Monday, April 16, 2007

Dreamcast Developer Interview: Shuichi Ishikawa from Caramelpot












In a previous post ( Lost Golem Review) I reviewed the Lost Golem for the Sega Dreamcast. And since then, I had the pleasure to conduct an email interview with the game's creator, Shuichi Ishikawa. Ishikawa san was gracious enough to answer all of my questions despite our language differences. So I would like to thank him again for taking out time from his busy schedule to help me out. The following interview is word-for-word from our emails.

Begin interview:

Q) Can you tell me a little bit about Caramelpot?

A) Caramelpot was established in 1997, when I was college student of Kyushu University, formerly Kyushu Institute of Design. All our staff was student of the college. So we have different specialty each, such as designing, modeling, programming and composing. But we have no experiences of making game.

Please reference http://www.design.kyushu-u.ac.jp/DB/English/index.html

Q) Is Caramelpot still actively making video games?

A) No. We broke up after the release of Golem no Maigo.
Now we are working at different company and refine each skill.

Q) What other games has Caramelpot created? And for what systems?
A) Nothing.

Q) How long have you been in the video game industry?
A) It's my first work. I was just a student.
Now I'm in Neuromagic it's a web company, and work as executive director.

Q) What other games have you worked on?
A) I developed a text-based baseball game for mobile phone. It's running with real score of professional baseball in Japan.

Q) What is your current project?
A) I'm developing a few small games for mobile phone. It's plan to ship for asia.

Q) I noticed your name is listed quite a bit in the credits. Besides Director, what all did you work on for Golem no Maigo?
A) I was scenario writer, programmer, stage designer, publicity writer, sales rep, chef, office cleaner and so on.

Q) Who did the music and sound effects?
A) Most music composed by Yasunori Murakita. He was in master's course, department of acoustic design. He work in KORG now. (http://www.korg.com/)
Some music composed by Masakazu Shin-ya. He was also working as stage designer.
All sound effects by Manabu Kawamura.

See http://golem.dricas.ne.jp/staff/staff.html
[From above; Shuichi Ishikawa : Direction, Game design, Scenario writing, Programming, Stage design, Sales, Chef
Daisuke Nakamura : Main programming
Kyoko Murakami : Character design in chief
Kayo Arita : Character design
Yasunori Murakita : Music
Masakazu Shin-ya : Music, Stage design
Manabu Kawamura : Sound effects
Kentaro Tsutsumi : Design(Web page, face of GD-ROM, Manual, Leaflet)
Mika Kurahashi : Scenario, Script, Subtitle
Ryotaro Itoh : Graphics of picture-story, Stage design
Fukiko Kodaka : Illustration of manual ]

Q) Who is responsible for the art style of the game?
A) Ryotaro Itoh. He have nice sensibility.

Q) Was Golem no Maigo based on any previous game or work or was it a completely new idea?
A) It's completely my new idea.

Q) Could you give us a brief synopsis of the story in Golem no Maigo?
A) Sorry, I can't describe a synopsis in my english ability.
The Golem devotes his life to helping the citizens.

Q) What is the connection of the poem at the end of the manual with the actual game?
A) It's a spirit of Wabi-sabi.(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi)

Q) Are you satisfied with how Golem no Maigo's turned out?
A) No. We were so crude. It was very amateurish product.

Q) Has there ever been any thought to a Golem no Maigo sequel?
A) I want to make Golem no Maigo again. Etherealized one.

Q) How well did the game sell?
A) Too bad. I had to employ a efficient sales staff.

Q) What are your thoughts on the 3 current consoles and 2 handheld systems?
A) Nintendo Wii)
It's visceral console. It make playing possible with a light heart.

Play Station 3)
I think it's not how the machine provide better performance, but how the idea have original expressions.

Xbox 360)
It's too large for Japanese generic house.

Nintendo DS Lite)
I really like this handheld system. It have easy-to-connect Wi-Fi connection system.
It's groundbreaking because we can make a game with a light heart and estimated cost.
I believe that we can make a better game in restricted envionment, not in newfangled envionment.

PSP)
It's too large and too heavy for japanese.

Q) I noticed on the internet a game called Trip Trap by Caramelpot for Dreamcast. Was it released?
A) No. It was no more than a concept.

Q) Finally, what are your personal favorite game systems and games?
A) Animal Crossing, I'm playing every day with my friends.
ICO, I am really impressed it's ending.
L.O.L., There is no display of level or life. Also there is no script.
Pikmin, It avoid the need to read the manual. It have wonderful introductory part.

Additional Information:
Please try to insert the Disc of Golem no Maigo to your CD-ROM drive of PC.
You can see the secret graphics.

End Interview.

I hope you enjoyed this brief interview. As a Lost Golem fan, it was definitely a thrill to hear from the game's creator. I would like to do more interviews with Japanese developers, especially those that are unknown to most people outside of Japan. If you have any ideas on who I should interview next, please leave a comment and let me know.

4 comments:

Mister Aufziehvogel said...

Thank you for the very interesting interview. I've ordered the game a few days ago and I am very curious to know if I like it.

Jeff M said...

Let me know if you like it. I think you will.

Anonymous said...

Hey, any chance you can get some more images of the game? I'm interested to see what the art style is like.

Jeff McGraw said...

Actually, I hope to start work soon on a Lost Golem website. I intend to have the review of the game as well as the Shuichi Ishikawa interview there. Plus, I plan on showing a ton of images from the story that unfolds while you play. These images are great! I just need time to get it all done. When it is ready I will leave a post here at gogamego.blogspot.com.