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About
Book of the Past:
I originally got into gaming when my brother broke his collarbone from a stupid skateboarding stunt my father allowed him to do ("Hey, son, won't it be cool if you hold onto the back of my car as I drive around town!?"). As a get well soon gift, my parents bought him a NES, from which his gaming days began. Me, I just enjoyed watching him play, mostly RPGs until I tried them myself eventually. My first game was Dragon Quest and I remember quitting shortly after the first dragon killed me. lol

Since then, though, I have enjoyed games for multiple reasons, mostly because I love stories and characters...and games are the perfect way for me to experience the hard work and strife that the characters have to go through. It's fun and I feel like I can play a part in their story. It's a much better story than mine.

My favorite RPGs of the past are (in no certain order):

Chrono Trigger
Xenogears
Shadow Hearts 1 & 2
Baten Kaitos
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Starting March 6th, separate story DLCs will be released weekly for all six of the sisters.  Firstly, One and Two’s DLC content will be available at the same time with the others following thereafter weekly.  Each story will focus more deeply on each of the sisters and their relationship with their respective Apostle.




Here’s the line up:

One & Two’s DLCs:  March 6th
Three’s DLC: March 13
Four’s DLC: March 20
Five’s DLC: March 27
Zero’s DLC: April 3rd

Each DLC is 600 yen. From April, however, all sales taxes will be razed, so the price will then be 617 yen.  These extra story DLCs are only accessible after you have completed Branch A and have downloaded and installed the newest patch of the game.

 
One Vs. One (Brother)

Looks like there will be a scene in which the two twins fight within the Capital Tower.  Hmm…


Gabriella Fights along side the Twins

There’s a scene in which Gabriella will aid the twins in battle.


Memories of the Past

As you play and level up the sisters, it will unlock further “memories” of their past by which to further develop their character.
 

Utautai Mode

Each sister will of course have the ability to use their Utautai Mode in battle.


One and Gabriella

There will be a scene or two in One’s story in which you can ride on the back of her dragon companion, Gabriella.  At least in this point in time, she resembles a normal dragon rather than her chaotic form which Zero had to battle.  She also seems to have one heck of an attitude! “Shut up, porky.  I’m tired of you.”


Zero and Michael

Zero’s story will involve her past along with Michael as her dragon companion.
 

Gimme da Gold!!

It will be much easier to obtain a ton more gold in the new stages compared to the regular run through the game.  Be on the look out for those Gold soldiers that drop money when you attack them!!


Weapons of the Utautai

Each of the sisters will come with their own unique weapons that can be levelled up to unlock its Weapon Story.

 
LoV3

Zero & Mikhail will appear in the new version of the arcade card battle game “Lord of Vermilion III Ark-cell” from March 27th (tentative).  Zero’s card illustration is by DOD3 character designer Fujisaka Kimihiko and Mikhail is illustrated by Takagi Masafumi.

Sources: Famitsu Issue No. 1317 and at Dengeki Online.
Scans made and edited by: Rekka Alexiel at drakengard-3.com.








According to Dengeki PlayStation Vol. 560, which was just published today (February 13th), we have learned that story DLCs involving all of the Utahime Sisters will soon be released.

Although he couldn’t reveal much at this time, in a brief interview with Producer Shiba Takamasa, we have learned that we will be able to play as each of the Utahime Sisters in a new story chapter for each of them.

He was asked if they would have another NicoNico Live Broadcast featuring this news, and he responded lively saying that he would like to do it again if the fans would be interested in watching, but only after the new DLC contents have been released.

So, hopefully these new DLCs will further develop the Utahime Sisters and give them a little more depth that the initial run through the game lacked.



Here’s the translation of the short interview with Shiba Takamasa:

DLCs are all set! The world of DOD3 is about to get much larger!

Dengeki: Previously in a live broadcast on NicoNico, you talked about future DLCs that would eventually become available. Could you tell us anything more about this?

Shiba: Yes. I came here simply to talk about this…although I can’t talk about the details just yet. I believe I also touched briefly on this in a previous broadcast on NicoNico, but we’re about ready to release some new Story DLCs. We’ll make an official announcement about this in a few days, so please hang in there until then. In any case, we’d like to add onto the game with these contents without making you wait too long to play with them. As far as what these contents will entail, you will be able to play as each of the Utautai sisters as they play the main role in a new story. These stories will fit into the beginning portion of the game, like a prequel. Please look forward to it!

Dengeki: Wow, that does sound pretty awesome!! Then, will you put on another NicoNico live broadcast before this release?

Shiba: I knew you would bring this up. There are a lot of factors–and courage–involved with doing a broadcast after a game’s release…… But if it’s for the gamers, I’ll try my best! In the end, I hope to announce more information about these extra contents soon! To all the fans, I really appreciate your support!

Dengeki: Thank you very much!

Translation by Rekka Alexiel.
View the full article here.









What it means to have game developers speak before the media

Hello, I am Yoko Taro.  How is everyone doing during these cold days?  Since I just finished a bunch of work, I hopped over to Singapore for a short vacation and am thoroughly enjoying the high-end, elaborate resort life and some nice, ethnic food.

I’m totally lying.  What the heck is ‘high-end, elaborate resort life,’ anyway?

Over the New Year, I was stricken with a pretty bad cold.  I had a horrible cough that actually made my back hurt.  …but I guess this really isn’t the story you want to hear from me, right?

This is today’s story.

My job is creating games.  If I—at age 43—had written nonsensical poetry like:

I went to a restaurant

For the best French toast

In Shinjuku San Chou-me— :)


People lined up a long way.

But the maple syrup was so good

It was hard not to make a mess. :D


I seriously doubt anyone would want to hear this from an old man like me.

But actually, for anyone who makes games, the real job is selling the product that you create.  It’s best to use the game to tell your message.  That’s what I think, anyway!

Nevertheless, before a game is released, I received word about interviews from Famitsu and Dengeki, and Famitsu and Dengeki (they were joint projects, so I tried to write it side-by-side).

But then, even if I give an interview before a release, there is absolutely nothing I can talk about. I can’t talk about spoilers and totally ruin the gaming experience for the customer.  So, unfortunately, the interview turns into something like this:

—What is the most important aspect the of the game?
Yoko: There’s a really interesting character that will make an appearance.
—Really!?  Who is it?  Tell us!!
Yoko: Please look forward to buying the game. Heeheehee

What the heck is this?  What are you giggling “heeheehee” for!?  That’s no different than saying nothing at all!  It’s a waste of paper and resources!!  Don’t say about 3 lines worth of information in an excess of 4,000 Japanese characters!!  The amount of entropy increases drastically!! heeeeeeeeeee!

……I’m sure is the feeling that spread throughout much of Japan.  Simply put, game creators are not entertainers or commentators, so it’s not feasible to think that what we end up talking about will be interesting.  It will only be the most depressing feeling of boredom you have ever experienced.

That’s why I absolutely hate interviews, even to the point of DYING!  Preferably, I don’t want to be in the spotlight at all.  But there have been times that I have had to be an adult and do it.  I can’t say yes to one interview and then no to another, so……  I often tend to fall into this sort of negative spiral.  I shall die.  Instant death.  *Splat*

Our job is to create something that customers will enjoy (?), so it would be bad for a nobody like me to be in the spotlight.  If there’s absolutely no way out, even if it becomes a horrible mess, a ton of effort is needed to make it the slightest bit interesting.



With that said, I did some research.

First of all, if you read this and thought it was interesting, then you are more than likely quite eccentric.  People who say things you have no clue what they’re saying are naturally interesting to watch.  It’s the same with famous animation directors, isn’t it!? Self-esteem and pessimism are like screws that really mess with one’s head.  It’s like the insensitivity of saying in an interview that someone else’s work was uninteresting. Such extreme people would watch it and be highly amused.  But it’s impossible!  That is talent!  But for me an impossibility.  Ahahaha~!

The next interesting thing were the editorial-like comments.  It’s fun to read because you cannot see the transparency of writer’s arrogance and opinion.  More than making a comeback on the spot, I think it’s simpler to say “what you want to say” rather than “be asked” in the first place. It’s okay to have those questions that are like “if you have something you’d like to say, please feel free”, right?  Huh?  What if you don’t have anything to say?  You can’t ask those people to speak! The whole thing will be silence!

Um……?  “As a result of saying whatever you feel like, you can’t have someone like Yoko come on and talk so incoherently”, you say?  You can’t worry about the details. I’m also writing this column as a thank you to Famitsu— (said in a monotone voice).

Ahh, what was I talking about?  Ah, right!  The most overwhelmingly boring thing I thought about was……  (the following text has been omitted by the editorial department).

But you know what!  It’s not logical to think that developers who only make games will make a good match.  Since the Interview Corner section of a magazine is more independent than the rest, it would be best to carefully think of who to interview!  That way the girls are bound to be happy!  Crap!  There’s that “pretty boy” topic again! What the heck did I do to be confronted by this obvious reality!  To hell with “pretty boys”! To hell with French toast!  To hell with those high-end, elaborate resorts!  Even if this world is de—

__________________________________________________________________________________________
The original article was published in the 2/6 No. 1312 issue of Famitsu magazine. Illustrations by Yukiko Yokoo.  Translation by Rekka Alexiel.








I've recently scanned and made English translations of the newest chapter of the Drakengard manga "Shi ni Itaru Aka" or "Red Obtained by Death", Chapter 14, which you can find here: http://drakengard-3.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=57

Since the translations are in image form, I cannot post them all here, but here's the title page:









I was asked to translate the lyrics from “Kuroi Uta”, but since lyricist Kikuchi Hana also wrote this in complete katakana, it’s very difficult to make an exact translation. There are a few reasons why I am okay with this:

1) Like poetry, song lyrics need not be completely coherent and they can break from traditional norms of grammar.

2) Simply by using all katakana like this it conveys the sense of an old language, or perhaps even the language of angels or gods.

3) Somethings are not meant to be fully understood, but rather felt or experienced. It is what it is and holds no room for explanation. There is a sense of beauty in ambiguity.

So with that said, please note that this is my personal interpretation from the bits that can be understood from the lyrics on the page. There is no official English translation, so it is illogical to claim one interpretation is THE correct meaning; that’s the whole point of interpretation–it cannot be wrong but simply viewed differently from another perspective. In that case, all interpretations are viable.

Therefore, here is my interpretation of the song:

Everything exposed
The song shall meet its doom
Becoming and killing the monster

All stolen away
The music as needles
As I’m reborn again, alone

Spreading my wings I soar with death
Love shall spring from the darkest of white
When or how distantly may it be heard
How sweetly they whisper, the wings of the past

The black flower
Is the voice
With just its shattered eye

The black flower
Is the song
With just its made-up dance
There be purpose

Everything exposed
The song shall freeze over
I shall dance in nightmares that day

With nothing I break away from death
Emerging from a crimson forest
Pregnant with the tainted children of dread
This pitiful memory is ripped away

The black flower
Is the voice
With just its prayer of blood

The black flower
Is the song
With just a day of repentance
All shall disappear

This disaster
Shall wait and fall
For the time it shatters, to dream

As this repeats
We go our separate ways
You shan’t be forgiven, flower of song,
In the final moment


Originally posted by Rekka Alexiel here:
http://drakengard-3.com/blog/2014/01/26/kuroi-hana-an-interpreted-translation/










Here's the 2nd editorial column by creative director Yoko Taro.  Sorry for the delay in translating this article.  I had a bunch of events this weekend that kept me busy.  This was originally posted on drakengard-3.com.

__________________________________________________________________________

Hello, I’m Yoko Taro.  Can you hear me?  Alright.

So, this time I’m going to talk about “Making a Character”.  Well, I suppose since we’re going to think about a character who has neither hopes nor dreams, so it may be better if you don’t read this column.  Okay?  Is that alright?  Well, even if it’s not, I’m going to continue.

The absolutely first thing that must be dealt with when creating a character in an Action RPG is the cost.  Cost—.  Money.  Ahh!  That was the sound of your hopes and dreams being blown away!  Even so, the story must go on!

If we were to only create characters we liked, we’d seriously run into some grave problems.  For example, if we were to make a new Suikoden game, even if we created all 108 of the characters, it would be impossible to make the models for all of them.  Events would be cluttered with too many characters on the screen, plus we’d have to create unique faces for each of them; therefore, it would be best if we just killed off at least 90 of those characters……  Simply put, the more characters you have, the more expensive it’s going to get.

That being said, generally in action based games, there are all sorts of enemy characters in which you don’t necessarily see their faces, like those wearing masks.  It’s okay to create a sense of mystery from masked enemies.  It would be even better for these character to cover their mouths, like a ninja.  Since lining up a character’s mouth with verbal speech is such a task, it would be better if we couldn’t see their mouths moving at all.

Then what about those characters that aren’t human but have a monster-like form?  We wouldn’t have to give them specific facial expressions, right?  It may be better, but that in-and-of-itself becomes a problem.  For example, if we have an insect that has reversed-joint appendages, it would be a difficult job for the motion designers.  Likewise, if we have insects with wiggling antennas and a bunch of unnecessary appendages, all of those things need to move.  Trying to animate a boss enemy like a giant centipede would mean certain death. That's why the huminoid figure is much more cost efficient.  No, actually the most cost efficient form would probably be a floating sphere.

Then we have to worry about clothing and other troublesome things.  Anything that might impede movement like a long skirt or a men's hakama are absolutely out.  Additionally, short hair styles are preferred.  If it were at all possible, full-body tights or a sort of clothing that would stick tightly to the character's skin and no hair would be preferable.  As far as character designs go, this is the worst but let's take a break for a moment.

Well, although the mood is rather gloomy, we still need to save on cost.  As a battle action game, we need large bosses, but there is also a device for this.  There's no avoiding the rising costs from designing different bosses with unique movements all the time.  That's why we need to change some body parts, the color, or even change the movement to something that could be shared between multiple bosses.  Also, since any game needs bosses, we have to come up with a clever solution with the programming.  Money, money, money……  Simply put, bosses mean money.  Have you ever thought, "What?  You just changed the color."  From the perspective of the developers who know the sorrow that comes with making short to medium length games, they may say, "Yes, you're right……"  This is why there is no way to see the result of our labors without tears.

So because of this, I often develop my characters by designing the monsters first.  We need to decide on how many bosses we need for however many stages.  I'd really like to have a boss for every stage, but there just isn't enough money to do that.

Then, the next thing we need to plan are the events.  How long do we work on multiple events……  Well, since I mess up this estimate every time, I can't say too much about it, but in the end we may or may not be able to fit in the entire scope of the event.  Plus, the only character who can wrap up these events has to be the main character.
I'm only saying this here, but actually, when we were working on DOD1, we failed on making many of the events.

We originally planned to have 6 partner characters referred to as "Contracts", but it would have been impossible to tell the story with that number of characters.  Since we couldn't fit descriptive FMVs into the camp segments like we wanted to, we had to forcefully change the wording, thusly cutting a large chunk out of the original script which made it necessary to add in supplementary explanations in text between missions……

But looking back now, text-based supplementary explanations also felt new……  Simply, at the time many people had pointed it out, we thought, "Ah!  So that was it!  This would have been junk if we had done that!"  I remember how earnestly we made modifications while scratching at our heads and refusing to give in.  No, actually, there are many things that we humans may understand if we try. (<---said in a monotone voice)

……Umm, yeah, hmm.  Any remaining money is usually used on the main character and other supporting characters, I guess.  Yeah, this is usually how I come up with characters and stuff like that stuff, yeah.