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    Gwendal

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    Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:37 pm

    Hello. As some of you might know, I've been doing translations of various Xeno-related materials for a while, first on GameFAQs and then on XenoTensei. Since the latter site is unforuntately down for the time being, I've decided to move my translation work here instead. Over the last few months, I've been slowly making my way through the last untranslated pages of the Episode 1 ODM. Funnily enough, this interview is actually the very last page that was left as far as I know, so the ODM translation should be complete with this. That also means I'm taking requests, so please go ahead and ask if there's anything else you need translated. I'm much better at written materials than audio, though, and if it's related to Xenogears or Blade, I guess it should be in a separate topic in their respective forums. Or...?

    Fortunately, I make a habit of saving whatever I was working on last time as a just-in-case backup, which means that I have the complete Page 222 interview here.

    PAGE 222 - INTERVIEW WITH THE DEVELOPERS 5

    Interview with Mr. Tsutomu Terada

    Profile

    Tsutomu Terada: Born in 1972. Freelancer. Was in charge of monster designs, and contributed to development of the game as an artist. Based on his long experience in [game] development, he was focused on the design of structures that would break expecations, while constantly paying attention to whether features could be feasibly realized or not. He considers fundamentals to be very important, and likes using a method where progress comes from fundamental theories. He seeks designs that make sense instead of just being cool for the sake of it. He says he's a bit of a coward and therefore can't achieve anything without a clear point of reference, and relies on gathering documentation and his training in [having the right] mindset to get things done.


    Interviewer: What were you focused on with the Gnosis designs?

    Terada: The image keywords Mr. Takahashi gave me were "spirits", "mysterious", "beautiful", "like living beings", and also a feel along the lines of "[bower/bois/bowa]". [Really not sure about that last one, seems to be some sort of foreign loanword, but I can't figure it out]. I couldn't look at all of it as a big whole, so I made them one by one, with this monster having two elements, this one having three [and so on]. In the beginning, I designed them in an exaggerated way. Kind of like geometry, or like a collection of blocks.

    Interviewer: Cubism?

    Terada: That's right. Since having joints gives [the design] a sense of rigidity, I wanted to try making something outside of that box. But I feel like I definitely took that too far, so I reined it in a bit, and thought about the kinds of places the Gnosis would inhabit. [They would need] a body shape that would function in space. So I started thinking along the lines of "space = the ocean" and came up with the idea of sea creatures, and after that it was a straightforward decision.

    Interviewer: And apart from shapes and textures?

    Terada: I tried to avoid drawing eyes as much as possible. If they have eyes, they feel more sentient, and then they're not as scary anymore. You start feeling like they might help you if you could just find some way to talk things through with them. So making them entities it wouldn't be possible to reason with was one reason, but even without taking that into account, I might not have given them eyes anyway. If you have two eyes, you've also got one nose and one mouth. That kind of design is just like the animals we have around here [in real life]. It's not mysterious. So I tried to give them a slightly odd feel by drawing a mouth without eyes, or an eye without a mouth, and so on.

    Interviewer: So those are the fundamentals of monster design?

    Terada: There's also what you might call the "easy way". In that case, you stick to the fundamental design, [and make] something that 100 people out of 100 would see and think "that's a goblin". [A bit unsure about this one, sorry]

    Interviewer: You trace the symbols, then?

    Terada: That's right. When you're working with a standard, you consult the materials, and thoroughly stick to that standard. On the other hand, with more freedom, you can deviate much more. For example, if you suppose that "something long would be scary", snakes come to mind. You use that as a foundation. You can also use any number of insects, and so on. You go flying off in the direction of piercing heresy.

    Interviewer: What's important when it comes to materials relating to [making] design standards?

    Terada: For example, even if we're both thinking about clothes, the outfits designed by me might be different from the ones designed by a fashion designer. But instead of becoming stubborn and just consider it by myself, I'd rather borrow the wisdom of those who have gone before and bring it all together going forwards. If I keep at it by myself, I'll just end up becoming biased. That's when I'll consult the materials to correct my course. There's a lot of good sense in that wisdom from our predecessors. There's a reason behind everything in the world.

    Interviewer: What was the standard for the Gnosis in this game? Heresy?

    Terada: Their shapes are sharp heresy, but their exteriors came from the materials. I gave them a textures that would feel like something no one else could have thought up. That made them feel strangely "alive".

    Interviewer: How about the designs for those Gnosis with "easy way" names like "Gremlin", "Goblin", "Golem" and so on?

    Terada: My plan with those was to make people who saw them mistake, say, something that would be gremlin from is appearance for a cyclops. Those were designs that would safeguard one special element, while letting the rest collapse. Everything but the general outline would crumble, and that's okay. Humans see objects in terms of outlines. With older hardware, we couldn't show much more than that. We're recognize things like a heavy person or an inverted triangle through their characteristic shapes, and so we picked up the habit of thinking in terms of outlines. A person is expressed through his or her boundary lines from others.
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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by katimus_prime on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:29 pm

    That sure is some kinda timing. *_*

    Interesting article, too! I always thought the Gnosis were definitely unique in their design. Monolith didn't have the backing of Square anymore, so I was interested in seeing what their monsters looked like. I know this was probably more of a technology thing, but I really would have liked to have seen the people who turned into Gnosis in an in-between stage. That's intensely hard to do in 3D, though. I would have liked to have seen more of Terada's scrapped designs.

    Yeah, a separate topic in each's respective game section is cool. With as long as your thread on XenoTen got, it seems the best way to keep organized.


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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Neosmith on Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:13 pm

    Unfortunately, I can't find any of the links I had posted to - there was definitely more stuff with Episode 2 - the Who's Who, the Voice Actor interviews and some older interviews with the creative team from Episode , as well as a Hirohide Suguira interview for Episode 2 I think.

    This makes me sad.
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    katimus_prime
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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by katimus_prime on Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:26 pm

    Were they just free-roaming articles or were they in specific books lying around, Neo?


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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Neosmith on Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:50 pm

    Were they just free-roaming articles or were they in specific books lying around, Neo?

    Mostly on the web, but accessible via archive primarily.

    Okay, I've found some new/old stuff that might be Xeno relevant.

    Gwendal, could you please take a look at the following?:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20041209143841/http://www.itmedia.co.jp/games/ps2/xeno/staff/index.htm
    ( No need for Takahashi's interview on this page as it is already translated )

    http://www.monolithsoft.co.jp/special/interview/vol03/vol03_1.html

    _Xenosaga is mentioned a couple of times, so I'm interested in the context of it.

    http://cgworld.jp/feature/interview/monolithsoft-recruit.html
    -Not sure what to make of this one, but it might be useful. Could you give a general sense of what it's about?

    The following one is interesting - http://www.sf-fantasy.com/magazine/interview/100702.shtml

    Basically, can you look at who this is with and the following lines?:

    雀部  光速が可変なのは、たぶん『レッドシフト・ランデヴー』ですね。
     ところで、『ゼノサーガ』なんですが、キャラ立ち度が“A”なのに、あまりヒロインの説明が無いのはどういうわけなんでしょう?(笑)
    福江  うぁ、それですそれ、『レッドシフト・ランデヴー』。よく覚えてられますね。
     『ゼノサーガ』ですが、そうでしたっけ、ヒロインの説明、あまりなかったでしたっけ。ヒロインの片方がロボットだったせいもあるんかなぁ。メインヒロインも美少女なんですけど、ぼく的にフラグが立たなかったのかもしれません(笑)。

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:38 pm

    Neosmith: Sure, no problem. I'll go over the quick stuff now and come back with a proper translation of that interview soon (probably tomorrow).

    The chat between Sugiura and Honne on Monolith's page is basically them reminiscing about it being 11 years since they founded the company. Sugiura asks Honne which game he has the most vivid memories from working on, and is a bit surprised when he answers Baten Kaitos instead of Xenosaga. Honne then goes to explain that he has deeper memories of working on BK, while the his memories of Xenosaga were more marked by hard work and having to manage the company and staff and his working relationship with them rather than developing the game itself. I think the rest of their talk is mainly about BK.

    The CGWorld article is mainly about the working environment at Monolith. It describes how they've introduced fixed working hours and banned overtime without express permission from a superior, and how the company values young people, women and so on. There's also a short interview with some female artists and their thoughts about working at Monolith. Do you want a full translation of this one?

    I'm not sure what to make of that last bit. Seems like some kind of anime magazine or something? Names are always hard, but I think those two are just writers for the magazine. Here's a translation of the text you posted:

    Sasabe/Sakibe: The speed of light can be variable, so maybe this is "Red Shift Rendevouz"? [A bit hard to make sense of it without more context, but I guess this isn't too relevant anyway]
    By the way, in "Xenosaga", the characters have a standing degree of "A" [?], but the heroine isn't really explained...what do you make of that? (Laughs)
    Fukue: Ah, that's it, that's it, "Red Shift Rendevouz". I remember that one well. Was "Xenosaga" like that, no explanation about the heroine? Maybe it was because her closest companion was a robot? The main heroine was a beautiful girl, but that didn't really raise any flags for me personally. (Laughs)
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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by kare_reiko on Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:35 pm

    Damn, I didn't make copy of your DS ver translation X_x, I hpe A.C. will fix forum back... T_T


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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Neosmith on Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:49 am

    @Gwendal wrote:Neosmith: Sure, no problem. I'll go over the quick stuff now and come back with a proper translation of that interview soon (probably tomorrow).

    The chat between Sugiura and Honne on Monolith's page is basically them reminiscing about it being 11 years since they founded the company. Sugiura asks Honne which game he has the most vivid memories from working on, and is a bit surprised when he answers Baten Kaitos instead of Xenosaga. Honne then goes to explain that he has deeper memories of working on BK, while the his memories of Xenosaga were more marked by hard work and having to manage the company and staff and his working relationship with them rather than developing the game itself. I think the rest of their talk is mainly about BK.


    Thanks a lot, Gwendal!

    A shame about the Xeno conversation turning to BK. If he had answered that XS was the game, they might've spent more time reminiscing on the series.

    Anyway, the only translations that are worthwhile then are in that collection of Softbank interviews.

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:28 pm

    Here's the first interview page, starting at the top with Sugiura.

    SOFTBANK SUGIURA INTERVIEW

    He's the so-called "producer"

    Interviewer: Mr. Sugiura, from your position as a representative director at Monolith Soft, what kind of role did you play in the creation of "Xenosaga"?

    Sugiura: I took on the role of a so-called "Producer". In the games industry, we tend to think of a producer as someone who writes scripts or does game design, but in my case I mainly dealt with the total budget, schedule management, external exchange and recruiting personel. My job was more like being a negotiator than anything else. In any case, when it comes to the producer's role, I think the game industry is a bit of an exception, and that I'm more like a movie or TV producer. My main task is to make sure there won't be any obstacles in the director's way as he goes about creating the game.

    Interviewer: In developing a game for the PS2, I suppose you had [certain] plans you wanted to realize?

    Sugiura: Yes; making everything full in 3D. In doing that, we made it similar to the photography in a movie or a [TV] drama. We accomplished that through the lighting, camera work and so on. It's not really this way with filming, but with games, the motion designer or facial animator is the actual actor. [A little unsure about this one, but I think it's along those lines]
    But then again, game creators don't have any experience with actual filming, do they? That's why I used to find it bewildering in the past when it was seen as okay to have event scenes involving the characters just standing around.

    For example, when we're having conversations, we usually give some responses to indicate we're paying attention to what's being said, right? That way we don't end up with a situation where someone stops talking. It's more sincere with these kinds of small gestures. We need to do this with a real-time presentation. Essentially, it's too early to do in the movie [sequences], but to integrate the CG and event [scene] parts seamlessly in this game, we manage all of it in real-time.

    Takahashi continues to demand the same level of quality from the staff a special effects director dealing with live action film would, the same as an actual movie director. So there have been a few anguished screams from the staff in charge of events. (Laughs)
    The volume of event [scene content] is also on par with the volume of the "Final Fantasy" series.

    On my part, I want to be able to deliver a product the attached staff can be happy with, once development somehow draws to a close. I want to make it something they can be proud of and say "this is my work", to allow them to write "Xenosaga" on their profiles and be proud of it.

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Neosmith on Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:26 pm

    Nice! Thanks a lot, dude! I love hearing Sugiura's early comments. It reaffirms the original intention to have everything in the game presented in cutscenes without text boxes. Keep it coming!

    Also, I found a few more interviews.

    Sugiura: http://www.gpara.com/contents/creator/bn_065.htm

    Mitsuda: http://www.gpara.com/contents/creator/bn_089.htm

    The following I haven't been able to fully identify, though I think they might also be Sigiura and Mitsuda. Can you please give a quick overview of who they're with and what they're about? If they're interesting enough, I'd definitely like to request a translation.

    http://page.freett.com/xenosaga/urtv.htm

    http://page.freett.com/xenosaga/tps2_mint1.htm

    There are also a few game watch docs covering the series that I'd like to request:

    http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/20010708/namco.htm

    http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/20031107/tigraf.htm (Episode 2 section only)

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:04 pm

    The first mystery link has Sugiura (white text) and someone called Hamamura (yellow text) interviewing him, so it's not Mitsuda. The interview is similar to the one I'm already working on, with discussion about the game's presentation style, movies/cutscenes and their length, and Sugiura's feelings about the game and the staff. There's also some talk about the future of the series and the depth of the Xenosaga world (the interviewer asks about terminology such as "Realians", etc), and what Sugiura would like to work on next.

    The second link is an interview with Mitsuda. It's mostly general talk about the game's music, along the lines of what it was like to cooperate with Western musicians, his favorite tracks, what atmosphere he wanted to convey with it, does he want to release his own albums, and so on.

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:16 am

    Glad you liked it! I wish they'd had the budget and time to make Episode 3 in that way, without the heavy reliance on static text boxes.

    And here's the second and final part. Sugiura sure had/has big amibitions for Monolith.

    A pioneering project for the industry

    Interviewer: Your enthusiasm for the project is strong, I see. Would you mind giving us a short outline of the [entire] project, please?

    Sugiura: I'd say this Xenosaga project is a forerunner in the industry, and [with it] we want to show one possible direction game development could go in the future. That is to say, for game developers, and this is a situation that applies to every studio, the [actual] production [aspect] of movie creation is mostly outside the company's control. The company should handle things until development gets underway, and when each member of staff is asked to create something, they should be freely able to choose to make it in their own way and with whoever they prefer. That's the kind of open environment we want to create. Sooner or later, I think this industry will get to that point. There will be a clearer distinction between publishers and developers. As part of that process, I think we will become an example of a good developer.

    Interviewer: How will Monolith Soft develop its games in the future?

    Sugiura: This project isn't the end; it's just the start. Leaving aside whether or not this is what we'll actually do, I'd like to try my hand at various genres, including online games and, of course, RPGs. As a fully mature developer, I want us to try to become the Lucasfilm or Studio Ghibli of the gaming industry. I think we'll be able to provide a place for creators to flourish by doing what they're best at. To get there, we will have to surmount the "walls" holding back the industry, and let creators create their works freely. If we can change their situation and ways of thinking, I think new ideas will emerge organically. Finally, it's a matter of gathering the right people. We've already begun working on projects other than Xenosaga. We need a wide variety of people, from developers to PR, so please do feel free to apply.

    Interviewer: Well then, let's make sure aspiring creators get in touch with Monolith Soft. (Laughs)
    That is all for today; thank you very much.

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Neosmith on Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:24 pm

    @Gwendal wrote:The first mystery link has Sugiura (white text) and someone called Hamamura (yellow text) interviewing him, so it's not Mitsuda. The interview is similar to the one I'm already working on, with discussion about the game's presentation style, movies/cutscenes and their length, and Sugiura's feelings about the game and the staff. There's also some talk about the future of the series and the depth of the Xenosaga world (the interviewer asks about terminology such as "Realians", etc), and what Sugiura would like to work on next.

    The second link is an interview with Mitsuda. It's mostly general talk about the game's music, along the lines of what it was like to cooperate with Western musicians, his favorite tracks, what atmosphere he wanted to convey with it, does he want to release his own albums, and so on.

    This is great! I absolutely want to read translations of those now. Thank you again.

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Guest on Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:26 pm

    Awesome work as always Gwendal. ^^
    I've been gone for a while now, But I'm gonna read all the translations I've missed while I've been gone. ^^
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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Valkyrie on Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:06 am

    Hello there,

    Some months ago I used the options "save this page as a PDF" (the text can be selected) of Firefox on the entire site of Xenotensei (not the forum of Xenotensei).

    So if anybody needs urgently some PDF-pages for work (or for reading), I can send them, just ask me.

    Also I am considering putting the PDF-pages of Xenotensei on my Dropbox and post some links here, but I am not sure this is correct towards their writers...

    Besides I have used the option "save this page as a PDF" on some topics of the forum : Xenosaga I.II (DS) translations for example.

    Finally I have recorded via LiteCam the first videos of Xenosaga OUTER FILE (Drama CD Translation).

    P.S. 1 : Excuse my awkward english, I am French, and member of zoharproject.com. The pseudo is the same.

    P.S. 2 :
    Future English translation of Xenosaga I.II (DS) is at work here (be patient) :
    http://aerie.wingdreams.net/

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Neosmith on Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:29 pm

    @Valkyrie wrote:Hello there,

    Some months ago I used the options "save this page as a PDF" (the text can be selected) of Firefox on the entire site of Xenotensei (not the forum of Xenotensei).

    So if anybody needs urgently some PDF-pages for work (or for reading), I can send them, just ask me.

    Also I am considering putting the PDF-pages of Xenotensei on my Dropbox and post some links here, but I am not sure this is correct towards their writers...

    Besides I have used the option "save this page as a PDF"

    on some topics of the forum : Xenosaga I.II (DS) translations for example.

    Finally I have recorded via LiteCam the first videos of Xenosaga OUTER FILE (Drama CD Translation).

    P.S. 1 : Excuse my awkward english, I am French, and member of zoharproject.com. The pseudo is the same.

    P.S. 2 :
    Future English translation of Xenosaga I.II (DS) is at work here (be patient) :
    http://aerie.wingdreams.net/
    Wow. You guys were the ones who did those awesome French summaries of the DS! Itranslated the first 13 chapters or so. Welcome! It is awesome to see someone from there here!

    First of all, super thanks for those summaries - they really gave us a lot of details from the games we wanted to know and a lot of stuff to do.

    Second, thank you for .pdf saving Xenotensei! I'm not sure when the site will come back, though I'm pretty sure it will. But it's great to know that you have backups. I don't know about the Drop Box option. It sounds cool, but I think I'd want to hear back from AC first to find out what the status is and ask him if the site will be down for a while.
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    Valkyrie

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Valkyrie on Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:00 pm


    Neosmith write :
    First of all, super thanks for those summaries - they really gave us a lot of details from the games we wanted to know and a lot of stuff to do.

    Well well the translations are not mine. Actually, I don't know who did them, maybe the founders of the site, i.e. the three guys mentioned here :
    http://www.zohar-project.com/edito.php

    I will transmit your thanks if I can.



    Neosmith write :
    Second, thank you for .pdf saving Xenotensei!

    "I am happy to be of service", like would said the other  :nice:

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:33 pm

    Valkyrie: It's great that you were able to save some of the materials from XenoTensei. Good job on the DS summaries back in the day too! Smile

    And here's the Honne interview from that Softbank site. I forgot to mention this with the Sugiura interview, but I'm skipping the profile boxes on these. They just give some basic info about what they've worked on in the past and things like that, and everyone who comes to a forum like this would know that already.

    SOFTBANK HONNE INTERVIEW

    Page 1

    The role of being an intermediary between the director and the staff

    Interviewer: Mr. Honne, you were supervising the graphics work on "Xenosaga", but what specifically were your tasks?

    Honne: In terms of position, I served as art director for "Xenosaga". I would look over the graphics work coming in, allocate tasks to the creators, and so on.

    Interviewer: Could you tell us about your workflow, in broad strokes?

    Honne: I take Takahashi's instructions to the creators as a starting point, and I'll also act as an intermediary between him and those who carry out the initial work to help them understand his way of doing things.

    Interviewer: What's distincive about Director Takahashi's methods?

    Honne: He gives a lot of freedom to those he trusts, down to the last line. He'll be like, "well, here's how it looks right now, you take care of the rest!". (Laughs)
    And he pushes the staff to the limits of what each of them is able to achieve, always demanding the highest quality. "

    If you're going to do it, you might as well do it properly". That said, he doesn't put in unreasonable requests. Instead, he pushes [everyone] to put in as much effort as they possibly can.

    Interviewer: Does he give detailed instructions to every member of staff?

    Honne: He usually doesn't give overly specific instructions. He leaves it up to the discretion of individual staff members. That does mean that people who work with him for the first time can become a bit confused sometimes, with no idea what they're supposed to be doing. That's precisely why I act as a bridge between Takahashi and the rest of the staff when it comes to the overall vision.

    Interviewer: I see. Sounds like he works you hard. Moving on, Mr. Honne, what were your areas of responsibility in the field of graphics work, your personal specialty?

    Honne: Specifically, my main responsibility was the field maps. The game backgrounds, that kind of thing.

    Interviewer: In addition to that, did you do have any input on the character graphics?

    Honne: Yes. When I first discussed [the project] with Takahashi, we decided we had to make "high-level" characters since we were developing for the PS2, and I worried about how to accomplish that. At that time, Takami, who had worked as CG director on "Chrono Cross", joined us here at Monolith. As a result of that, we could leave the character-related work to him, which made things much easier for me.

    Screenshot caption: With the move to the PS2, there was a big leap forward in terms of what could be done technologically. In "Xenosaga", thanks to the CG characters' ability to move in real-time, they were able to ingeniously blur the line between cutscenes and regular gameplay.

    Page 2

    Interviewer: On "Xenosaga", Mr. Kunihiko Tanaka did the character designs, and Mr. Junya Ishigaki did the mech designs. Was it difficult to express their original illustrations as CG [characters]?

    Honne: It depends. We were definitely very focused on doing it right, down to the small details. We paid attention to bringing out the right lighting conditions and shadows. The total impression is affected by whether you're able to do that properly or not.

    Interviewer: Realizing 2D characters in 3D must be quite difficult work?

    Honne: I'm not sure it's that hard; it's more a matter of needing the right sense. This goes for the AGWS as well, and this [kind of] work is mostly about trying to imagine a flat object as something three-dimensional. I think our staff did a good job of bringing these mecha to life in that way.

    Being struck by passion

    Interviewer: And finally, how did you end up making games at Monolith Soft, Mr. Honne?

    Honne: Back in the Square days, I was temporarily taken off the Xeno team to help with the development of "Chrono Cross". At that time, I said to Takahashi, "let's work together again once I'm done with that job". Things stayed that way for a while. That was around the time when Takahashi and Sugiura decided to found a new company to create "Xenosaga". They were so struck with passion that they were willing to go as far as to set up a company just to create this one game, so I wanted to join them in doing that, and were able to come aboard on this project. I definitely think I made the right choice there.

    Interviewer: Yes, it really does take a lot of passion to set up a company just to make one game. (Laughs)
    Thank you very much for this interview.

    Screenshot caption: To faithfully bring an illustration to life as a 3D model, the right sense is absolutely essential.

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Guest on Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:37 pm

    Ahhhhhhh, can I just say that the passion really shows?? It doesn't surprise me that Monolith Soft was essentially created with the purpose of making Xenosaga-- the game has such a... artistic quality to it?? It aims for the stars and doesn't settle for less-- it doesn't compromise itself to make a product that appeals to the general public. Sure-- that means there will be plenty of people dislike the game for its complexity and loftiness, but it also mean the resulting product is a purer artistic vision, and the people who do like it will love it with all their hearts.

    Ahem. I'm a bit of a "contemporary art" nerd, and that bit of info just sort of ignites my soul with all sorts of excitement! Carry on! (I'm seriously enjoying all of these translations! Do keep up the good work!!)
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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by katimus_prime on Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:54 pm

    Hey, if I were to create a whole game company with the purpose of creating one game, it would be Xenosaga!  It's great to have these interviews to read!  (BTW, Gwendal, I started a Xenoblade translation central section topic if you're interested in taking a look - http://xeno-underground.net/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=358


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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:16 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, guys. I'll definitely carry on! :)

    Speaking of which, here's the Takami interview.

    SOFTBANK TAKAMI INTERVIEW

    Bringing Tanaka's characters to life in CG

    Interviewer: Mr. Takami, please tell us a little about how you came to work at Monolith Soft. Also, what projects were you involved in before that?

    Takami: It began when I first met Mr. Honne, who served as an art director at Square. We've talked about working together someday in the past, so I wanted to take the opportunity to do that with our current project, "Xenosaga". As for earlier projects I've been involved in, I did event motion for FF7, movie scene characters and things like that for FF8, and during the Chrono Cross days, I worked as a movie director. '

    Interviewer: What are your tasks for "Xenosaga"?

    Takami: I'm in charge of everything that has to do with character modelling and CG. This is a project on a grand scale, and since it's a PS2 game we have to pay close attention to everything down to the small details, so it's quite hard work.

    Interviewer: What did you find challenging in translating the drawings of Mr. Kunihiko Tanaka, the character designer, to CG?

    Takami: Well, Mr. Tanaka's characters do tend to have rather large eyes. When you're trying to model characters like that, it can be hard to find the right balance. Particularly with this game, since we have moving eyes, and when they're that big, the eyeballs become big too. (Laughs)
    So finding the right balance between the eyeballs and the face was quite a challenge. On the other hand, I think that allowed us to give the characters very rich facial expressions, so please look forward to that. (Laughs)

    Interviewer: Their facial expressions are definitely very realistic. What did you find challenging in creating them?

    Takami: In his illustrations, Tanaka draws some characters with puffed-up cheeks, as a kind of character reform [a bit unsure about this term, sorry], and it was very hard to express that with polygons. If you try to take the original drawings and turn them into polygons without any changes, you end up with cheeks that "pop" out and look inflated. Honestly, I worried about what to do to fix that. (Laughs)
    But I had to solve it somehow, so I tried to be brave and just went ahead and adjusted it until it didn't look too strange anymore.

    Interviewer: Finally, were there any requests from Director Takahashi that seemed plain impossible to you?

    Takami: Yes, quite a few. (Laughs)
    Since this is a game that emphasizes the story, the event scenes ended up becoming much longer than anticipated, and I [or they?] was like, "huh?" (Laughs)
    There were many things we just had to cut in that area alone. Making animations [lit.: motion] and things like that were quite challenging.

    Interviewer: Thank you very much.
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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by katimus_prime on Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:44 pm

    I did notice a lot of the younger or female characters with the puffy cheeks didn't exactly translate into 3D flawlessly (the characters I think of with that issue are KOS-MOS, Shion and Jr) but it's also a big part of their character design in making them recognizable. It's where the side of the face meets the jaw in having to animate that causes this weird sort of jowel shadow that's not even something that would come up in 2D design. I pretty much loved the character design for everyone in XS1, though. I was disappoint when the subsequent episodes didn't Tanaka. It further disconnected it from Xenogears, though I think that may have been the point at the time.

    I always thought it was funny that everyone in the first 2 episodes sort of had solid action figure hands.


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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Guest on Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:20 pm

    I guess I'm on the flip side of the argument-- the distancing from Xenogears seems like a good move to me, and I definitely prefer the look and designs of the II and III when compared to I! (I think the clothing in II was my absolute favourite-- in particular, Shion and Jr. looked especially sharp in that game!)

    It's fun to see other people's opinions on these things. ^^ These interviews allow for some interesting points (like this!) to be brought up for sharing and discussion!

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Gwendal on Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:37 pm

    I liked the Episode 2/3 designs more too, once I got used to them. Then again, I tend to prefer a more realistic art style rather than anime style. That said, it was a pretty drastic change to make in the middle of the series.

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    Re: Translation Central

    Post by Neosmith on Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:59 pm

    It's really cool to see these early takes on the character designs, before all the fan backlash. Thanks a lot, Gwendal!

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