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Creator Interview Translation by MaouJacky
Version: 1.0 | Updated: 01/14/07
Lunar I&II Official Design Material Collection Interviews Version 1.0 Translation by Maou Game Arts' Lunar series has captured the hearts of many gamers around the world with its inspiring stories, deep characters, beautiful art, strong soundtracks, and intricate worldviews. In 1995, Softbank Books released the "Lunar I&II Koushiki Settei Shiryou Shuu," or "Lunar I&II Official Design Material Collection," which features art, continuity sketches, world designs, cels, and numerous interviews with the staff involved in the Lunar series. This document provides translations for the interviews found on pages 88-108 of the Process section of this book so that English-speaking fans may enjoy hearing about the plans, thoughts, and ideas that went into the making of the Lunar series. Each interview is prefaced by a description of the interviewed staff member's role in the Lunar series that appears next to his picture (often on the facing page in the book). Page numbers are included so that owners of this book may follow along as they read the translation. The dashed lines indicate the interviewer's dialogue. Asterixes indicate a boldfaced question that sometimes indicates the content of the next part of the interview. As these are informal interviews, the dialogue may occasionally appear disorganized or unfinished. At certain points, the staff may mention references that a non-Japanese reader may not be familiar with, so I have tried to include in brackets a short explanation of relevant works that are cited. Finally, in the interest of accuracy to the original Japanese, this translation uses the original character and location names present in the Japanese Lunar series, but I have listed below all of the changed names that are mentioned in this interview and their English equivalent. I hope that this document will be an enjoyable read and provide greater insight for readers into the creation of Lunar I and II. I would love to receive any questions or comments you have at firstname.lastname@example.org Original - English Arhes=Alex False Dragons=Dragon Fiends Hiero=Hiro Killy=Kyle Laeik=Laike Linus=Lunn Machine Mountain=Taben's Peak Masked White Knight=Mystere Nasch=Nash Rong-fa=Ronfar Temis=Takkar Vheen=Vane Vargan=Destiny p. 88 Hajime Satou x Katsutoshi Akashi Long Interview Special Guest/Kei Shigema Mr. Hajime Satou, World Design Chief Chief of the world design and illustration for "Lunar II." He gave birth to many things in the game. Also chief of illustration in "Lunar I." Mr. Katsutoshi Akashi, Chief [Visual] Director Representative director of project design studio "Ikusabune." Chief [Visual] Director of "Lunar II." Strongly concerned with the game's movies. Representative work as director: "Silpheed." **What was the worldview of "Lunar II" in the initial stages?** Akashi: As far as the image of the town in the desert in the beginning, we first talked about a very typical, true desert. However, after that, Mr. Satou came up with more concrete things like "The Town of Larpa" and sandships, and with this we are able to create the image of the Lunar II world's desert. Shigema: Hiero's House? That was good. Akashi: There aren't many houses as cluttered as that, are there? Shigema: It's disorganized... That's the first thing you see when you enter into Lunar's world though. I thought that would be good. Where did that idea come from? Satou: In a lean-to cabin, you have nothing but the practical. It's for emergency use. So if for example something happened in the desert, in order to be able to escape easily, the ship is on the first floor. And the mast serves as one of the wall faces, so if something happens you can spread the sails and hop on easily and get out into the desert. Shigema: Did you think that it would turn out [looking] like that? Satou: Yes, I was always waiting for it. I thought everyone would work hard on that. Shigema: There aren't many places that do things as well as Game Arts. People worked really hard, I think. Satou: They work very hard on particular sections like that. But whether in the end all those will come together neatly will be a different problem (laughter). Shigema: That's definitely true (laughter). Satou: Well, everything is that way, but the most important thing is the characters, isn't it? I tried to prepare a world of the size that the characters could move through. Akashi: In the beginning we really asked you to design freely. So, there wasn't any real atmosphere then. In that way, Mr. Satou created the atmosphere, like "the desert should seem sandy like this." In the beginning the desert was planned to be orange, but after a variety of circumstances orange didn't end up matching. Satou: The original design had all kinds of colors of flowing sand swirling, in the beginning, but we weren't able to do that. -When you're giving a shape to the ideas that aren't solidified in Mr. Akashi's mind yet, you give it a lot of thought in your own mind, Mr. Satou. Was it fun working like that? Satou: Yes, I tend to focus very intently on one thing at a time, whether on the world design or creating the towns or on creating the atmosphere. Each time, I have a particular plan and I'm allowed to work on it, and whether it's a plan or a design I make it a little bit how I want it to be. I think it's interesting if the backgrounds can have their own character. For example, in any temple, the character of the person who built it will show. And even if you have temples for the same religion, the layout, design, and decoration will change depending on the preferences of the important people and priests of that parish. When you actually play the game, this isn't relevant at all and simply seems to just flow by, but if you pay attention to it, it's pretty strange, with these funny little touches. Or, even if you don't consciously show them, just by putting them there, you get a view of the world. I think it's better to have them than to not have them. This time, I think we did that well. P. 89 Akashi: Visuals are really scary; there's lots of things that get taken in on an unconscious level separately from consciousness. In the game this time, there were the Cult of Althena parts and then the normal towns. So for the town of the Cult of Althena [Pengatulia], we tried to make it so it felt like the Cult of Althena. Of course, there were certain parts we were a little off on and didn't get quite right. But we asked Mr. Satou to come up with the feeling of the fearfulness of Althena's Temple itself along with the splendor of the outside front. We asked him to make it a building that was authoritarian and a seemed little unpleasant just standing there. Shigema: Before the plot development started you were drawing freely, but this time the orders [for designs] started piling up, didn't they? Did that end up being unpleasant for you? Satou: No, not at all, because what I'm doing is still the same. Shigema: We were pretty concerned with the Vargan. The design line changed countless times, didn't it? What we were aiming for was a fairly simple line, but you know, in that regard, Mr. Satou wanted something with a different feel from the start. Satou: Something a little more fantasy-like... Shigema: It was very good, but we had said things like, "can't you make it a little more simple?," right? How was that for you? Satou: Well, honestly, it was a little bothersome. Shigema: I guess it was a little different from your original design...? Satou: Right. Akashi: Well, you ended up presenting us with a really great design, though. There was a period when the image of Leo was very unclear in our minds. When we had decided on an exact Leo, you made the Vargan white and gave it more character. Before, the Vargan was a symbol of the Cult of Althena, but when we got to the stage where we settled on it being Leo's Vargan, we asked for more designs from Mr. Satou. Shigema: But honestly, in the middle of the process we weren't quite sure. I think that in having Mr. Satou design freely the world of Lunar may have been created. But while he was creating it, we also had our own design images we created in our minds, too. Satou: It's good that way. In those cases I make my designs match [the creators' own images]. When asked by the scenario writer, Mr. Shigema, for a certain image, I'd say, "Right, I understand." It's my job to take these considerations into account and be conscious of them when I'm designing. Shigema: So is that interesting work for you? (p. 90) Satou: It's very interesting, since a different sort of image can enter into my work. It's really thrilling to take those images and match them with my pictures as I make them. Shigema: Mr. Satou didn't just do the world design, he also designed things like monsters and trap ideas, too. So in that sense, we relied on Mr. Satou for almost all the designing that Mr. Kubooka didn't do. -He had all kinds of ideas for the magic, too, right? Akashi: Like Purse and Cat Kick. We really wanted to implement those. Shigema: Mr. Satou's ideas could be difficult, we... Satou: Yes, maybe. I made them with an arcade image in mind, visually flashy. Akashi: I really wanted them to do Lemina's Purse. **From Zophar's Image to His Birth** Shigema: It matched the character. On the other hand, in that sense, it might have been a little serious as far as Lemina was concerned. Akashi: Purse might have ended up having the same kind of impact as Rong-Fa's lousy Dice. Shigema: Rong-Fa's Dice doesn't have a good reputation? Akashi: No, the it's not worth the cost (laughter). Satou: Zophar...well, he's a god. But he's not a Western conception of a god, but rather like one of the spirits of the Lunar world. Shigema: That pillar of flesh was used in the actual game, and I think it's a really interesting image. Satou: It's a thing terrifying enough to ruin the world. So instead of something very abstract, it would be easier to understand if it was something physically terrifying instead. I thought it would be scarier if, rather than using a monster's form, he came down in an incomprehensible shape like a clump of flesh. Shigema: I really thought it was outstanding having that battle field be the enemy's body. Until then, no one had really come up with anything. That picture became the basis for our image, exactly as it was. Satou: The final course is fairly pretty grotesque, isn't it? I didn't want it that way this time. The grotesque form already showed up in the movie "Butai X" ["Object X," originally titled "The Thing" in English]. It was like it would even show up in the [game's] finale. Design techniques for showing something gross or grotesque where the object, the body is destroyed and it changes its shape and fuses together, are limiting. Lots of games have already done the same thing. And having the last boss appear in the form of a dark lord like in Draque [Dragon Quest] is an over-familiar form, as well. So, I decided he'd make his appearance as a very typical god, the form of a mighty god. Because he's a god of this world, and he brings great evil, that's precisely why he appears in a beautiful form. In his third stage, he would show his real nature and be still huger, and say that this castle itself is Zophar, and that inside it is something like his real body. So you could call it a complicated or two-layered construction...or multi-layered construction. It's like an inverted body. Shigema: I understand that the image's starting point was "the Buddha's hand." [Buddhist reference to the Monkey King who is unable to escape from the Buddha's hand despite his ability to jump very far.] Satou: Yes, right. P. 91 **Mr. Satou's View of the Problematic Points of "Lunar II"** Shigema: Ah, I thought so. It was a picture showing the arrogance of a god who is saying, "In the end, you pathetic humans are in my hands." The moment I understood that, I thought, "Oh, I definitely want to do this," it'll definitely match perfectly. So we used it just like that. Satou: But when it became a picture [in the game] it was a little off. Shigema: Yeah (bitter smile). -Are there any things you would have liked to have done differently? Satou: I'd say that if would have liked to keep up intense communication going until the very end as I made the pictures. There were quite a lot of changes. The Four Dragons, for example. In the beginning, all of the real ones were supposed to appear. But...the meaning ended up being completely different. They ended up being the False Dragons. If I had been able to say something, like "Sure, that's fine," or "Okay, let's change it"... Shigema: Or on the other hand, it could be that the images of Mr. Satou's pictures are so strong that we couldn't think of anything else so we decided to use them...conversely that we couldn't think of any other way.... I'm really very sorry about that. Satou: Also, I think I would have liked to put in more game parts [i.e., mini-games or extras] or secret parts into the game. If we had focused on those, hard-core fans might have gotten obsessed with them, though. Maybe some more puzzling parts or something... Akashi: Elements beyond what are just for the drama, or in other words unnecessary things, unnecessary noise, these can be the very things that make a world deep and profound. The further you get in the second half of the game... Satou: Right, especially as you continue towards the end, things like that are all focused. If possible, it would have been nice to have been able to set that kind of direction aside here and there. I think it might have been even better if we had been able to create a world that vast. But then, this is true for any game. No matter what you do...it's always so lonely when you finish games, as you finally get close to the ending. It's lonely when you've looked around and seen everything and there just isn't anything you haven't seen. Shigema: But after the ending there are a number of places you can go. What about them? Satou: Well, those are mostly just dungeons. Something more for fun [i.e. mini-games, hidden events] would be... That's why at first we had stuff like a ghost ship and things. We thought it would be good if you had ended up being able to run as far as you wanted to go. Akashi: With nothing to do at all with Zophar's world ... Shigema: No, even if it did have something to do with the world. So in short, it would be part of the story's worldview, or part of the daily life there. Not everything necessarily has to do with Zophar or with Lucia. Satou: Well, it's often normal for every game, that you have to work hard to have that degree of extras. So you have to be very conscious of it or you can't do it. But in a game world it's okay to have things you don't know or things you don't find until the very end. -So even though the character [Hiero] is the protagonist, that world isn't everything. Satou: Right. It's like a perception of the world focused around him. p. 92 **The Difference Between SF [Science Fiction] and Fantasy** Shigema: If we were to do a "Lunar III," what would you want to do, Mr. Satou? Satou: Hmm, I think I'd really want to do a fantasy-themed one. I'd be fun to plunge even more deeply into the myth of Lunar's world. Not that I know what it would be, though. After all, there's a world that a goddess controls, and there are sort of monotheistic elements. There might be the god of another world somewhere, too. It would be interesting if Lunar collided with that kind of world, I think. Or maybe it could be about what happens afterwards to the world of Lunar, which has achieved civilization. Shigema: Mr. Satou's foundation is fantasy... Satou: Yes, because it's the most fun kind of world, a world with many possibilities. SF almost always has explanations attached. For example, if a monster or even if a god appeared, in an SF world that would be the result of gene manipulation or something. You end up understanding the world in that shape, and the imagination doesn't soar any further than that. Shigema: That's exactly right. The beginning part of "Lunar II" also has quite a SF flavor to it. We told the story with less and less SF elements after that, and that one moment become surprisingly SF. Essentially, SF is part of the vastness of the imagination, but once you take that perspective in the fantasy world, there is also disagreeable tendency for the imagination to be cut off. Satou: It transforms into a world where everything can be understood by numbers. Mysteries are not understood scientifically, but one day they will one day certainly be solved by science. That type of limit. That's why SF doesn't go well with games. Even in movies, as long as SF movies aren't wonderfully unique enough... So if SF doesn't use the kind of presentation like in "The Year 2001~," in that sense, that lurks in people's minds, it won't be very appealing. The core of fantasy, I think, is something like a "jolt to the consciousness" deep in people's minds. Something like a consciousness in your dreams that you're unconscious of. But, this becomes difficult. I think fantasy is like a darkness that you have never set foot into before. People's minds don't have an end no matter how deep you go, do they? If you lurk on, you reach the origin of humanity... There is the possibility of going on even further. And there is infinite variety, too. So fantasy that focuses on the human mind is a world that holds so much incredibly mysterious vastness...that's why everyone is fascinated by it. Shigema: I may be wrong about this, but it certainly may be a very personal thing in essence. Satou: It's a hazard. If you do something like that in a game you are selling as a product, it's more hazardous than it is difficult. If you don't do it well, it could become something that nobody understands. Akashi: Speaking from the standpoint of having taken part in the game's direction, the world that Mr. Satou created for us where magic exists naturally is very close to the fantasy that he describes, a different world, not this world. The moment you enter into that world, you don't know what will happen. If you offhandedly said "hello" to somebody, he might suddenly transform, or something. You might be walking and find that something you thought was a brick was soft. People believe bricks are hard, right? But in this world, bricks might be soft. This is another world. **What is the current state of games?** Shigema: That's very interesting, isn't it? But the question of how to impose a universal drama on that world or not is tough. But I feel that we can do it right, that this kind of material will be absolutely necessary. Satou: So in the instance of making make a game that will be a product, to a certain extent you have to prepare a familiar story form, since a personal type of story that no one understands won't do. I think that to a certain extent, the type of story formula you might have heard of before is necessary. However, a formula is used as a container, and if the numbers are different, the answer is different, too. There isn't just one way to solve it. In the content of the story you tell, it's good to have personal words and thoughts. Current games may be too particular and inflexible about the formula, and while pretending to tell a story, there's actually nothing being told at all. I think that these kinds of games have increased greatly in number. Shigema: A criticism? Satou: Towards games in general. I think that's particularly the case recently. Shigema: Games with stories that don't really tell a story.... Satou: Right, so I call them little FF's (laughter). Shigema: But whether it's a story or a fantasy worldview, I think it's definitely the case that these problematic points are being used because they're convenient. Essentially, you should use this world, use this story because it has meaning. Satou: In short, the question is whether there are thoughts being communicated or not. And also whether a conversation can take place with the player or not, beyond that story. Shigema: Definitely personal material [is needed]. Satou: That's a big part. Akashi: So you're saying that games should be works [i.e., of art], too, then. And for it to be a work, you need an artist. The artist is part of the material. Shigema: Basically, personal material; recently, "Mother II" [called "EarthBound" in its English release] was made incredibly well. In a good way, a bad way, or a certain way, you can see Shigesato Itoi's face [Itoi was the creator of the Mother games.] Satou: It would be good if a lot more games like that came out. But many people want to make these hum-drum, "model" games. Shigema: Hum-drum, "model" games are made to sell, so... They don't have things in there just for the fun of it like Game Arts. Did you wonder why we made this kind of game for the Mega CD? Satou: Because it's the greatest epic on the Mega CD (laughter). Akashi: It was written in a certain magazine this software is what the Mega CD should be. It's hardware you really can use if you try...... (laughter). Satou: I think it's too late. Shigema: I seems just like other companies aren't using it at all, doesn't it? (laughter) That's not true, of course. Well, I support it (laughter). Satou: I don't think they're using it. Shigema: No, really, I'll use it. Satou: Yes, it's true, it would seem cruel to the Mega CD not to use it. Shigema: ...I hope that the Saturn won't meet the same fate. p. 94 Youichi Miyaji Interview Mr. Youichi Miyaji, Game Arts Game Arts Company President. Served as Producer and General Project Director for "Lunar II." Look forward to the next project! Looking back on "Lunar II," I think that the way that so many staff members with their unique personalities gathered and worked together was part of what made it a quality game. We were blessed by a fantastic staff from within and outside the company, and this was both wonderful and difficult. In particular, when "giving birth" to a big project, making use of all the unique personalities and combining them together could be difficult. This is a universal problem with almost any project, but in a certain sense "Lunar II" was easy to make, I guess. In a normal situation, Mr. Kubooka would draw the characters and that would be it. In the game-making world there are many people who participate in projects this way, aren't there? But with us, it ended up being important for everyone, from Mr. Shigema to Mr. Kubooka to Mr. Satou, to get deeply involved in "Lunar II." All Game Arts projects are like this, really, we get deeply involved in them, delve deeply into the project. Getting this involved is very important, and this is really an issue of communication. We learned a lot of things this time when we ended up finishing making "Lunar II," things we'd like to make use of in our next project. In the case of "Lunar II," the animation parts and the actual game were completely separate, but I'm thinking about taking a step forward from that in our next work and making a fusion of animation and game that's completely different for the next generation machines. This is what I came up with while working on "Lunar II." I think it might turn out to be a project that surprises you. I'm also thinking about things like doing remakes for the "Lunar" series, maybe III, but I think it would be fun one time to make a director's cut for I and II. Since I read all of the postcards we get from our users that say things like whether the game was fun, or boring, or what shape the next project should take, so I'd like to hear more and more of these requests in the postcards. The reactions of our kind users are fun to read and are the reason for our work, so if everyone could continue to send in more and more reactions, that will give us the energy to make our next project. It's taken almost two years do develop "Lunar II" and it's been hard work. There might not be as many games like this on the next generation machines, I think. But we cannot just make the same level of game on the next generation machines, we have to make a game that will surpass it. So this will be hard work, but we will do it. Anyway, I want to make an overwhelmingly great game on the next generation machines. There are quite a number of things we couldn't do because of hardware restrictions. Since we will be freed from these restrictions I absolutely want to make a game that delivers a strong impact. I hope everyone will look forward to seeing the level of games we can make and show to you. P. 95 Kazunari Tomi Mr. Kazunari Tomi, Studio Alex Representative Director. In "Lunar I," managed the project planning and main program. Creator of well-known PC RPG series "Mugen No Shinzou" [The Heart of Hopes and Dreams]. -Would you mind talking with us about "Lunar I?" Tomi: The impetus for making "Lunar I" was to make an RPG setting that hadn't been seen before. For example, things like the clothing designs all resembled each other in RPG's until then. We wanted a completely different location that could still feel familiar, so we thought, "what if we do it on the moon?" This was the beginning of "Lunar I." The first problem we suffered through was that the story would be that there were formerly heroes who were adults, and there would be new heroes acting in a different generation, and if this were the case, we couldn't show both of them on the screen at once. So I then talked with Mr. Shigema, and after we set up things like what the old heroes had done and how the resulting world had become, we created the story of new youths. -In the process of making the game, were there any things that changed? Tomi: Let's see. He's not here now, but there was a scenario writer named Mr. Hino, and he didn't have any morals (laughter). He put a feeling into the Lunar world you would get if, I don't know, a group of boys got together at night and told lecherous stories. The lecherous things in Lunar are all from Mr. Hino and Mr. Shigema...(laughter). However, this was a spot where there was strong love for the characters. Everyone had love towards the characters, like knowing a character wouldn't say a certain thing. The dialogue was created with that kind of discussion. Shigema: Were you saying something bad about someone? (Mr. Shigema intrudes) -"Lunar I" still has a very high reputation today as a Mega CD RPG, doesn't it? Tomi: Yes, I'm glad we worked hard on it. Shigema: What Mr. Tomi paid attention to during "Lunar I" was that obvious things were done correctly. Tomi: Right, doing obvious things correctly and simplifying the rules. Shigema: Until then there weren't many properly-made RPG's on Mega CD. Well-made orthodox ones. Tomi: No, I don't think it was orthodox. There is a strong style. People say orthodox but I don't think it's orthodox. Not all the elements that are usually put into a normal RPG are in there. I think there is quite a lot of originality. To be called orthodox just because the menu or the screens or something are like before... Shigema: But this part of Lunar was assessed the most, really. An RPG you can have fun with. -What do you think of "Lunar II" after trying it? Tomi: Well, I think there's not quite enough love, maybe. The love between the protagonist and the heroine is good, but I wonder what the surrounding people are doing. p. 96 Kei Shigema x Toshiyuki Kubooka Long Interview Mr. Kei Shigema, Scenario Chief Principal occupation as a novelist, but involved exclusively in "Lunar II" for the past two years. Also created the script for "Lunar I." Mr. Kubooka Toshiyuki, Character Designer and Head of Animation Direction Involved in works such as "Giant Robo," "Uchuu Senkan Yamato" ["Space Battleship Yamato"]. This time, tasted the pain of simultaneous jobs in Animation Directing and in game development. **Why is there so much animation?** Kubooka: From the start, we had the concept that we wouldn't tell all of the story in the game but would do important parts in the animation, so the animation parts received necessarily large weight. As far as the opening goes, that was still the beginning so we might have been a little extravagant with it there. Shigema: But, we made it and thought there would be far too much, but when we finally saw the game it didn't seem that way at all and matched strangely well. Kubooka: Since I only did the animation parts, I can't tell whether balance-wise there is too much or too little in the full game. But I guess as far as how it felt to me working on it, it seemed all right to me. On the other hand, sometimes I think maybe it would have been better in a different amount, too. Shigema: For the animation of "Lunar II," I think maybe that it's not that the animation is independent of the rest, but that it was mixed in from the start. Kubooka: If it flew off in a different direction you wouldn't be able to understand what was going on. Shigema: In that sense, the way animation is involved is a little different from other games, in that the animation isn't actually something special, since it was thought of as an element of the story from the start. The reason animation was used so much in the first place was because "Lunar II" emphasizes the story so heavily, everything is there to tell the story. Kubooka: Right, well, and since we really can't do anything besides that part, we have it set up so that the game itself is made fun by the game specialists. We have as an ingredient the relief of knowing that if we can weave these things together well, the game will be fun. Shigema: Yes, that's right. Lucia ended up being one of the big main themes. How were we going to portray her? Could we make the player like Lucia? I think Lucia was a difficult character in that regard. A girl who doesn't have emotions gains emotions one by one, and then she returns home. I guess what we really have to communicate are the characters' emotions. First we have to try not to paint a picture of the big-headed, carelessly walking characters we see in the game. In that regard, it seems to me like animation inevitably became necessary, lots of voice actors became necessary, and tons of sound became necessary. Miyaji: (The Company Manager suddenly intrudes!) No, rather, I would look at Mr. Kubooka's continuity sketches and think, "This is almost twice as much as in the specs, but we need to do this, don't we?" "We can't cut this, it adds emotional impact, so we can't cut this part of the continuity," things like that. It's not something to get mad over. Shigema: No one was mad about it, but I think it did cause some people problems (laughter). But actually, in the stages before we gave it to Game Arts, Mr. Kubooka and I had conversations back and forth countless times about the continuity and we actually cut some things. And there were many things on the other hand that I insisted that we put inn. For example, Lucia is on the boat's deck, and there is a scene when you're going to Pentagulia where Lucia sings a song. (p. 97) There was talk about making that simpler originally, but since it shows the feelings in Lucia's heart there was the argument that it was absolutely necessary. And of course, Mr. Kubooka, you know, he has a fierce attachment to Lucia (laughter). So that's how when writing the plot or the scenario, I would hear a number of complaints. Kubooka: I know what Mr. Shigema's scenario is trying to express, but actually there are times when it's not clear whether the things expressed are being shown objectively and appear that way. And in Lucia's case, the player in the end has to be able to sympathize with her, to the point where if the player were in her position, he would feel like he would have done the same thing, and not just for the sake of the mission. If the player can't feel that way, the character won't become likeable. If done badly, she could have become that kind of unlikeable character. We wracked our nerves on this one a lot. Shigema: That's why the question of how the player will receive it [the story, characters, etc.] isn't always solvable just by doing our work together. So we made it by using each other as a mirror, asking "I wrote this, but what do you think?" But I don't know about Mr. Kubooka's case. Oppositely, when I would get continuity sketches from Mr. Kubooka, I might look at it and say, "No, I don't think we can use this." We had these kinds of discussions countless times. **The Reason for Having the Ending Twice** Miyaji: There was a two-step ending, wasn't there? One after the other. In a movie, we couldn't do that kind of approach. Shigema: First, we showed the ending with some loose ends lingering. The reason I came up with that was become I wrote with the plan of it being a novel. I really started wanting an epilogue after putting an end mark at the finale when I wrote how Hiero heads toward the Blue Star and sets out walking. Since the opening started with Lucia sleeping on the Blue Star, I wanted to end with Lucia one more time. I wrote that kind of epilogue into the plot. Then, in the novel, when you just turned the page, that moving scene would be there in the epilogue, but since this is a game... The act of just turning the page could actually be in the game, I thought. I thought we might be able to put this into the game. Kubooka: And after all, if we had ended the game there, there would have been a lot of people who were angry, even though you could say it was to be expected. I thought there might be a few more people who didn't mind, though. I think that maybe connecting their parting with her going there [to the Blue Star] all at once made the game end with a shock. People would think, "what?!" p. 98 Shigema: Hiero's emotions are sad in that scene, but there is actually hope, which makes it quite an orthodox, good, happy ending, I think. But a lot of postcards came, saying they didn't like unhappy endings. And there was not necessary the unhappy ending, but issue of the lingering loose ends. I guess that maybe I like a clear happy ending. Kubooka: I like them too (laughter). -For those who found it [the epilogue], I think they would have thought that just like there is an opening at the beginning, there naturally must an epilogue. Shigema: It seems like most people were like that. -Yes. If the game had ended like they usually do, an end mark would have normally appeared and it would have stayed on the screen forever. But [in Lunar II] it goes back to the title screen. In that way, I think people found out there was an epilogue after all. Shigema: They must have felt lucky when they discovered it. -Yes, actually (laughter). Kubooka: That's right. It was different from the way the original plan was going to go forward. People would think, "huh?" as the game suddenly returned to the title screen. So I wonder how many people there were who decided to try to continue. Miyaji: At least 80 percent, I'd bet. Shigema: But I would naturally like for it to actually be 100 percent, though. **The story is a saga [i.e., a roman-fleuve]?** Shigema: When I came up with the story of "Lunar," I more or less had the image of a trilogy in my mind. Three charismatic streams in history. In that sense, I'm glad they were cleanly assembled together. Miyaji: The earliest is the untold story of the Four Heroes. Shigema: Right, the story of the battle Dyne and Ghaleon and the others fought. Next is the story of Arhes in "Lunar I," then comes "Lunar II" here. I can't say it's a saga, but if you look at "Yoshimune" and "Dynasty" now you'll understand, how these sagas are actually three- staged stories, and there's basically the three stories of the parent, the child, and the grandchild. The story itself starts with the parent's generation, there's the parent's generation and the child's generation, and finally the grandchild's generation. The reason for this is that the audience's stance is always that of the child's generation, or now, in other words. You look at now, the present, and then the past generation of the parent, and then the future that may come to be. In that sense, when making a drama, you have to take a stance where you think about the history. So at the time I started the story for the Lunar world, I had to first make the story for the parent's generation. That's how I thought of the story of the Four Heroes. Then, the world of "Lunar I" was finished, there was an atmosphere, and there was the future. Therefore, if we hadn't been able to make "Lunar II" to continue in that future, I think it would have come into existence as a drama. And since the chance to make "Lunar II" did come about, I thought, "Well, why don't I paint a picture of the grandchild's generation that was in the background." Kubooka: But Lemina is clearly supposed to be a direct descendent... Shigema: No, I didn't say that. Kubooka: No...? Why didn't you? p.99 Shigema: Well, I guess was worried about what would happen if I said too much about who was whose child, like whose descendent Hiero was, or what happened to Killy and Jessica or the others. But I don't mind that types of people like Ghaleon or Nall transcended time, though. And Ramus plays a small but important role. Well really, it's because he's sort of the comedic role. Kubooka: Wasn't he sort of a personal part? Miyaji: You wanted to appear in the game, didn't you? Ah, maybe not (laughter)? Shigema: No, no, he's not me (laughter). In the very first plot, lots of people were going to appear, with Arhes and Killy fighting together with Hiero, weren't they? But at the point when we decided that wouldn't be the story of "Lunar II," we decided to erase as many traces of that as we could. I thought we especially didn't need stuff about the decedents of heroes or genes and blood relations, things like that. Kubooka: But I was shocked that it how they ["Lunar I" and "Lunar II"] connected more than we expected (laughter). Though it was the idea that "Lunar II" should have no problem as a stand-alone work, either. Shigema: I think that even if you haven't played "Lunar I," it would be fun. But actually I hardly hear any opinions from people who didn't play "Lunar I" and only played "Lunar II" (laughter). So that kind of composed judgment hasn't really been made. It's still not too late even now, so if you see this, please send us your thoughts. **Unreleased Design Information of Interest** Shigema: Oh, right, right, Nall's Sword is sealed by Luna's scarf. Not a physical seal, but a spiritual seal. Also, the fallen Vheen was supposed to fly, too. And Leo had four legs. They said these weren't doable programming-wise. I really wanted to do them, though. But the idea to have even Mauri be a horse [i.e., a four legged design] got many, many objections. They said it was hard on Rong-fa. -There are pros and cons to that horn, though. They're lovers, aren't they, so there's the problem of how they were supposed to be able to kiss. Miyaji: Maybe they could lie down or something. Shigema: Aren't there a number of variations for the kiss? -No one is thinking that far (laughter). Shigema: And a special kind of play would be fun or something (laughter). Miyaji: Mr. Shigema has been wanting to get married lately, you know. Shigema: I have lots of aspirations to get married....(laughter). Oh, and there's also that triangle on Ghaleon's forehead. Kubooka: Right, right, that's something that the dead wear... Shigema: I didn't notice that. Mr. Kubooka does things like this sometimes. And the belt of Admiral Mel of Meribia had some pattern on it, didn't it? He said that "the sea" was written there. Since he's a man of the sea, it should say sea. This guy...(laughter). Kubooka: I tried drawing it in a dragon style. Shigema: Do people normally notice this kind of thing!? (laughter) -I'm sorry, I didn't notice (laughter). Shigema: No, usually people don't notice. He does this kind of trick a lot. It's a subliminal process (laughter). **The This and That of the Initial Design** Shigema: Originally around when we were beginning "Lunar II," I was insisting that for Lucia's design we do a beautiful woman in men's clothes. p.100 -Yes, there was that one of her with the light wave, wasn't there? Shigema: As an image of another world, it was a result that matched the image perfectly. In that sense, I thought it would be good, actually, since the Lunar world itself is another world. And her breasts are tiny (laughter). -She is thin, isn't she? Kubooka: That's right. She's not a human, she's more like a child, even if she's called a goddess or something. Shigema: It was to give the meaning of her being an immature, [gender-] neutral character. I thought, "yes, that's right, isn't it [when I saw her]." Kubooka: For Lucia's medallion, I had tentatively thought it would be one of the crests for those who take on Althena's duties over the generations. Maybe you would be able to use it in dungeons to see or something. Sort of like a certain type of portable item [i.e,. portable make-up]. Shigema: At first, we had the idea of having a time limit set up. There was the idea of having that time limit shown in a color timer. And in the beginning, Lucia was an absolutely neutral, loyal judge. She comes for judgment, and watches humans' conduct, and the scale tilts, and it's like it would decide whether this [world] should be destroyed if necessary. In the beginning, her role was like that. Kubooka: But even if that was the beginning, she was supposed to have had that role. Shigema: In the middle, we turned towards the story Althena's [power of] creation and destruction, so I think it's true that it [the judgment theme] weakened a little. Speaking of which, in the postcards we received it was interesting to hear, "In both 'Lunar I' and 'Lunar II,' the story ends up being one where you happen to save the world while trying to rescue a girl." I thought this was absolutely the case, that they had noticed something good. After all, isn't the story of an adventure essentially the story of saving a girl? Kubooka: The so-called "Kidnapping and Swordfights." Shigema: Right (laughter). Interestingly, no matter whether it's an animation or a book or a novel or a comic, this can universally make an interesting story. In games, this simple pattern is no exception. Why? Because isn't it always the case that the evil dark lord appears and you save the world, or the world's going to be destroyed, or something? But the important thing is to save the girl, isn't it, and it's good if you save the world along the way. -That's the man's romance, isn't it (laughter)? Shigema: Yes. That's the way the adventurer is, for the young protagonist, the world is something he saves while incidentally saving the girl. That's the most important. It's the dynamism of the action- adventure drama. If people say it's not a real story, that's exactly right, it isn't real. We make a story that isn't real, and that's the fun of making stories. Kubooka: Um, this isn't related, but... that parting scene [between Lucia and Hiero]. That scene is actually inspired by "Hakushon Daimaou" ["The Sneezing Dark Lord," a beloved children's animation]... Shigema: What are you saying?! Kubooka: I liked the final episode of "Hakushon Daimaou." I used it as a base (laughter). There are people who say it looks like the movie "Sotsugyou" ["Graduation," or "The Graduate" in the original American release], but the truth is it wasn't anything that refined, but Hakushon Daimaou. Miyaji: I thought it might be the scene on the tracks in "Sayonara Ginga Tetsudou 999" ["Adieu Galaxy Express 999" in its English release, a well-known Leiji Matsumoto animated film]. Kubooka: That's true. Looking at Lucia's clothes, there's certainly that too. Miyaji: Where is that scene in Hakushon Daimaou...? Shigema: Well, it's the farewell and the loneliness of the time of parting, so the "unavoidable" parting.... Kubooka: [Hiero] can't get near her on naturally on his own. Miyaji: If you even yawned, she'd have disappeared (laughter). Kubooka: You could call it one of those inevitable partings. Miyaji: Yes, that's it. An inevitable parting. Kubooka: Yeah, if it weren't like that, there's no reason Hiero would have been silent the whole time and watched her go, right? He definitely would have tried to hold her back, wouldn't he? -On the other hand, there's the opening. Like the implication of Lucia awakening and appearing naked. Kubooka: That [the Blue Star/the crystal Lucia sleeps in] was more or less supposed to be like a womb. The sleeping Lucia is like an embryo, and she's supposed to pass through the birth canal and come out into the outside world. When she meets Hiero, it's the same as when-both for children and animals-they think of the first thing they see as their parent. Shigema: That's why it was natural that we would have Lucia in there naked in the beginning. It isn't something indecent or anything (laughter). It was necessary nudity. Kubooka: I never really hear anyone say that it seemed indecent. I'd have a problem if I heard that. Shigema: Also, the scene where Lucia changes her clothes [at the Carnival], that was my own selfishness. Kubooka: That scene, it was pretty embarrassing. Miyaji: But I'm glad we had it, all crazy. Kubooka: It was a promise. Shigema: I thought a promise would be necessary. And we were able to do the beautiful woman in men's clothing I had wanted so much, too. Kubooka: Speaking of this, there's the False Althena. Almost everyone knew [she was fake]. There's practically no exceptions, I think. Shigema: Probably not. Ah, I just remembered, there was this part. People said at the time of "Lunar I" that it was too readable [i.e., its plot twists]. That's because I made it so that it was readable. Laeik was really Dyne, Ghaleon was a bad guy, Nasch will betray the party later, I wrote it so that you could figure out all of these things. That's the way the story is constructed, to give an example, in the old "Tiger Mask" [a Japanese comic and animation centering on a wrestler], there's this huge guy called the Great Zebra who's over 2 meters tall, and his weapon is the Juurokumon Kick or something, or the Sanjuunimon Rocket Kick or something. The announcer says, "A mysterious wrestler. Who on earth could he be!" or something, but you get who it is. "It's Giant Baba, isn't it!!" [According to the story, Giant Baba supposedly had died.] There was penetration like that (laughter). But that's the kind of thing you have in the story. You know it, and look forward to the process. But there were a fair number of people unhappy or irritated with how you could figure out the story. So this time I hid what Lucia was or what the Four Heroes of Althena were, things like that, and thought not being able to figure it out would make it interesting. So [game] magazine development was probably difficult. But for me personally, I actually liked the story composition of "Lunar I." It's easy to understand. p.102 **Inspecting Every Character** Kubooka: Regarding Lucia, the base was what kind of clothes Luna would probably wear if she were to appear in a sequel. Shigema: You were pretty particular about the culotte skirt, right? Kubooka: Well, I like them a lot, personally. Shigema: You said that strongly, energetically, "this is more indecent than a skirt." Kubooka: (Ignores this) I thought it would be pretty good to have a part that seemed outside of the Lunar world. Something that felt modern. And I put this together with the shawl because when she became a game character, she looked surprisingly plain and there was a visible difference when you compared her with the other party characters. Shigema: This design would have been pretty indecent [drawn] with a bust shot. Afterwards you'd notice and see it and think, "this is actually pretty indecent." Kubooka: I didn't draw it with an indecent pose in mind, though. -Looking from the girls' side, I wonder how it doesn't just slip off, since she has no breasts. Without them, if there had been any slack I think it would have just fallen off, normally. Shigema: It's, um, with magic.... (laughter) Kubooka: The uniform is like this. Um, black, and then white. Personally, I think white is good. It sort of feels like a muku [a formal Japanese white kimono for women]. I really wanted the characters to have some sort of strong shine you could see with one glance. I ended up thinking wine-red would be nice, though. -Speaking of which, when she wears red, I thought maybe it was showing her strong will to fulfill her mission coming out. Shigema: Oh, we hadn't really thought of that (laughter). Oh, I see...I might not have thought of that if you hadn't said it. Kubooka: Also, I actually wanted to make her hair blond. Hmm, I sort of wanted an image that made her feel a bit like a foreigner. In the end, making it the same color blue as Luna's hair showed a connection between them, though. Shigema: There was the idea to make her a character with a hat, though I'd mostly forgotten about that. Kubooka: I thought it might be interesting to have that kind of old custom or tradition remain to a certain degree. This is sort of getting SF after all, though. Reading the postcards, I saw there were a number of people who interpreted Lucia in a SF way, waiting for her time of awakening and hibernating. Shigema: Pure fantasy actually isn't really my specialty, and I like something different that adds some extra meaning. Kubooka: The thing I thought of earliest was always a time capsule. This was in a comic a long time ago, for generation after generation there were tons of time capsules, and one by one people would wake up and go to complete their missions. There was this idea, and I also wanted to use the image of "a girl who seems to be sleeping in a tomb." Shigema: That's the very first image, very SF-ish. Kubooka: You could say we went a little astray of our promise to make a basic fantasy, though. To some extent, from the design standpoint there was the restriction that we couldn't deviate from the line of "Lunar I." Shigema: But, I wonder about that. Isn't it pretty distinct from "Lunar I?" p.103 Kubooka: Hmm, well, I hear that from everyone, but I wonder about that. We went ahead and did Leo and Mauri. In my mind, they weren't very "Lunar"-ish, I think. But then it seems like it was fine to have stuff like that... Shigema: I feel like the other characters are really different, too. It's not the difference between a cold place and a warm place, it seems like the image of the characters' clothing is different now. Kubooka: No, I didn't plan on them being that different.... I thought about the long clothes of Nasch's priest fashion for Rong-fa... Shigema: That's true, but looking at the final product, they seem different. Kubooka: Hmm, I may have a problem if that's case (laughter). -It seems like Hiero here was decided on early. Kubooka: I put tattoos on his forehead [see early designs, p. 14]. That was self-inflicted punishment (laughter). In Hiero's case, I had no idea that Gwyn was his grandpa (laughter). Shigema: We changed it to that quite a bit later. Miyaji: There were a lot of problems with that, weren't there? Shigema: No, I'm actually glad we changed it. He's not an ordinary human, and there's all kinds of different races mixed together. I think as a result it worked out well. Kubooka: Actually, Hiero also had the mission of his father's will... Shigema: He did have that, but, see, Lucia had a mission too, and it seemed better not to have too many missions. Conversely, Hiero acts by intuition, but it's actually the right thing he's doing. I think Dragonmasters have that kind of disposition. Kubooka: In short, there was also the conceptualization of justifying his being a grave robber or something by having the reason be that he's searching for things related to Althena... Shigema: Right, right, so originally the reason Leo was calling him a rival was because, as a believer of Althena, he was protecting those ruins and was investigating them and thinks, "this guy is a grave robber." Kubooka: Jean also completely changed, 180 degrees... Shigema: She's 180 degrees different. In that design, she was the princess of a ruined country and was always sobbing, and was shy and withdrawn...but she actually had incredible power. She changed 180 degrees and became a big sister who looks after other people. But even in the game with the mini characters, we expressed that very well. And in the battle scenes with Jean's movement. In that sense, I earnestly think that if you don't make the entire game, you won't know [how well she will turn out]. Miyaji: I think she grew up to be a good character. She lived within the game, becoming a fighter too. If she had just ended up finishing as a dancer, it wouldn't have been interesting. She becomes a fighter, and does that Renpatsu ["Continuous Burst"] technique... Shigema: That was interesting, wasn't it? Kubooka: And Rong-fa, I wanted him to have a beard he was too lazy to shave. Shigema: I wrote in the dice later. Kubooka: There's really not too much attachment there, is there (laughter)? -Even so, you decided his design fairly quickly, didn't you? Shigema: We decided it on a hot springs trip, actually. -So does it end up being easier to decide on the male characters rather than the female characters? Kubooka: Um, with other work this was also the case, but with the protagonist I had no problems. Shigema: Plus the girls are important, you know. The males, well, they can be whatever. p.104 Kubooka: With Lemina, originally I really thought of making her exactly like Mia. Shigema: Hmm, but there were surprisingly few postcards saying things like, "She's Nasch and Mia's descendent, right?" Making her blond was going to give her Nasch's image. That's what I was thinking. This girl seems this thoughtless and carefree, but actually she has a mission. So she's actually like Mia and actually has a mission, but the way it shows up is different so there was pressure. In Mia's case, this was shown through her introverted side and she's very hesitant. Conversely, you could call Lemina a cheerful, attacking type. -Considering her personality, her clothing is subdued, isn't it? Shigema: But black makes women seem pretty, or maybe not? Kubooka: I wanted to make her a standard female magician. Shigema: Just like with Mia. Except her waist is held in very tightly. Miyaji: The measurements are short. -Yes, it's a lively image, isn't it? Shigema: For people who have played the game, I really want them to take Lemina with them to Temis village after the first ending. If you do, you can hear something pretty funny. There's no event, but the dialogue is funny. It gets stranger and stranger, though (laughter). Kubooka: To this day, I still end up calling Ruby "Mink." Shigema: She was Mink for a long time, wasn't she? Ruby is a very cute character. Kubooka: I wanted to have Ruby transform into a human, though. I feel like something happened with that. What was the reason? Shigema: That's my greatest regret. It's because at a certain point, the story was growing far too large, and we did a lot of cutting, and when deciding where the main point would be, we decided on portraying Lucia. Ruby's human form was one of those parts that was cut. There are various others besides that, of course. -I'm sure you'll get many postcards after this. Shigema: Nall and others were supposed enter the party too. Kubooka: And he's always burdened with carrying Althena's Sword (laughter). -It sure was cute when she [Ruby] attacked during the battles. Shigema: You may not have noticed this, but after she matures [into the true Red Dragon], her attack power doubles. -Right, from 3 to 6. Miyaji: That's hardly any change at all (laughter). Shigema: But it is doubled, you know, doubled. Miyaji: But no one will probably notice that kind of thing. Shigema: You're falling over, it's so funny. Miyaji: The programers probably thought it would be funny and did it. Kubooka: Will she do that in boss fights, too? Shigema: She won't fight bosses. Miyaji: We didn't want Zophar to be defeated by Ruby in the end (laughter). Kubooka: And with Nall, it looks like there were people who didn't realize it was him even when they heard his name. Shigema: You're kidding?! Kubooka: It's true. Something like "But, it sort of looks like him, but..." (laughter). Shigema: This is the easy to understand pattern of "Lunar I." Miyaji: But this guy is pretty lonely, isn't he? Machine Mountain has incredibly cheerful music, but it feels so incredibly sad and lonely. p.105 Shigema: The sadness of the [Dragon] tribe's long lives is maybe why he's rebellious and went a little astray. Miyaji: The way it's just him who's still alive. Shigema: And because new children always join and others leave... So in the middle of making the game, I almost wanted to make a side-story where Nall was the protagonist. Also, the voice actress, Rika Matsumoto, is just great! She's really great. Kubooka: She's exactly like the image. Shigema: Yes. Ruby was also incredibly good, so I wanted them to do a comedy where Ruby and Nall talk back and forth, too. Kubooka: For Mauri's image, there was Audrey Hepburn from "My Fair Lady." Personally, I like a slightly decadent air. Shigema: Right. She's a beastwoman, but with the air of a beauty. That's actually, you wouldn't call her dirty, but she's a character that uses her dangerous personality to cause trouble for Rong-fa or Leo. Kubooka: In the graphics, Leo is quite... There's hair around his neck. Is he all covered in hair? Miyaji: This is the first time I've heard this. -Seems like he'd be really warm. Shigema: It does seem like he'd be really warm! (laughter) The Masked White Knight was funny, wasn't he? The first time I came up with him, I burst into laughter. And speaking of that, the reason I made him was because Leo is very strong, sincere, and unaffected, or headlong, or inflexible, a very serious character. That seriousness comes out in contrast to Hiero. Hiero is very relaxed and devil-may- care, but he always chooses to do the right thing. Leo is a character who is so over-serious that he may make the wrong decision. Miyaji: We were able to show that really well in that event. Shigema: And in the battle scenes, we got people to work really hard, and the letters say, "The White Knight," don't they? That wasn't going to happen, we weren't going to have time. Miyaji: And he's wearing his mask and everything... Shigema: He's wearing his mask, and the mini character is disguised. I thought, "wow, they're good!" And, "what are these guys thinking?" (laughter) I was surprised. You don't normally do stuff like that. Kubooka: When I first decided on Leo's colors, he was wearing red clothes. I'd totally forgotten about the White Knight. Shigema: Right, I was wondering what was with Mr. Kubooka. But that wasn't a ruse, he'd simply forgotten about it. Kubooka: And the blue Linus of the Blue Fist? I forgot that guy was blue, too, I was thinking yellow... Shigema: In the game, Borgan survives, but I had planned to kill him. Miyaji: When you kill a character, you know, it isn't interesting. And in "Lunar II," no one ends up dying. And Ghaleon was dead from the beginning. Kubooka: To the end, Mr. Shigema tended to stick to having characters live. Shigema: That's right. In my mind, I thought, "I'm not gonna kill characters if possible." Killing people is such a final measure, and we don't really have the right to do what we want with their lives, do we, since once characters are born, they have a life span, too. (p.106) I can't just go and kill them. However, Ghaleon himself wanted to disappear. The first image was of a man living in disgrace. Even though he was living in disgrace, he chose to keep living. In Ghaleon, I really wanted the shame of still living while in disgrace. Even though he's living in a crumbling condition [i.e. his worn-out body], that ended up seeming appropriate for Ghaleon, instead. But Ghaleon wanted to disappear in the end. Well, I think that the result ended up being pretty good. Kubooka: His embarrassment at being called Dragonmaster didn't show up very much. Shigema: In the original process, when Leo or Borgan or someone would call him Dragonmaster Ghaleon, he would say, "Don't call me by that name." He unwillingly wears the mask of Dragonmaster in order to deceive Zophar, but for Ghaleon it's the thing he wants to hear the least, since that's the symbol of his dear friend, Dyne, after all. I wanted to do a character who performed even if he had gone ahead and shed blood, or lived in disgrace, and story-wise, that's how it was. Kubooka: We didn't end up being able to do this, but I thought it would be cool to do something like a scene where Hiero wrapped Luna's scarf around Ghaleon's wounds, and then as Hiero and the others headed off, the scarf would come off and flutter away. I wondered if we would be able to do that kind of visual well. Shigema: Even while Ghaleon understands that humanity is able to surpass the imagination, he was unable to the end to surpass [the limits and obstacles they faced.] But Hiero and the others were able to surpass those limits without trouble. The condition for becoming a Dragonmaster actually isn't bravery or power or something like that, it's having a free heart that doesn't think limitations are limitations, and this is both the condition for a Dragonmaster and humanity's true power, he finds. Personally, I like characters like Ghaleon very much. Miyaji: And Zophar... We ended up making him a character who it wasn't really a problem if he was killed. So we made him heartless and inhuman... Shigema: So there essentially isn't any real significance to Zophar. The story's focus isn't here. Miyaji: Last bosses are difficult. Shigema: If you give too much significance to them, it's a problem. Zophar had no image at the start, so we asked Mr. Satou for ideas... Kubooka: Zophar changed quite bit from the image we thought of, didn't he? At the time of the original design, he was a child. Shigema: Right, right. Miyaji: An ominous child? Kubooka: In the beginning, he had no shape. There was the idea of him being inside the womb of the False Althena. So at first, the design itself was more grotesque, and the False Althena herself had more significance. The reason for making the Cult of Althena or something was so that those evil things would be sucked in, and he would grow larger and larger inside the False Althena's stomach. It's kind of a gross image. At first, there was this curtain, and the False Althena would appear, but she wouldn't move from the tank in back. If you wondered why, and if you opened the curtain, in the back, there would be this huge thing like a womb. And Zophar would be gushing around inside. (P.107) That's the kind of image we had thought of. But I thought grotesque things kind of wouldn't fit with the Lunar world, and got rid of that. **Now, what about the characters of "Lunar I?"** Shigema: In "Lunar I," there was that, there was Evil Luna, those risque clothes were something else. Where did things like that come from? Kubooka: Ah, well, I thought elements like that might be necessary. And the reason I made Arhes' eyes green was because he was a descendent of the earth, of the Blue Star... Shigema: In the original design, that is. Kubooka: Arhes was spelled using "Earth," wasn't it? Shigema: Right, and Luna was from "Moon." But we changed that in the middle. Kubooka: So, the clothing. For the design, it was a northern people, and at that time at any rate, someplace cold was part of the design, and I adopted fur for some parts. Shigema: The reason we made it a cold place was become at that time naked girls swinging swords were popular, and I didn't like that. So, I decided to make it a cold place. If you make it cold, there's at least a bra for resistance, isn't there? That's why I decided to make it cold. Kubooka: Considering that, there were complaints about how exposed her legs were... Shigema: But it wasn't me. I was fine with that, and since much later, risque Luna got to live on. Kubooka: People said Luna was like that Bulgaria Yoghurt commercial or something. Sort of an ethnic tune. Also, that scarf, a girl at the dentist I was going to then had that fashion every time I went. I thought it would be good. And Ramus had a face like Housaku Samon [a fat, glasses-wearing character in the baseball comic, "Kyojin No Hoshi," or "Star of the Giant"], and since they wanted me to make him cute, I wondered how it would be if I made Mr. Shigema cute. Shigema: No, I'm different from that, though. Nasch is flashy. How on earth does his hair get like that, I wonder. Kubooka: Well, mostly, in general I'm not good at particular details, so I try to make designs with features centering on one, simple point. Shigema: I think that for games, this is very good. Kubooka: Mia and others are like this, too. This Magic Guild and the priestess style are different concepts. The Magic Guild has Russian Orthodox elements, doesn't it? That's how I planned it. Shigema: The design for the town of Vheen, that seemed like Moro. Kubooka: As for Jessica, I wonder how she was... Shigema: Well, Jessica's a beastwoman, she's called a beastwoman. With six breasts or something... Kubooka: I don't know about that (laughter). Shigema: There wasn't that, of course. She has a tail [note: apparently he is speaking about an early design]. Kubooka: And with Killy, it was that.... As in image, I used something like "Willow"... [an American fantasy film by George Lucas] Shigema: I wanted a guy carrying a big sword over his shoulder. Arhes' sword is relatively slender. -That's right, it looks like you really wouldn't be able to carry it. Ghaleon: For Ghaleon, I asked for a bad guy (laughter). p.108 Kubooka: I had some trouble with Ghaleon. Shigema: That's right, there were quite a lot of different patterns, weren't there? Kubooka: And Ghaleon was separate from the Magic Emperor at the start, right? So him being inside [the Magic Emperor's armor], that wasn't there at the start. Shigema: In the beginning, there wasn't a plan to have Xenobia in the story. Mr. Kubooka just suddenly drew her one day... Kubooka: Yes, I felt like I wanted to draw a witch, and I asked them to let me do it. -Is there anything else you would like to mention? Shigema: If you would like a "Lunar III," please keep sending Game Arts requests. Also, well, your impressions and things, definitely. -But if you decide to make "Lunar III," it'll take another three years, won't it? Kubooka: Yes, that's right. Shigema: But if that's the case, maybe the next game will be a different part of the "Lunar" world. Kubooka: I think we could make another one. Shigema: So in the same "Lunar III," I think I'd like to make something a little different. And you, Mr. Kubooka? Kubooka: Hmm, well, I think it might be fine if the characters aren't connected, but I'd want to create the world of "Lunar" well, and then look towards new ways of development. However, there are definitely things we weren't able to do in "Lunar II." There were other things we wanted to do in "Lunar II," but we just weren't able to. Regarding "Lunar II," there were lots of parts where we wondered whether they work well as a game or not. I was definitely concerned about the reaction of the audience in judging these parts. Shigema: That's right. Kubooka: There aren't any games crafted as carefully as the Lunar RPG series. I haven't seen much besides other games' demos and relevant scenes, though. Shigema: On the other hand, I've seen a ton of them. Kubooka: So I didn't know at all what we could and couldn't do, and I learned afterwards what was a challenge to do. -Yes, that's right. I've seen the scenarios and continuity of games made by other people many times, but there is never this kind of attention to detail. For scenarios, "Lunar II" has such a large amount, but other people's scenarios don't have very much. Shigema: I actually hadn't been aware of that. -Oh, really? Shigema: I actually had no idea that the scenarios for "Lunar I" and "Lunar II" were so extensive. I couldn't understand why in other games, after an event had finished, the dialogue didn't change if you returned to the cottage. Even though the story is always advancing. I thought that was weird, so I ended up deciding to change that. Well, I can understand the reason no one else does this. It's quite difficult, you know. But I'm very pleased that its reputation is so good, thank you so much. -Thank you very much for taking the time for such a long interview today. Translator's Note: Special thanks to Lunar-Net's GhaleonOne for expressing interest in this project. Thanks as always to Jeffrey's Japanese Server, Jim Breen's EDICT server, and Yahoo Japan's dictionary, whose services were invaluable for finding good English words for certain translations. Lunar and all related names and licences are the property of Game Arts and Studio Alex. This translation work is copyrighted 2005 by the author and shall not be altered without express permission. Lunar is copyrighted by Game Arts.