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Ep. 20 Until the Birth of a Superhero Family(1)
One month later,
Once we decided to produce three separate cartridges for each heroine, the production of ‘A Journey Without Me’ was on smooth sailing.
Hayshi wasn’t happy with this as first, but once he started on the first characters, Haseki and Miyuki, he continued on with the project at an incredible speed.
First of all, he could do that because we were able to simplify the event scripts of the three heroines of the first episode by inserting one character into one cartridge each.
Also, there was more storage to spare with the cartridge after decreasing the number of characters. As a result, we were able to improve the quality of Morita’s art asset and the sound quality of the BGM.
As I had said before, some are able to smile in certain situations, while others don’t.
As for me, I was the latter in this situation.
‘Dang it.. it isn’t that I can use the same scenario as if I were robbing Peter to pay Paul, and I have to write a different scenario for every character!’ I thought.
Eventually, it looked like I had to start the story all over again from scratch, except for the introduction.
I focused on one heroine, but there were so many elements to focus on, such as the heroine’s connections with other characters, that would motivate users to buy the game.
However, there is a silver lining to every situation, and someone came to the rescue as I was struggling with this.
It was none other than Isakawa Yuki, my girlfriend who was working as an assistant broadcast writer.
“If you’re fine with it, Jun Hyuk, may I write the story for Nanase, the heroine who comes out as the younger one?
We nodded vigorously at her idea, for we had all acknowledged her writing skills during the last meeting when we were working on the scenario.
“I won’t do the work for free, though,” she said, sticking out her tongue, “I’m going to ask to be paid for my work.”
“Of course.” I said.
“We’ll add your name in the credits as well.” Morita added.
“Wow! That’d be great!” Yuki exclaimed, grinning, perhaps pleased with the idea her name would be added in the credits. Just then, Hayashi looked up from his coffee, looking concerned.
“Uhm, director,” he said, “are you sure this marketing plan will work?”
He looked a little nervous about using a marketing plan that had never been heard of in the game industry.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be sold out in no time. Once they fall for one, they’ll keep falling for the rest. You’ll see.”
“Well, you conducted a successful marketing plan with the ‘Dragon Emblem and ‘Psychic Battle’ so I’ll trust you with this one as well.”
And with that, Yuki, Morita, Hayashi and I officially started developing, with the production of the launch title for the Mintendo Super Family as our goal.
October 29th, 1988
A new console, called the NEGA drive, was released in Japan.
Developed by Motorola, the NEGA drive was a 16 bit console formed with two zilog 8-bit CPU pieces, and would later be released in South Korea through a major company with a unique name called the ‘Aladdin Boy’.
The NEGA drive, which was designed with a fancy color of black and including one controller each, was being sold at an expensive price of 21,000 yen. The only attractive title was ‘Altered Beast’, which was made my NEGA.
“Altered Beast’ was an action game set up in ancient Greece, depicting the adventure of a muscular protector who was on his way to rescue Athena.
Being a popular arcade game that had been released as a family console, we could see the effects of it attracting the NEGA drive.
The NEGA drive controller had three buttons, and it was mostly for using the three action systems of fists, feet and jumps when playing ‘Altered Beast’. (And later on, the three-button system became the core obstacle of developing the NEGA drive game and caused a headache for many.)
‘Of course, there were many games where three buttons were enough during this time period,’ I thought.
Also, the concept of the ‘Altered Beast’ was famous for reminding users of the comics ‘Fist of the North Star’, which was called a hero’s legend at the end of the century.
I was playing with the NEGA drive displayed in the Mintendo conference room and soon placed it down.
“What do you think about the NEGA drive console, Mr. Kang?”
“it’s definitely fast as a 16 bit should. It’s just too bad there isn’t a title to lead the console with.”
Mr. Kamauchi, the president of the company, who had been staring at a competitor’s product at the head of the conference table, looked up.
“Hmm. Looks like you’re saying it’s important to have a launching title for attraction.”
“Also, there’s no third party product to assist the NEGA drive’s population.”
“Hahaha! That’s because we’re too good for others. What kind of software company would invest that amount of money to make NEGA drive games? Once we release the Super Marriage 3 next month, no one will even give the NEGA drive a glance.”
This guy was surely full of pride.
1988 was a time when that many famous projects were being released from Mintendo Family.
‘Dragon Warrior 3’, which had been released at the beginning of this year, had broken records in the market in all of history, selling over 2,000,000 in Japan alone. Even the ‘Psychic Battle’ which I had made, had been slow to produce using a special chip, but we were still selling over 3,000,000 when it was released both in Japan and the United States at the same time.
On top of that, the shocking opening for ‘Pentagon Soft – Final Frontier 2’ made the headlines and had made a big hit of 500,000 copies within one month of releasing.
In the midst of all of this, the entire world was waiting for Kumamoto Shigeru’s ‘Super Maridge 3’, which meant we had released the NEGA drive at the worst time possible.
‘In this situation, I would have us push back the release date for us to gain some time for a launch title, but NEGA is only good at developing its own games and not with marketing skills..’
I would push back the date at least until our racing blue hedgehog was released.
Just then, Mr. Kamauchi looked at me and Mr. Kunpei with a mysterious look on his face
“The way I see it, the next generation console launching isn’t bad, but it would be such a waste to leave titles of our famous works as it is.. and when we launch new devices, we will definitely run out of ideas for titles…”
Just then, Mr. Kunpei, who had been staring at the CEO, spoke up.
“Sir, do you have any good ideas in mind? “
“What about including a backward compatibility function in the Super Family we’re going to sell at the end of next year?”
Mr. Kunpei and I looked at each other in horror as we stepped out of the conference room.
Where was this ridiculous statement coming from when we had already finished everything from the CPU and memory design?