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How do you create the worlds of your games?
YF: We always start with the gameplay system first, the way it works -- or with Phantom Dust, it started with the hardware specs. Then it shifts over to what sort of world will be the best fit for this kind of gameplay. I don't really come up with an intricate world setting at the very start or anything. The system comes first, then the world.
And yet the worlds of Panzer Dragoon and Phantom Dust feel like they really exist. Does that have much to do with the system? How do you come up with this "real" feeling?
YF: It basically comes down to the amount of information you provide. We put a lot of background information into our games, almost more than is really necessary for the game. That increases the costs of development, but we create and insert a whole bunch of backdrops, and it's up to the user whether he really goes in-depth with it or not.
Setting serves to add depth to the game, and in a way it comes down to how much so-called extraneous information you decide to put in. We also put lies in -- of the information you see, around 70 percent is the truth and 30 percent is false. That sort of balance.
For example, with Phantom Dust, you're essentially playing through the memories of a person. When the camera goes past characters, they dissolve. Also, when you go through the village, the music suddenly changes from moment to moment, like in a dream. Could you say those are examples of "lies" told to the player through gameplay?
YF: Well, 70 percent is created with a "realistic" bent. The things you see in the world of Phantom Dust are based off the real world, but 30 percent of that is stuff you would never see in real life, such as the supernatural abilities people have and the memory-loss part of the story. You have these lies working their way into the reality of the game. Everything seems like the truth to you.
And the world is true to itself; everything fits together in the game world even if it's not true to reality.
YF: Making a world like this requires you to be able to mix truth and fiction together pretty well. For the fiction part, the more information you put into that portion -- the more lies you pile atop one another, in other words -- the more it seems to become part of the reality. The more time you can devote to that process, the better the results.
Is that sort of process behind Draco as well?
YF: Yes -- or I should say that we are right in the midst of building that portion of it at the moment. I'd like to devote as much time to it as I can.
There were parts of Phantom Dust you couldn't enter, like the area under the village, even though the story discusses it a little. Were there plans for those areas?
YF: In the original plan, the idea was that the town would move around and proceed underground and expand that way. You'd use the drill to expand what you can access underground, letting you proceed along and eventually get to the final area. That was the first idea, but we didn't have enough time to implement that. So the town stays still, but there are still some aspects of that left in the story.