INTERVIEW: Yasushi Endo (JVC/Victor)

From: Sega MegaZone (January 1995)


Around this time last year, there were heaps of Mega-CD games lined up for release, some available on import too. Many of them turned out to be total crap - unimaginative converts of MD games with extra sound. However, there was one bizarre game floating around that raised a few eyebrows -Keio Flying Squadron. All the fuss inspired JVC to release the game worldwide officially and they're developing a version for the Saturn too. MegaZone spoke to Keio's creator Yasushi Endo, for more info on this latest cab off the rank.

M.Z: What's your role in the development team?

Yasushi Endo: I handle the graphics and animation for the game. I came up with the basic concept on paper in the first place, then converted it into the console. Seven of us work on the Saturn version altogether, although it may increase if we find it really tough going.

M.Z: Keio is a bit of a bizarre game, full of strange creatures and weird ideas. Where did you take your inspiration from?

Yasushi Endo: I absolutely love animation, so I wanted the creatures as realistic as possible, although the game itself is set in the Edo Shogunate era of Japanese history (1865-1868) so in some ways it's based on a samurai warrior adventure. But, the actual plot is made up. A lot of young Japanese prefer American or English games. In the rest of the world, people seem to go wild over Japanese-style animation, especially Manga and anime.


M.Z: So you think that an Australian audience will enjoy the game, even though they may not understand a lot of the mysticism?

Yasushi Endo: I think Australians will definitely enjoy our game. Anime is becoming very popular. Keio is already a year old (it was released in Japan in August 1993), but we wanted it to be right for the Australian market before we released it, so all the original texts have been translated from Japanese into English. Also, many games released for the Mega-CD are based on 3D, but developers forget that most CD owners will want to play 2D games too, especially if they're fun and not already available on the Megadrive. Besides, the game sold out in Japan, and at the end of the day, if a game is great to play, it will appeal to audiences all over the world.

M.Z: What's your vibe on Mortal Kombat?

Yasushi Endo: Mortal Kombat is definitely not as popular in Japan as it is elsewhere. Europeans think that it's, visually, quite stunning, but the gameplay just isn't responsive. Personally, I think it's a good game, but I prefer to play Daytona or Virtua Fighter 2, and at the home, I prefer more cutesy games, such as Disney releases.

M.Z: Apart from Keio, have you planned other games for the Saturn?

Yasushi Endo: Keio is our next big project, but we do have a couple of other games lined up too. Probably the biggest one is Miku, a 3D boxing game for the Saturn. (this was released as 'Miku the Metal Fighter' - S.F). All the characters are based on original Japanese animations, well known for their Anime adventures.

M.Z: So how's the Saturn version of Keio coming along?

Yasushi Endo: At the moment, we're still getting basic ideas together. You'll recognise most of the characters in the Saturn version, as they were in the Mega-CD version too, but Keio 2 will have a different story and lots of different features. The graphics are wonderful and the sound is some of the best you'll ever heard. The action will still be based around a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up, but we're experimenting with using video images for backgrounds and most of the items you'll pick up will be taken from real images too. It's hard to imagine at this stage, but the game will hopefully be a cross between Anime and film.


M.Z: What do you think of the Saturn?

Yasushi Endo: The specifications for the machine have changed a lot recently, so we've spend a lot of time just testing the machine's capabilities. It's a wonderful machine to work with though and I think people are going to be surprised when they see just how good the games are. I've played Virtua Fighter on the Saturn, and there's hardly any difference between the arcade and console version.

M.Z: What about comparing the Saturn with PSX and Ultra 64?

Yasushi Endo: They're all fairly similar machines in what they're all capable of producing great games, although it seems Sony will be concentrating more on developing 3D games. What we've seen from them already looks very impressive, but I think people are going to expect different types of games from them, and at the moment they're concentrating purely on 3D. Maybe their other games won't be as good. The Saturn will offer many different types of games, and at the moment Virtua Fighter 1 & 2, Virtua Star Wars, Virtua Racing, Virtua Cop are very trendy in the Japanese arcades. This gives the Saturn the edge in terms of software, but we'll just have to wait untill the first batch of games are released before we can start comparing the machines.


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