That 3D fighter...!
So let's talk about Rival...
First, Star Gladiator...that came first.
Ah, yeah, that was first!
That's why I joined the company.
So I joined the team midway through and became the lead game designer.
And he stands much like a T-Rex does.
He's already been tweaked, but at the time we never had a character that had their hitbox* extend out like that.
At the round call, his face seemed like it'd be really close to the opponent's stomach!
Hurtboxes are what judges when a character takes damage from an attack.
So I went to talk to Yasuda-san about it, to maybe ask him if he could pull the neck back, or go back to the original T-Rex posture we had*, or maybe change it to something different.
And you know what he said to me?
"I'm the one who judges what's cool and what's not, yeah?"
I still remember being super embarrassed about the whole situation.
I was just a new kid and that was out of line.
Now I think the T-Rex pose looks cool!
I guess... we ought to stop talking about Star Gladiator now, eh?
we only talked about Rimgal though...
Tell us how Rival Schools came about!
Star Gladiator was already set to 30fps, because things such as sword effects* and backgrounds had to be taken into consideration so we didn't exceed the limitations of the hardware.
fighters from every country came together to decide who was the strongest!
Wow, that's an original, novel idea!
They said, "Yeah... it's okay."
"Yeah... it's okay."
So I had to rethink my idea.
I really wanted to do this game.
So I thought, okay let's base this on something that people have an interest in.
If it was set in a school, then everyone would understand it because everyone has had that experience.
So I figured, I might as well make it stupid crazy, and had the setting be in a school where 40 characters fought to decide who would be the class representatives!
Ahh, I see!
Then this programmer said to me, "look at my screen, I have three characters on the screen, three!" and showed me three playable characters.
And that's how I came up with the idea of having two-character teams.
That's how I got my idea approved. Then the whole idea of a team battle set in a school war became a really good idea.
The ideas kept piling up.
"With this we can have people taking down the evil school"
"We can create our favorite sports manga"
Taiyo High was based on a school in my hometown.
The concept of two character teams, the school setting, everything fit together so well.
The original title was Justice Fist, so I changed it to "Justice Gakuen/Rival Schools"
It sounds stupid cool, haha.
Teachers and Students
Yasuda-san drew the hero for another title, and asked if I could use it in my game.
Batsu* was originally going to be from a ninja high school.
Shimazu Hideo is the language teacher, and an expert at Shimazu-style Karate. The shoulder protector is also pretty cool.
*Batsu Ichimon is our fiery protagonist.
Ah, so that's why he has chain mail under his uniform!
After that, I wanted to improve the story.
I wanted to have a story that tied all of the characters together.
I really wanted to have stories for each character with multiple branches and endings.
I was really worried about the game not selling, so I asked if I could borrow Sakura for the game, haha.
She's in a school uniform, it works! It was insurance for the game's success.
That was also insurance, haha.
And the opening of the game featured the world's first 256 color animation!
It was only three frames though, haha.
But people were like, "wow the PlayStation is awesome!"
It was a world first!
They said they didn't know who to pick so I said, "pick the dude* with the giant barrel for a belt" because he was strong like a rock.
Rival Schools was a game where we put a lot of effort into making sure it was easy to play.
First you had the four button system, as opposed to the six button system for Street Fighter.
We did this with the thinking that the game would be ported to PlayStation.
We also made it easy to do combos without having to know special moves, and we put counters in too.
I think our big selling point was the team attacks you did by pressing three buttons at once.
You started the fight with maximum gauge, so you could even do it right at the beginning.
That helped increase our income, and Street Fighter Alpha 3 even incorporated it.
Yeah, they copied it but they asked our team for permission first.
Because it's going to be this summer's big hit."
We only had three months to develop the console version though, haha.
So we had to come up with something that we could make in three months.
That's how the mode came into being.
But that mode even appealed to people who weren't into fighting games.
Our goal was to have people who couldn't play fighting games play this mode, and eventually become someone who could play fighters.
It matched the setting of the game, and felt like people could accomplish something naturally.
Then for some reason Boman* would be blushing, haha.
That's how characters with spinning pile drivers and Shin Shoryukens were born, haha.
There was also Edit Mode, where you could create your own character.
I guess that's why it was also in
Neverending School Life
So uh, when are you going to make a new Rival Schools?
Batsu, Hinata and Kyosuke* haven't graduated yet.
They started their third year just when the story finished.
I guess the scenario is already finished, haha.
Please tweet at me using the tag, #RivalSchools3 !
Sorry that we focused on Rival Schools and not on Itsuno's other titles, like Powerstone and Capcom vs. Esaka.
I hope we'll have a chance to talk about them later!