Here is the transcript of an EGM interview conducted by EGM's Nob Ogasawara with Mr. Yoshinori "Moai" Sasaki, assistant manager at R & D Dept. VI at Konami Co. Ltd., and "White Shadow" about work on Snatcher...

Q: Let's start with the easy questions. How long was the development

YS: I can't reveal that, but much shorter than you imagine.The original
PC-8801 and MSX personal computer versions that were released about seven years ago took two or three times longer than an average game. I worked as the sound designer on those two versions.

Q: Did the original PC versions become hits?

YS: No, they didn't. They were popular only among maniacal players.

Q: If the original versions were only cult favorites, how did the home PC Engine version come about?
YS: Although they didn't sell in big numbers, it was received with phenomenal reviews and made quite an impact among Japanese game players. The people who played the game couldn't forget it and they demanded a conversion to home systems. Unfortunately, the original game was on several floppies. Because of its size, we couldn't fit it on a ROM cart. It just so happened that the PC Engine had a CD-ROM system available, so it was chosen as the system for the first home version of Snatcher.

Q: If the originals were on floppies, did they have recorded speech?

YS: No. We did put in sound effects to represent the speech, though. At
the time, it was all we could do.

Q: So CD-ROM made it possible for you to use recorded speech?

YS: That's right. We were able to put in real speech and background
music for the first time. Also, the original PC versions ended at Act 2. We were plannig on doing Act 3, but we went far over the allowed development schedule so we had to give up on it. We didn't get the opportunity to put in Act 3 until the PC-Engine version. We were being criticized in the company for making a game that was too long, but we were lucky enough to have the PC-Engine become a big hit. Although I can't reveal how many were eventually sold, it was a monster hit for a PC-Engine game.

WS: Yeah. As a matter of fact, it was so popular it still makes FAMICOM
TSUSHIN Magazine's "Reader's Best 20" games chart even two years after it was released.

Q: How did the Sega CD version come about?

YS: I got Konami involved in the development software for the Sega CD. We first released Lethal Enforcers for the Sega CD. After that, we considered doing an FMV-type game like Night Trap, but we reached the conclusion that it was difficult to take that route. We thought it would be perhaps better to make a more interactive kind of game for overseas. Since Snatcher really impressed gamers in Japan, we wanted to impress game fans overseas in the same way. Another thing, we weren't totally impressed with the PC-Engine version, so we wanted to make a fully realized version.

Q: How many people were used in recording the voices in the game?

YS: Seven.

Q: That's all?

YS: Surprising, isn't it? There's two hours and 29 minutes of recorded speech and 26 different characters' voices in the game. We got some super-talented voice actors and I guarantee that you can't tell that any of them are doing more than one character.

Q: We noticed several changes from the PC-Engine version such as the clientele of Outer Heaven Club.

YS: Obviously there's the issue of copyrights. That was the prime concern especially for the Outer Heaven Club in which the PC-Engine version featured Kamen Rider and Gieger's alien. The characters we used in Japan cleared copyright hurdles, but we thought there might be a problem in America. So we took White Shadow's advice and decided to use Konami characters instead. It actually worked out to be hilarious. (Note: if you want to know who White Shadow really is, buy the game!)

Q: Have the sex or violent scenes in the PC-Engine version been cut from the Sega CD version?

YS: We haven't cut scenes, but we have made some alterations. In Act 1,
when a certain girl gets killed, her bosom becomes unclad in the PC-Engine version. We decided the scene was too much, so we covered her up.

WS: There's another character called Katherine who was aged 14 in the
Japanese version who's shown naked in the shower. We decided that's jail bait so we upped her age to 18 and covered up her nudity for Sega CD.

Q: So how is the game rated in America?

YS: For the States it's recommended for players 13 and up. But in Europe it's for players 18 and up.

Q: Really? I thought Europe was much more lax about nudity than America.

YS: But in Europe they're more worried about violence. In America,
they're not as concerned about violence, but nudity is out.

Q: How difficult was it to port over the Japanese PC-Engine version to
Sega CD?

YS: Most of the difficulty we encountered was in translating the text.
We've never had to do this much translation of game text before. We were surprised at how difficult it is to do. It didn't take a long time, but it cost a lot!

Q: When you translate text, I imagine a lot of word play and puns ended up being edited out.

WS: I rewrote a lot of stuff.

Q: Did most of the scenes that had to be altered involve nudity or sex?

YS: Yes, one scene we had to cut entirely was one in which a robot watches a sex film and gets it rowdy. The sound effects were a bit much. As for violence, we didn't fix much except for one scene in which a dog dies.

WS: The PC-Engine version showed a dog with its guts hanging out. It
wasn't quite dead---you can see it twitching, even its innards. We were afraid of the ASPCA. Although we reatined the scene, we stopped the dog's twistching so it's just dead, not dying.

Q: This game has an adult feel to it. Will you be doing more
adult-oriented games?

YS: We never made a conscious effort to develop a game for adults. We
wanted to make a good game, and it turned out that this particular good game had a mature feel. We doubt we'll be deliberately developing games for mature audiences. We'll first just develop a game, and then decide to whom we should present it.

Q: In porting over the PC-Engine version, were there major technical

YS: On-screen colors. The PC-Engine could show 256 colors
simultaneously. Sega CD, despite being a CD-ROM machine, could only display 64 colors. The difference is obvious. By applying a software technique, we managed to increase the on-screen displat colors to 112. We also changed the color pallets around so we're happy about the display quality.

Q: Were there software heroics involved?

YS: Yes, it pretty well killed us (laugh).

Q: Were any changes made to the story?

YS: No. The ending part has been changed somewhat. There aren't multiple
endings, but you are graded for how well you solved the mysteries. Plus Act 3 has been altered significantly. We weren't totally pleased with the PC-Engine version since it was too movie-like--just sit and watch. We wanted to avoid that and changed Act 3 a lot so it would be a lot more interactive as a game. We added a few more forks and choices to Act

Q: In closing, would you like to say a few words to American players?

YS: This is a game like you've never played before on a home system. We
hope it will make you cry and laugh!

**All previews, reviews, illustrations, movie files and indicia are copyrights of their respective magazines, publishers and Konami** **All scans are property of LiquidSnake@webtv.net, so please do not steal or use them without prior permission**

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