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Do You Write The Scenario All By Yourself Or Not?
Interviewer: Mr. Takumi, I heard this was the first discussion interview you had with a fellow game creator…
Takumi: That’s correct. But I’ve talked with mystery writers before (laugh)
Ishii: Mr. Takumi has the image of a writer who nevers appears in the spotlight (laugh)
Takumi: I met Mr. Ishii a couple of times at Level-5, during the development of Layton Kyōju VS Gyatuten Saiban (Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney)
Ishii: We did meet a couple of times, yes.
Interviewer: Was that the first time you met?
Ishii: I think the first time was at a party at the Tokyo Game Show. It was a bit after the release of 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De ('428~ In A Sealed Shibuya') We met there.
Takumi: That was the first time, yes. I was interested in 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De and I remember the first time I became aware of Mr. Ishii was when I saw his name in the staff list.
Interviewer: When you first met, did you also know about the titles of each other’s works?
Takumi: We both work in the genre of adventure games, so I had read some of his articles and it didn’t feel like it was the first time we met. It was as if I already knew him, so our “encounter” was rather natural. We were on the same wavelength, so nothing of feeling nervous or anything. Mr. Ishii led the talks, so we had a pleasant talk.
Ishii: We both had things we wanted to ask the other. “How do you write your scenarios?”, or “With how many people do you write?”, things like that.
Interviewer: Both of you are scenario writers, so I assume you understood each other well?
Takumi: But there are always multiple writers contributing to Mr. Ishii’s games, so to me it still wasn’t quite clear what Mr. Ishii’s role was.
Ishii: I talked about that I couldn’t write a scenario by my own and why. “If I’m the only writer, I might become the bottleneck of the project and that’s a lot of pressure” I don’t want to become the bottleneck… If my work hits a stop, I’ll have ten, twenty people waiting for me. It depends on the company, I think, but for most of my projects, I had to do the work of both producer and director mostly on my own. So I also had to manage the financing.
Takumi: So you were both producer and director.
Ishii; Most of the time. Marketing was done elsewhere, but I was put in charge of managing the development costs, so that was a lot of work. And then Mr. Takumi told me he had no management authority, and I thought that would be so nice.
Takumi: To be honest, it would be more than I could handle (laugh).
Ishii: I think that it's often best to keep those functions separate.
Takumi: You might be right. It changes the things you focus on.
Ishii: Now I’m a freelance writer, so I can concentrate just on what I write and my way of working has changed completely.
Takumi: That sounds really nice.
Ishii: I became a freelance writer partly because I didn’t like being a producer.
Takumi: Really? I always thought that you wanted to oversee the whole project, like a producer.
Ishii: Actually, it was the other way around. If I say I only will only do what I want to do, I might sound like a child, but the higher you rank as a creator, the less opportunities you get to actually write yourself.
Takumi: In my case, I’ve somehow made it to veteran status, but even now I’m still doing one single job on the development floor.
Ishii: So at your place, there is a culture of the fuction of a creator being protected. But that culture differs per company.
Takumi: A friend from university is working at a different game company, but when I met him for the first time in a long while and was given his new business card, I saw a high function on it and realized he had climbed up quite high. When I look at my own card, it just says "Director", and I sometimes think “it’s still the same old”. But then again, Capcom doesn’t have a lot of detailed function titles.
Ishii: That’s what surprised me. I thought you’d be managing the complete Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) series. But it did click with me when I saw you were focusing solely on direction and scenario writing. I’m halfway through Dai Gyakuten Saiban ('The Grand Turnabout Trial'), but I can feel it’s really a Takumi game.
Takumi: It is actually quite unique that they let me do it like this. I’ve been asked why I don’t supervise all the titles, the complete series as one big project, but personally, I want to get as much involved as possible with one game. I am really grateful they allow me to do so. If the range of my work would widen, I’d have to change my way of working.
Ishii: I have the feeling that people who want to focus on creative work, leave their companies. But fortunately there are also people who look over these creators, taking over the management functions from them.
Takumi: To people like us, it’s really important to have people on the top who know what it's like on the development floor.
Ishii: Looking at Capcom from an outsider’s view, you do seem like such a company. "Because the people up high protected me when I was on the development floor, I’ll look over those there when I’m at the top". You have a company which allows their people to concentrate solely on their creative work.
Takumi: I am incredibly grateful for that. Personally, that is also the only shield I have, so I’m also afraid for if it’d all break down, I’d be left with nothing.
Ishii: It is kinda like how freelance writers work. You only concentrate on the creative process. There might have other business activities, but there’s zero of that for me or Mr. Takumi. I think that you actually are more like a freelance writer than me. Like a novelist or scenario writer.
Takumi: I’m really hopeless all on my own. I’m always helped by those around me. I think I might not have even been able to find this place today if they just set me loose in this big Tokyo all on my own (laugh). But I can make videogames, so I can sorta pretend I’m an adult person.
Ishii: I heard you had your word processor tuned?
Takumi: It hurts when I type too much on the keyboard, so I had it finetuned to get the most efficiency out of the least number of typing. But I only write mystery stories, so when I write e-mails on something else, the automatic word conversion always comes with something horrible. “Congratulations with your bloodstain*”. The usual stuff in this business. (TN: Kekkon, “blood stain” is a homophone to kekkon, “marriage)).
Interviewer: Something only adventure game creators have to deal with (laugh)
Takumi: Whenever I read interview articles featuring Mr. Ishii, I always sense he’s very well-versed in the topic. For example he'd have an analytical story about the classification of types of adventure games, and I can really feel his love for adventure games. When I look back at my own history with the genre, I think I was of the generation of the PC-8001 or PC8801, somewhere around then.
Ishii: Actually, I made my own PC game when I was 19 or 20.
Takumi: I played an adventure game called Mystery House when I as in elementary school.
Ishii: A bit after that. The command-style games, right.
Takumi: That was great. And then the Famicom was released, but my parents wouldn’t buy one for me, so my “game history” hit a blank for about ten years then. The last I played were Pac-Man, Mappy and Xevious. Then I entered university and one time I played a game at a friend’s place for the first time in a long time, and I was utterly impressed when the credits rolled. Mr. Ishii, did you also play and create adventure games in that period?
Ishii: There was a time where I stepped away from adventure games, but I came back because of sound novels. I was really surprised. At the time, I had the feeling adventure games were being absorbed into RPGs. When Dragon Quest was released, I even thought that adventure games weren’t needed anymore, as RPGs could have all the drama. And then the sound novel Otogirisō ('St. John's Wort') was released and I was immensely impressed and also became convinced of the possibilities of the game grammar. Abroad, there’s also the game Spaceship Warlock. Pre-rendered CG was moved on layers and it was full-voice in English. If a game like that can be made, then adventure games too can change, I thought and here I became convinced of the technical possibilities. Novel games are different from games like Gyakuten Saiban, as they have bad endings and I felt so much potential in those moments when you replay the game and see how the story changes completely. I then started to read up on what sort of games were released and what they were about and became interested in finding out the underlying ideas.
Takumi: Yes, Gyakuten Saiban and novel games are completely different. My games are in the core always just linear, single-road stories, but sound novels have multiple endings and the stories change.
Ishii: Until Gyakuten Saiban’s release, I thought that the linear adventure game had its limits. For
example, a game like Biohazard (Resident Evil) also features puzzle solving and is quite like an adventure game. But then Gyakuten Saiban was released and surprised me. You know, I actually changed my plans for Sannnen B-Gumi Kinpachi Sensei - Densetsu no Kyōtan ni Tate! ('Third Year B Class’s Kinpachi Sensei – Stand Behind The Legendary Teacher’s Desk!'), so it'd have one story resolved, followed by the next: it was Gyakuten Saiban that made me do that. I was also thinking about the platform then, and I had even thought about following Gyakuten Saiban to the DS. I’ve been keeping an eye on Mr. Takumi since then.
Takumi: Gyakuten Saiban is an adventure game, but beneath that layer, it’s mystery fiction. A story about solving a case should really only consist of one beautiful logical road. I had considered scenarios that would split off into multiple ones, but that would just be different from what makes a mystery story interesting in the first place. Also, I want the players to enjoy the feeling of solving the case with their own deductive powers. As I’m talking about this now, I think I realize that that’s the reason why I never did use multiple route scenarios. For me, Gyakuten Saiban is in the end, a mystery game.
Ishii: There are mystery games with multiple route scenarios, but they tend to become meta-fiction, or science-fiction-esque.
Takumi: That would be our big predecessor of mystery games, Kamaitachi no Yoru (Banshee's Last Cry') right? A fusion between mystery and sound novels.
Ishii: The major mystery games are Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken ('Portopia Serial Murder Case') Kamaitachi no Yoru and Gyakuten Saiban, I think. Any more?
Takumi: It might sound strange, but while I love mystery fiction, I don’t really focus on mystery games. Adventures I like are Myst and Outer World. They aren’t really mystery games, but they do let you enjoy the taste of mystery.
Ishii: Gyakuten Saiban is at the heart, a very conventional mystery story. Because of that the characters really come to life, and there are some really tricky scenes. With Gyakuten Saiban, I also think the level of player interactivity is really high.
Takumi: Thank you. I knew very little about game grammar when I joined the industry, so I might have gone the right direction exactly because I knew nothing about other adventure games. I keep saying I like adventure games, but I haven’t played that many actually…
Ishii: You limit your story settings a lot, I think?
Takumi: You mean the courtroom?
Ishii: Not just the courtroom, but all the things around that too. I guess it becomes like that when you make a mystery story filled with varied characters.
Takumi: In principle, mystery fiction have a tendency to have a large cast. For example, when you have serial murder case, you have a lot of victims, and also suspects. But Gyakuten Saiban is about cornering the culprit, so we can get away with the smallest possible cast of characters. You might already know who the murderer is right from the beginning, but I’s always about how you’re going to trap them. Gyakuten Saiban is a mystery game without all the stress of a normal mystery story. I made the characters to be full of impact, so they’re easier to remember.
Gyakuten Saiban according to Mr. Ishii’s analysis?
Dai Gyakuten Saiban - Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Bōken, I was impressed at how you made the game as a piece of entertainment. You just said you play few games, so perhaps you were influenced by literature?
Takumi: I don’t know if it’s literature, but I really like mystery fiction, and it was my dream to make a mystery game I too would like. But the game concept plan I wrote when I entered Capcom was not of a mystery game, but some sort of puzzle game (laugh).
Ishii: The sense of balance in the text and the lines in Gyakuten Saiban is amazing. It might be the alluring taste of mystery, but to pull that off, at that volume… I assume coming up with the stories is always a trouble. About good and bad adventure games, it can be simply said that you fall asleep with bad adventure games (laugh). But Gyakuten Saiban has great pacing, and actually keeps you sharp. I also focused on that with 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De and at the time, I said that “a good adventure game becomes like a rhythm game”.
Takumi: I see, so you paid attention to rhythm in 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De.
Ishii: Yes, very much so. Gyakuten Saiban keeps a certain rhythm with its sound effects, right? That is really amazing. I wish more people would do it like that (laugh).
Takumi: I’m glad you say that. From sound effects to the timing of the text, everything in Gyakuten Saiban is set to come up at 1/60 frames, but now I think about it, doing that actually took a lot of time. At the time, I couldn’t find other adventure games that did the same. I simply didn’t possess the “common sense” of game making, so it became like that.
Ishii: Also, the characters in Gyakuten Saiban do a real manzai comedy act. I call it passing around the ball. In a game, you can go to a location, so you choose it and the story will proceed. But if you look at it from a storytelling point of view, there are situations where you need to explain something at that location: things like that which I all passing the ball. But I can’t just pass the ball to the player because I need to do so. In Gyakuten Saiban, the rhythm of ‘passing of the ball’ is not decided just by the tuning of the text and the explanatory text, but also includes giving attention the characters themselves. I think that’s the reason why the series has so many fans. As the Japanese title, Turnabout Trial, implies, each story ends with everything being turned upside down, and I think the game pulls this off perfectly with a great balance to each story.
Takumi: Thanks (laugh). Everything you just mentioned about Gyakuten Saiban: you’re completely correct. The thing I’m most scared off is that people get bored by my games, so that’s what I pay most attention to. About that… I can’t talk about it in detail because it’s something for us people behind the scenes, but as a fellow game creator you managed to notice this quite correctly (laugh)
Ishii: As a creator it’s something I really should notice, right? (laugh)
Takumi: I’ve been writing game scenarios for a long time now and I have a lot of rules for myself, but I guess that fellow writers also notice that. I’m quite happy to hear you talk about it now. It’s quite nice to see someone understanding what you yourself think is important.
Ishii: This is what happens when you have two creators in an interview discussion…. But what I just said was quite the maniacal topic (laugh).
Takumi: But I think that details like that are very important.
Ishii: That’s what I want to focus on.
Takumi: I see you have given it a lot of thought.
Ishii: I really like doing that.
Takumi: When people look at your work, you learn to look again yourself at what you’re doing and there are times when you notice new things, so I’m very grateful. By the way, talking about something invented in sound novels, there’s the zapping system. I want to make a real zapping game too one day.
Ishii: Ghost Trick was a game you made with a loop cycle, right?
Takumi: True, but it was the game mechanics that formed the main idea for that, not the story.
Ishii: Zapping was a fantastic idea I think, having the player redoing parts as a premise on its own. Having multiple choices, in combination with narration and other elements, telling a mystery story from multiple points of view. Talking about mystery fiction, lately tricks like that have been quite common, when they’re not whodunits. I would be delighted if a mystery creator would make a game like that. I had something like a mystery plotline in 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De…
Takumi: Wasn’t 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De a mystery game at the core?
Ishii: It was mostly suspense. There might have been mysteries, but it wasn’t a mystery story… But for example, what if the culprit is one of ten people and you play the game as you zap between the ten of them, but if you play the game you'll think: "I play as them so they can't be the culprit, right?"
Takumi: I see. But I really feel a lot of potential behind the zapping system.
Ishii: Simple choice systems usually only feature cul-de-sacs, but the concept of loops is able to keep all of the various story variants all together. But you'll always end up with a multi-ending game. But with a zapping system, you can pursue new possibilities by using multiple points of view to solve something, but the costs also become higher. And not everyone has the means to make a high-cost product. But there is definitely a lot potential there.
Takumi: To those actually making the games, I think it’s probably hard to keep the feeling of all the persons involved in the zapping system seperate, as well as the flow of information between the routes.
Takumi: I’ll think about it.
Ishii: What about doing a bonus scenario to try out?
Takumi: I think the calorie rate is too large for just a bonus scenario (laugh)
Ishii: When you want to pull off a narrative trick, the first part is where the writers must show his best. Mr. Takumi’s works don’t really feature narrative tricks, so the players won’t expect one, I think. There’s your chance (laugh). Getting back on-topic, a zapping system with just two POVs wouldn’t make for a really good game. A problem for A would be solved by B. If you have A, B and C, then it suddenly becomes a lot more like a game. A problem for A can be solved by B or C. If you have five of them, then you have four choices and if you add in an option for a time-frame, then the game becomes a lot more interesting. With seven POVs, it’s still doable for the human brain to process all of this. With eight, the brain just can’t keep up. The reason why the possibilities in Machi ~ Unmei no Kōsaten ('City ~ Crossroad of Fate') felt limitless was because they had eight POVs. For 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De we kept it at seven on purpose.
Takumi. I see. Actually, I also perform magic. You know the trick where you conjure up a pigeon from a hat? There the number seven is also the point: seven pigeons is the smallest number that conveys the impression of “a lot” to the public. There might be something to the number seven.
Ishii: Narrative tricks are extremely effective when used in simple-and-straight mystery stories, but I don’t think you use them?
Takumi: Just a little. Recently, I looked up what kind of mystery stories people like and found a list on the internet of recommended books, but a lot of novels with narrative tricks were all high up. I was very surprised.
Ishii: It’s a really effective technique.
Takumi: I wonder. Narrative tricks work best if they’re utilized very sparingly, amidst a large number of normal mystery stories. True, they can give you a great surprise, personally, I want people to also enjoy normal detective stories, where you connect all the carefully laid out hints.
Ishii: Narrative tricks are particularly effective on beginning mystery readers.
Takumi: Narrative tricks should be very delicate topics, as they fall apart the moment you know about them in advance, but lately, people actually focus on that. When the marketing slogan says “A Baffling Surprise At The End!”, you can be sure it’s a narrative trick. I’m kinda worried about the lack of sensitivity, as well as about our society which seems OK with that lack of sensitivity (laugh).
Takumi: As a writer, it’s important to try out new things and I have thought about whether I should change my style. But there are so many forms of entertainment now, so I think it’s also okay if a new game comes out every one or two years, and people think “Ah, it’s been a while. I want to have enjoy a bit of that familiar taste again”.
Ishii: So Gyakuten Saiban’s elements of pure entertainment are performed by the neatly directed scenes.
Takumi: I’m really grateful Capcom is allowing me to make my game. The first we made with seven people in ten months.
Ishii: That’s an amazing speed. I also think it’s great the younger generation can easily play the games through 2014’s Gyakuten Saiban 123 Naruhodō Selection (Ace Attorney Trilogy)/
What do you focus at when writing a scenario?
Interviewer: Asking this question as a player: if you have made a great mystery, is there a dilemma that the player must also solve that mystery?
Gyakuten Saiban is a mystery to be solved, and I think the best mystery is one that can be solved nicely. But I can’t have people predicting the complete story right from the start, so I need to control the flow of information very carefully, and it’s the prosecutor, and the witnesses, who have this important task. In that sense, trials are a really convenient system (laugh). Prosecutors for example might need to hide evidence, calling it part ot of their “strategy”. Anyway, I am happy when I see people are happy by solving my mysteries. But sometimes I have to cry because of experienced mystery readers who present their evidence having read my moves two, three steps ahead (laugh).
Takumi: It always comes up when I talk to experienced players. "I presented this there, but it said I was wrong…"
Ishii: It’s bad to be impatient.
Takumi: I feel bad when knowledgeable people point these things out.
Ishii: I don’t think you should be. If you take short cuts, the story will suffer. Because that’s there people understand you’re taking this route, whether it’s solving a mystery or just enjoying playing the game.
Takumi: Whether you are experienced with mystery fiction or not, everybody needs to be able to solve the story and have fun, so getting the balance right is difficult. It can’t be too simple or too difficult. And that’s something I can only do based on my instincts.
Ishii: You are doing everything you can with the scenario.
Takumi: The cross-examination parts of Gyakuten Saiban are easy to play game-wise. Trials are a bit like games, progressing according to a set of rules, and it’s easy to present that as mechanics. A special bit of know-how for this game.
Ishii: For sound novels, know-how of novels or films is easy to implement.
Takumi: True. With Otogirisō, the sound and music alone was enough to scare me. It made a big impression on me, having never experienced that in a game before.
Ishii: The writing sense of person responsible for the branching is more important than the person responsible for the main scenario. Especially for it to be fun as a game.
Takumi. True. In Gyakuten Saiban, you can investigate the evidence in the crime scene, but if the text is boring, you feel like you wasted time on that, right? I need to make people think that “investigating is fun, so they’ll investigate more”, so in a way, that might be even more important than the main story.
Ishii: Those not in the industry might be underestimating branching, but if we don’t work harder on the branch routes than on the main story, users will not be satisfied.
Takumi: Precisely. With 428 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De, did you first make the main story and then think about how to branch out from that?
Ishii First we thought about the ending of the main story. Then came the branches and the bad endings. But because of the system, the player will neccesary always first see the branch routes and the bad endings. That’s why the quality of those segments needs to be as high as of the main story. And we also needed to be very careful about the information you see in the branch routes, because they would connect back to the main story as hints. It was okay to have hints in the branch routes, so we controlled information by putting the hints in the branch routes, instead of the main story.
Takumi: And you did that with multiple people working on that?
Takumi: That’s amazing. I’d think that controlling the flow of all of the information could only be done by one person.
Ishii: If you don’t split up the work, it becomes surprisingly small. Splitting up work has the positive effect that everything is decentralized. Everyone goes their own way, in a good meaning of the saying, and there’s diversity. That's important, especially with a game like 28 ~ Fūsa Sareta Shibuya De with various scenarios and characters.
Takumi: It looks difficult to keep it all consistent.
Ishii: It might seem amazing, but it worked out.
Ishii: Of course, we had an obligation to keep the game consistent (laugh). There are people who can do their work or not, but if you have people who can in your team, then the whole struggle is all over.
Takumi: People won’t understand that unless they have made a game. There are times when you think someone can do the job, but it turns out they can’t. I might be a bit narrow-minded, so eventually I end up doing it myself. It also goes the other way around though.
Ishii: I think I’m not one who easily acknowledges other people, but there are times when you let someone else do it and it turns out really good. There are always people you think won’t make it, but who manage to rise above that. Those people are not like me, so I let them write things that need to be different.
Takumi: I think it’s amazing you can leave it up to others.
Ishii: You'll have your own ideas or answers, so when it’s not 100% like that, it feels not right, I guess? When the director is like that, then there’ll always be only that single answer left. Rigidness like that will cause atrophy with the staff, thinking only one answer is correct.
Takumi: That’s a sharp observation.
Ishii: It probably depends on the type of the team, but when you, as the director, have an answer in your mind already, I think a working method where people propose ideas and the director selects the good parts out, is difficult to maintain. The idea will be done by someone else, so you might feel it’s wrong. The person being told will also feel bad. It’s not good for the team. I don’t like that. So I came up with a method of not giving any answers, and just letting things go from my reach, just before I would have come up with concrete ideas of my own. If the person I asked comes up with their own answer and it’s good then I will give up on my own ideas, even if it’s not on the same line as what I had initially thought. It's best when I haven't settled on an idea in my mind yet. Ever since I decided to let things go halfway through in my head, my work has become a lot easier.
Takumi: I understand what you’re saying, but I find it amazing you can actually do that in real-life.
Ishii: You can’t even have ideas about it halfway through. When you settle on a idea, it becomes more costly to get rid of it.
Takumi: I see. It’s completely different from how I work. But my working method does have the problems you point out. There is no one correct way to work, so it might be good to try out different things.
Ishii: I worked like for a long time like that, but it got a bit boring, so now I’m a freelance writer.
Takumi: To be honest, I also work like this because I can only make one game every X years and I am not allowed to fail. Because of that, I want to get the game out there, having done as much as possible by myself. That has it plus moments, but also brings risk. One of my seniors, a director, said I need to be careful not to get smug about myself, writing and making my own games.
Ishii: It depends on the strength of your character, I think. For example, when you are working hard on one game for two years, you actually see the answer in front of you in your mind, right? I don’t think I can keep up working for two years on something I already know how it’ll look like in the end… With my method, even I don’t know how it'll end up precisely, so I too become impressed as we're making the game. “It’s become like this”, “we pulled this off?!”, I want to have these uncertain elements in the development cycle.
Takumi: I understand. But development will always include uncertain elements.
Interviewer: I’m surprised the two of you make games so differently.
Takumi: Mr. Ishii and I are different types, I’ve come to think. But both of us have something we want to make, and I think we’re only different in how we arrive at our answers after that. I’m looking for purity and I go in, prepared for a bit of friction to preserve that. The team is like that.
Ishii: I think a lot of creators are like Mr. Takumi. I’m afraid that everything comes to a still stand if I’d do it myself, as I'd fuss over everything, so I let things go. I’m actually afraid that the whole development would break down if I don’t do that. I have the feeling that Mr. Takumi is the one who’s able to balance things right and that I’m the one being imbalanced here.
Takumi: Producing is something I let the producers do. In that sense, I think Ishii is the better-balanced one.
Interviewer: Having heard your discussion, I’d like to see a collaboration between the two of you.
Ishii: It’d turn into a fight, I think (laugh)
Takumi: With development on Layton Kyōju VS Gyatuten Saiban, I had Mr. Hino decide on the direction we’d go, and have me let me do my things on the development floor. We did that on purpose.
Ishii: So it was left up to you.
Takumi: If you have two control towers, the development floor will turn to chaos.
Ishii: Which of us will write the scenario, which of us will do directing…
Takumi: It would make me sick (laugh). But there’s a chance something amazing would be made. There are mystery writers who work together too. I wonder how mystery writing duos do their work.
Ishii: I once heard that the best combination would be that one would be responsible for the mystery plot and one would do the story around that.
Takumi: I see. You’d really need a fateful encounter for that.
Interviewer: Once again this question: what do you focus on when writing a scenario?
Takumi: Showing something new in terms of mystery fiction.
Ishii: The scenario is something for the players to enjoy, so I try not to leave too much if my own impression on the work.
Takumi: I’m often asked what the theme of the story is, but I hardly think about a theme. With Gyakuten Saiban, it is sometimes hinted at it at the end, but that’s because as I write, I feel the story will end up that way and it’s something I arrive at in the end. When I’m writing, I’m concentrating solely on writing a mystery story.
Ishii: I have never thought about themes neither.
Takumi: You too?
Ishii: My theme is “fun”.
Takumi: A theme is something to satisfy the player at the very end. If you have a theme that sticks with the player, they'll also be more satisfied.
Ishii: It’s much more important to have all the fun elements connected.
Takumi: Precisely. That’s why I try to avoid things like bad endings or dark ways to end a story.
Ishii: I have the same. By the way, personally, I’m hoping for something completely new, like with Ghost Trick.
Takumi: In the end, I’m just an employee at Capcom, so I can’t decide on my own projects like that. So I want to do my best with what comes my way. Ghost Trick also took six years from the initial plan to completion.
Ishii: It took that long for it to become true?
Takumi: Projects are really part of fate. They have to do with what I want to do, what the company wants to do, and what the consumers want.
Ishii: Do you have any interest in head-mounted displays?
Takumi: I have. I actually tried it out for the first time just recently and I’m still surprised by it.
Ishii: It might be a good fit for a mystery.
Takumi: True. I want to try something with that, because I was really impressed by it.