Creators Interview 006: Maekawa Shirou

Windii Jun 22nd, 2018 (edited) 970 Never
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  2. For the 6th "Creators Interview", we introduce Maekawa Shirou, the one in charge of story in Sonic Adventure 2 / Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.
  4. Profile:
  5. Maekawa Shirou
  6. Sega / First GE R&D Department / Planning Section
  7. AZEL Panzer Dragoon RPG - Map designer
  8. Sonic Adventure - Map designer, Chao game designer
  9. Sonic Adventure 2 / Sonic Adventure 2 Battle - Scenario, unit director, event production
  10. Sonic Heroes - Game designer, scenario, unit director
  11. Sonic X - Story supervisor
  13. "My life goal is to "move someone emotionally with a game I made"
  15. --Since we began the "Creators Interview Survey" on August 1st, 2006, the most numerous comments we got up until the middle of the month were, "Because the story of Sonic Adventure 2 / Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was incredibly moving, we would definitely like to hear from the person in charge of that story."
  16. And so, for this Creators Interview, we would like to speak to the one in charge of Sonic Adventure / Sonic Adventure 2 Battle's story, Maekawa Shirou.
  17. We are pleased to have you!
  19. Same here, thanks for having me.
  21. --What were your thoughts upon seeing today's survey results?
  23. Honestly I am very happy!
  25. Because my life goal also happened to be "to emotionally move someone with a game I made", I don't care when I'm going to die now. (laughs)
  27. --When did you join Sonic Team? Which title did you start being in charge of story with? Can you tell us about the titles (not limited to Sonic) whose stories you were in charge of until now?
  29. I have been part of Sonic Team since Sonic Adventure. I began working on story in earnest since SA2.
  31. Speaking of titles besides Sonic, I wrote just a little bit of event scenario in AZEL Panzer Dragoon RPG from the Saturn era.
  32. I made up a conversation event with the protagonist and the heroine, selfishly bringing out a lovey-dovey atmosphere, and thus disgusting the surrounding staff.
  33. It was probably because it was a tough guy game. (strained laugh)
  35. --When it comes to working on story, what kinds of processes do you undergo to create it? What is the source of your ideas? Do you have anything to refer to?
  37. Well uh, strangely enough, when I'm rereading a story that I wrote, my head hurts wondering how could I possibly have written a story like that.
  39. If I remember correctly, during the making of SA2, I settled on most of the story and setting beforehand, and then the game's stages were adapted to it.
  40. Conversely, in Sonic Heroes, action stages originated first, and the story filled the gaps.
  42. I think the source of my ideas must have been greatly influenced by having watched/read manga and anime since I was a kid.
  44. In my favorite scene in SA2, there is a scene where Shadow and Maria are gazing at the Earth from the space colony, and this scene is greatly influenced by one of my top 3 favorite manga, "Please Save My Earth".
  46. In fact, the voice of Maria is done by Please Save My Earth's heroine's voice actress (Shiratori Yuri), which I felt was like destiny.
  48. --When working on SA2's story, at which points did you struggle? Could you tell us what you were upset about and what you enjoyed as well?
  50. Somehow, I was the only one who made a ruckus by saying, "This time, Sonic will go into space! Because it's already the 21st century!" for no reason, and I remember the surrounding staff staring with their jaws dropped.
  52. In the end, my words got everyone involved:
  53. "Well, we got no other choice, so let's go into space together."
  54. And with that kind of mood, we ended up creating the space colony's stages...
  56. We ended up doing it as if we were carried away by fever with no basis, but I was very happy when everyone on the team approved of that and made better settings (action stages and event stages) than I imagined, and I enjoyed that.
  58. As for things I was upset about...
  59. I really can't suppress my regret at the fact there were scenes that I had tearfully cut due to schedule circumstances.
  60. I was so upset I thought that if at that moment God had appeared and said, "In exchange for having those scenes made, hand over one of your arms." I would have cut off my arm without hesitation.
  61. This was a moment when I fully realized that when people talk about true overwhelming sorrow, this is what they mean.
  63. "Doing it alone within my ability"
  65. --We've looked at your storyboards. We were surprised to know that all the illustration parts were done by you as well. Are there a lot of cases when a person in charge of planning goes as far as to make a storyboard like that? You are quite skillful at drawing, but where did you study with regards to illustration?
  67. Oh no, I feel really embarrassed.
  68. The planners have been making event storyboards since the SA1 days, but it's been divided in a way that CG movies are handled by designers and real-time events are handled by planners.
  70. I have drawn up storyboards for all of SA2, but I think cases like this are rare.
  72. I originally wanted to become an animator, but because I didn't have the drawing skill, I gave up on that profession. But, having learned that the so-called unit direction (storyboards) and story creation has nothing to do with drawing skill, I've taken on the opportunity to be in charge of story for SA2, and I taught myself how to draw continuity and pictures, doing it alone within my ability.
  74. --What do you work on besides stories?
  75. I do a lot of so-called character supervision work. Going to voice recording sessions for a Sonic costume show and talking to the voice actors is a really fun job. (laughs)
  77. --Could you tell us your incentive for having joined Sega?
  79. When I joined the company, the next gen console war of 32 bit was just beginning, and I wanted to fight that war under Sega's insignia, so I hastened to join Sega with that thought in mind.
  81. --Did you think about what you wanted to do upon joining Sega?
  83. I really did think of doing something powerful like stories from the start.
  85. --What did you put effort into during school?
  87. I've been making 8mm films since high school days. Afterwards I did things like writing novels in class while pretending to be copying the blackboard, so in any case, I don't think I was a great student.
  89. --Besides work, can we hear of your hobbies?
  91. Making transforming and combining toys transform and combine.
  92. My recent favorites are Chogokin Aquarion and Bukiborg.
  94. --What are you currently working on?
  96. I've recently been in charge of action stage design and events for the Wii Sonic title.
  97. I am also working on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 title Sonic the Hedgehog's story composition, among other things.
  99. --Of all the things you've worked on until now, which one has left the most impression on you?
  101. That has to be Sonic Adventure 2.
  103. "The Secret Story of Shadow's Birth"
  105. --Who is your most favorite character in the Sonic series? Please explain why.
  107. Shadow the Hedgehog.
  108. In fact, I also happen to be his creator, and I feel that I have a stronger bond with him than my real relatives.
  109. I no longer consider him a stranger.
  110. I can't use Chaos Control, though. (laughs)
  112. --It seems that Shadow the Hedgehog was created by you. Would you please tell us the secret story of Shadow's birth?
  114. Oh man, that was an extremely difficult delivery. (as in birth)
  115. The proposition was to create a character as cool as Sonic, if not more so, after all. (laughs)
  117. I settled on creating a black hedgehog, but it took a considerable amount of time for him to start speaking in my head.
  119. One late night, when I was thinking up lines for the Sonic VS Shadow confrontation scene while driving home from work, after Sonic was like:
  120. "I found you. You impostor!"
  121. Shadow replied for the first time, "Impostor? Hmph, aren't you the fake one here?"
  122. And from his tone of voice that echoed in my head came my decision to give him the "boku" personal pronoun.
  124. His "boku" personal pronoun is very popular with women, but I remember there being a lot of dissenting opinions about it among the team at first.
  125. But I personally pictured Shadow as a very subtle and pure character, so the "boku" was a part I could not throw away.
  127. --Who is Sonic to you?
  129. To be honest, I did not like the Sonic from the Mega Drive days. Honestly, it didn't fit his character.
  130. That is why when I was invested in Sonic Adventure I enthusiastically went, "I'm gonna create a Sonic that I like!" and I acted rashly in various ways (like dropping a tub onto my head), and in the end it was like I was more or less dancing on the palm of Sonic's hand.
  131. His chest is huge. I can't compete with that.
  133. --Could you tell us any advice you have to young people who aspire to work in the game industry?
  135. In fact, when you join the game industry, your will lose the time to study, so I would like you to study up on various things while you can.
  136. Then, if you have the knowledge and the skill that is in no way inferior to anyone, I think that alone will surely support you in difficult situations. No matter what they are.
  138. --Finally, would you like to give a word to everyone who's watching Sonic Channel?
  140. Thank you for always supporting Sonic and Sonic Channel.
  141. I don't think Sonic will stop running any time soon, so please continue to run after him by all means.
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