"Where in the world is Tsuge? How could he be missing in this critical time! We’re up to our necks here! What?! His child is about to be born, so he went to the hospital? How could he go and have a child like this, during our time of need! Idiot!"
- A funny-but-not-really crunch-time quote from Mega Man X's development
Crunch has been with us since development teams began to make games, and a 20 year-old story that also happens to give us a window into what it was like at Capcom during the golden era of its Super Nintendo game development has surfaced.
Shmupulations, a site devoted to translating classic Japanese interviews and gaming ephemera, has posted a development diary taken from the liner notes for a 1994 CD soundtrack to Mega Man X, Capcom's SNES classic. It's a rare look inside a development studio of the time -- and one renowned for both quality and quantity.
"You see, in the Capcom Consumer division, the Rockman series was the most dreaded of the three 'instant death' series (along with Ghosts and Goblins and any Disney game). If you were assigned it, you could kiss your freedom goodbye. And now it had come to me..."
These are the words of Keiji Inafune -- the developer with the closest association to the Mega Man franchise (known as Rockman in Japan) and later the company's head of R&D (and now an independent developer.)
The development diary is worth a read -- it documents (in an exaggerated way) the working conditions at a prominent developer on a landmark game, and is a slice of history we don't often get to see. The game itself was released in Japan at the tail end of 1993, reaching the West in 1994.