What made Xseed interested in Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road?
Jimmy Soga, Product Manager at Xseed: We were first blown away by the graphics. It really went above and beyond our expectation of what DS graphics can achieve.
Also the game as a RPG was well made. During battle, the computer will make a suggestion on what to do. If you are not used to RPGs this will be helpful since you really don’t have to think much. However for RPG fans you can always input your commands as you wish to better strategize the battle.
Xseed and Media.Vision have a history of working together from Wild ARMs. Is that how you acquired The Wizard of Oz?
The Wild ARMs series definitely opened the doors for us to communicate with them. Media.Vision is a really solid development company that we really enjoy working with and soon as we heard that this title was not coming over to North America we wanted to see what we can do together to bring it over here.
Warner Brothers was mentioned on the press release. What role are they playing in the game’s development?
Since the game was already created in Japan, the Warner Bros. role in the US was to check and approve the contents of the game.
Why did you want to make a game based on the Wizard of Oz?
Nobuo Nakazawa, Director at Media.Vision: The original idea came from the producer, Hiroshi Ogasawara. After considering the game system, the appropriate theme and what to base it on, “Wizard of Oz” seemed like the perfect fit and the decision to move forward was made very smoothly.
NN: The answer may overlap with the above answer, but we first started thinking of trying to create a new RPG. Since the genre was set from the beginning, the theme came afterwards.
Did you have a lot of creative freedom to expand on the Wizard of Oz mythology?
We had a clear mindset saying the theme is just a theme while we were creating this title.
Personally, I didn’t want the theme of the game to constrict creativity and limit what could be done within the game.
Can you give examples of how you adapted the source material?
NN: The world made of beautiful and vivid colors, Dorothy’s 4 man party (+ Toto), and the witch(es) and Oz. These were things that we thought we must adapt to this title.
Out of all the ways to scramble the Wizard Oz name you selected Riz-zoawd. Why and what does Riz-zoawd mean?
NN: Japanese have a tendency to like meaningless enumerations of letters and coined words.
“Riz-zoawd” is something that we created with that in mind. So there is no meaning in the word.
The reasons we decided to use it is because… it had a ring to it, the feeling of the word, and it sounded good to our ears are the main reasons.
NN: First we put a constraint saying control in the game had to be done using the stylus.
Sometimes ideas are born in these difficult constraints. To control everything with a stylus, you cannot control Dorothy with the D-pad. So what should we do? From this line of reasoning we created the virtual trackball.
Does the US version include an option for digital control?
NN: No there is none. We have confidence in the control scheme and did not think about adding any changes or options.
Did you make any changes or improvements for the North American version?
NN: Not really on this one either… Of course the text is in English now.
We think the North American users will be able to enjoy the same type of experience the Japanese users did.
Do you think we’ll ever see a sequel based on Frank Baum’s other books like The Marvelous Land of Oz or The Magic of Oz?
NN: Depending on the circumstances, there’s always a possibility to create a sequel for a game. Let’s just say it’ll be up to the voices of players who wish to have a sequel.