Iíve been with SEGAís AM2 for about seven years. Before joining SEGA, I worked at a gaming retailer store selling video games. As you can tell, videogames has always been a big part of my life. At AM2, I am the lead Game Designer for the PlayStation 3 version of Virtua Fighter 5. My title is a little difficult to explain since it has a different meaning for each company and especially across different countries. In my case in Japan, a game designer creates game design documents and communicates with the various teams (art, audio, programming) to make sure that everyone is in synch and to make sure that the game is staying on track within the development cycle.
Since Virtua Fighter 5 was originally developed for the arcade version, the console team worked hard at making the PS3 version the perfect arcade conversion. Although itís two different teams, both the arcade and PS3 teams work very closely together. The arcade team focuses more on issues such as which technique causes X point damage, what is the concept of X stage, etc. Or, why did the game adopt the Lucha Libre technique or why does Taka not return? I personally want him to make a comeback though! The things I am involved with include all the other aspects of the game such as the texts that appear in the game. How the training mode will work. How does the Pause menu work, what should be included in the Options menu, etc. Anything that is exclusively related to the PS3 version falls under me. It becomes quite challenging, as you can imagine.
Before Virtua Fighter 5, I worked on other arcade conversions including Beach Spikers (GC), Outtrigger (DC), assisted with Fighting Vipers 2 (DC) and Virtua Cop Re-Birth (PS2). I also have worked on the arcade side most recently with SEGA Golf Club recently. However, I was not associated with the PS3 version. I really enjoy my job because I am able to make sure that all of the important elements from the arcade versions become fun and challenging at home on the console versions. The moment the arcade game screen appears on the TV screen in my living room is quite exciting, really!
Finally, Iím going to tell you a bit more about the Quest Mode in Virtua Fighter 5. Making the Quest Mode was an unexpected surprise. Since the Quest Mode in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution was so well received, we wanted to make it just as good for Virtua Fighter 5, if not better. Therefore, as you can imagine, we were under a great deal of pressure.
The game design team consists of myself and four other members. To overcome the challenge, we met and played Evo over and over until we found a better way for the player to experience the Quest Mode. Finally, we decided to raise the bar by making it a more realistic game arcade. So, with Virtua Fighter 5, youíll be able to visit all the arcades from the start. You can go to various game parlors freely without having to win a championship in each location. We thought this would be interesting for the player since it allows you to visit all the arcades, which is different than how Virtua Fighter 4 Evoís Quest Mode worked.
We also added some Virtua Fighter cabinets in the arcades in the Quest Mode. These are rather important and unique to the game. Once you are in the parlors, you are able to fight against any opponent you chose. Players can choose competitors that are weaker, stronger or the same rank. It really depends on what kind of player you are. We wanted to keep it up to the player rather than choose for them. However, itís important to note that the player that defeated you will always stay in the same cabinet. Therefore, to progress further throughout the mode, you will want to return to that cabinet to try to beat that opponent. This way you are able to continue to try to beat that opponent rather than wait to randomly see him at another location. With Virtua Fighter 5, you will notice there are many more opponents than there were in Evo or other Virtua Fighter games. You can visit up to seven different arcades within the Quest Mode and you are able to choose the level game parlor that you wish. For example, a high level parlor or one with a lot of beginners, etc.
Hopefully this gives you a nice taste of what the Quest Mode will feature as well as what my role in the development of the PS3 version of Virtua Fighter 5 entailed. We really look forward to hearing what the players out there think and canít wait for the game to come out next month.