Paradise Hotel 51

Where Gaming Dies

GPara website

Much like the official website, this fansite (originally hosted on GPara) does not exist anymore, but has been archived on the wayback machine. The website itself contains many comments by director Suda Goichi, interviewed by the GPara staff. Most importantly, it contains his first admission that the games Moonlight Syndrome, The Silver Case and Flower, Sun and Rain were connected and formed a continuous narrative. All the contents of this page have been translated by Dijeh and paid for by the Paradise Hotel staff.

L’isola di Lospass, in cui risiede l’hotel Flower, Sun, and Rain, è il miglior resort al mondo in cui dimenticare il passare del tempo.
L’isola di Lospass ha perso il suo passato; lo stesso giorno si ripete continuamente, senza fine.
L’isola di Lospass è stata presa di mira da un vile terrorista. Se la sua bomba non verrà disinnescata, un aeroplano esploderà ogni giorno, lo stesso giorno.
L’isola di Lospass chiama a sé il cercatore Sumio Mondo. Qual è il ruolo di un cercatore, se non quello di ritrovare ciò che è perduto?

〜 Introduction to the game 〜

NOTE: The character profiles were either not preserved, or were never written

Each of these pages contains a basic outline of each chapter and two short comments by Suda51, one taken from the Story Q&A and the other from the Cast Q&A.

R-00 | R-01 | R-02 | R-03 | R-04 | R-05 | R-06 | R-07 | R-08 | R-09
R-10 | R-11 | R-12 | R-13 | R-14 | R-15 | R-16 | R-17 | R-18

PROFILE OF SUDA GOICHI:
In charge of planning, script writing, and executive production for “Flowers, Sun, and Rain.” CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture Co., Ltd. Born in Nagano in 1968. In 1993, he joined Human. He worked on “Super Fire Pro Wrestling SPECIAL” (SFC), “Twilight Syndrome” (PS), and “Moonlight Syndrome” (PS). In the fall of ’98, he founded Grasshopper Manufacture. In 1999, he made his debut with “Silver Case” (PS2). “Flowers, Sun and Rain” is the second work produced by Grasshopper Manufacture.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q1: Why did you use Paradise as the setting? What is Paradise to you?

A1: I wanted to go to Paradise. Well, I didn’t do it in the end.
I went to Saipan for shooting, but I was more shocked than thinking ‘Wow, this is Paradise’. There’s no deeper meaning to it (laughs).
In the end, Sumio’s answer in the last dialogue with Peter is close to that.

Q2: And now, a personal question. Is there something you wish for desperately? If yes, what?

A2: A Motorola mobile phone. TU-KA [2G mobile operator] or no deal.

Q3: Let’s say you can buy it at an auction! How much would you be willing to pay for it?

A3: 20.000 yen.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[01] Mondo Sumio

Mondo Sumio, the protagonist. People who played The Silver Case and Moonlight Syndrome may remember the name “Sumio”. What is the background of this game’s Sumio?

The man entrusted with a secret no one knows

Sumio is like a blank slate. He’s got a brand new character and his feelings change through his connections with others. I had also already decided on the major supporting role from the very beginning. Sumio’s days change based on his actions, but neither Sumio, nor the writing team knows, no matter how obvious it may sound. This is how I entrusted Sumio with a secret no one knows.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q4: How did you come up with the title ‘Flower, Sun and Rain’?

A4: The original idea was ‘Flower and Sun’ and I wasn’t sure whether to add another word or not. At some point I happened to read a magazine for young people and I saw the words ‘Flower – Sun – Rain’ which made a really strong impression on me. There was an interview with Kishibe Ittoku about a song he’d written. I had to look for the original song only knowing that it was the song of a band called PYG.
What I felt at that moment were the traces of those faded times more than the band named PYG or the song itself. I’d love to make players aware of PYG and this song through the game.
The song ‘Flower – Sun – Rain’ transcends your inner self; for example, I had a band when I was young and copied The Police’s ‘Message in a Bottle’. It transcended the idea of favourite or good song and it was something I took in once and felt like it became a part of me. ‘Flower – Sun – Rain’ also became a part of me and I can’t even tell whether it influenced me or not.
My only regret is that I couldn’t use it in the game itself.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[02] Edo Macalister

Hotel manager Edo MacCallister. An important character who shows up every chapter together with Mondo. A man who embodies the true serious nature of a hotel manager. He cannot forget his “job face”. Who is his model?

His image movie is “Four Rooms

Edo is the typical solitary man, like Nakategawa in Silver. His interactions with Sumio are the most natural; they always interact, so he ends up showing a lot of emotions. His model is Tim Roth’s character in Four Rooms, due to his serious nature.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q5: ‘The last is inspiration’, says Stephan. What inspires you?

A5: Tokyo. Capital cities. City structures. Municipalities.

Q6: The game has a lot of football-related vocabulary. Please tell us what terms like ‘romanista’ or ‘fantasista’ mean and what football means to you.

A6: ‘Romanista’ actually shows up in Ooka’s part of the scenario. I didn’t contribute too much. However, I do love football, so I touched it up a bit. ‘Romanista’ is the word used for supporters of the AS Roma team, Nakata’s team.
‘Fantasista’ is a term that’s been used a lot lately for a football player’s play style. Basically, a ‘fantasista’ is a footballer who’s got such an amazing and fascinating style that instantly surprises and mesmerises fans. Famous fantasistas are Roberto Baggio, Del Piero or Zidane. Nakamura Shunsuke for Japan.
Fantasistas arouse so much admiration and attention in people, it is even being argued in Europe that football isn’t a sport, but an art. Unfortunately, my beloved Beckham isn’t considered a fantasista, and I simply can’t agree with that. Ryan Giggs is, of course, a fantasista. As expected, the football played in the Premier League is the most spectacular and fantastic.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[03] Stephan Charbonie

His sudden appearance is both philosophical and uncomprehensible. The type of character whose lines you do not want to skip, but read carefully instead.

Intellectual, eccentric, enigmatic. A lovable man.

Stephan is one of Ooka’s characters, like all the academic types. His eccentric personality became more and more pronounced, but a lot of his actions and personal connections aren’t actually shown in the story, even though they exist in the form of character notes. The parts connected to the Lospass Island mystery got expanded, but his role became smaller. The story might be over, but he remains a mysterious lovable man.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q7: This time you even quote actual pro wrestlers. Do you also love pro wrestling?

A7: I find pro wrestling and combat sports more interesting than any other type of entertainment, games included.
Antonio Inoki also created a training camp at Palau, so the truth is, pro wrestlers love training together in Paradise. For pro wrestlers, Paradise is the ideal place to rest both body and mind.
There’s no real meaning behind the football and combat sports episodes in the game, it’s just that they are the most popular when it comes to mass-media; NBA or pro baseball are fine too, but I think the showy nature of football and combat sports makes them stand out more.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[04] El Soulfight

‘Hehehe…’, the bold laughter of El Soul Fight, a man with a unique fighting spirit philosophy. Suda loves combat sports, so you can almost hear him giggling here. 

A man just like you imagined

Soul Fight is…exactly as he is. Just as you thought he’d be. I hope players enjoy his character. Everything about Soul Fight’s scenario came to me naturally, he was that fun to write. You can even say I reflected on him more than actually writing about him.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q8: Stephan is concerned with raising flags. He has a lot of cynical remarks about the game industry or games in general. What kind of game do you actually want to create?

A8: Something completely original, something with no equal.
An independent original game, not influenced by anything.
Perhaps everyone feels the need to aim for something more than actually creating something.
It was said during Evangelion’s time that there are no original works in this world, but this arbitrary decision really got to me and made me want to turn the idea of an original work into something real.
I believe adventure is established through trial and error. What I aim for the most in adventure though is trial and signal. Not something about everything having value and meaning due to the failures piling up in the life inside the story, but about discovering the meaning of a certain moment, of a certain point in time. Basically a succession of dynamic moments.
For example, the meaningless or wrong actions of humans in games are only judged as 0 or 1 and the player has already noticed the worthless and meaningless nature of bad and good and gets bored of the game.
This is why I dislike fake flags: the conclusion will be the same no matter what you choose. That or a perfect divergence. Play until all events are set on a single course of action. I feel a product is honest when it weaves precisely the fate of the characters, even if the story is half-baked. Nevertheless, if you feel the need, you should do it. There are actually a lot of PC games with flags that don’t feel at all like flags.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[05] Maria

You would think she’s only a drunkard, but at the end she suddenly confesses she’s an angel. Did you plan this strange scenario from the very beginning?

A difficult, hard to grasp character

Maria… I was told she wasn’t very interesting, so I rewrote her conclusion. She was written by the assistant in charge with the characters, so she was rather hard to grasp. I had trouble with her scenario and she was a difficult character as well.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q9: Sonny seems to hate men who act in their own style and run away. Are you a ‘my style’ kind of person? What do you think about people who live in their own style?

A9: I have reached the conclusion that ‘one’s own way’ and pride are what launched Grasshopper, but that should be thrown away now. Perhaps this reasoning is necessary for individuals, but in the case of a community like a company, especially one that offers its services to clients and customers for profit, it is simply a hindrance.
When I make a product, I want to be as ambiguous as possible, like Juuza of the Clouds, with no actual method: I want to leave it up to the players beyond the first checkpoint, whether my point gets to them or not.
The ones who want to see ‘my own style’ are people like hipsters and martial artists. It can’t win against people who live now.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[06] The Balboa brothers

The two who boarded speakers that can turn into a boat (?!) and came to Lospass Island: Sonny, who relies on physical strength, and Tabs, who lets bullets do the talking. Tabs doesn’t talk too much this time.

Balboa, the comedic duo that won’t make you laugh

The Balboa were named after the duo in Miami Vice*. A comedic scenario with a white man and a black man. In the game, I write things that are supposed to make people laugh, and they’re mainly taboo, so basically no one will laugh at a game designed to make people laugh. This scenario written to make people laugh obviously ended up unfunny. The staff in charge with the scenario wasn’t particularly trying to write something funny in the beginning, so their sober attitude made us laugh at inappropriate times and troubled them more than anything. In the end, we ignored the funny aspect and finished writing Sonny and Tabs. I guess it ended up as an “unfunny scenario”.

*James “Sonny” Crocket and Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q10: Another one of Stephan’s lines — ‘Anger is my energy’…
What gives you energy when you make games?

A10: The feeling of wanting to be rewarded.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t really care about myself. Every person has their own path in life, and the things one has to sacrifice, the things one has to prepare for, become the biggest impetus behind a work, in answer to the reality that ends up involving others.
Of course, family, the staff, and depending on the circumstances, even mass-media and customers or clients are involved. The creator is aware of what influences him and he has to work hard on the game since they have contributed so much; I want to persevere, because it would be too sad if they were not rewarded somehow. Being able to make games represents the energy these influences are converted into.
Energy is cool.
Kai Band’s ‘Beautiful Energy’ is a famous song. Hearing it’s a song about sex was a shock for my middle schooler heart.

Q11: ‘Jealousy is a valuable emotion’…
Please tell us about a work you are jealous of (can be something other than games)

A11: Impossible when it comes to games.
My occupation is based on estimates and processes, so I honestly feel envy rather than jealousy when it comes to titles created in a favourable environment. Still, there’s no victory or defeat when it comes to developing in the same conditions in the first place, and I don’t think the game industry is developed enough to arouse jealousy under the same conditions.
Basically, I think the problem is that there’s no actual space, organisation or foundation for young people to participate in great numbers. It would be great if there were stages, but…this is something you can’t talk about too much.
Jealousy…Twin Peaks.

Q12: ‘Prejudice is a shortcut to truth’…
Do you have -positive- prejudices?

A12: Difficult to say. Perhaps about something like karma?
Prejudice bends and grows, turns into karma and focuses on something, drawing near to the truth. We see the truth from the blind spot called prejudice and it shows its true form over and over again.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[07] Yayoi

Yayoi, a sensual woman with a beauty mark near her mouth. We know her from your past works, right?

An extremely lovable woman of “chaos”

I entrusted the chaos and disorder aspect to Yayoi, but she ended up a normal woman and didn’t manage to show her true strengths. I’m very attached to Yayoi, so I brought her back in another game. I wanted her to interact more with Sumio, but she would have to stay put in a peaceful place like Paradise, and Yayoi is at her best in a city environment. I hope she will show up in another game in the future.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q13: What do you think are the unspoken common taboos and contradictions that affect games?

A13: True feelings and outward appearance. True nature and needs.
The contradiction of applying marketing to the illusion known as mass-media.
The glory of civil rights and the disappointment of the unerasable complex towards culture and civilisation.
I believe that the current state of the game industry, unable to catch up with mass-media and players, gives birth to taboos and contradictions. However, if you’re in the game industry, you know there isn’t much to do about it.
I think a lot of creators would like to destroy that state of things. Everyone thinks like that already. I want to destroy it too, and if ghm received an order, I’d do it. Anytime.

Q14: Is there any relation between the titles and the content? Why did you choose these tracks as BGM?

A14 (Takada Masafumi): About the titles and the content…
As a basic premise ->
Classical arrangements were allocated to the Lospass Island.
Incidentally, original tracks are remixes of tracks that accompany events in the game.
Based on this, we have…
§ pattern 1
The places you can visit expand as the game progresses, while the titles of the tracks that play in the places you can visit become the titles of the scenarios.
§ pattern 2
There are also track titles used for scenes where secondary characters play an active role in the scenario.
§ pattern 3
There are also instances when according to ghm’s (Tsuda’s) feelings, scenario titles are song titles!!! Or so they say. Actually, it’s more correct to say I wanted to give off the vague feeling that they might be related or not.

The reasons behind song selection…
Musical compositions with no royalties (50 years after composer’s death, copyrights arisen during the war)
Not extremely famous songs (‘Oh, I’ve heard these lyrics before’)
Musical compositions different from the so-called game soundtracks (‘Water’ released now from KING [Record])
The composers me and Yasumoto like would be nice…(ends up as modern day composers…)

Actually, we simply matched the classical arrangements to the scenes we felt they fit. As a result, there were no more differences between them and the original tracks written according to the scenario, and I felt that the soundtrack reached a good balance.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[08] Shotaro

A cheeky brat.

Shoutarou, the archetypical “cheeky brat” who makes you think “yeah, kids like this do exist”. There are two well-defined groups of people: those who hate him and those who love him?!

He’s really hated, but also very popular?

He is irritating. The worst type of brat. He’s cute though and the most popular character among the ghm staff.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q15: What do you believe in?

A15: Baseless self-confidence and capable advisors.

Q16: The game talks about ‘shelter kids’. It’s not extremely obvious in the story, but there is a meaning and image related to the shelter, right?

A16: The shelter is the symbol that controls people. A representation of tragedy. I‘ll say it, it’s a horrible lot.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[09] Yuri and Seiji

They look like the type of couple you’d see anywhere. And yet they call themselves “shelter kids” raised at the orphanage…

The ephemeral two who need salvation

A warped form of “The Silver Case” impact makes its appearance in a small world. From the side, it is an ephemeral story about kids that might have existed at some point, kids like those two. It makes you wish they were saved.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q17: The atmosphere on the Eleki Island truly is something else. What image did you have in mind for this island with rows of transmission towers?

A17: Using empty slogans is really easy, but since we’re living in this world now, it’s ‘laxness’. I don’t even know how many years it’s been since we were told about ‘healing, soothing’ and even now everyone wants to be comforted, so it’s close to that feeling.
The definition is the ruffled hair on your head. A small part of the image of slowly trying to catch the clouds.

Q18: ‘Image’ is a very ambiguous word. What is your definition of ‘image’? What is the image, concept of this game?

A18: The illusion of a city.
I imagined a realistic spectacle of an island sustained by a different sort of energy, like something used in boiler rooms.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[10] Mati

Mati, one of the few normal people in the game. She offers Mondo her cooked food several times. Does he actually get to eat it?

Peerless cooking skills

Mati’s cooking is incredibly delicious and being able to taste it in the game sounds great, but…I forgot whether you actually get the chance to do it. I’m sorry. Just what kind of person i she anyway?

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q19: There are a lot of comedic moments in this game. Your games so far have had a dark and heavy atmosphere, so please tell us why you decided to include comedic scenes in the Paradise setting.

A19: I didn’t write those scenes with comedy in mind, I wonder if it was ok. However, a part of me didn’t want the story to fall into a pattern and another changed patterns for the players to enjoy, so this time I decided to combine both ideas; I also wanted to make it more accessible to new PS2 players, so I may have touched up the story a little.
Both clients and staff told me that a heavy atmosphere can get tiresome, and I also felt the same, so I chose Paradise as the setting. I’d say it was the right choice, if you think about the times we live in.

Q20: ‘Truly bewitching’ whispers Mondo as he looks at Eleki Island and the crash. Bewitching is a word you’d normally use for a woman, so what is its meaning here? Why are Eleki Island and the second crash ‘bewitching’?

A20: My accounting teacher used to look at the rows of financial statement numbers and repeatedly call them ‘bewitching’. I found the obscene way he used the word striking.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[11] Step

Step the scoundrel and his habit of stealing things. He shows up very little in R-10, so he is the only character to cast a shadow over this chapter with comedic touches.

A key character from the early conception stages

I never thought he would end up like this. He was written as a key person from the early conception stages, so he is an important character who supports the other side of the story “Flower, Sun and Rain”.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q21: ‘Destiny’…Sue talks about the dark side of the moon no one can see. What do you think is ‘destiny’? Have you ever felt its effect while working on a game?

A21: This is a basic thing, but I feel fate’s wheels turning on the release day, as in a fated title is released on appropriate timing. Perhaps it feels like the past is catching up.
I want to kill the past as soon as possible, but the one to kill the past isn’t Sumio, a half-hearted resolution won’t work. The past is something you need to face in order to kill, so he’s still not ready.

Q22: There’s a close-up of the moon in R-11. You have used the ‘luna’ image in your games before, do you have a certain attachment to it, do you find it charming?

A22: I’m persistent. The moon doesn’t need explanations, you can just show it. And, well, I always come back home late, so I see the beautiful moon every time.

Q23: Yayoi, Sumio and Baian Sayaka who committed suicide… These are important names for people who played your older games. How connected are the worlds of Silver and Moonlight in your opinion?

A23: Everything is in the same world. Everything is connected.
Except Fire Pro Wrestling.
These three games are connected though.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[12] Sue

A strange maid with an extremely serious personality, who gets sleepy at random times and ends up napping under the bed. She suddenly becomes important in R-11.

She was supposed to have a small role in the beginning, but then gained a life of her own

She was supposed to have a minor role, but became more important during the rewriting stages. Sue has a big role in Ooka’s scenario, so I’d say that influenced her importance. I used Sue to show what it’s like to live on Lospass Island.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q24: Step says ‘I’m fed up with ordinary days where nothing changes…’ Does unchanging daily life also make you feel bitter? (we can also say ‘society’ as a whole) Do you vent that frustration in your games?

A24: City life is very stressful. I always try to understand the meaning of that, but sometimes I delve, sometimes I use my intuition and the end result is pushing forward on my game romance. This time, the setting of Paradise shows it all. I’d say it all shows in the atmosphere that makes you wonder if going there would be ok.

Q25: You already mentioned that Moonlight, Silver and FSR are connected, but why did you create games where you can see the same world from different angles? You want to write a specific one world view, right?

A25: An extraordinary romance.

Q26: Remy thinks the island ‘smells like blood’. In the previous chapter, Sue remembered the smell of blood from when she was born. What is the meaning of ‘blood’ here?

A26: Blood? The game already mentions the memories of the island, in other words, a fragment of its history before Mondo’s arrival, a great massacre erased from history. That genocide took place under the guise of mass production. Sue’s memories manifest themselves as an unfading consciousness and afterimages, an image of ‘blood’.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[13] Koshimizu Yoshimitsu

A federal investigator who came from the Far East, pursuing the case of Mondo’s murder. He looks like he’s wandering around, but he’s actually quite perceptive?!

He might be smiling, but the smile doesn’t reach the eyes behind the glasses

Koshimizu is based on a junior of mine, also named Koshimizu. He’s the type of person who smiles, but the smile doesn’t reach the eyes behind the glasses.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q27: The phrase ‘Kill the past’ also shows up in your past games. Have you thought about killing your past? Why? Do you hate the past, and if yes, why?

A27: I have seen a lot of people who only remain themselves by repeating the same things they’ve done in the past and I really don’t want to be like them. Killing the past is also synonymous with fighting with the future, and what makes the future alive is facing the past and settling things.
Basically, I don’t want to cling to the same past things when I make games, since the players also want to see something new. I only look at the possibility of making games that face the future.
That means fighting the future.

Q28: ‘You will cease to exist if you kill Mondo’, ‘You will die here, Uehara Kamui!’ – Toriko’s lines concern me. In short, what is the true form of Sundance Shot?

A28: It’s♥a♥secret♥

Q29: ‘Kamui-san, please pull tomorrow’s trigger…’ Who can affect the time on Losspass Island? Toriko? Mondo? Is there a precise answer? Also, please tell us about the space-time distortion on Losspass Island.

A29: It’s Morishima Tokio.
Even if the resort is not established, space-time will still be distorted in a sense.
As long as you don’t go there for work.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[14] Remy Fawzil

She came to Lospass together with Koshimizu in pursuit of the Mondo murder case. Is she related to the secret of Lospass?

A calm, fragile, selfish woman

Just as Koshimizu, Remi also shows up as a third point of view character on Lospass. A calm, fragile, selfish woman. She has her own tale, but this game is Mondo’s story, so I wrote a separate episode.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q30: Mondo says ‘This feels like a game world’. What kind of virtual space is a ‘game world’? Is it charming? Unpleasant?

A30: I’d say it’s a space way too different from the real world, for better or for worse. It’s a game because there’s no common ground with reality, that’s the kind of impression it gives off. Likes and dislikes change depending on various conditions.

Q31: What do you think would be a reasonable price for ‘Flower, Sun and Rain’?

A31: Hmmmm (laughs)
Let’s say 6800 yen is just right (laughs)

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[15] Toriko Kusabi

Toriko, who seems to have an extremely important role in the story and is both connected and not connected to the story. What is her relationship with Mondo?

The story of Mondo and Toriko is “Flower, Sun and Rain”

Mondo and Toriko never meet actually, not even once. Their story is “Flower, Sun and Rain”, but that was eventually disturbed by an annoying old stalker. What a pity.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q32: ‘Loneliness and hotel workers have nothing in common…’ says Ed. When do you feel the loneliest when you make games? What kind of loneliness is it? It can be either before or after their release.

A32: As the director I still have the workplace, so I don’t feel too lonely. It hasn’t cooled off enough for me to feel lonely and I’m really grateful for that. Among game creators, I think the various producers are forced to be the loneliest. This industry wouldn’t be able to grow If they didn’t get the spotlight more than the actual workplace. Once you become a developer, everyone will be concerned about you in some way, so you would be encouraged in a way you would have never even dreamed of as a simple employee. Thankfully, I cannot be lonely now.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[16] Natsuko
and Takaoka

Natsuko and Takaoka, a strange couple (?!) no matter how you look at it. What is going on with these two?

I should have given her a uniform

Natsuko…She is a high school student, but she doesn’t look like it. I should have given her a uniform.

Takaoka…Writing deep characters exhausts me. This old man ruined the tension in the second half. What a disaster.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q33: The stories related to the core of the main story show up one after another in R-16, but what is the ‘eleven’ Sundance mentions? If we decipher Ritz’s words, the number of characters that show up on this island is usually eleven, right?

A33: Not really.
There’s an even bigger mystery surrounding ‘eleven’, which will probably have another chance to show up. Please wait until then… difficult thing to ask, right?

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[17] Ritz

Ritz, an old lady full of mysteries. What is the true identity of the woman called “Lady Ritz” by the inhabitants of the island?

I made this story too complicated again

I was thinking about my dead grandma, so that might have influenced my writing somehow. If you think about Ritz’s age and take the island’s history into account, you can get a peak at the truth through some fragments of words; the depth of each word makes the true picture difficult to understand and the story becomes even more complicated.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q34: In R-17, it is work that keeps Mondo alive and it is repeated for the first time that work is his priority in life. What are your priorities in life? Can you give us your top three priorities?

A34: It’s time.
This is not a proper answer, but I feel that my life is led by the utter importance I give time. There’s no boundary between my private and professional life, so there are no priorities.
It’s rather sad.

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[18] Morishima Tokio

R-17 sped up towards the dark side of the island. Tokio shows up and becomes the key to the bizarre mystery of Lospass Island. 

I only have one thing to say

“Welcome home”.

The archived page for R-18 seems to be incomplete; Q&A question 35 was never answered and the chapter’s banner is a mirror of R-17. To my knowledge this is not a fault with the archive; it seems that the website was never finished. It does however contain a different Cast Q&A.

SUDA51 talks about FSR

Q35: There is no real Paradise anywhere. The resort is a place separated from the rest of the world. Then is the game world Paradise for you?

Suda’s answer. (Please wait.)

SUDA GOICHI talks about CAST

[19] Sundance

Sundance, a man full of mysteries until the very end. He didn’t seem to be a bad guy.

A character I would like to write about again

He was supposed to show up more. The more Sundance speaks, the more we approach the truth. I wanted to make him say more, but he strayed too far from the game, so his turns decreased. A character I would like to write about again.

〜 Interview to Suda Goichi 〜

“I killed all my previous works once when Flower, Sun, and Rain was released, so I’d be really happy if I were somehow able to put them all in order.”

Thus sounded the proposal of Suda Goichi of Grasshopper Manufacture, the developer of Flower, Sun, and Rain, barely two weeks after the game’s release.

“Killing the past” is a message that has appeared countless times in Suda’s works, but also his own policy. In Suda’s words, “I want to create games where you look towards the future without clinging to the past”. He also knows well that in order to kill the past, one needs to face it head-on.

To be honest, Flower, Sun, and Rain has received both positive and negative reviews from players. In order to “kill the past”, Suda has dealt with all the reactions that appeared after the game’s release, and in response shall talk about them in this interview GPara has prepared as fast as possible.

GPara’s questions for Suda

  • Flower, Sun, and Rain? Negative feedback and answers;
  • Reactions after Flower, Sun, and Rain’s release;
  • Future Suda games and a message.

Flower, Sun, and Rain? Negative feedback and answers;

Flower, Sun, and Rain received both positive and negative reactions and even though there were enthusiastic people reacting positively, there was also completely negative feedback. On bulletin boards, Suda consistently thanks players for their reviews, but in this interview I have decided to tackle the problem of the “noes”. Are you ready?

SUDA: Please be gentle.

Q1. Well then, let us start with the graphics and the game platform.

      There were voices complaining about the mediocre graphics, about being constantly on the move, asking why the game was released on the PS2, or saying that it gets boring if all you do is move around. Were the graphics and system chosen on purpose? What other options were there while making the game?

      In other words, was everything done on purpose even though Grasshopper had the possibility to showcase beautiful graphics and a flawless system or was it actually because that was the limit of your technological abilities? Or was there perhaps not enough time?

ANSWER 1

I have already mentioned this in the fanbook, but I created the general image when I decided on Paradise as a setting.

For example, there were ways to turn the character designer’s art into faithful 3D reproductions, but in the beginning I had doubts whether making them realistic was the best choice.

Each game has its own artistic direction, and making everything look beautiful is not GHM’s style. When it comes to the visual presentation it’s natural to aim for modelling and composition with new designs and flavours for each game. As a result, we ended up with unique models.

The staff in charge with the models also had quite some trouble with the fierce competition of the PS2 age. The moment where the models and backgrounds were displayed, they were certain the models they had chosen were the best option, including the compatibility between the two.

The quantity of movement is seen as a problem of filling in empty spaces. The space in the game is a fictional world, but I certainly wanted to have the players spend some time in Paradise. I figured that strolling through Paradise would need calm sounds and a comfortable setting, but nothing more than that. As long as you have the power of sounds and images there will be no need to fill in those empty spaces. Regarding the sounds in particular, the sound team went to Phuket (Thailand) to record live sounds, like the chirping of birds or the sound of waves. Those would not just end from movement to movement, but would become an important factor in creating the environment. In other words, I created the amount of movement that ties action to action as a stroll in Paradise.

As for the system, it was basically simplified so the people who do own a PS2, but don’t really use it because they’re too busy or the games are too difficult, would be able to play the game with no problem.

Technological abilities? Hmmm, what a charming question. Taken to the extreme, it would mean it is because that’s how it’s reflected in the players’ eyes. Saying the developers are skilled would be unpleasant and being told their skills are low would be rude to the staff. The main reason they’re rated so poorly is that even though they do a fine thing, I ask them for things where technique cannot be seen with the naked eye. Everyone from the staff is always on the losing side.

Q2. “I made this game as if I was filming a movie”. What can you tell us about such a daring quote written on the back of the package? Does it belong to you or to JVC?

It seems to me that when one thinks about a movie-like game, what generally comes to the minds of most players are the extremely beautiful graphics of Final Fantasy and the like.

ANSWER 2

That blurb? It showed up on the back of the cover jacket before I knew it (laughs). I didn’t even say such a thing…(laughs). Ah well, I make games because I have a complex about movies and if I were to say, I think games are superior to movies anyway.

Q3. Now, about the story.

      The latter half is heavily influenced by the previous game, The Silver Case. Why did you create this kind of story?

You felt that the story concluded in Flower, Sun and Rain, but what if it didn’t? Was there any plan to approach the ending as a stand-alone story? Or perhaps, the story could only be related to Silver, or better said, Moonlight Syndrome?

ANSWER 3

I had a public commitment with ASCII CORPORATION related to The Silver Case. Leaving Moonlight aside, the plot of The Silver Case was too expansive, it couldn’t be completed that easily. There’s a short personal record in the game’s pamphlet, but it will still continue in various forms.

The link with Moonlight are various cast cameos.

If there’s a demand for an independent story, then I’m available at any time. Also, I’ll be able to make it as long as there’s a story on the way.

Q4. Were there any disagreements within the company while working on the game’s presentation, system or story?

ANSWER 4

There were and weren’t.

Our environment has nothing to do with intense ideology disputes, like you would see in a creative spot. The place for creating games is suitably plain and time is spent slowly and leisurely.

Reactions after Flower, Sun and Rain’s release

Next, I will ask about the reactions that followed the game’s release, and we will see what Suda himself has felt.

Q5. The negative opinions posted on bulletin boards I mentioned in the previous section have most likely reached your ears as well. What do you honestly think when you see this kind of opinion? Do you ever feel down and think ‘Shucks…now I’ve done it’?

ANSWER 5

I react with sincerity to all the opinions of the buyers, as I expressed on our company’s bulletin board.

It’s impossible to feel down, since I don’t think there’s any meaning in feeling down because of whatever someone said. For and against impressions are something natural.

I wouldn’t like to prioritise, but I want to place the most importance on the survey cards.

In the times of Super Famicom you could only find out opinions and impressions thanks to these cards. I straighten up and read them all, including the ones with actual signed names. Not to mention the fact that some even have stamps glued on them; it simply feels different.

Q6. I think there were mistaken views about the details of past works and game making or environment, so you must have felt irritated and frustrated.

What did you consider painful or regrettable among all those messages?

ANSWER 6

There are many inquiries for our company as well, but the questions are related to details of the Twilight series.

In this industry there are many people with achievements, and they themselves can clearly talk about the true details behind their work; there are, however, many reports that distort the truth and change it according to circumstances.

The Twilight series is particularly complicated, with both positive and negative reviews, and GHM was also used depending on circumstances, but the scale was too small, so it was worthless.

The frustrating part is that the transfer of Flower from ASCII to Victor has been written as a joke; it broke my heart and can’t help but I wonder where all that speculation is coming from.

Q7. I would like you to tell me how you felt when you created your games, about the details and background.

I would like you to start with Twilight before getting to Moonlight.

ANSWER 7

Twilight was basically a big gathering where I was able to get to know most of the GHM staff.

The game scene is generally heavy, but you can’t understand Twilight’s heaviness unless you are someone who worked on it. This is not something physical. It’s impossible to put into words, you know. It’s like there was something that tied us by working together.

I’m thinking we should have a reunion in Kichijouji one of these days.

Q8. Now about Moonlight.

ANSWER 8

The entire staff of Twilight was replaced, so there were a lot of efforts to establish work relationships. That’s my impression of Moonlight.

The company’s requests were extremely difficult, so that in itself was really distressing. I figured we should give shape to the fear and madness experienced back then.

The Kobe child murders had taken place just before the development deadline, and the setting and other parts were influenced much more than expected, so the public opinion, morals, presentation were factors that put a lot of tension on us every day. Due to mass-media’s reaction to the Kobe child murders, the game fell under strict regulation before release. I felt resentment towards this at the time, but now I’m thinking it was a good thing…not.

Q9. And from independence to The Silver Case. What made you choose this way?

ANSWER 9

My bonuses were reduced, so I got annoyed and simply decided to go independent (laughs).

I was starved for my own original style, and I figured I wouldn’t be able to achieve it there. Well, there’s actually a deeper motive, but, basically, I flipped out.

I was in a dilemma myself, and my determination to make games in my own style as quickly as possible and ASCII’s needs coincided, so we clicked immediately.

I was pretty clear when it came to how honest The Silver Case was going to be.

At the time of the release, I honestly thought there must have been a grudge against me or something, since so many similar games were also launched. I was wondering if there was something more than that. Releasing five adventure games in one month was such a waste.

There was this sort of one-on-one fight with Kouno Hifumi’s (whom I might as well call my comrade in arms) Zoku Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan, and it’s frustrating that I wasn’t able to win against him.

Future Suda games and a message

Q10. Do you make games in order to satisfy any personal desires? Also, why did you choose the video game medium in order to fulfil that something inside you? Is there something about them that is overwhelmingly more charming than in other mediums?

ANSWER 10

When I create games and the like, my dissatisfaction only keeps growing. No matter how much you create, there’s still something missing, and saying it makes you feel fulfilled is a lie. I am telling young people with a future that having aspirations or hope is useless, but I believe the highest entertainment can only be found in games, and the fact that they have that kind of job does fulfil ‘something’.

Our generation has experienced the brilliant glimmer of the genesis of video games, and can feel their tremendous potential. The longing for video games has developed strangely, and we blindly throw ourselves in the world of video games. I would like to make everyone playing video games experience that glimmer. That is, I feel that the power of video games lies not in the evolution of visuals, but in the beauty of the luminescence of the pixels, and in that primeval charm of an extraordinary romance.*

Q11. We have talked before how you always think about the future form of your games (‘Fight the future’), but how do you see the future form of all video games?

ANSWER 11

The keyword is online, but people will get bored of it, no matter how interesting something is. Sooner or later, they will question the raison d’être of this connection, and from there, when it evolves into another future type of online system, they will really be connected to the game. If the technological change in development means a rush towards the future, this industry will undoubtedly come to ruin, and if we will not give up on our complexes, it will end with second-rate media.

I’ve got all these complicated thoughts, but to put it simply, if the future types of video games are able to find a place in the life of the customer, they will endure. This rule only applies to video game consoles for now, but if suitable rules show up, I feel that we will face the future.

Q12. What will your future work be like?

ANSWER 12

I’m not writing a tale. I’m also sure it will not be an adventure game. It will be a change of direction.

Q13. And now at the end, a few words for your fans, please. I would also like to hear a few words for your detractors.

ANSWER 13

I still don’t have a real feeling of fans or detractors, and I feel that recognition itself is presumptuous. I am aiming for the day when I will be able to stick out my chest and say ‘my fans’ or ‘my detractors’.

I am working hard on my game romance so I can announce my new work to everyone, since our mission is to make games in a time span as short as possible.

This was a long interview, but I would like to thank you for spending your time with me. I have taken up your time, so thank you very much once again.

*romance as in epic tale