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Victor Ireland E3 '99 Interview

Victor Ireland E3 '99 Interview
by Rudo
This is part 2 of an interview with Working Designs' President Victor Ireland from E3 1999. In this interview, you'll find a lot of information about the various Lunar games, the mystery RPG, Detonator Gauntlet and much more.

Rudo: When is the release date for Detonator Gauntlet?
Vic: October! The translation is completely done on paper. Just a direct translation though, not the final one. It hasn't been massaged or anything yet, this is strictly a direct, basic translation. Except for the first scenario, which is shown here in the demo. That text has been massaged a bit more.

Rudo: What company is this game originally from?
Vic: Human. We did Vasteel with them before. Actually, it's kinda funny cause when we were trying to get Vasteel on the TurboGraphx 16, the guy over there in Japan didn't understand what we were about and didn't understand what we were trying to do. Anyway, 2 years later, a new guy came in and he was really cool, about the same age as me and he totally understood what we were trying to do, and we made a deal. So, anyway, that was his very first licensing deal and 4 years later, Detonator Gauntlet was his last licensing deal because he left the company after making that deal. So, we were his first and last licensing deal, which I think was pretty cool.

Rudo: What was the original name of the game in Japan? Or was it something in Japanese?
Vic: No, actually, it wasn't in Japanese, but I'll let you figure this one out. I'm not going to tell you. We went to great pain to cut out the original name because it SUCKED! It was terrible! There's a very good animation intro for the game, but it had the original name in there and we didn't have time to fix it, so we just cut the intro completely from the E3 demo, but there will be a very cool intro for the final game that says Detonator Gauntlet on it. Anyway, I'll let you try to figure out that the original name of the game way. By the way, the game has 56 scenarios and 5 endings so there's a lot of gameplay.

Rudo: Last year, you talked about replacing some of the songs in Lunar:SSS with some of the original songs in the Sega CD version. What happened with that?
Vic: Didn't work. No memory. We added so many features to this game. Dual-Shock, analog, memory support. The thing about Lunar that's different from all the other RPGs, well most PlayStation RPGs use DLL's [Dynamic Link Library]. They pull in stuff as they need it. In Lunar, the whole system is in memory all the time, that's why the loads are real short, in the battles. That's really cool but it leaves you with very little memory to do anything and we couldn't change the whole system. After we put all the text in, we had like 7k to add crap to. After we put in all the memory card, dual shock and all that, we were left with 200 bytes. You never program that tight, it's really bad. And to rip the music out and replace it with stuff that required more samples of a different kind. All the songs in Lunar:SSS use the same sample set and to put the original Burg song for example in there, we would've had to have a whole different sample set in there and it was just impossible to do with the memory and everything.

Rudo: Yeah, cause the original music on Sega CD was more elaborate.
Vic: Yeah, the polyphony was much greater on the original. It was impossible to do and I really wanted to do it but we didn't really have a choice. You work with what you got. And we're trying to do the same thing with this [Lunar 2], but we've got more memory to work with. Change some of the music.

Rudo: Who's going to make the music?
Vic: We will!

Rudo: Oh yeah?
Vic: Yeah. You know the Lunar 2 music in the demo here. That was done in-house. That was the original Lunar 2 song and you wouldn't have heard it unless you were at the CES show when we were showing Lunar 2 for Sega CD. It was a great theme and I loved it and I was like: "More people should hear this," so I used it again for the demo here. And also, the Star Tower theme in Lunar 2 in the Epilogue, that was ours.

Rudo: Oh yeah? It wasn't in the Japanese version?
Vic: No, we added that.

Rudo: Damn! That song was one of the best in Lunar 2. You guys should do all the music for Lunar! *laugh*
Vic: *laughs* Yeah, well...

*Interview interrupted by my friend Steve Thomason from GameNet, who comes in. We ask Vic if he can join in since I'm teaming up with them for E3 this year. A discussion follows on a number of unrelated subjects*
Vic: Anyway, I think you'll be happy when you hear the soundtrack CD. Everything on there, with the exception of the opening song, the closing song and the original Sega CD song, are remixed arrangements and they all have about 1 minute or more added to them so they're longer. It's an awesome soundtrack, it's really, really good. We also added some tracks. In the ad it says 22 tracks but now we've got 24 tracks in there cause we remixed the closing credits song and originally, the soundtrack ended with the boat song but the credit song came out so good that we added it to the master CD and now we've got 24 tracks. Always giving you more *laughs*.

Oh, another thing we added was that the game discs were supposed to be high resolution full-color and the making-of and soundtrack CDs were just single color discs. Anyway, now they're all high-resolution full color.

Rudo: Okay, what about Ys? Are you guys discussing with Falcom about bringing Ys Eternal over here or are there no discussions whatsoever and you guys will never bring a Ys game over?
Vic: Well, if they make a good one. All the ones they have are rehashes of older Ys games that they made in the 80s or early 90s. So, the current Ys is not coming. Ys Eternal, a lot of people don't know about this, but it's only Ys 1. It's a nice game but it's just a slightly upgraded version of Ys 1 and it's really short (about 6 to 8 hours). Actually, I was talking to Falcom this morning and I was telling them the same exact thing. If you upgrade the system and make a new Ys based on the old Ys, if they took Ys 1 and renovated it, I would love to do that. I'd do it in a second but it's too old and you know, like Lunar, it's pretty old but it balances with very strong upgrades, they made a lot of improvements and when you play, you don't care. It's just about the game and the animation is incredible but Ys has no animation. It has full-talking heads, nice graphics, but it's not enough. Not enough changed and too short. If they made 1 & 2 together or rather 1, 2 & 4; forget about Ys 3, it sucked. But I don't think they're going to do that, Falcom is a bit lost. They have all those great properties and they're just rehashing what they've already done.

Rudo: Yeah, like Legend of Heroes and such...
Vic: Dragon Slayer, Legend of Heroes, Xanadu, Ys, they have tons of great properties. Popful Mail, I'd love to do a new one, we lost a ton of money on that one but I'd love to do another one anyway cause I loved it. Most people who played it, loved it but the problem is that not many people played it. So, they have all those properties but they don't seem to know what to do with them. They just do what they did before on a new system and upgrade it a little.
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