In a recently translated older interview with the staff of Seiken Densetsu 3 from a 1995 issue of Famitsu, they talk about Final Fantasy comparisons, creating “3-D”, bosses, and more. [Thanks, Shmuplations!]
Here are the highlights:
On creating bosses that felt “3D”:
Koichi Ishii, designer: “For example, take a boss battle like the fight with Mispolm. That battle is presented to the player from a certain visual angle. If you completely ignore the background when you’re creating the sprites, then the sense of orientation of the scene gets completely messed up. That’s why we had the sprite artists and the background artists work in tandem for SD3, communicating closely with each other as they went.”
“We built the bosses up section by section, and we wrote out what their movement patterns should be from the start. Each boss part, therefore, had to be programmed independently, and that was very tiring. We wanted the boss fights to have a bit of an action game feel to them, so we spent a lot of time there. Your typical RPG just uses a static image or something for boss fights, but of course, this being Seiken Densetsu, we have a certain pride about “movement”, and we poured a great deal of effort into making it interesting.?
On how the devs feel the Seiken Densetsu series differs from the Final Fantasy series:
Ishii: “With Seiken Densetsu, we want to do things that are impossible with the Final Fantasy gameplay system. Final Fantasy divides the battle screen from the map screen where everything else happens, and that makes the battles feel less realistic. In Final Fantasy’s battles, you don’t really feel like you’re damaging the enemies, in a visceral sense. The battles are fine in terms of strategy, but they’re limited in what they can express. For battles in video games to be engaging, it’s better to have a stronger core of action gameplay. That’s certainly one of the main selling points for this series.”
On what they might do for Seiken Densetsu 4 if it ever happened:
Ishii: “Well, I think it’s just what you’ve seen in the Seiken Densetsu games. I see Seiken Densetsu as one way of breaking free from the mold of “turn based” RPGs. Final Fantasy’s ATB (Active Battle System) was its own evolution, and the Seiken series likewise branches into a different direction. I think it’s cool seeing all these different riffs and evolutions on turn-based RPGs. If we do actually make a Seiken Densetsu 4, I expect it will probably have a completely different battle system.
Hiromichi Tanaka, director: “Yeah, a flexible battle system where players can play however they like would be best… in that sense, we’re trying to present players with a kind of “sandbox”. SD3 is us saying to users, “Look at all the things you can do in here.” How you play in that sandbox is freely up to you.”
Seiken Densetsu 3 was originally released on the Super Famicom.