|This is an interview with LUNAR scenerio designer Ryousirow Hasukawa that was done in early July of 1999 by Golbez, a loyal RPGFan reader. In this interview, you will find a lot of information about the various LUNAR games, Mr. Hasukawa's tasks as a scenerio designer, and plot settings for the LUNAR series, among other things.
Golbez: How did you get your job with Studio Alex/ESP?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: I was a friend of Mr.Shigema who is main the scenario writer for all of the LUNAR series. And I asked him to hire me as writer for LUNAR2 on SEGA-CD. That's how I started.
Golbez: What would you say to anyone else looking to get into this business?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: I can't say anything about recruiting (I don't know any circumstances in the States). But if you ask me, I'd say read a lot of books, and feel something from them. Also have alot of writing experiance. It's not so important to play games (But surely you have to do that.).
Golbez: What exactly did you contribute to LUNAR 1 and 2?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: I was a one of the scenario writers in LUNAR2 (for SEGA-CD). I wrote a lot of townspeople's messages and some other dialouge. And I don't know why I did this, but I placed the treasue boxes.
And I was the "game scenario director" in LUNAR SSS. The Basic script was written by Mr. Kei Shigema. Then I received it, And made the scenario for the game out of it.
Golbez: What do you think is it about LUNAR's story that makes it stand out?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Because we wanted to write very dramatic feeling things in the game. It's story is not only about the main character, the party, and thier story. It is also about all the townsfolk and other inhabitants who live on LUNAR. They have backgrounds of their own. We had this in mind when we were developing the game. I think (and hope) this could be part of the reason the drama in the game stands out.
Golbez: How long did it take to write the scenarios for LUNAR 1 and 2?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: It took almost one year to do my part of the writing in LUNAR2. It started on the 7th of January, 1994, and ended in early December of 1994. The development of the charactors and basic story probably took much longer.
LUNAR SSS took 8 months to write all of the scenarios. It was really hard job. We thought that this would be an easy project to write at first, because this is remake product. We thought we could use some parts of the text from TSS. But that was misunderstanding. 95% or more of the text had to be rewritten. We did not use any part of the central story's text from LUNAR TSS.
Golbez: When LUNAR 1 was made, did you have in mind the story for LUNAR 2 already? Did you plan on making a sequel?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: I did not work on the origanal L:TSS. But I heard Mr. Shigema say he thought so in his mind. He made three stories on LUNAR while he was making LUNAR TSS.
1st: Story about Ghaleon, Dyne and Althena.(Pre-story of LUNAR1)
2nd: Story about Alex and Luna(Lunar1).
3rd: Story about Hiro and Lucia(Lunar2).
Golbez: LUNAR is known for it's great humor, did you contribute to any of this?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Yes, I did. During writing development, All of scenario writers were trying to make each other laugh.
You can talk to Blue Dragon in the dungeon of the lake on LUNAR SSS. His text changes eight times. I wrote it. It's a little bit silly. Maybe less than 10% of players would actually read this. That Blue Dragon sure is a talkative one. Some of scenario writers totaly laughed when they saw this dialouge. I won the laughing contest that day.
In another scene, you can eat huge carrot in the garden of Iluk. There is an only one carrot which tastes good. It's a meaningless for the main story. But it sounds funny, doesn't it? We wanted to entertain player of Lunar by any means possible. That's why we made some humor in our scenarios.
Golbez: Did you gave any suggestions or comments to the creation character designs?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: No, that was not my part of my job. But Mr. Shigema did so, I think.
Golbez: Who are your favorite Lunar characters? And why?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: It's Lucia. Little by little, with help of Hiro and others, she restores her humanity. It's good story, isn't it?
Golbez: How did you make the Lunar characters have so much depth and realness? Any tips for other writers?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Characters in the Lunar world are not perfect people throughout the game. They have weaknesses and faults. Just as real people are. So it helps us feel the characters of Lunar are so real, I think.
And I think there is another reason. When made the scenarios of the Lunar series, we took the time it needed to be just right. It took quite a long time. We wrote and rewrote the scenarios many times. Sometimes, we rewrote it over 20 times (Every change was so little). It helped make the chracters of Lunar have more depth.
For example, Jean hated to dance and live in the circus in the first draft. She wanted to leave from circus because she had to have revenge with the masked man. That's the reason why she comes into Hiro's party. But this plot didn't satisfaction to us. So, we talked about it. Then we made her story as in the game.
Golbez: Lunar is supposedly set on the Moon, inhabited by people who were brought from the Blue Star (Earth). Does this mean that it's setting is in the future?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Maybe or maybe not. Nobody said that "Lunar is the Moon". But name of the first dragon master is "Neil". And in the legend, his first step was on that place so silent. And his "arms were so strong".
Golbez: Could you explain the background of Beastmen? (Mel, Jessica, Leo, Mauri)
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Gwyn is also. Jessica is half-beastwoman. We din't think to deeply about a background for the beastman. There is no racism. We just want to make some kind of an atmosphere of a "fantasy world".
Golbez: Is Hiro from Lunar 2 a beastman? What do the markings on his face mean?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: I don't think he is. His markings are just a tatoo or somethig like that, I guess. And Gwyn is not his real grand father. Maybe he is an orphan. We didn't make a lot of back ground for Hiro, Because Hiro is you (as player).
Golbez: What is the story behind the fairies that Ghaleon seems to care for?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Ghaleon brings them to his castle, because he wants to protect this race which is too weak to live in the desert of death. We did not want to make him a simply evil character, like a dark ruler of the world without any reasons. He just wants to make correct world in his way.
Golbez: What race is Ghaleon? (Elven?) What do you think about his character?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Ah...maybe he is elven. Frankly, we don't care much about appearance, or race of character. The previous answer can be an answer for rest of the question. He is not a selfish man. He just believes in power. He thought only through power can the world be lead. And only he can get the power to make world correct. So he becomes the Emperor. He is a lonely man.
Golbez: Could you tell me anything about the relationship between Althena and Lucia?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: They are almost twins. They have the same power. Lucia is the keeper of the Blue Star. Althena is the keeper of the Lunar. If power of Althena hadn't vanished from Lunar, Lucia never would have awakened until power of the Blue star had been restored enough.
There was two cristals in the sleeping place of Lucia on the first draft of LUNAR2. One for Lucia, and the other for Althena which had empty for so long a time.
Golbez: Is there anything you'd like to tell Lunar fans in America?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: Thank you for playing our Lunar! And it has surprised us a lot that Lunar could get so many fans in the US! This is not 3D game, like Final Fantasy VII or VIII. The Lunar games have a more "classic" feel and use older styles. But we are proud of what we have done. We hope that our Lunar could move your hearts. Thanks again.
Golbez: Did you have anything to do with the creation of Lunar:Magic School? What is your opinion of it?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: No, I did not. And I didn't play it. So, I have no comment about this game.
Golbez: What else besides Lunar 1 and 2 have you worked on as a writer?
Ryousirow Hasukawa: I wrote a scenario for appendix CD of LUNAR2(original SEGA-CD version). And also 3 compact discs of sound drama of Lunar. Others are secret :) At least, there is no other products of mine published in the States.
Golbez: What is your opinion on the RPG industry as a whole today? How do you think it compares to when L:TSS was first released.
Ryousirow Hasukawa: It's getting so huge! But I think elements to move player's heart will never change for all time.
Golbez: Thanks a lot Hasukawa-san you've made many American Lunar fans smile!
Ryousirow Hasukawa: You are welcome. And I'm really suprised that our Lunar has gotten so many fans in the States. Thank you for your playing.
I would like to thank Golbez for allowing us this opportunity at an exclusive interview with someone the likes of Ryousirow Hasukawa!