This question is for
Iwasaki-san. I don't know if you saw, but we did an interview with Ono-san from
Capcom about Street Fighter IV, and
he said that they weren't sure they could make a 2D fighting game in 3D until
they played Battle Fantasia and they
saw how you guys had made it work first. Had you heard that? It's true, Ono
TM: [To Iwasaki]
Nice! You totally influenced Street
Could you talk a
little bit about how you made that work?
I would say that usually 3D graphics with 2D gameplay doesn't work very
well, so could you talk about that process a little bit?
Emiko Iwasaki: Well, we were told from the start that Battle Fantasia "needed" to be
in 3D, so... (laughter) And at the time, I had zero experience working on games
using 3D graphics.
Actually, no one on the entire team knew how to do 3D, so
Motomura-san was nice enough to train one of our interns from the ground up. I
think the game looks the way it does because we had a group of people with
backgrounds in 2D fighters making one in 3D for the first time.
If there was no one
on the team who could do 3D graphics, why did you decide to proceed with that?
DI: Those were
the company orders.
Arc System Works' Battle Fantasia
Was it an experiment
to see if you could make it work, or did the company think the game would be
more popular in the West, or something, because of the graphics?
EI: I think the
company wanted to develop their 3D talent a bit more.
Junya Motomura: Yeah,
one part is that we wanted to build up our 3D skills, and it was also our first
fighting game using the Type X2 arcade technology. In order to use
the hardware efficiently, obviously it needed to be 3D.
BlazBlue uses the Type X2 technology as well, but it
does 2D graphics in high definition. It must be really difficult to make
high-resolution 2D sprites. Most companies have completely abandoned that sort
of thing. For example, Igarashi at Konami said they thought about making a
hi-res 2D Castlevania game, but they
decided they couldn't do it...
TM: SNK Playmore had something they were working on, but...
DI: Actually, I
heard that was shelved...
TM: Ahh, right...
So, what was the question?
JM: I think he was saying it's cool that we're doing it.
DI: Oh, heh, [in
English] Thank you!
Why are you doing it?
because nobody else is doing it! (laughs) Usually, people sort of turn up their
noses at the idea of wasting the effort it takes to make a game in HD on a 2D
fighter. In business terms, it costs more money and time, and needs people that
can use the most recent technology.
So it might not be the wisest strategy, but
it's something we've really been wanting to do. And the higher-ups were
supportive of the idea, so we went ahead with it.
I also heard that the
King of Fighters XII team at SNK made
3D models for the animation, and then they're tracing them. Are you using the
same tactic or are you actually doing hand animation?
JM: Yeah, we're
doing almost the same thing.
Had you done that
with other games, or is this a first time thing for BlazBlue?
JM: Yes, actually
I did something similar on a Dragon Ball
game for the Game Boy Advance, and then for Basara
as well. We used it in those cases to make sure the quality would be even
throughout the game.
DI: One difference between BlazBlue and KOF is that
after we have the animators design things like the shadows, we go in and make
compared to KOF, the BlazBlue sprites are closer to being
hand-drawn, because we only use the 3D graphics as an outline. In KOF, they do all the shadows and shading
in 3D, and then convert them into 2D sprites, but in Blaz Blue, we redraw the sprites by hand.
Did you have to make
special tools to be able to do that, like new tools made within the company?
TM: Actually, no. We were able to use techniques we had in
Do you just export
the animations and then pull them into a 2D artwork program, so you can see how
the poses are? It seems like that must be really hard to do.
TM: Well, when
making a 2D fighting game these days, people tend to do almost all the work
using 3D models, which usually ends with them saying, "Well, why don't we
make the whole game 3D, then?"
For me, the graphics in a 2D fighter have
to retain that hand-drawn feel, no matter what technology is being used. So,
even if we're starting out with 3D models, we have to go back over them by
hand, and make them come alive that way.