Here's the last Softbank interview. I have to admit I'm not 100% sure if Yashima is a man or a woman. The dictionary claims "ToshiakI" is a girl's name, but Yashima looks more like a man to me in the photograph on the Monolith website. Still, I could be wrong.
I'm also going to be away from home for most of the coming week, so unfortunately I probably won't be able to post anything new until next weekend.
SOFTBANK YASHIMA INTERVIEW
The hardest part was finding the balance between different points of view (Laughs)
Interviewer: Mr. Yashima, please tell us a little about how you came to work at Monolith Soft.
Yashima: I was at a point where the projects I was working on were winding down, and then I got an offer from Sugiura and Takahashi to work with them on a new game. I thought that seemed like a good opportunity.
Interviewer: What are your main tasks on "Xenosaga"?
Yashima: Mostly the CG parts, but on the whole I contribute in various ways. The programmers are split into three teams;
CG, battles and event scenes. Each of them has its own leader, and since I trust all of them, I leave the fundamental work fully up to them. So I mostly make adjusments to make sure the different parts fit together, weed out small errors that might appear when we get to a certain stage of development, and other kinds of polishing along those lines.
Interviewer: Was it challenging to program for the PS2, compared to the [original] PS?
Yashima: Yes, it was actually very challenging, but it's also the kind of hardware where you can get great things out of it if you put in the time and effort. Still, that's a quite a big hurdle, having to put in all that effort as a minumum.
Interviewer: "Xenosaga" is a fully 3D game, but was that always the plan from the beginning?
Yashima: Yes, it was. That's why we had to do the maps and characters fully in 3D.
Interviewer: What's the hardest thing you've done in the course of your work so far?
Yashima: I'm not really sure about the absolute hardest, but to take one example, we could only have 8 characters in a scene at once, so it was pretty tough when I was told they wanted to have 16 instead and to somehow find a way to implement that. (Laughs)
The hardest thing was probably finding the balance between the points of view from the different teams. (Laughs)
Interviewer: Thank you very much.