Victor Ireland E3 '98 Interview

Victor Ireland E3 '98 Interview
by Rudo and Webber
This is the fourth and final part of the interview Rudo and I had at E3 with Victor Ireland of Working Designs. Part four mainly covers Grandia for PlayStation, GameArts and their bathroom, and voices Vic has done in games.

Webber: Grandia for PlayStation, is there any thought? Is GameArts thinking about it, considering it?
Vic: The fact that I cannot say anything at all should say everything!

Webber: Yep, read between the lines!
Vic: I can't say a word about Grandia for PlayStation. I can't say anything about it!

I say a word about everything, and I can't say a word about that!

Webber: Perfect answer!

Okay, we wanted to ask you a little bit about GameArts. What makes them so great?

Vic: The companies that we generally work with and do a lot of stuff with, and get along with, are the companies that know games and dig games. GameArts staff is 100% gamers. They totally dig games, they play a lot of games, they play a lot of other peopleís games. They are just gamers.
I don't speak Japanese very well at all, and they don't speak English hardly at all, but when it comes to games we are totally on the same wave length. We can have a conversation about games just with motions, and talking about levels and stuff because we both have common frame of reference. They get it, they dig games, and they have a really cool bidet in their bathroom...

First time I went there it was hilarious. It wasn't hilarious at the time, but it was hilarious looking back. Have you ever been to Japan?

Webber & Rudo: No.
Vic: The big thing there is western-style toilets, all the rage. In general, they have squat toilets everywhere, which are nasty, nasty things to use. They are supposed to be very hygienic, but I'm sorry, I just can't do it. They have western-style toilets in the bathroom at GameArts, but they sort of go for overkill. They have western-style toilets with control panels, heated seats, built-in bidets, air pump-up cushions with ladders for different sensitivities, for when you sit down. I'd never seen a toilet like that. When I walked in I'm like, "Oh my god, it's like Star Trek," or something. I sit down and I look at this LCD readout with like knobs and stuff, and all in Japanese of course. Kanji of course, which I can't read at all. You'd think it would be nice if it was in hiragana or katakana. I'm going, "What does this do and what does this do", and so I get up go to check out some of the buttons to see what they did, and I push this one button and this little hook comes swinging out from underneath the toilet, shoots a stream of water right in my crotch, all over it. It was this built-in bidet. I jumped out of the way; it shoots past me and goes all over the mirror and everywhere. I came walking out of there with this completely wet crotch that I could not dry. Everybody knew exactly what happened, because apparently whenever a gaijin goes over there, they always come out with a wet crotch, because they always push the button. So, thatís the cool bidet.

Webber: They're never going to tell anybody either.
Vic: Oh I'm sure they tell people to go use the bathroom, and then wait for them to come out.

They are just way cool people. Miyaji [GameArts President] is a little bit older than I am, a couple years, but real similar. We both have kids almost the exact same age. It's just a really cool relationship. We have very similar interests game-wise. Game-wise and personally we are very similar.

The programmers are way cool. We always have suggestions for making it [games] better or changing them, and they are always like, "We'll do it". Like the Lunar thing, at the end of 1 [Lunar:TSS] we changed it. In the Japanese game, to get to the top of the ice path [at the end, to get to Althena/Luna], you didn't have to do anything; she just bolted you all the way to the top. You didn't have to play the harp. We thought that was kind of lame, because why did you have to carry this harp through the whole story?

Webber: They didn't use it [the harp]?
Vic: Nope, you didn't have to use the harp.

The one thing that could remind Luna who you where was the music you played. So we added the thing where if you got to the top without playing the harp, the last bolt would kill you. So you had to remember to play the harp to remind her, to get to the top of the ice path. They [GA] thought that was just the coolest idea, and they did it, and it was great. We were real happy they did, and it made the game better I think. The Japanese one they kept the same.

Webber: Thatís pretty unbelievable; we've never played it. So if we played the Japanese game...?
Vic: You could just walk to the top, if you keep your health up. It doesn't get progressively harder, not like the US version.

Rudo: So you guys work a lot with each other. Did they start making PlayStation games because of the US, because of you guys?
Vic: We pushed hard. The Saturn market was dead, it had to happen. It made sense for them in Japan too.

Webber: They would have stuck with the Saturn, or just not done games for awhile?
Vic: I don't think they would have done games for PlayStation as soon.

Webber: One more question. The voices you did in Popful Mail, will you please tell us?

Rudo: You never answered that, the big secret?

Vic: I really don't remember, seriously. I was talking to the engineer the other day, and he reminded me of some that I had done that were pretty major. I'll tell you in Vay, I did the Wind Elemental. In Popful Mail, I think I was one of the guards, one of the penguin guards. One of the penguin guards was Craig Sydea, and I think I was the other penguin guard. I was either the penguin guard or like a mine guard. It was a bit part; I had like one or two lines in the whole game. One of those two was me. But yeah, we were talking about all the little bit parts I had done in games, and I completely forgot about the Wind Elemental.

Webber: So thatís not like a secret anymore, if you knew you'd tell?
Vic: No, I don't tell. All the ones [voices] I've done don't sound like me, except for two. There is only two that I've done in my own voice, that were not shifted, or changed, or phased in some way, and both were on TurboGrafx. All the rest of them have been shifted or changed.

I'll tell you one more, this one is the best one. The Lunar song [Lunar:TSS intro song], with the "Hey Hey" in the middle. Thatís five of me, we took a "Hey Hey" and did it five times, and shifted them into different pitches so it sounded like a group of people, but I'm all five people.

We'd like to send a huge thank you to Victor Ireland for the time he spent with us at E3. It was easily the highlight of our trip.
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