Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview x2 UPDATE: Translated!

(Chapter 7 and beyond)

Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview x2 UPDATE: Translated!

Postby Capsule Toys Maniac » Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:56 pm

http://www.inside-games.jp/article/2015 ... 88702.html

I'll try to translate it, but it might take a while...

Edit: Found another one on the same site from the 17th: http://www.inside-games.jp/article/2015 ... 88607.html

Edit 2: Translation is complete. I'm neither native in english nor japanese, so it might sound strange in some places.

Again, this is the inside-games.jp article from 2015-06-20
- a follow up on the interview Switch translated.

------------------------------------------------

Yu Suzuki, the man who started the Shenmue III Kickstarter that set a new Guinness record for the fastest game reaching 1 million dollars. One night after the last time we spoke we ask again about the state of the project and about game creating.

-- Thanks for the other day. This time I would like to dig deeper.
YS: Please go ahead.

-- Can you tell us more about this "nostalgia" that you mentioned was like a theme or keyword for Shenmue 3.
YS: Wherever I go in the world I'm always asked "Where is Shenmue 3?" By mail or through other persons. That's when I felt it, that Shenmue has a lot of parts in it, the things that you feel about the game can differ very much from person to person. Like, one fan said he met a person called Nozomi in real life, you know, like the heroine of Shenmue I. He felt that it was some kind of fate and married her.

-- Wow. Really?
YS: Yeah. it's true. Other than that there were things that seemed obvious for japanese people, but were new for foreigners. For example in the first game Ryo walks around and asks for help from many different people, right? As he leaves he always says "Thank you". There are foreigners that were moved by that. When I heard that I thought "Well, don't you say thank you in your country?".

-- Maybe they don't say things that explicit in that culture?
YS: And in the game these "excuse me" and "thank you"s are repeated many many times. For people not experiencing that in their daily lives it might have been a bit of a shock for them. I took that to my heart.

-- I guess there aren't that many RPGs that end their conversations with "thank you".
YS: And in this society we live in now information is shared over the internet, but as you go further back through the years, and go further into the countryside, information exchange is slow and the culture and customs are more specific to that area. The beliefs and values of the people living there are [less complicated and] easier to understand. That is very interesting.

-- I see.
YS: So maybe the people anticipating part 3 are having fond memories and feel a bit nostalgic. I think people are probably feeling nostalgic about the Shenhua, Ryo and Shenmue from fifteen years ago. And I think that I shouldn't destroy that nostalgia with part 3. If I don't make that work with part 3 I don't think the game will live up to the expectations. That's why the keyword for part 3 is nostalgia.

-- Wasn't part 1 and 2 also make with nostalgia as a keyword?
YS: It's a different kind of nostalgia with part 3. In part 1 and 2 there is the nostalgia towards the era, in part 3 it's the nostalgia towards the game. For part 1 and 2 the target user was late teens to early twenties, so for these users I wanted them to experience the culture of the streets still having that showa-period feel of 1986, and be nostalgic about it. So in contrast to that, in part 3 I want the players to be nostalgic about part 1 and 2.

-- So looking at the years... part 1 and 2 came out in 2000 and 2001. Since part 1 in taking place in 1986 Yokosuka, the users playing the game at 20 years of age would have been six when the game took place.
YS: So it's not really nostalgia since it's a story from when they were just kids. Maybe making them feel "there was a world like this" together with the nostalgia.

-- Since then 15 years has passed and the users has become 35 and start feeling nostalgic about things. Now they are looking back and being nostalgic about having played part 1 and part 2.
YS: Yes. Now they are nostalgic about the experience with Shenmue.

-- So the games were released and as said before the users over the world described what moved them which you didn't think about when the games were made, right? As a game creator, did you continue to be surprised by all the reactions over these 15 years?
YS: Yes. They didn't come all at once. The comments continued coming from all over the world. Especially about cultural differences.

-- As with part 1 and 2, even if you think about what the users will enjoy in part 3, it might be different between japanese and foreign users.
YS: It's different. I can't remember making part 1 and 2 for foreigners.For example the themes of Outrun and other arcade games I made a long time ago were chosen in order to be popular all over the world. But for Shenmue 1 and 2 there were no thoughts about the target country.

-- You didn't make them for japanese users?
YS: I didn't really think about it. It was more about making a new game style, there is something interesting in just that. Making a new thing means a new kind of game which would make the world take notice of it. A new system. But I never thought everyone would react to the culture and customs like this.

-- You can say the new system was the skeleton and the culture and customs were the flesh and outward appearance, maybe?
YS: Maybe more like the system is the physical and culture and customs are the spiritual.

-- That would connect with the word "spiritual" that is often said about Shenmue. So for part 3 you can keep working on the aspects you didn’t think about that people actually really enjoyed about part 1 and 2.
YS: Yeah.

-- Neilo is developing part 3. The CEO Tak Hirai was the lead programmer of part 1 and 2 I've heard. Could you share the story of how you came to work on this project together again? Did you keep in touch during these 15 years?
YS: I've been in contact with Hirai and other members all the time since then. Drinking sometimes, talking about wanting to make Shenmue etc. "If it ever happens I'll count on you". We always said things like that.

-- Everyone was thinking about it.
YS: I'm a programmer from the beginning and Hirai too, so we have a kind of programming bond. In a game there are graphics, sound, program and other elements, but I want to focus on the programming.

-- I see.
YS: There are great games in the world today. Destiny, Grand Theft Auto, Assassin's Creed and more. The budget difference makes it very hard to challenge them in graphics and quality. For example Nintendo games are a bit less graphically advanced, but I don't care about that. They have great playability and I love them. So that's the approach. I'll probably challenge myself on the programming side. I think the programming makes games fun. So with that in mind the programming lead becomes an important partner.

-- Meaning Hirai-san.
YS: Yes. Back then Hirai was the programming lead and... Ah, I guess I can't call just call him Hirai anymore {as in dropping “-san”}. He was working under me back then... He was the one who started Neilo so f course he's great at programming. And this time, for the development of 3, we have gained access to the source code from part 1 and 2. He has written much of that code and might be able to reuse some of it. Back then there were probably nobody as great as him at programming. So in that sense being able to collaborate with him and his company is great.

-- It looks like there are other important creators participating.
YS: Yes. The screenwriter Yoshimoto-sensei is helping out. I'm very happy that many key members are participating.

-- How is the development looking now? I guess you have been talking with Neilo until now.
YS: It all depends on how the Kickstarter goes. If it fails, everything stops. Since it's not finished yet we can't do any real work. But we can do the work we can. We've been having a lot of meetings. For the Kickstarter we've been making promotional videos in Unreal Engine 4, but that was delegated to Neilo. However, I was of course directing it. We worked together like that. The budget will be decided in about a month I think so that's when we'll organize the project team. The plan is fluid but Neilo will be the center, and that won't change.

-- During the Sega era, how was Hirai-san?
YS: When we made Shenmue we were over 300 people at one time. We had managers for different sections, and he had about 100 people under him. So he was between me and where work was being done. He was very much trusted by his subordinates. I think that's the best compliment I can say about him. People who are trusted from above might just be appeasing their supervisors. But it takes someone special to be trusted by those working for him.


The rest of the questions are more about how and why he creates games. While interesting, it’s not that relevant in regards to the Shenmue III project.
Last edited by Capsule Toys Maniac on Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby Switch » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:37 pm

Hi CTM, I can help out with some of the translation.

I've dropped you a PM.
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Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview (June 17)

Postby Switch » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:00 am

Here's a translation for a Yu Suzuki interview published by Inside-Games on June 17.
http://www.inside-games.jp/article/2015/06/17/88607.html

Capsule Toys Maniac working on the translation for the second interview with Yu Suzuki they published on June 20.

[E3 2015] Interview with Yu Suzuki following his Kickstarter achievement
June 17, 2015

The Shenmue 3 Kickstarter: the campaign got underway on stage at the SCE press conference held on June 15 (local time), and achieved its minimum goal in the short space of just 8 hours. It is now aiming to achieve stretch goals, and the amount of backing is continuing to increase as it heads towards the deadline of July 17. At the E3 venue we asked the creator of Shenmue, Yu Suzuki of Ys Net, about his most recent thoughts and about the enthusiasm for Shenmue 3.

-- Congratulations on the Kickstarter achievement.

YS: Thank you. At any rate, it’s the first time I’ve done this, so I don’t have much experience with it. When I heard that the sheer number of accesses to the Shenmue 3 project page on Kickstarter caused it to crash multiple times, I knew we would be successful. This may sound bad, but I was happy. I heard that the times it took to reach the $1 million and $2 million levels are a new record within the games category, and second-fastest across all projects. Since it’s my first experience [with Kickstarter], it’s only through those kinds of statistics that I get a sense of the reality.

-- How do you feel at the moment? Pleased? Relieved? A deserved result?

YS: Well, things are really just getting started. I’m always looking to try new challenges, and so in order to take on as many of these as possible, the more budget we can collect the better. We’ve got stretch goals as well, and I’d like to see how far we can go.

-- Is it accurate to say that all of the development funding will be raised through Kickstarter?

---Show to continue reading ---
YS: No, development will be carried out with Ys Net own funding together with Kickstarter. I won’t know the scale of the budget until the Kickstarter campaign has finished, so I can’t comment on it right now.

-- What were the events that led to you being on stage at SCE’s press conference?

YS: It started by my sounding them out to see if they had any interest in the Shenmue 3 project. Actually, it turns out that Shenmue was at the top of their list of software that people wanted to see revived. And so, with that being the case, I had the chance to speak with SCE and (without sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet!) they told me “It’s a game of great historical importance; and everyone wants it, so if you were to go ahead and develop part 3, as an exceptional case, we will give you our co-operation”. I had already let them know that I wanted to do this through Kickstarter, and so that’s how it came about.

-- Are there plans for a release on Xbox One?

YS: We don’t have plans for a release on Xbox One. The platforms that are confirmed are PS4 and PC.

-- Was the reason you started development on part 3 due to the voice of support from the fans?

YS: That’s right. For more than 10 years I had been hearing those kinds of requests, and trying to find a way to make it happen. I did things like searching for a partner (company) but did not find one that fit the criteria and so I wasn’t able to make a start. Then came the possibility of realizing it through a combination of self-funding and Kickstarter.

-- I see.

YS: Also there was the aspect of Kickstarter of “creating something together with everyone”. As I stated in my promotion video, it’s the spirit of “within your hands”. Some say that the Shenmue series is the originator of the open-world genre. In reality, with the present amount of $2 million, making a Shenmue that will meet everyone’s expections, even without implementing an open world, is unlikely to be achievable. However, the demand I hear most from the fans is to know how the rest of the story plays out.

-- Yes, that’s something we’d like to know.

YS: In addition, the Shenmue series has a rich portrayal of Eastern and Japanese culture, and so it has quite a different feel to it compared to any other open world games. Because of this, trying to accomplish both the “story” aspect and the “open world” aspects simultaneously is likely to lead to the budget rising higher and higher, and no matter how much time passes it is impossible to get development underway. After thinking long and hard, I have decided to do as much as possible with a minimum level of funding, even if it means creating something story-oriented. Then, if additional development funding is collected, I will add on various elements. And so I decided that development will be based on this kind of scalable approach.

-- This way of thinking is uniquely suited to Kickstarter, isn’t it.

YS: Further, with [development of] any game, there is a piece of it which can easily cost a lot of money to implement; while at the same time it has another piece that doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, namely making it interesting through its ideas and plot. I also think that Shenmue does not consist of merely its story and its open world; it is also fun to play, and I think the way we capture this is vital. Above all, I decided to maintain both the fun and the story aspects, even at the minimum budget level.

-- How much money will be raised is becoming increasingly of interest.

YS: Yes. It’s not that we will not be implementing an open world, but doing so lavishly will cause the budget to shoot up. On the other hand, since I am a creator, I’d like to try new mechanisms. I have set stretch goals with that balance in mind.

-- Compared to 15 years ago, the possibilities for game implementation have greatly widened. Are there any games that have influenced the creation of part 3?

YS: That would be Shenmue 1 and 2.

-- What aspects do you place most importance on, and wish to continue in the new game?

YS: Firstly, the most important is that I want to show how the story continues. As well as that, “nostalgia” is a keyword here: the nostalgic feeling of when we created part 1 and 2, 15 years ago. But even at that time, the setting for part 1 and 2 was the world of 1986. In principle, I believe that going back to an earlier age really brings out the flavor of a region’s culture. That’s the case with the era of the 1980s (and earlier), compared to the current day. Even looking at other countries around the world, as the eras pass by, the scenery of cities all starts to look the same.

-- Yes, that’s true.

YS: This kind of Eastern and Japanese culture, and the spiritual aspect, is what makes Shenmue special. Although though this has given it popularity in the West, what it expresses is certainly not Western. Through thorough creation of so-called Eastern spiritual aspects, culture and customs, I want to bring out people’s interest towards a different culture. There are a lot of things I would like to carry through from parts 1 and 2 to part 3, but through the scalable plan that I mentioned earlier, I want to pay special attention to these kinds of things.

-- Are there any aspects you want to try, given the increase in hardware specs nowdays?

YS: This may not directly answer the question, but actually when we made part 1 and 2, we also completed the plan for part 3. I want to go forward with that exactly as we had planned.

-- Could you explain more?

YS: In part 1, we implemented an open world that we called FREE, and the concept of time passing within the game. In part 2, we greatly expanded that world. In part 3, and this may be giving too much away, but we planned to keep these aspects intact, while making it much deeper. And in parts 1 & 2, while there were elements centered around money e.g. you could “do a part-time job, gamble to increase your money, purchase items at a shop...”, they did not really have any connection with the fighting and skill improvement parts. So when we make part 3, I have in mind to build up those elements; that’s something I would like to try doing.

-- What would be a concrete example?

YS: I’m thinking of a “Technique Scroll” system. Through actions in the game, you can gain new technique scrolls which let you perform special moves. Whether these moves are something you can control directly, or whether they are implemented in a QTE, is something we will be considering and deciding in the future.

-- Please tell us about the release schedule.

YS: Release is planned by the end of 2017.

-- Could you give a message to our readers.

YS: It is thanks to the continous voice of the fans who have waited for the next part of Shenmue across these many years, that we have been able to get started. This is only possible thanks to all the people who give their support. I will continue to put in my best effort, so please give your support and encouragement.

-- Thank you very much.
Last edited by Switch on Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:29 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby Switch » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:04 am

(removed old text)
Last edited by Switch on Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview (June 17)

Postby Amir » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:08 am

Thanks for the translation, this bit is particularly interesting:

YS: I’m thinking of a “Technique Scroll” system. Through actions in the game, you can gain new technique scrolls which let you perform special moves. Whether these moves are something you can control directly, or whether they are implemented in a QTE, is something we will be considering and deciding in the future.


Perhaps a solution we could suggest when they ask us in surveys is to implement both if possible? i.e. when starting the game, have a "casual" or "hardcore" option, where the latter is more of a VF fighting system whereas the former leans more towards simple-to-input QTEs.
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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby 7heavens » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:49 am

I think it wud b a good idea to gather all these recent interviews from yu suzuki and the q&a from d AMA into one topic as a stickie. This particular interview clearly & transparrently clarifies some of the issues people are confused about, such as tue funding model etc.
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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby KidMarine » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:50 am

YS: No, development will be carried out with Ys Net own funding together with Kickstarter. I won’t know the scale of the budget until the Kickstarter campaign has finished, so I can’t comment on it right now.
That's somewhat reassuring, but is the $10 million figure Suzuki mentioned on Reddit cover both Kickstarter money and these investors or just Kickstarter?
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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby Rikitatsu » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:06 am

KidMarine wrote:
YS: No, development will be carried out with Ys Net own funding together with Kickstarter. I won’t know the scale of the budget until the Kickstarter campaign has finished, so I can’t comment on it right now.
That's somewhat reassuring, but is the $10 million figure Suzuki mentioned on Reddit cover both Kickstarter money and these investors or just Kickstarter?

Seeing as how he was answering a stretch goals question, I'd say Kickstarter.
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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby ShenmueTree » Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:07 am

Lot's of interesting information here! The things about building on from Shenmue I and II and not compromising his vision are great things indeed.
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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby Capsule Toys Maniac » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:42 am

Translation of the June 20th interview posted in the first post. Enjoy.

Thanks for the translation on the other interview Switch!
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Re: Inside-Games.jp - Yu Suzuki interview

Postby Doom_Infinite » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:53 am

That's a great interview, especially the first half imo.
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