Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins Video Update - Stage Two

Capcom artist Akiko Nagashima discusses the design of the game's second level and offers an accompanying video.

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If you've been following our coverage of Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins for the PlayStation Portable, you might remember that last week we brought you video highlights of the game's first level. That video was accompanied by text commentary from veteran Capcom artist Akiko Nagashima, who returns this week to give level two the same treatment. Akiko is a background artist who has been with Capcom for more than 15 years.

Recently, it seems like side-scrolling action games and shooters are in short supply. Maybe it's because of this that there doesn't seem to be very many high-precision-, skill-, and timing-based games on the market any more. When it comes to the Ghosts 'n Goblins series, however, maps and backgrounds have always boasted an unbelievable level of detail. There was barely any white space left on the design document with the amount of detail that went into it during the planning stages. When we had our first staff meeting to go over the specifications, they were amazed at the level of detail that was being planned for the maps.

In the end, what we saw on the game screen turned out exactly like what we had down on paper. The planners must have had the entire game visualized in their heads while they were creating the original design maps. It presented a formidable challenge for the staff to try and express such a clear vision within the hardware specifications and other restrictions. The final results amazed all of us yet again.

The director's--Tokuro Fujiwara--vision for stage two was "a crumbling castle overgrown with monstrous vines against a backdrop of roaring thunder and crashing lightning." The staff in charge of the ground motion and creating the landscape models listened to the director's requests and went to work, tirelessly trying to bring to life the image the director had in mind.

In my mind I have always pictured Arthur as a hero with a little Spanish blood in him. I just have this image of him as a manly man with dark eyes and a thick beard. Maybe that vision of Arthur is what prompted me to use what reference material I could find on old Spanish and Portuguese churches as inspiration for designing the wind-swept, broken-down castle. I even splattered one part of a wall in blood with a Latin poem I like, but in the end, a demon-faced enemy ended up showing off his lovely visage right on top of the poem. What a shame!

At first, we were planning for this stage to be a frozen mansion and went about drawing the interior that way. But while working on the different maps, we found it necessary to introduce the vines into this stage rather than in stage three. As a result, we had issues trying to match up the first and second halves of the stage. However, in order to have the two areas flow seamlessly and incorporate the vine element, we covered the floors, ceilings, and backgrounds with the substance. On top of that, adding movement to the vines really had us worried about whether the stage would fit within our allocated memory size. Once it was up and running, the vines looked great wriggling away on the PSP screen. I would like to express my gratitude to the staff members that did such a great job working on the background motion. Thank you everyone!

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