Pro Story Telling : How important compelling characters in your game?

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The team over at Shmuplations have dug up and translated another vintage game dev interview, this time featuring the creators behind classic RPG, Grandia.

In the 19-year-old article, which first appeared in Sega Saturn Magazine in 1998, Grandia game director Takeshi Miyaji and art director Hidenobu Takahashi discuss the marriage between compelling character design and engaging player interaction.

Winding back the clock to when Grandia was only at the planning phase, Miyaji explains his biggest ambition was to make an RPG that contained more lifelike characters. Digital vessels with more “theatrical and dramatic” elements.

“In previous RPGs, even ones with a lot of sidequests and extra content, I think the empathy one feels for the characters is still pretty low,” he says.

“Those games couldn’t even really evoke a simple feeling like ‘I really love this character!’ Obviously those RPGs have been influenced by mechanics and systems of the past, but on a human interest level, they didn’t convey much at all.”

It was a concept that grabbed Takahashi too, with the art director eager to create a humanistic RPG that gave players some form of tangible emotional feedback.

“For Grandia, then, we put a special emphasis on designing the character encounters, making sure the NPCs all had strong individual personalities of their own,” adds Takahashi. “So the first time you talk to them, you might not understand them, or they might try to take you for a ride.”

Be sure to read the full interview over at Shmuplations.