Couple days ago a new kickstarter campaign surfaced, ‘Project Phoenix‘ is made by many skilled and well known artists who worked on successful AAA-games. Sandy Martin spoke with creative game director and producer Hiroaki Yura about game development, Linux support and more…
Interview Hiroaki Yura
Seldom in my life thus far have I had the honor to sit down and chat with someone of such a calibur of personallity and conviction in all they do. Hiroaki Yura is one of those people and in his own right. He is the founder of the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, the Eminence Audio Production company, a violin virtuoso, and the founder of Creative Intelligence Arts, Inc. He has done numerous work in both the film and game industry with such notable game titles as Soul Calibur IV and Diablo III.
I emailed the company in a shotgun chance that I could talk to someone about their newest project. Hiroaki Yura personally intercepted my email and said he would be happy to sit down and chat on Google hangout. We met, introduced ourselves and spent some time getting to know each other. This is a man who has been in the industry for ten plus years and was heavily influenced by the JRPG’s of old. I was amazed to learn that he and his team are making this game to bring back the glory of what the JRPG genre used to be.
Mr. Hiroaki Yura: Back then companies had limited resources for their games and it was all about telling a really good story. Imagination played a major role in those games. You would play the classic Legend of Zelda games and look in the old Nintendo players manual at the artwork of Link and imagine being him or imagine the monsters he was fighting.
Importance of realism
He tells me how music also plays a huge role in helping tell a story for those games. Yura talked about how his team is about merging the Japanese style with North American style RPG’s. He wants to bring the best of both worlds in a RPG that everyone on as many platforms can enjoy. Hiroaki began telling me the basic idea’s behind the combat for the game. How important the tactics will be for combat and not just pure brute strength.
Mr. Hiroaki Yura: I want combat to be fun but it also needs to be realistic. When an elf archer reaches for an arrow where would his quiver be? Logically it should be at his waist level.
I want the players to know that the characters are strong but also feel vulnerable like all heroes. Sheer numbers of enemies will kill them not an enemy with an oversized sword. Tactics is very important for the players. explained Hiroaki.
He also told me for combat styles, basically that is how you want your character to behave. Aggressive, Stealth and Defensive. Each style has different tactical implication and the player must control and master it’s use to win in situations.
Mr. Hiroaki Yura: When a character goes down I want a healer to pull them to a safe spot to heal them or have a tank come and shield them from any attacks to let the healer do his work. Time is also a factor when traveling in the world of Azurgard. A group or party member can not travel 300 kms in one day, it is physically impossible.
RTS elements play a heavy role in this RPG, making this a fast paced game. I thanked him for his decision to bring this project to Linux and he said
Mr. Hiroaki Yura: To be completely honest I don’t know a lot about Linux. All I know is it is virus-free and free to own. I had just recently switched over to Mac’s myself.
Hiroaki also explained that they plan to bring the game through Steam Greenlight and also sell through their own store. I had asked about Desura support and he said
Mr. Hiroaki Yura: Desura? We will check it out
Hiroaki wanted me to know that he wants simultaneous release of all ports of the game and that he would not release the game until all ports were ready. I was very happy with this bit of news. He then told me about how the Unity engine will help them achieve the goal to bring the project to a larger audience. This is great news as it will bring this game to the Linux gaming market. Plus the Unity team has been working hard improving gameplay of not only games but development for the Linux version.
He told me how a game should be about getting your story out to as many people on as many platforms and not too be held down by any one platform. He was happy to be able to bring this project to Linux gamers. “Will there be gamepad support for Project Phoenix?” I asked.
Mr. Hiroaki Yura: Yes there will.
Crowd funding; kickstarter
The Kickstarter goal of $100,000 is achieved, no surprise with such passion and major names behind the helm like Nobuo Uematsu ( Legendary composer of the Final Fantasy series), Kiyoshi Arai (Noteable games as Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XIV).
This project showing off his Art Director skills. Backers will get a chance to pre-order a limited edition version of the game, with a chance to be featured as a NPC in the game with their own theme song made by legend Nobuo Uematsu. Yura’s stretch goals are to bring better everything to the project from graphics to having John Kurlander bring his sound engineering to the game.
Hiroaki Yura was such a delight to talk too and made me feel that Project Phoenix was just that, bringing JRPG’s back to life from the ashes, and better yet bringing the project to Linux. He and his team are excited to bring this project to Mac and Linux. It made me happy to see such devotion and conviction to bring back the JRPG story telling and character development back to its glory days of 8bit to 16bit RPG’s. He welcome fans and backers to share their input with him at their website and forums. And also the campaign is also running generating the funds fast.