Legendary Adventure Q&A
Tecmo's Satoshi Kanematsu talks to us about the coming reinvention of Rygar.
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Fans have been clamoring for a remake of Rygar for quite a while. Rygar was originally released in the arcades in 1986, and a NES version followed in 1987. Both games were different, though they both featured the same basic premise: a powerful warrior with a unique weapon taking on hordes of deadly demons. Very recently, Tecmo announced that a remake was indeed in development for the PlayStation 2, and it released some details to prove it. Many questions remained in the minds of fans, however, and though the private showings of the game at this year's E3 did a bit to inform the masses, some key details went unrevealed. For instance, will the game follow the NES version's free-roaming design, or will it be linear and mission-based, like the arcade game?
Tecmo recently allowed us an audience with Satoshi Kanematsu, the game's project leader. We asked him all the relevant questions, and we have his answers for you.
GameSpot: What will the game's general layout be like? Will it be patterned more after the free-roaming, adventure-style NES game, or the linear, mission-based arcade game?
Satoshi Kanematsu: The main idea is to create action-packed gameplay that feels good. To do so, we paid a lot of attention to the tempo and soothing pace of the game. The idea of emphasizing the rhythm of the game will be reflected in the map design, character motion, and camera work.
GS: Can you talk about Rygar's special abilities? What sorts of things will the Diskarmor be able to do? Will Rygar himself gain any special powers like he did in the classic NES game?
SK: The number-one characteristic of Rygar is the Diskarmor. The name Diskarmor is a conjugate word with dual meaning. "Dis" and "karma," meaning "reverse karma," and also "disk" and "armor."
Ordinary games use weapons like swords, guns, and so on. Rygar's main theme is to use the unique weapon, the Diskarmor, to clear the obstacles. The Diskarmor is a weapon, tool, and transport device all in one, and it allows you to clear hardships that get in your way.
There are many types of Diskarmor, with special blows and combos. For example, you can hook an enemy with the blade of the Diskarmor and then swing it around to strike other enemies and objects. This is only one of many examples of the different ways to use the Diskarmor. Also, you can customize the Diskarmor to your liking. There are other secrets that are hidden in the Diskarmor, but I can't share them yet.
GS: What's the storyline behind Rygar's latest adventure?
SK: In the period before Christ, when ancient gods still existed, there was a legendary island named Argus, and that's how the drama begins. The Argus Empire boasted the strongest military power in the Mediterranean region. On the island, there were many beautiful shrines, blessed with abundant nature, and the residents enjoyed watching the warriors battle in the coliseum. One day, something catastrophic occurs, and the titans who were sealed in the underworld by the gods resurface to wreak havoc on the once peaceful island of Argus. In the midst of the chaos, one man stood up against the evil. The man is the legendary warrior, Rygar. This is how everything began.
GS: What can you tell us about the game's world? What sort of creatures and people live in it, and what has the team used for inspiration in creating it?
SK: The story of Rygar is based on Greek mythology, but it's not the childish fantasy world. Instead, it's a world of deep and enchanting legendary story. Again, in-game stages and characters are inspired by Greek mythology.
The source of inspiration for this game has multiple origins. I personally enjoyed studying the history of Western civilization and so on. I've gone on many soul-searching trips to the countries in Europe with my favorite guitar. Personal experiences like playing my guitar in front of places like the Parthenon in Athens during sunset and midnight jam sessions in Rome have stimulated my creativity. I also have quite an impressive group of guys working with me. In my development team, there are guys who worked on excavation projects in Rome and Pompeii. The father of one of my key members is a world-renowned archaeologist, and he gives us great advice.
I also have to give credit to some of the movies like Clash of the Titans, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, Jason and the Argonauts, and so on. Each one of our development team members brings a unique vision and experience to the project, and this is transformed into the great concept of Rygar.
GS: What sort of environments should players expect to see?
SK: The environments will breathtakingly portray the image of the legendary worlds. The tone of the graphics is consistent with the Middle Ages. The stage structure will feature multiple levels and create an in-depth world. This is the environment where numerous obstacles and traps are set up for Rygar.
GS: Will Rygar communicate with non-player characters to any significant degree? What about those mysterious coneheaded wise men from the NES game? Will they return?
SK: It's not so much about communicating with the non-player characters, but the story will be told as one big stream. Not only will some old characters from the NES game appear, but there will also be many more ideas to ensure that the fans of the original NES Rygar will not be disappointed.
GS: There has been a flurry of classic games and characters coming back in remakes and new sequels lately. Why do you think so many publishers are suddenly looking to their long-dormant franchises for inspiration?
SK: It's very important to realize that this has occurred not only in the game industry, but also in movies like Spider-Man and The Lord of the Rings, which have reintroduced great classic entertainment by using today's technology to express the imagination. We've all dreamt of seeing something that we loved years ago re-created using today's new technology. Depending on the creator's perspective, even the same source materials will be interpreted differently. The game industry is still young, but maybe this is one of the indications that we're being accepted as part of the mainstream culture.
GS: Rygar has a very distinct visual style. What can you say about the game's graphical presentation? What sorts of imagery contributed to the classic game's look? Have you rethought any of this for the upcoming version?
SK: One image that stuck with me from the original Rygar was the crimson sun. This to me is very important with setting the visual image of the new Rygar. Another point is instead of creating the image of a typical dark and small room, we're concentrating on creating mysterious and deep space.
GS: Are any of the original game's developers working on the upcoming PS2 version?
SK: There is no one who works with the team on a daily basis, but a guy who works closely with me on another project is part of the old team, and he's given me much valuable advice for Rygar.
GS: Will the game use any of Tecmo's proprietary engines, or is it driven by something new entirely?
SK: The engine we're using now is the engine that was developed over multiple projects from the past. Let's say that we tuned up the already great engine for Rygar with a turbocharger.
GS: Finally, do you have any comments for fans of the classic games, or future fans of the coming game?
SK: From the moment you grab the controller, you'll be screaming in joy, "Awesome!" and "Unbelievable!" We're determined to completely immerse you into the world of Rygar with the ultimate entertainment experience. Expect this game to become one of the greatest games ever created.
GS: Thank you so much for your time.