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Famicom Disk System:
The More You Play It, the More You'll Want to Play! [Disk 1]
THE DEVELOPMENT OF KID ICARUS WAS CONSTANT CRUNCH TIME
Next, you said development had not finished on Kid Icarus until three days before release. This game was Mr. Osawa's debut, right?
Osawa: Earlier, although Kiyotake spoke of how he was poor and neglected, I was even poorer and more neglected than he was! (Laughs)
Sakamoto: (Nonchalantly) He was neglected even more [than we were].
All: (Laughs Heartily)
Osawa: With Metroid, even though you said you were neglected, it really wasn't the case. With Icarus, I was the only person. In addition, because the program was requested from an external company [Intelligent Systems], I wrote the design document, drew all the pictures myself, brought it to that company, saw the finished product, and the thing was practically playable; until the development of Metroid was completed, they were not concerned that only one person was making it. After Metroid was finished, I was reinforced with more [team] members, but until then, they would say, "Good luck!"
And when did you receive reinforcements as promised?
Osawa: If I'm not mistaken, Metroid was released August...
It was released on August 6.
Osawa: You have a good memory! (Laughs) I was working overtime until about the last third of July, and everyone who had finished development had taken a break to refresh themselves. Therefore, while I was thinking, "Come on, hurry!" it became August, and I was the only one working! (Laughs) And when Sakamoto came back from vacation, if he wanted me to show him what I was working on, I'd tell him in a single word, "Can't!"* (Laughs)
*Actually, I think the compound verb he uses is a long compound that means something like "Sorry, but I can't show you what I'm doing."
Sakamoto: At the time, it was "only a jumping and arrow shooting game"! (Laughs)
Metroid was an "only running and shooting game", but this time it was "only a jumping and arrow shooting game"! (Laughs)
Osawa: Naturally, I wanted to make the things I liked, and even though Icarus was my first piece, I have an especially strong feeling for it. So it would be similar to the vigorous, good action game of "running and shooting" that sports-minded Kiyotake had made, and because by nature I like Greek myths, I put that motif into the action game I was making. In addition, I wanted to make an action game with the taste of an RPG. Although established character designs were developing rapidly, I was reasonably particular about ones where you hit things by firing arrows, [or rather, characters] related to this method of action-shooting. However, although I was still young, I was by no means connected to the nature of games, so... Regarding that part, Sakamoto entered into development to help me, and he put things in order.
Sakamoto: I pulled all-nighters and made LOTS of decisions. [This] while saying, "If you don't decide soon, you won't meet the release date of the master" (software given to the factory for production).
Osawa: At that time, it was continuously all-nighter, overtime, all-nighter, overtime. It was like that every day. However, even though I couldn't go home, I was happy.
Were you married during the first half of the development of Icarus?
Osawa: Although I was not married, it was the same even after I got married! (Laughs) Things didn't change very much. However, Sakamoto was very angry during development.
Sakamoto: I was making game design decisions for Icarus, and that day would become an all-nighter. Thereupon it became morning and if I said, "I'll sleep a little," because there wasn't even a futon or anything, I would draw back the curtains, cover myself up, and go to sleep! (Laughs)
Osawa: Nothing was warm, for in those days, even the hours in which heating was cut had been settled, and it would become cold at night.
Sakamoto: It was terribly cold.
Osawa: Icarus was made over autumn to winter. Back then, since there was no place to sleep, we broke down cardboard boxes, spread them out for a bed, and drew the curtains...
Sakamoto: We drew the curtains because the morning was dazzling! (Laughs)
Osawa: However, when I would ask, "What was worse than being cold?" when I thought I could sleep at last, I was awakened by regular work hours. When I was told, "Wake up!" I would meekly reply, "Right!" and wake up. Even though there was a poster that said, "Please let me sleep until ten!" (Laughs)
Sakamoto: Yes, I see! You were woken up because you were noticed. "Why doesn't this worthless guy get up early and work?" (Laughs)
Osawa: However, I went to sleep at 7:00 in the morning, and would be woken up at 8:00. Nintendo by nature has early mornings, beginning now at 8:45. However...
Sakamoto: In those days, we began at 8:15.
That's very early!
Osawa: Because of that, everyone trickling into work would say, "Hey, someone's sleeping. This worthless guy won't wake up!"
Sakamoto: (Seriously) Such terrible words.
Osawa: (Soberly in response) That doesn't have anything to do with the game! (Laughs)
No, we're understanding the atmosphere of the days of the Disk System, so please keep going! (Laughs)
Sakamoto: It's ok? (Laughs) Well, they feel sorry for our state, and although they told me, "We'll prepare some futons!" the kotatsu had to be prepared, too! (Laughs)
Osawa: Hey, I think what you're thinking about is a little different [than it really was]. Rather than "Prepare the kotatsu," I wanted to say, "Assist me with development!" However, when the season was heading to winter and we were working overtime, it was cold, and I was hungry, and those are the only things I remember. And when my stomach was empty, I would clear off my boss' desk for a kitchen and make kiri-mochi...*
*Kiri-mochi, or "cut mochi" is a sweet rice cake made from pounded rice and cut into rectangular blocks. It is popular in eastern Japan and best eaten toasted!
Sakamoto: Sugary kiri-mochi! (Laughs)
Osawa: You can warm it up with a microwave and eat it.
Sakamoto: (As if yearning for it) That's how it's done! (Laughs)
Osawa: (Still answering seriously) Not at all, game production isn't related to that! (Laughs)