Greetings, true believers!
Our apologies for the radio silence these past couple weeks. We’ve been steadily working on Story of Seasons, and we can aaaaaalmost see that blessed light at the end of the tunnel. All the major errors have been (to our knowledge) swept away, and now we’re hunting down the stragglers, picking them off one by one as we strive to bring you the finest farming simulation man, woman, and machine can produce.
One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the game’s entertaining characters. It’s almost impossible to be a fan of these games without having a favorite character – that one person (or persons) you look forward to talking with each day and giving gifts to, in the hope you’ll see one of their event scenes. We here at XSEED definitely have our preferences as well, and it actually works out rather well for the localization effort. At some point, the text for the characters will cross the desk of one person who understands a character a little better than the rest. Someone who really “gets” what they’re about. Sometimes it’s one of our skillful translators. Sometimes it’s an editor, like myself. Sometimes it’s our dedicated in-house playtester, who’s been a fan of the series since she was a wee lass. Whoever it might be, when a character and the person who really understands them come together, it helps lines fall into place by giving them that extra little touch of personality – the sort that makes you think, “Yeah…that IS what she would say, huh?”
One of the interesting things we’re afforded as we work on the game is a bird’s eye view of the characters and their inter-relationships. Little facts and scenes that establish the nature of the connection between particular characters that you’d normally not see in a single playthrough are open to us, giving us a fuller picture of who each of these people are. For example, you can only marry one person per game and see their scenes, but we’ve seen ALL the scenes. And there are many, many scenes! Scenes even for edge cases like if you and your spouse happen to share the same birthday! Ultimately, gaining that knowledge through months of working with the game’s files gives us the fullest possible portrait of each character, so it’s easier to make their personality shine through in each scene.
Of course, as I mentioned, we DO tend to develop favorites, as anyone would…
Me, I’m sweet on Iris. Maybe it’s because she’s the “mature woman” type in this game and I’m over the hoary, grizzled age of 30. Maybe it’s because she’s totally gorgeous. But I think the main reason is because, as a novelist, she’s an idealized version of what it’s like to see the world in a creative way. In all her interactions, she sees seeds of inspiration for a new story. Her constant search for something that will strike a spark even leads her to go out, to try new things and have new experiences. All of us, I think, have that sort of creative impulse in us, and of course Iris is an idealized case, but I like how interactions with her emphasize a way of looking at the world that seeks something worthwhile in any experience. Her mischievous sensibilities also resonate with me – it becomes obvious, the more you get to know her, that some of the things she does to other people, she does purely because it entertains her. If you see the TV interview with her former literary agent, you’ll even find she has some trollish tendencies, too! But I totally get it – people are often unpredictable, and as such, are a potentially endless source of entertainment! I have a feeling that Iris may turn out to be the most popular choice to marry, since she has the most obvious womanly charms, but I hope that those of you who choose to date her enjoy and appreciate the same whimsical qualities in her that delighted me. I’ve tried my best to bring out that aspect of her personality when I write for her. Will mai waifu become your waifu? Only time will tell!
Of course, my appreciation is not limited strictly to the ladies. I’ve definitely got a favorite bachelor too, and it’s Raeger. I think part of it is because I watch a lot of anime and Raeger has a personality that would fit right in with that milieu. He’s slick and handsome, and it’s alluded to here and there in the game that women from out of town are always pining after him. He’d almost be a playboy…but he isn’t. He’s a well-grounded, level-headed guy who’s there for his friends. Raeger doesn’t deny he’s a dish, but many of his events revolve around him just chatting it up with someone at his restaurant. In a character personality guide I put together many months ago for everyone working on this project, I described Raeger as the kind of guy you’d leave your spare house key with if you were going out of town. He’s got that air of practicality and trustworthiness about him that makes him easy to like. This is reinforced with his casual, easygoing style of speech. He meets you at your level – he’s not too good for you, and even his jokes mainly amount to good-natured ribbing (not that we’d expect a Bokujou-series character to totally rip on someone…). I guess ultimately, the thing I find cool about Raeger is that with his good looks and his mad cooking skillz, he COULD have been someone who turned into a self-aggrandizing jerk, but through it all, he’s remained humble and affable. He’s like the bartender that people pour out their hardships to before they know it, and ultimately feel better for having chatted with him. He’s definitely the bachelor I’d aim my sexy eye-beams at, but of course, I may already be under his handsome-guy spell.
One thing that’s stuck with me really strongly as I’ve worked on the game these past months – perhaps the guiding star of my principle in writing the bachelors and bachelorettes – is that every one of these characters will be SOMEONE’s special somebody. Each of them will, in different versions of Oak Tree Town, be the lucky one who captures the heart of our hard-working protagonist. Because of that, we’ve tried to clearly represent each character’s likeable qualities – and even the weird qualities that might not qualify as likeable right off the bat, but that you grow fond of after you’ve known someone long enough. That feeling of really liking someone and thirsting for more information about them; the feeling of amusement when you get to see a side of someone you’d never seen before – those are things we hope we’ve been able to effectively convey as our colorful cast chit-chats its way into your hearts.
That’s about all for now, but be on the lookout for further announcements, and of course, keep those blue feathers close at hand!