By Spencer . May 21, 2009 . 2:50pm
Miami Law is part Miami Vice, part visual novel, and it’s made in Japan. Gaijinworks, Vic Ireland’s studio, is localizing the “TV ready storyline”, according to Hudson, as their first project.
In this interview we asked with Amar Gavhane, Associate Brand Manager at Hudson, what makes the story like a primetime show and how Gaijinworks contributed to the design of Miami Law.
Tell us about the story. Why is Miami Law worthy of its own primetime TV show?
Amar Gavhane, Associate Brand Manager: If you look at the action/drama primetime TV shows, you’ll see a lot of great story elements and scriptwriting. There are fantastic plot twists, great cliffhangers, double-crosses, characters dying that you never saw coming, insanely deadly yet believable weapons, and so on. Miami Law’s got similar elements. There are characters playing both sides, deadly weapons like nerve gas and bombs, certain characters dying (no spoilers here, sorry), and even the takeover of a US Navy missile cruiser.
Could you compare Law Martin and Sara Starling to famous movie/TV/comic book/video game characters so we can get a feel for them?
Hmm, I’m not sure I want to typecast them just yet. Generically speaking, Law’s the “shoot first, ask questions” later cop seen in countless buddy cop or crime-drama movies. Sara’s the brainy “strictly by-the-books” FBI agent whose type is always the foil to characters like Law.
It’s pretty easy. At key plot points in the story, a screen showing both characters will come up, prompting you to select one. Once you do that, you’ll typically proceed to an event (mini-game) featuring that character and his/her skills. You’ll experience the next part of the story from that character’s point of view, so there are plot details you might see when selecting Law that you might not see when selecting Sara, and vice versa.
For example, early in the story, Law wants to recklessly break into a warehouse surrounded by guards. If you pick him, you’ll drive your car (recklessly, of course) into the warehouse, avoiding obstacles along the way. If you pick Sara, you’ll do the prudent thing and use security cameras to scout for guards to make sure it’s safe for Law to enter.
Can you play the whole game as one character?
You could select only one character whenever you’re given the choice, but there are times when by default you’ll be Law or Sara during a given scene.
How many endings does the game have?
Just one. The story may branch and you might not experience details by switching characters, but there’s just one ending.
The art style feels Japanese, but the plot and setting screams Miami Vice. Is Miami Law primarily made for the West?
It’s definitely made with a Western audience in mind, but typically we make our products for a global audience. Miami has a unique vibe that’s not easy to recreate. We wanted to make sure the development team, based out of Japan, got the feel right.
To do that, we actually flew a few of them to Miami and, with the help of Victor Ireland, gave them an authentic Miami tour. Their experience definitely helped them make the Miami Law experience in Miami Law much more genuine.
Are there any differences in the Japanese version?
Aside from the language and the game’s name? No.
Does Hudson have plans to make more games designed to appeal to the West?
To some extent, yes. Like I said before, we’re trying to make games that appeal to people around the world: North America, South America, Japan, Europe, Oceania, etc. We’re not specifically making games for a Western audience, but we’re keeping them in mind in all products we make.
Who better to work with? Victor and his Gaijinworks crew are excellent. I’m not sure there’s any aspect of the game that they didn’t make better. From the story to the Miami slang to the character design, they touched it all.
Is Hudson working on anything else with Gaijinworks?
If there is anything we’re working on with them, it’s nothing I can talk about. Or maybe it’s so super-secret even I don’t know about it.
Miami Law has shooting, puzzles, and Sudoku, but it’ still text heavy like a visual novel. How do you think the visual novel genre can gain popularity outside of Japan?
I think Miami Law is a great step for the genre as a whole. It’s much more Western-focused than other games in the genre. It’s not just the setting (though that helps), but it’s the action sequences that give the typical Western gamer his action fix and it’s the feeling that you’re actually having an effect on the story, not just passively watching it go by.