Level 5 President Talks Rogue Galaxy
09.15.05 - 7:26 PM

In an interview with Dengeki Online, Level 5 president Akihiro Hino talked at length about his company's newest PlayStation 2 project, Rogue Galaxy. First off, Hino dismissed rumors about the game's dungeons being randomly generated. He explained that Level 5 chose the title Rogue Galaxy because the protagonist will eventually team up with bad guys only to fight other bad guys. Development on Rogue Galaxy began while Hino and his team were still working on Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himegimi (Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King) for Square Enix. Developing the best-selling PlayStation 2 title helped the developers learn a lot. When asked about the casting of the game's voice actors, Hino mentioned that Japan's most famous anime studio Studio Ghibli (the company behind Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and most recently Howl's Moving Castle) has had great success with having actors lend their voices to their movies' characters. Using actors brings out the "liveliness" of real humans in virtual characters. He also said that J-Pop artist Aya Ueto's personality really fits the characteristics of the character she is lending her voice to. Asked about protagonist Jester's left cheek, Hino said that it was no birthmark. He however would not elobrate any further, saying only it would be a secret. He compared the protagonist to a kid from the countryside wanting to move to a big city. While Jester really wanted to see Outer Space and thought it would be a great adventure, he is not so sure about his intentions anymore, after he sees with his own eyes what is going on in space.

Hino contended it was very difficult to develop a system allowing players to exit their spacecraft and then freely move around on one planet in a seamless fashion. The interview also confirmed that players will only control the protagonist, while the other characters will be controlled by the AI. Similar to Dark Cloud 2, Rogue Galaxy's battle system will feature action elements like jumps. In addition to swords and guns, yo-yo and frisbee-like weapons will be at your disposal. Furthermore, each character can use two types of weapons. Characters can be switched during battle. The development team has also implemented a so-called Live Talk system, allowing characters to communicate with each other during battle. Thereby real-life conversations will also come up in battle, and not only during event scenes. Item creation will also play a big part in Rogue Galaxy.

With Rogue Galaxy, Hino and his team have been aiming high: They wanted to create a million seller. However he contended that it usually takes a longer period of time and several installments to reach the one million plateau. According to Hino releasing just one game and hoping that it would sell a million copies sounds like a dream, but describes this challenge as interesting.

Rogue Galaxy will be available in Japan this December.

Chris Winkler

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