This blogpost aims to be a comprehensive review (but not a full translation) of Art of Mira (AoM). It’s intended to be a summary of noteworthy things in the book, and/or as a guide for those who want to read along as they go through the book. I won’t be translating the entirety of this book as that would be a colossal undertaking for one person, and I frankly don’t think this book warrants much more attention than I’m giving it right now anyway (which is probably why no one has attempted to do anything with it). This article will be the first part of three articles; one for the artwork section (this one), one for the interview section, and one for the short story section.
There was a Takahashi Q&A in the latest edition of Famitsu, in the run-up to the release of Xenoblade: Definitive Edition. I was originally not going to translate this because I thought I had no means of reading it, but I guess things have changed since the last time I was in Japan. Thanks, internet, and here is the Q&A:
In Monado Archives, there is a small addendum on page 226 that talks about a prototype story for XB1. It comes up in my conversations with others a lot, so I wanted to translate it here for easy reference. There is a translation project for XB1 in the works by the way, and you can check that out/help them out on their discord server here.
“In Iwata Asks, there was a comment of an early plot where a certain character close to the game betrays the party, and this comment was discussed at length in the community after the interview was published. Asking Takahashi and Takeda, they said it was a very early storyline that went something like this: after Reyn loses Sharla, he tries to go back in time to change the future. However, they find out, were they to do this, it would result in even more lives being lost, and Shulk opposes this. In the end, Shulk uses the Bionis’ power, and Reyn gains the Mechonis’ power, and they battle it out to decide who gets to decide the future. As you can see, this is quite different from the storyline we got. Asked why this wasn’t used, Takahashi: ‘it would be sad for a friend that was with you the whole journey to betray you at the very end.’”
Also, earlier in the book in the interview section:
(Talking about favorite characters)
Takeda: My favorite character is Reyn. Especially because in the beginning, there was a time when we were trying to set the two of them (Shulk and Reyn) on opposite sides of the spectrum and go for a buddy film type story. We ended up doing a story about Shulk and Fiora though.
Takahashi recently sat down with Harada Katsuhiro from Namco to talk mostly about the Japanese hiring process and workplace culture. I feel most of this interview to be lacking in insight into the Xeno games, and so I want to focus on a bullet point summary rather than translate what looks like at least a 10000-word project that won’t be interesting to most people (I imagine) anyway. I will provide direct quotes and context where I deem it necessary and important enough. The translation is below.Read More »
A few hours ago, a tweet showing a clearer look of the flavor text on the comm devices popped up with some interesting info. As anyone can see, the text is in English, however, it seems to have just been put into a translator such as Google translate and pasted into the game, as evidenced by the rather hard to follow English. While it probably won’t take a genius to decode all the information, I think it’s safe to say someone with a Japanese background might have better luck at conveying all the information in these texts. In addition, there are some concepts such as the DM engine/organization (more on that in a second) that many parts of the Japanese audience are not going to be able to fully follow, let alone overseas, and I feel like I can point people into the right direction when it comes to that kind of thing. I will reprint the text below, cleaning up the grammar and whatnot to make it more coherent.
I’ve been asked a number of times about why it is that many in Japan think Tanaka is not returning to Xenoblade. Rather than repeating what I’ve said over and over, I wanted to outline his comments that suggest this in a timeline. Here it is:
I debated whether or not to write this article because it’s not Xeno-related and it’s mostly speculation, but why not.
The recruitment page for the fantasy action project seems to have shifted into the Zelda project. I’ll try to outline my reasoning below.
If you look at the Wayback machine crawling of the fantasy action project recruitment page (and could read Japanese,) you’ll note that it says “New project begins!” at the very top. This is now gone in the current iteration of the fantasy action project page and says “Looking for developers experienced with action games!” instead. Furthermore, the job openings listed under the fantasy action project and the Zelda project are the exact same:
One part of it as an example. It’s all exactly the same.
I think you can guess two things from this. Either that the job openings for the Zelda project and fantasy action project are a “template” Monolith Soft uses when starting a new team, or that the fantasy action project shifted into a Zelda project at some point. Remember as I said above, that the “New project begins!” is now replaced with “Looking for developers experienced with action games!” Perhaps the fantasy action project never kicked off, and Nintendo proposed that they lend the Zelda IP to Monolith Soft to make a Zelda game? That’s my guess. Some people think it was Zelda from the start and they just wanted to hide it.
Over the years, Monolith Soft and its affiliates have taken part in numerous interviews. It can be quite hard to remember who said what and when during a discussion. The Xenogears/Xenosaga study guide is a great place to get some of the older interviews, but it is also far from complete and lacks anything post-Saga. Although there are many better ways of going about this, I don’t have the skill or resources to do it in such ways, so I have decided to write up an ever-expanding article of a list of interviews from over the years, divided by series, going in order from newest to oldest, and also having a brief description of some of the key points of the interview to refresh your memory without having to click and read everything. This is a very incomplete list, so bear with me as I update it constantly.