Sega's AM2 arcade division lives! And the latest game from the makers of such revolutionary titles as Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA is... Hatsune Miku Future Stars!
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata interviewed the makers of the 3DS title for the latest installment of the Iwata Asks series. The interview is with Makoto Osaki and Motoshi Takabe, both part of AM2.
Osaki, head of AM2, has been working on Hastune Miku since Project Diva Arcade. He describes his role as "probably what would generally be called something like a producer." What he means by this is that Future Stars' development is like that of an old-style game, where the producer is deeply involved in the development scene.
Takabe is director of Future Stars. He wrote the design doc, gave instruction for creation of the "PV" videos that play during the game, and oversaw the development scene. He left the money and staff issues to Osaki.
Iwata admitted that he played a lot of Daytona USA (I'm using "admit" here because Sega and Nintendo were once bitter enemies -- there's no hint of the old rivalry in the Iwata Asks column). Osaki thanked him, and said that AM2 has been working on Hatsune Miku since 2009.
Surprisingly, Future Stars does have some connections to those AM2 titles of old. Osaki says that the technology used for Mirai, and for the special Miku videos they make for live concerts, all comes from Virtua Fighter. Things like the creation of the PVs, the simulation for Miku's hair -- the basics, and the staff making them, are from Virtua Fighter.
Future Stars shows the Hatsune Miku vocaloids in SD/big-headed style. This wasn't always the case, though. Elsewhere in the interview, project manager You Utsumi revealed that the game originally showed the characters in their standard proportions. However, they felt that something wasn't quite right. Miku looked smaller when dancing on the 3DS screen and this was without even considering that they'd have to show the notes for the rhythm gameplay.
They ended up deciding to make the characters SD style, eventually settling on proportions of Good Smile Company's Nendoroid figures (although there were some suggestions of other head sizes). The Nendoroid proportions made sense because the Nendoroid figures for Miku are the second best selling licensed Hatsune Miku products (Sega's games are first).
The three also discussed some of the 3DS technology that's put to use in the game. We've already covered how the game uses AR technology to show Miku dancing on your table (or wherever else you like). The game also uses voice and face recognition. You can use your voice to select songs. The facial recognition can be seen in the game's alarm clock mode. When you're not in front of the 3DS, Miku will wait to make sure you're gone, then will come out and look around. There were some concerns about how the player will actually be able to observe this, though, but Iwata suggested perhaps watching from the shadows.
Access the full Iwata Asks column here.