Sakaguchi Personally Debugging And Test Playing The Last Story


The Last Story director, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has understandably been under considerable pressure of late. The game is close to release, and as the fated day creeps closer and closer, he and his development team are making one last major effort as they administer their final tweaks to the game.


Sakaguchi’s been tweeting to his fans to help blow off steam. “‘Arsenic’ in English is ‘ひそ’ (hiso) in Japanese. I just feel like letting you know,” he told followers on Twitter in an almost morbid-sounding tweet this past week.


Relax, it isn’t what you’re thinking. That LEGO creation up there is what our dutifully dedicated director calls “Arsenic Alien.”


On a more serious note, Sakaguchi then went on to give followers some insight as to just what it was that he was doing — making tweaks to The Last Story’s online multiplayer component.


“Break from disk version test-playing. Later the balance of items obtained on online is needed to be checked on offline,” Sakaguchi tweeted. “Sometimes it happened that the feeling of actual battle is different from the simulated numbers.”


A day later, he sent feedback to the development team. Mistwalker and their mysterious co-developer have been working weekends, but they were off this past Sunday. “Dev team was off on Sun, only shooting images. Work on debugging again this week. They need to open piles of emails today from me,” Sakaguchi revealed.


We can only assume Sakaguchi’s debugging e-mails must have been quite demanding, as they gave the dev. team a run for their money. “Dev team is having tough time. I remember the days I used to write scripts by myself, working till late w/o much progress,” he tweeted later.


Yesterday involved debugging as well. “Worked on mainly debugging, typical of the latter half of game creation. Mixture of creative and software adjustments,” Sakaguchi said to followers. “Making improvement even with some risks. Then create more problems. You won’t see this in other industries.”


What he’s referring to here is the fact that, even after debugging, more bugs are created if you make changes to the game, which requires it to be bug-tested all over again.


Yesterday’s last tweet on development made mention of progress. “Finished 80% of #thelaststory downloading. Parameter is pretty much fixed…final verification. But I might spot something else. ^ ^” Sakaguchi tweeted.


For those who may not know, Sakaguchi presently resides in Honolulu, Hawaii. He plans to head to Tokyo on the 15th of December and spend the remainder of the year there, although, it’s unclear as to whether this is work-related or not, as he makes mention of rewarding himself after development is completed.


And that’s that. Let’s hope the final product is worth the time, effort and sleepless nights that are going into development. Stay tuned for more news as Mistwalker and Nintendo release it.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.