Shmuplations recently translated an old interview from the Sega Saturn Magazine from 1997, where Mega Man X4’s staff talked about how and why they changed Zero to be a swordfighter, what they view as “must haves” in an X series game, and about the inclusion of Iris. [Thanks, Rockman Corner!]
Here are the highlights:
On the how and why behind changing Zero’s gameplay:
Koji Okohara, Planner: “Looking back at X3, we felt there wasn’t enough difference between the way Zero and X controlled, so we we tried to really distinguish them this time. Zero only gets his sword. And there’s no “charge” ability for his weapon, either.”
Yoshinori Takenaka, Producer: “I remember the vast majority of the developers were against that decision at first, actually.”
Okohara: “Yeah, his sword doesn’t have any reach, and they thought it would make the game too difficult. To address that, we raised his attack power and added Street Fighter-style moves, so he feels completely different from X.”
On the staple features of a Mega Man X game:
Takenaka: “Well, there’s the fact that X, at the end of each game, always gets rid of his suit enhancements. (laughs) We like to say he’s a masochist who enjoys the thrill of danger. (laughs)”
Okohara: “X has a lot of issues with fighting itself, so he throws away those upgrades once he no longer needs them. That’s my take, at least. Also, to strengthen our theme of “Robots and The Future”, we decided not to include any humans this time. Even in the single city scene, it’s nothing but Reploids.”
On X4’s new character, Iris:
Okohara: In order to add individuality to X and Zero’s stories, we added characters that only appear in one mode or the other. X has a “new cousin”, who is kind of like a double of him. Then, to give breadth to Zero’s story, we added a female character. We also felt like there haven’t been enough female characters in the Mega Man series so far. (laughs)
You can find the full translation through the link here.
Mega Man X4 was originally released for Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and PC.