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 Post subject: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:14 am 


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Joined: 20 Feb 2011
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Here is a series of three R-Type developer interviews from the same site where I found the Gradius interviews. The titles covered are: R-Type I, R-Type Delta, and R-Type Final. I know one interview is from Gamest, but as the other two (Final and Delta) are console games, so I'm not sure of their vintage. I hope this a nice oldschool follow-up to the Gradius interview; the developers of the original R-Type mention it quite a bit. Like the Gradius interview series, I'm hoping to add to this one in the future (particularly for the SFC games and Leo), so feel free to send me scans of anything you might have. There is one more general Irem STG interview at that site, but I'm saving it for an upcoming Irem/Seibu/TecnoSoft/Compile/Taito/Konami STG interview compilation, as I think they make for nice contrasts.

I was going to work on adding to the Gradius feature next, but if next week is Toaplan week, then I have a little surprise I've been saving for the occasion (if I can finish it in time). Now to get back to S99... bleh. Enjoy!


My previous shmupforum translations can be found at this thread, but I will also list them below for convenience:

Gradius Developer Interviews (I, II, Gaiden)
Scorer Interview Collection - TAC, LAOS, NAL, MON, etc
Stella Vanity and Valhellio Developer Interviews
Two M-KAI Interviews (Eschatos, JSS, Cardinal Sins)
Yoshinori Satake - Steel Empire, Over Horizon Interview
Armed Police Batrider Characters/Stages/Bosses translation (w/ NTSC-J)
Basiscape Composers Interview - Shooting Gameside #1
Cave Shooting History Interview Extravaganza!
Doujin Round Table Discussion - Shooting Gameside #1
Mushi HD/Saidaioujou Famitsu Cave Interview
Raizing Interview - Sotoyama Yuuichi and Yokoo Kenichi
Masahiro Yuge - Toaplan interview (Shooting Gameside vol. 4)
Tatsuya Uemura - Toaplan interview (Shooting Gameside vol.4)



1987 Gamest R-Type Developer Interview

Project and Design Origins

KINTE (Team Leader): We had just developed a new 16 bit hardware. It could display many sprites on screen and it had a fast processor speed, so we thought a STG game would be good for it. That was the start of R-Type.

ABIKO (Designer): It started out as a joke, but our idea for the Force came from the dung beetle. We were thinking of a system where you wouldn't power up your own ship, but would instead power up the ball of dung. We wanted something where two players could play simultaneously within the same screen and fight together, basically. Our programmer AKIO is a hardcore Gradius player, so we were very conscious of the existence of Gradius. If we were going to make a horizontal STG, we knew it would get compared to Gradius, so we were thinking about what we could do differently.
By the time we were asked to start coding, there had been many revisions and changes to the original game design. For example, we originally wanted to make the Force capable of deployment in 4 positions on your ship: front, back, top, and bottom. But it turned out to be too difficult to program, so we left it only front and back. The powerups changed almost completely too. At first we had typical STG weapons like a 3-way shot, but we felt that this wouldn't distinguish our game enough from Gradius, so we added the reflecting laser. That was a real pain to code. (laughs)

AKIO (Character Designer): Another weapon we thought of was something that would resemble a jibikiami. At that time we were trying to come up with ideas that would really get people's attention, so we focused on interesting and outlandish designs. After that we refined and cleaned things up to be more easily understandable and useable. We also had an idea for a weapon that you would fire out in front of you, and when it collided with a bullet it would explode!

[[tr note: "jibikiami" is a beach based human-powered trawling net, aka beach seine. No detail is given in the interview, and this is not an instance of a word having special meaning in STG terminology, so its open to speculation as to what this "net" weapon would have looked like in R-Type.]]

ABIKO (Designer): Basically the first idea we had was the Force. After that, we thought of weapon power-ups that would match the different enemies we were creating. When we made the stages, we created them one by one and then put them in order later, according to their difficulty. The first one we created was the first stage. It has a little bit of the Gradius image. Next we made the crumbling, ruined stage 7. Then we made stage 2, the "Alien" stage. We thought of that one after we saw "Aliens." Then came stages 3 and 4. For stage 4, we were doing some programming simulation and I saw a character trailing a line behind him, and I thought if we can program something like this, we could try and use it as a game element. So we made stage 4 without a big variety of enemies, but mainly included enemies that created destructible lines in their wake, and then added enemies that erased those lines and enemies that moved along them.

In the story, stage 7 was the final stage of the enemy base, a garbage processing facility where all the enemies the player had previously destroyed were disposed of. Our impression of the stages as we made them was that stage 1 was made for the average person to play, stage 2 draws you a little further in, stage 3 makes you think "wow, I didn't know a STG could be like this" and gets you excited for whats to come, stage 4 raises the difficulty sharply and builds income for the operator, stage 5 gives you a glimpse of another world, and stage 6 makes you wonder if you shouldn't just give up. (laughs)

We didn't really want to make a second loop, but we added it as a service to our fans. We raised the difficulty extremely high, so please don't worry too much, and play it however you'd like. We figured that if we had to make a 2nd loop, we'd try and make it something where dying was part of the fun. That stage 5 boss in the 2nd loop is one where if you slip up just a bit it gets crazy. And if you die, I think its almost impossible to recover.

Sound Development

SCRAP (Sound): For the sound, I got many requests from the planning staff. The main thing was for it to be serious in tone. There were a lot of little, particular requests as well. One of those was to add sounds of an actual battleship, for the huge battleship you fight in stage 3. I actually couldn't come up with anything for the sound of a battleship moving, and of course there are no "huge battleships" in real life. Sounds that don't actually exist are quite difficult to make. (laughs)

The planning and design staff would give ideas for the rhythm of certain sounds. "It should be like, don, ta ta ta!" and so on. Their ideas were really vague, but I did my best to match them. It was really difficult. I was told "that won't work at all" many times. For every successful sound, I had double the number of failures.

Another thing we tried to be conscious of for all of the R-Type development was film music. In film music the impact of a scene is conveyed to you in the space of 2-3 seconds, and we tried to keep that in mind as we went along. I also thought PSG sound might be better suited for this game. FM sound is very pretty, but it can sound too "natural" and be hard to hear in a game center. Well, in the end both have their drawbacks I guess.

Character Development

AKIO (Character Designer): The number of characters I drew was... a lot. (laughs) There were characters I drew on my own and said "use this," and there were characters I was requested to draw. I started drawing and submitting more and more on my own though. The first drawing I completed was the stage 1 boss.

ABIKO (Designer): He brought it to us, and we said "there's no way we can use something this huge!" (laughs)

AKIO (Character Designer): There were times I realized I'd made a simple mistake, like adding cannons to an enemy that weren't supposed to be there. The biggest change I'd have to make after finishing something was colors. The jets on the battleship in stage 3, for instance, were orginally red, not blue.

SCRAP (Sound): If I remember, I told him that in an alternate dimension there would be no fire... I think he took me seriously. He's very impressionable like that. (laughs)

AKIO (Character Designer): When the fire was red, it was more realistic, but I think changing it to blue helped convey a more unique impression. The snakes in stage 5 were also blue at first, a blue-pink pastel style. But later we made them much more austere... in general, everything got more and more austere. It became very different from our original impression.

Development Challenges

SUM (Programmer): R-Type is a shooting game, and STGs tend to have a certain conventional structure that makes people look down a little on the amount of work that goes into them. But we really did a ton of research for this game and put a lot of time into small details. For example, when the Force is joined to the ship, it rotates in a different direction depending if you move up or down. I bet people didn't notice that! Also, when you move left or right, the tendrils of the Force will flare out slightly or tuck in. ABIKO spends a lot of time fussing over things that most people won't even notice.

Another thing that was difficult, from a programming perspective, was making the Force avoid walls and obstacles on its own. Depending on the terrain it sometimes gets stuck and just sits there. Since its supposed to act almost like another player, programming its movement was difficult.

YOSHIGE (Character Designer): When we were thinking of character designs, we struggled to make the image we had in mind match up with the actual designs.

MISACHIN (Programmer): Hello, I'm Misachin, the sole female R-Type staff member. It took a large amount of memory to swap the graphics data, so that was very difficult.

K.H (Sound Programmer): The main difficulty I had with R-Type's sound was that for these new FM compositions, we didn't have any development tools like a sound editor. So the sounds that were discussed during planning turned out to be very different from what we actually made. It was really problematic for SCRAP.

R-Type FAQ

--What is the origin of the "R-Type" title?

R stands for "ray", as in ray of light. It comes from there being many different types of ray weapons in the game.

--Where is the ship's hitbox?

Its a single point in the dead center of the ship. To compensate, we made the enemy and background hitboxes larger than they visually appear so things wouldn't seem unnatural.

--How many levels of speed are there?

5.

--What is the pattern for the movement of the st4 boss?

There are 3 patterns, and they're chosen randomly. Actually, it isn't completely random... maybe if you investigate a bit, you'll discover it?

--What is the pattern for the movement of the st5 boss?

Its completely random. A point near the top of the screen is chosen, and if you approach that it moves slowly, and if you're far from it, he moves quickly. Then it repeats.

--Why does the score show at the end of each stage like that?

We wanted to encourage competition between players, and make them more conscious of the scoring. Its like a report card.



1998 R-Type Delta Developer Interview


Hiroya Kita - Director
Takayasu Itou - Programmer
Koichi Kita - Designer

Project Origins and 3D Challenges

Takayasu: I believe we started development for R-Type Delta after the AOU show, at the time Raystorm was released.

Hiroya: Biohazard had just been released for the Playstation.

Koichi: Polygon STGs really started trickling in once Raystorm had been released.

Hiroya: There was this tacit understanding among the development staff that the "Playstation was superior for 3D," and it was our first time doing full-scale work with polygons as well. So at first we had all these big ideas, but when we tried actually developing in 3D, we came to realize the limits of it... so in that sense as well, we were surprised at how high quality Raystorm was.

Koichi: In 2D games the screen simply scrolls forward, so you can clearly distinguish between what you can and can't see. But with polygons, the perspective changes.

Takayasu: It would be nice if everything could be fully rendered, but everything would become too slow then. I had to see where I could free up some processing speed.

Hiroya: In addition to those non-game concerns, issues with the 3D perspective came up in the gameplay. R-Type is a game with terrain, but with polygonal terrain its difficult to determine the hitbox and whether you'll crash into the terrain or not. The Force made it even more difficult. In 2D the Force looked normal in relation to the terrain, but with polygons it looked fake no matter what we did. 3D is, in a certain sense, more realistic, but that very realism has a tendency to expose the illusion of the games. We faced this problem many times. Of course with R-Type Delta we did our best to get around this, but the gameplay ultimately takes precedence.

Ship Design

Hiroya: Increasing the number of ships was something we decided at the planning stage. We wanted the game to have replayability. But just adding a single ship and having two choices was somehow unsatisfying, and we didn't like it much. But if there were 3, then it would have some relation to "delta" as well, since the symbol for delta is a triangle. Though, actually, we decided on the title Delta after that.

Our concept for the ships was "without changing the R-Type gameplay, do something completely different." Our first goal was to make it feel like a totally different game whenever you chose a different ship. Rather than having branching stage paths, we felt we could expand the depth of the game by increasing your choices with ships.

The standard R-9 is the normal ship, the mainstay of the R-Type series. We decided on that one right away, and creating the R-X was also relatively straightforward. But we really got lost on what to do for the third ship. We decided pretty early that it would use some kind of wire type weapon. But it wasn't the finished product you see today, which can be swung around the ship... at first it was just a straight line extending from the ship. We then came up with the idea of the Force devouring enemies, and it became the ship you see today. We originally intended to make the R-13 with the most hardcore, skilled players in mind. As such we planned for it to be the most different of all the ships from the traditional R-Type design. I had the impression that this an evil ship, being closer to the Bydo organism, and wanted to give it a sinister feeling, so we added the unlucky number 13 to the ship designation. The people working on the story and setting got mad and told me I'd gone to far, to suddenly jump from the R-9 model to the R-13. They said it caused them problems. (laughs)

But the thing that actually gave us the most trouble in practice was the R-X. We couldn't decide on the lasers that would fire from the Force tentacles. The red and yellow ones we did relatively quickly, but we just couldn't figure out what to do for the blue laser. We revised it to death, over and over, finally arriving at what you see today. Though it is my favorite weapon, that laser.

Takayasu: I was begging for mercy by the end. (laughs)

Hiroya: You know, I had many other ideas for improvements and changes to the Force's capabilities that I submitted, but they never got implemented. I wonder how it would have gone if we had tried...?

Koichi: We'd probably still be working on it. (laughs)

Hiroya: We were able to realize most of our plans, but during the development, the RX was like a child in school that kept being held back.

Takayasu: If it weren't for him things would've been easy! (laughs)

Hiroya: Yeah, the R-9 was the basic ship, so we made the stages with it in mind first. Then, in reverse, when we designed the other ships they had to match the stages we had already made, so they were more difficult.

Koichi: The shape and design of the R-13 is supposed to convey the image of a villain. You could say the R-9 is from the Earth Federation, and the R-13 is from the Republic of Zeon...

Hiroya: No, don't say that! (laughs)

Koichi: For the R-X, we aimed for something new. We wanted it to look neutral, neither good nor bad, in comparison with the other two ships.

Hiroya: That said, in the end it came out looking pretty stylish.

Takayasu: It all turned out ok.

Koichi: Personally, I like the R-13 the most. It has that allure of the villain. And it looks like a Yakuza car or something. (laughs)

On the title "R-Type Delta"

Hiroya: I thought of the title myself. When we petitioned for ideas within the company and by email, no one responded.

Koichi: On the initial planning documents, the title was "R-Type EVE." Everyone who saw that was like, "seriously?"

Hiroya: The person who wrote that was very serious. (laughs) It was "R-EVE" at first. It came from Hideaki Sena's novel Parasite Eve. I really liked the combination of the words "parasite" and "eve." But the "R-EVE" title was really poorly received by the staff. When I asked everyone's opinions, unsurprisingly they said if the name wasn't "R-Type" or "R-Type IV" or something similar, no one would recognize it. And R-EVE didn't sound cool. So if we were going to do a straight, conventional title, it should be "R-Type IV", but somehow we didn't want to do something so straightforward.

In the meantime, with the title temporarily set to "R-Type something" in order to placate everyone, I was thinking of new titles. I wanted something that would sum up the previous history with an emphatic full-stop, while also conveying an entirely new sensation. And since it was a full polygon game, I wondered how it would be if the title had some kind of symbol in it. There were various ideas like R-Type ■
(square symbol), R-Type ● (circle symbol). I didn't want a number, but rather a simple shape with the minimal planes and points necessary to form a polygon. I also knew that a symbol might be fine in a title, but it would be a problem if people didn't know how to pronounce it, so in the end we settled on a triangle. When I thought of it, it struck me that there were three ships, and the delta symbol suggests the image of a polygon as well, so I sent the whole staff a questionnaire to get their feedback and they all agreed it was good--a very rare moment. But the producer alone objected a little. He thought it would be hard to say, and didn't have any euphony when spoken. But I said most people wouldn't pronounce the full title "R-Type Delta", but would just call it "Delta." And the delta symbol actually means "4"... in so many ways the title accorded with the project and felt like it was meant to be.

On the difficulty modes

Takayasu: This time we brought back the old Kid's Mode, and difference between the modes is extreme. Naturally "Human Mode" is the standard difficulty setting. In Kid's Mode, you always start with the Force even if you die. At first we thought that would be sufficient to make the difficulty easier, but after getting feedback, we realized it was still too hard. Regardless of whether you have the Force or not, there are still tough sections, so we made the enemies weaker, and just kept making things easier, and easier, and easier...

Hiroya: Yeah, so compared with Human mode, Kid's Mode is far easier. Adjusting the difficulty in STGs is always the most difficult problem for us as developers. With arcades, you can always do multiple location tests to gather data, but the situation with console development is completely different. I'm a person who originally started out making arcade games, but at the arcade, when I put that 100 yen coin in, I become a customer, and I can clearly see things from the perspective of that customer. So we're always trying to make games with the end users in mind, but for console games, you're developing and testing the software before there's been any commitment to purchase it. Even if you ask a person's opinion about the game and make it according to their wishes, in the end, whether they'll buy it or not is another story. Just making it easy won't make them buy it, nor will just making it hard. Discerning the right difficulty level for console games is very tough. If you do make it difficult, you've got to keep in mind that it should be a "rewarding difficulty."

During an interview for a gaming industry magazine, I was asked about the difficulty setting. "Why did you make it this difficult? Is everyone on the Irem development staff really good at STGs?" But that isn't the case. For STG memorizers, there are certainly a lot of parts you have to memorize, and we tried to make a game where the player can experience the enjoyment of learning while he plays, applying his experience to overcome the challenges we've set for him.

Koichi: We kind of hoped that by the first day, players would reach the Awakening stage (stage 6) and stop there. Then, while sleeping, they'd be dreaming about how to get through it. That was the kind of difficulty balance we aimed for.

Hiroya: We tried to balance the recovery sections the same way. With arcades its often said that the more you die, the more money you have to spend to advance, and that kind of balance is ideal from the arcade operator's perspective. But we'd like to hear from the users who have bought R-Type Delta what they think about the difficulty. In the end, the players' opinions take precedence. So please send us your thoughts, and don't hold back. (laughs)



2003 R-Type Final Interview


Kujo Kazuma: Producer (In the Hunt, Metal Slug, R-Type Delta, Disaster Report)
Kita Koichi: Chief Designer
Yamada Hiroaki: Designer

Development Background

Kujo: Until recently, Irem had regularly released games for the R-Type series. About 3 years ago, actually, we talked about releasing a new R-Type game for the PS2, but the plan fizzled out. There was a lot of anxiety about whether the game would sell well, given that STG is not a mainstream genre. We all understand when a manager is worried that a game won't sell and says to stop the project, but this time it seemed that the production staff at Irem also felt it wouldn't sell, so it never got off the ground.

But from the perspective of people like myself at Irem who love R-Type, this just wasn't acceptable. At that time I was working on the "Zettai Zetsumei Toshi" series, but I resolved to do something about it, and went to the staff one by one and tried to persuade them and gain their support for a new R-Type. I said things like "Now that you've joined Irem, you've got to make an R-Type game at least once!" Since almost everyone loved Irem's STG games, it all went down rather easily. (laughs)

When I'd hear the developers say things like "shooting games can't sell", I'd think to myself, "Don't say that. If you think that way, you've lost before you've begun, and its an insult to the R-Type name." So when we started the project, I was very determined. Also, the requests from players to make another R-Type kept steadily coming in, and that was another motivator. Players wrote various things on their personal homepages, too. Knowing there were people showing their love for the series was a big encouragement. It went beyond just liking it... they were really passionate about it.

The Final R-Type

Kujo: This will be the last R-Type game Irem releases. If we didn't add "Final" to the title this time, players would be waiting expectantly forever. It gradually dawned on me how cruel that would be, so from the start I thought it would better to say up front, "this is the end." I also felt that if we could make a STG that you could play for a very long time, then maybe players wouldn't have any reason to wait for a new release. Our slogan during the development was "Let's make a STG you can play for 100 years." This was our plan from the very start, so the title on the production papers also says "R-Type FINAL (draft title)". Then all we did was remove the "draft title" part. Though I do think players who see FINAL in the title will probably get mad and think "what gives them right to say that?"

The final "thank you" section of the manual was our way of saying thanks to all the players who have supported us for so long. Within Irem, we realized it was the "final" game, and we were able to show our gratitude to the players in a variety of ways. For example, the box label comes in 4 colors, the first press comes with dogtags, and although at first there was talk of raising the price to 6800 yen, someone said "that's not how you show gratitude to our fans" and it was dropped. And whenever I asked the staff to redo things because this was the final R-Type game, the staff was like, "well, since its the final game, I guess we've got to do it." (laughs) We knew it was the last game from the start--there would be no do-overs. "FINAL II" wasn't going to happen!

New Ideas and the history of R-Type

Kujo: One of the first things we decided was that we wanted to do something unexpected and unpredictable. So, in that vein, one of our initial design drawings was of a girl jogging with the R-9 flying in the sky overhead. Inspired by the drawing, we thought it would be interesting to show the R-9 flying in our everyday environment, soaring past us in our commute, on the way to school, etc. The opening movie, showing the R-9 flying over modern-day cities, reflects that idea. That's also why stage 1.0 begins with the R-9 flying over the ocean. The main thing we were resolved on was: no more starting from a space station! We also made the location where you fight the huge battleship not some "space warp dimension" or such, but in the sky above high-rise buildings. When players destroyed the buildings, we wanted them to wonder, "Is it ok for me to destroy the city like this...?"

Recent STG games cover the screen in bullets, but we weren't consciously trying to go to the other extreme. The original R-Type was released long, long ago, and we wanted to show players that we understand its essential gameplay. We didn't have any anxiety about going against the trend of current STGs. However, the image everyone has about R-Type isn't just for its gameplay, but also for the design and world. There were many things that were considered fixed and settled like that. From all different corners people would say "R-Type has to be like this," and to be honest, there were times when it was stifling. We wanted to break through those preconceptions, though by R-Type Delta we had already gone 3D and added cities you could fly through. (laughs)

I talked with some of the senior programmers, and it sounded like they had a lot of trouble creating the Force in the original R-Type. They originally planned for it to also be attachable above and below your ship. In the end, I think they did a good job refining the design. Since R-Type is a game for hardcore STG fans, I think only being able to equip the Force front and back gives it a nice simplicity, you know? They also told me that it was originally a 3-button game, for missile, shot, and Force, but due to business reasons they were asked to reduce it to 2 buttons. I heard that they then tried out various things to compensate for the missing button, like making the Force shot come out by waggling the joystick back and forth. (laughs)

[[tr note: the term used here is "rebaa gachi", which means to fiercely waggle/move the joystick back and forth. Its usually used in fighting games to wake up from a dizzy/paralyzed state. I assume he laughs here because of how awkward a system like that would be.]]

In R-Type, the only equipment power-up for your ship are the missiles. You start with the wave cannon already. On top of that, the Force is never destroyed no matter how much damage it takes, which I think is very generous. From the players perspective, they may think the Force allows for an easy victory. But thats a trap. (laughs) As basic design rules, naturally we left those three things in R-Type Final: the Force is indestructible, you can release and fire it, and it can be attached front and rear.

During the development of R-Type Delta, we tested out whether dying or not dying when you crash into the terrain would be fun. To be honest, its easier to make a game where hitting the terrain will kill you. It makes it easier to set the difficulty of the game. When terrain doesn't kill you, if the terrain will also stop enemy bullets, it becomes way too easy. But when we actually tried it for R-Type Delta, we found that making the terrain non-lethal didn't automatically weaken the strategic nature of the game. I think it actually raised it. Part of the fun of the R-Type series comes from its chess-like nature. When you die, the player thinks things like "I should have moved here," or "I should have equipped the Force behind me." Its important that little clues are left for the player to figure out what went wrong. That allows the player to progress through his own abilities. If he thinks "this part is impossible," he'll probably stop playing then and there. Feeling a sense of improvement, that he played better today than yesterday, is a strength of the R-Type series.

While developing R-Type Final, I was reminded again how good the first R-Type was. I have to admit that even now I often end up saying the first R-Type is the best. With R-Type Delta we felt like we were really battling against the first R-Type, trying to best it, but this time that sense of competition wasn't there. Since I'd already created an entry in the series, to a certain extent I was more relaxed.

R-Type Console Design

Kujo: We were conscious this time of making an R-Type game that could only be done with consoles. To that end we tried to "raise the volume" by including more ships and stages. We wanted something incomparably greater than the standard equation of "3 ships, 8 stages." (laughs) You have to play for 120 minutes to unlock ships, but if you keep playing it everyday you'll steadily acquire new ships. Regarding branching stages, we wanted to suprise players: "Huh? I thought there was more water here yesterday." That was an idea we had at the start, a stage where the water level would change.

The reason you can't save during the stages is because we doubted whether the strategic tension could be maintained that way. When you start stage 5.0, we wanted the players to reach it with the feeling of tension that comes from just having cleared stage 4.0. Its goes against the trend of recent STGs, but we insisted on giving players that experience.

Regarding the AI battle mode, I actually developed the arcade game "In the Hunt", and if you play with 2 players you can fight each other at the end. This time we wanted the player to feel a kind of cute, pet-like attachment to the ships so we made it so you couldn't control them. While watching them battle it should feel like "No, not that!" or "Ah, more to the right!"

Ship Design

Kita: There's a lot of ships this time, but at the start of development, I was thinking that number would be reduced somewhere along the way. (laughs)

Kujo: No one took it seriously. So I drew a flow chart of the different ships on a piece of paper, and stuck it on everyone's cubicle. Finally they all realized it was for real! But as the versions of the ships kept changing, I kept having to update that flow chart, and everytime I pinned it back up they'd all complain. I worked on the flow chart by myself as the development progressed, keeping the story in mind... I'd make a lightweight version of a ship, or a version without armor, things like that. From the start I also wanted to included ships from Image Fight and Mr. Heli, to give the game an Irem All Stars kind of feel.

I was wondering how to display all the ships for the player... not a hangar or a factory, but maybe a museum or a graveyard. If we went with a museum, I thought it would be cool to show people around the ships admiring them. The ship designs themselves started off with the R-9A as our base, and gradually got further and further from that, until in the end, anything was possible.

Kita: All the designers were saying we didn't want to make ships that would look so similar it would be like a "spot the difference" puzzle game. Instead, we tried as hard as possible to differentiate one from another.

Yamada: We didn't want them to all be seen as variations on the same ship. But I'm an R-Type fan, and there were also ships where I worried it was too strange of a design.

Kujo: For that reason I told everyone not to just make ships you personally liked--it had to be ones where you felt you really wanted to use it in the game. That way, for each ship there would probably be a player who found it their favorite. Without that kind of limitation, making a lot of ships would be pointless.

Yamada: I struggled with the designs that had only minor changes. If you changed them too much, it wouldn't be like the original version anymore. With so many ships by the end of development, I ended up making more that looked stern and fierce, with antennas and claws and so forth.

Kujo: The ship design work was very popular among the staff. We ended up adding more and more designers to the team, and there were a lot of people who said "ship design" when I asked them what they wanted to do. The ship that has a canopy like a test-tube was done by a person who had never even played R-Type. He was trying to imitate the R-9, and had that accidental success. Normally that would be a design failure, but with a lineage of ships this varied, I thought there would might be extreme designs like that, too. Someone joked that if it had a test tube like that, it should have measurement markings on it as well, and I was afraid someone would actually do that. (laughs) From that idea came the new story idea of a pilot who floats within the liquid filled "test tube" canopy.

Yamada: To get into the nitty-gritty, the first R-Type ship canopy actually has lines that go straight down on the sides--its not circularly rounded like a test tube. Somewhere around the Super Famicom R-Types, that curved canopy design came out. I'm rather conservative (laughs), so I made all my canopy designs look like the first ship.

Kujo: One thing I requested was not to make the bottom part of the ships too level or flat... I wanted the ships to look like they would get smashed up if they tried to land. Since its a horizontal STG where you fly through the air, if the bottom portion didn't protrude to a certain degree, it would look unstable on the screen.

Yamada: That's why we focused on having a triangluar balance to the ships, when viewed from the side.

Kujo: The robot transforming type ship was an idea I had long ago from the original R-Type. I thought it would be nice to include ideas in the final R-Type that couldn't be realized in the first.

Kita: I struggled with knowing how far to go with the designs. I was excited, but also a little worried, about how people would react to particularly strange ship designs like the caterpillar shaped ship. I know a lot of designers also worried about the Force designs.

Kujo: Yeah, when the "Platonic Love" ship was finished, I remember saying to the designer "If the ship is going to be about love, I don't see how platonic fits here." He got really angry with me. (laughs)

Yamada: In R-Type, when the Force is attached to your ship, it rotates with it. I thought the level of thoroughness of the design was amazing. So if it wasn't going to rotate, we still needed to make something that would look cool. I thought there were times when it would have looked better to have it rotate, and that was troubling. When coming up with ideas for the Force I looked to a variety of ships from other STGs. I wondered how a Force would look for the GALLOP ship? Though, I'm not really sure how many people there are who even know GALLOP. (laughs)

"Final" Words

Kujo: Because of our fans' ardent devotion to R-Type, we were able to make this game. Without that I don't think it would have been made. We crafted the game carefully, transferring our knowledge of R-Type to the junior staff, so we hope our fans will enjoy the game. I've said it many times now, but this is the last R-Type game. I hope players see it as a farewell ceremony, like spreading the ashes of R-Type. Here lies R-Type! So please, try it for yourself.

Kita: We developed the game thinking it would be something you could really sink your teeth into, and find new flavors each time. So please enjoy it.

Yamada: Don't be thinking, "they'll just make another one." Please enjoy our final game!
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Last edited by blackoak on Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:29 am 


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R-Type + Terra Cresta = ???

I dunno, maybe it would've been Mag Max.

Test tube! Somebody also should do a skin for the "Platonic Love" craft to make it fit Kujo's intentions better.


Last edited by Ed Oscuro on Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:29 am 


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Effusive praise, words of thanks, encouragement to post more, blah blah blah... ;)
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:10 am 


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Oh boy, what a treat. Thank you so much blackoak. Would love to hear about R-Type II, III, and Leo though, especially for the Nazca connections. Delta and Final were made after the Nazca people left IREM.

EDIT: Do you mind if I ask exactly where on http://www.geocities.jp/bgrtype/gsl/ you're finding these? I can't seem to navigate to links to the actual interviews anywhere on their website.
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Last edited by MathU on Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:27 am 


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Thanks.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:07 am 



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BulletMagnet wrote:
Effusive praise, words of thanks, encouragement to post more, blah blah blah... ;)

Also, thanks for listening to my request!


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:47 am 


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Last month was R-Type's 25th anniversary. This thread is a much better service for that than I could have made. Also, going to buy R-Type Final now, even if I don't ever feel like playing it.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:17 am 


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thanks everyone, its my pleasure as always :)

MathU wrote:
Do you mind if I ask exactly where on http://www.geocities.jp/bgrtype/gsl/ you're finding these? I can't seem to navigate to links to the actual interviews anywhere on their website.


Its weirdly organized, but in the lower right corner of all the menus, there's a "インタビまとめ" heading, followed by a kana index with all the interviews there. The R-Type ones are under "あ" for アールタイプ

The other links mostly go to staff rolls and endings btw. I checked the Batrider one, but unfortunately only a few of the endings are posted. I'd like to translate them all properly, though the Engrish is funny in its own right.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:02 am 


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Aha, thanks.


Awww yeah, there's an Undercover Cops interview.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:23 am 


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Yeah, there's truly a ton there! I want to translate some things from other favorite series sometime... there's Rockman stuff, Square RPGs, Dragon Quest... not to mention a ton of other arcade games.

The thing is, a lot of the interviews are more promotional in flavor, having been done around the release of the given game. And others are just inconsequential or light. So far, its been about 60/40 in terms of deep/shallow content, but as there's so much there, that's still a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be unearthed...

I'm kind of surprised the ostensible game historians at hardcoregaming haven't picked up on this resource yet. Must be others, too...
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:04 am 


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thanks, are there any pictures of the making of the original R-TYPE '87 ?

Id like to see those programmer faces. For me its really the best game ever made.


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:28 pm 


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Huge thanks for this. It was cool reading about the background on my favorite shmups of all time. And I felt really sad reading about Final - the devs clearly loved the franchise and wanted to go out dancing. Makes me want to play the game again and maybe actually clear it this time.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:48 pm 


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^ Same here. Their comments on the all the ships and the museum almost made me want to delete my save and collect them all over again, but I checked myself before I wrecked myself.

Thanks very much for another brilliant read, blackoak!


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:43 pm 


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Man, you just keep bringing the goodness. :shock: Thanks as always! Besides my trusty ST/FAQ folder I keep another steadily growing one in my gaming room just for your translations. They really deserve reading in a comfy chair.

Like many others, I wish Final hadn't gone in the Gran Turismo-esque direction it did, but it's nice to hear what the rationale was from the devs themselves.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:44 am 



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Hi, blackoak!

Great job on the translations, it's nice to hear some more about the development of R-Type. I don't seem to be able to PM you right now, so I'll have to make a public post in your topic. Forgive me!

My name is GlitterBerri, and I run a game translation website at http://www.glitterberri.com where I've been working on translating developer interviews from GSL and other sources. I haven't tackled any shooting games yet, however. Would you be interested in sharing your interviews on the site? I get 2000 ~ 5000 unique visitors a day, so your work would get quite a bit of attention, and more fans could learn about the history behind the series. You'd have full creative control over your translations and how they were presented, and could even post your own stuff.

Shoot me an email at glitterberri.com@gmail.com if you'd like to discuss this further. Keep up the good work!


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:05 pm 


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I find it amusing that the R-9W Wiseman was created by someone who had never played an R-Type game.
Well, props to him I guess! :P

It's a nice design overall, I wouldn't fly it though....too scary with the tube and stuff.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:19 pm 


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I sent GlitterBerri an email, but just to let everyone know, my translations will always be completely free for reposting. I certainly appreciate the gesture of courtesy, but no permission is necessary to link or republish the work in whole or part. :wink:
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:35 am 


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Just wow! Thanks so much for these, especially hearing Akio speak! Would be wonderful if an R-Type II interview surfaced one day also. Massive thanks again.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:05 pm 


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This was a great read! Thanks, man!
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:45 pm 



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These interviews are great and they also evoke a strange feeling at the same time - like opening a time capsule.

Please keeping unearthing this lost/missing information for the gaijin.

Thank you blackoak.


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:21 pm 



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Thanks to blackoak's generosity in allowing me to rehost his translations!

I've formatted and published the R-Type developer interview here:

http://www.glitterberri.com/r-type/the-creation-of-r-type/

I'm not sure how much difference the pictures and videos will make, but hopefully a greater number of people will be able to see and enjoy his work, at the very least. :) I'll continue to do the same with his other translations. Perhaps someday we'll have a full collection of GSL's interviews assembled on one site!

For the time being, others can be found here, though only blackoak has done any related to shooting games so far:

http://www.glitterberri.com/developer-interviews/


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:07 pm 


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Nice site GlitterBerri, bookmarked. :smile:
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:34 am 


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In the second interview we got full names, but does anyone know the full names of the original r-type staff? Abiko? I have not seen that name anywhere else while the other interview gives us names Hiroya Kita etc.

Also Koichi Kita is the common link between Delta and Leo but Hiroya Kita is absent in the last interview. Hence Hiroya might have jumped ship.


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:48 am 


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Many gems in these interviews, an enjoyable read.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:26 pm 


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@Laurel, IIRC I tried to find out their real names via various jp sites and searches, but came up with nothing. Still possible there's info out there that I didn't find though.
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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:59 pm 


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Holy crap, I just realized their original design idea was Katamari As A Shooter. (Sort of.)


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 Post subject: Re: R-Type Developer Interview Collection
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:40 am 


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blackoak wrote:
@Laurel, IIRC I tried to find out their real names via various jp sites and searches, but came up with nothing. Still possible there's info out there that I didn't find though.


Thanks. Yeah, I am. Trying to compile a list of Irem employees. The two Kitas seem to be the primary ones until the later days. Scrap is credited for sound in r-type Leo or delta forget which.

Btw your avatar is Keiji Haino?


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