Why do you think, speaking within Koei perhaps, that information cannot be shared even within its own teams? What is the logic behind that?
TT: I think this has to do with history in our industry. With PS2 and Xbox, what developers in Japan were trying to do was bring up the performance of each platform to their maximum potential. They were not so interested in using or creating an engine that could be generally applied.
But in the U.S. that was already happening from the time of PS2. And now the industry is moving in a direction where it's not so much about bringing out the maximum potential for each platform, but to have more of a common multiplatform way of creating titles, and using an engine isn't necessarily the best way to bring out the most of each platform, but it is useful in other ways, and I believe Japan is falling slightly behind with that transition as we shift to the next generation.
Koei Canada's Fatal Inertia
Why do you think that technology cannot be shared even within one company -- that within Koei, teams can't share technology?
TT: Actually we do have a group for that specific purpose of sharing information within the company in place, and we use it. However what I was referring to was when we were creating titles for PS2, each title would use a different engine, so for something like Dynasty Warriors, we would have a specific engine that would work best for that and we would have Kessen... which would have a separate engine, and these were used independently without a commonality between titles. So that's what I was really trying to say earlier, when I said we weren't able to share information.
It seems to be happening in many other companies -- another company was making two wrestling games, and couldn't share the same engine. They had to be completely different. It seems to possibly go back even further to the Japanese PC days, the early PC days, with NEC PCs and the Fujitsu PCs. You had to maximize the graphics for each platform, and so people would keep that very secret. There was famously one company that lost the source code for their own RPG, because they hid it so well from themselves.
TT: I understand what you're saying... that seems to be a little extreme. But there are companies that are like that. And in our case, we do share information within our company. We somehow managed to do that, but when it comes to applying information effectively to make things more common, we are not always successful at that. And it is true that we struggle with not having consistent data throughout the company.
But we're really working on creating a common base for that right now, and the biggest benefit of that comes from the speed at which we can build our know-how related to building CG resources. When we share this information our efforts become more coordinated and we can speed our building up our skills and knowledge.
It seems like Fatal Inertia went through many incarnations and is no longer as much about physics. Is that true, and if so, why is that?
TT: Actually, the basic concept has not changed in that the physics engine plays a major role still, and that's how were able to create very realistic behavior of the weapons and whether or not that has a huge impact on the game or not depends on how you look at it, but we pretty much achieved what we aimed to achieve at the outset. One thing I can say is that even with the next-generation platforms, the physics engine is still heavy.