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Interview: Behind the scenes of The Bouncer

Screen shot
The creators of The Bouncer combined action and character development in the game's design  

(IDG) -- Tetsuya Nomura, Noriko Matsueda, and Takashi Tokita have worked on some the biggest games in recent history. Parasite Eve, Final Fantasy VIII, Chrono Trigger, and now The Bouncer for PlayStation 2 have all been touched by them. Read on for a behind the scenes look at The Bouncer.

Tetsuya Nomura, Character Design

GamePro: For which other games have you designed the characters?

Nomura: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, the Parasite Eve series, to name a few.

GamePro: Where does your inspiration come from when you create characters for the games?

Nomura: Basically, most of my ideas come from movies and magazines, or I just create them in my head.

Noriko Matsueda, Composer

GamePro: Do you work on the music at the same time the game is created, or do you come at the end of the creation, watch the game, and create a music that the game inspires in you?

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Matsueda: In the case of The Bouncer, we already had the scenario prepared, so the music for each scene (theme music for events and characters) was already being discussed at the earlier stages. Afterwards, everything basically moved forward at about the same pace. In some scenes though, the images were created earlier, so we sometimes compose the music to match the already-created scene. In such cases, we still try to keep in mind the initial inspiration we got from the storyboard and CG while preserving the premise of the story, but at the same time, aiming for quality in the music that can hold its own.

Takashi Tokita, Director

GamePro: Will there be an online element to The Bouncer?

Tokita: Unfortunately, there are no online elements.

GamePro: Describe the three bouncers who star in the game: how do their personalities differ? What are their best and worst characteristics?

Tokita: Obviously, each of their moves/techniques will be unique. It follows the typical, age-old rule of the three-person group: an orthodox member, a cool one, and a comical one. Additionally, to give a more manly and mature impression, the game starts with the characters not butting into each other's business. Their best and worst characteristics will be determined by the player. My personal favorite is Kou.

GamePro: What kinds of businesses are the Mikado Group involved in?

Tokita: Primarily, the company works on space development and is also involved in various aerospace and other related industries.

GamePro: The game is described as an "action RPG." Describe a typical action sequence and tell us about the sort of RPG-style problems the group will face.

Tokita: The selling point of an "action-game" is the feeling of oneness with the character, but on the other hand, action games lack characterization and story development. RPGs can cover most of these narrative factors, but command input-type RPGs sacrifice the tempo (speed), the thrill factor, and the feeling of immediacy. The Bouncer's system is a combination of the best elements from these two genres.

GamePro: What have been the most exciting aspects of developing The Bouncer on the PS2?

Tokita: It is the opportunity to work on such an anticipated title. On the PS2, Square has not yet released its flagship title: FFX. Having the chance to take the initiative before such a title is a worthwhile challenge.

GamePro: Are there role-playing/character development elements in the game, or do the characters stay the same throughout the whole game?

Tokita: As I mentioned earlier, the game has a character development system with a high degree of freedom. For some players, action games may not be their strong points, but this system was designed to help resolve that.

GamePro: Will the story be linear or can the player make choices that affect the direction the story takes?

Tokita: I would say it's a cross between both. There is one basic story, but there are branches that allow you to see it from different angles.

GamePro: As you are breaking new ground with The Bouncer, you probably encountered new problems as well. Which aspects of the game were the most difficult to realize?

Tokita: The hardest part was definitely working with the PS2 for the first time. Also, working with the large capacity media (DVD) was a new thing. The burden on the programmers has become heavier, so adjusting the schedule was the biggest obstacle.

GamePro: What kind of freedom will the player have to switch between characters?

Tokita: You will always be able to pick any of the three fighters at the beginning of the fight scenes and in scenarios with branching points.

GamePro: Will the DVD mean extra options? What about trailers for other Square games?

Tokita: The concept of the title will determine how the large capacity will be used or how much memory a certain part will take. The concept becomes clear once the title is set to come on DVD and/or the PS2.

GamePro: Is the "No Cactauar" patch on Volt's jacket an insider joke or are there some links between the universe featured in The Bouncer and FFVIII?

Tokita: The character design for The Bouncer is done by Tetsuya Nomura, the character designer who did FFVII, FFVIII, and Parasite Eve. I would have to say that he is the link for these worlds.

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