The weather is getting colder outside for many people, but here we are again with another Eiyuden Chronicles update. November’s update has a few cool things such as a new character reveal, a monster showcase, and Murayama’s monthly update. In addition to that, we also get the benefit of a little in-depth look at the Eiyuden graphics building from Murakami J.
Character Profile: Stadler
In November’s update for Eiyuden Chronicles, we get the reveal of Stadler. He is one of the many soldiers that is a part of the League of Nations. Just as the image looks he is a gruff principled soldier at age 42. He tells his men he’s craven, a coward who can’t bear the thought of them dying. Stadler pushes his men as hard as he can because of this. He remembers the name of every soldier he has ever met or trained. Stadler also loves to indulge in Chile Con Carne. You could picture him saying, “I’m going to hammer every last one of you soft, undisciplined little maggots into iron! Now get running!”
Junko Kuwano had this to say:
Now this is just between us (okay, not really), but…Until Murayama is completely and utterly satisfied, the names in Eiyuden Chronicles are often changed any number of times. For characters, it’s no big deal if the names are changed before the illustrations are prepared. But if there are lots of characters and the art is already created—like this time—changing the names has everyone asking, “Who’s this guy, again?!” It’s been pretty rough for the staff. But if the names just don’t feel right, change is unavoidable.
So, while Stadler had a different name for a while there, with this grand unveiling, Stadler is almost certainly set in stone. I’ll do my best to remember his name from here on out!
Monster Showcase: Scorpion Assassin
Eiyuden Chronicles is going to have a wide variety of monsters and creatures you will fight and this one looks like a mean one. The Scorpion Assassin is very deadly and poisonous. Not many people would take the risk to provoke this one and pick a fight with it. If you manage to escape being torn to shreds by its giant claws, you would still have to avoid the very poisonous stinger. I would definitely keep both eyes open when it comes to this monster.
Murayama’s Monthly Update
Murayama was discussing story building for Eiyuden Chronicles and had this to say
There are many different approaches to working on a story, there are a range of perspectives, and each creator has their own interpretation. Amidst all that, there are several things to bear in mind. There’s a scene in a certain movie where a father is helping his child with writing practice. The father reads the child’s writing, then gives the following advice:
“Now, write the same thing again, but with half the words.” That scene made an incredibly deep impression on me.
Of course, there are elements unique to the gaming medium, but I always strive to make my writing as concise as possible. We certainly want to maintain the unique feeling and individuality of our characters, but we also don’t want the script to become unnecessarily long.
Murayama added a little more saying:
With this kind of work, it’s important for us to place trust in our readers and players no matter what. The reader is often aware of the slightest change in nuance in a character’s expression, as well as the underlying mood and emotion behind those words. We need to trust in that awareness as much as possible and cut out extraneous descriptions.
On the other hand, when explaining things like game mechanics, there’s no such thing as too much detail. Is this part understandable, or have I just assumed it is? Is it only comprehensible because of what I know already? That’s something that I’m always on the lookout for.
A word from the team
As far as Eiyuden Chronicles is concerned, I feel like I always end up talking about the difficulties of developing the game, so I want to change things up this time. I’d like to talk about our particular fixations when it comes to the game’s art.
There are so many things we’re picky about concerning Eiyuden’s graphics, but the one I want to focus on today is: The importance placed on height differences between characters. Allow me to explain. When I say characters, I don’t mean Kawano’s illustrations, but rather the pixel-art sprites.
Typically, when characters are drawn for pixel art RPGs, I feel like one size is often chosen as a basis for mass-producing every character. There are many reasons for this, such as maintaining visual uniformity, optimizing the game, and working under technical constraints. In Eiyuden, beyond wanting to properly reflect the established height differences between characters, we also wanted to add the extra touch of realism through “sensory height.”
Sensory height means experiencing the same feeling a person of a certain height would have in the real world. For example, if a 170cm tall person looks at someone who’s 180cm, the first person would think, “whoa, that guy’s tall,” right? That’s the feeling we’re going for. A difference of 10 centimeters doesn’t feel that big when looking at a ruler, but it feels very different when considering people’s heights.
On a side note, I’m actually really short, so when I run into Murayama and Iga, I’m always like, “What?! They’re giants! Gah! I’m so jealous!” So, why are we applying this idea of sensory height to the characters? When all the characters are miniaturized following a strict scale, it’s often difficult to feel the size difference that those numbers are expressing.
Look at the following image:
Murakami Gives Us More Details in Eiyuden Chronicles November Update
Murakami went into more detail:
The character on the left has realistic proportions, while the right is an example of those proportions after miniaturization. Let’s imagine that this character was 170cm tall. Under that assumption, a measure of 10cm taken from each character would change as shown by the section in red.
When you add in different hair styles and other unique characteristics, a difference of 10cm between miniaturized characters doesn’t look that big at all on a game screen. Also, the fact that the field is 3D means that the perspective will change according to the position of the objects on screen, and that size difference is felt even less.
Which leads us to the characters in Eiyuden Chronicles. After the finicky process of adjusting, comparing, and revising the scale, we created pixel art that conveys those height differences. Height is one of the defining traits of a character, after all. This is something we’ve wanted to implement for a while. Although it can be tough, I hope we can continue following through on these special details.
Which is why..
Murakami Takes Us Back to Suikoden
In closing, Murakami added a couple more images and harked back to Murayamaa’s old PlayStation classic Suikoden with an image of Eiyuden’s Nowa in Suikoden graphics
When making Eiyuden’s pixel art, even after deciding on one facet of drawing a character, there are so many other challenges to take into account. I introduced one example of this today, but if you have any requests, I’d love to discuss them in the next entry.
To wrap things up…Writing this column got me thinking about what Eiyuden’s art would look like if it were scaled down like old-school pixel art.Even though it’s my day off, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I whipped something up to test it out. This is Nowa in that old, original PlayStation style.
I made it as a kind of homage to Murayama’s hit work. Thinking back on that era’s pixel art, the number of colors was limited and strong color contrast was required to counteract blurring on CRT displays. All characters were scaled to the exact same size.
So, what do you think? I hope it resonates with older players at least.
One of my favorite parts about Eiyuden Chronicles is learning what the team goes through in the process of creating the game. So far, I have loved all the character reveals. Each one is well-thought-out and has a uniqueness to them. I am sure most will be able to relate to at least one of them. We will continue to get updates with EC Rising coming in 2022 and EC Hundred Heroes in 2023. As always don’t forget both the Eiyuden Chronicles games will be available in Game Pass on day one.