Wednesday, January 25, 2023

12 Riveting Shenmue Development Revelations | Morio Ashizuka

Morio Ashizuka is the Twitter handle of a former senior developer who was deeply involved with development of the first two Shenmue games, in particular character animations and motion design. He tweets prolifically about video games, SEGA and other topics - along with occasional fascinating insights and anecdotes from the day.

Some of the amazing details from Morio Ashizuka's tweets that we have highlighted in the past here on the blog include:

Cover of one of the "The Legend of Akira" script books (Chapter Four: Guilin) tweeted by Ashizuka. Source tweet
In this post we have selected 12 tweets that give revelations into Shenmue's development, which were tweeted by Morio Ashizuka between 2017 and 2019 (plus a final bonus entry!).

This topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll on the Phantom River Stone Patreon and was available for early access. Thank you for your support!

Become a Patron!

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for January 2023

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic that has been voted this time is:

"Dreamcast Magazine Dec 1999 Interviews w/ Shenmue development staff: Masanori Oe & Takenobu Mitsuyoshi"

Two short but insightful developer interviews were published in the Japanese Dreamcast magazine as part of a 16-page special feature about Shenmue. The two members of the development team interviewed were Masanori Oe, who is credited as the main designer, and sound director Takenobu Mitsuyoshi.

Main Designer Masanori Oe (left) & Sound Director Takenobu Mitsuyoshi (right)

With the publication of these interviews being just prior to Shenmue's release at the end of December 1999, they would have served to stir up the excitement of the Japanese readers.
"Rather than worrying about whether a Saturn belonged there or not, we were more concerned with whether the Saturn's drive lid opens properly. And so, the Saturn's drive lid does open properly! [laughs]" - Masanori Oe

 "Yu Suzuki kept nagging us: the music during the game mustn't draw attention to itself... but it also has to be there. For people like us who had previously created ordinary game music, creating the right balance was extremely difficult, and gave us a hard time." - Takenobu Mitsuyoshi

Watch for our translation of the interviews in an upcoming post! Early access will be available for blog patrons.

Become a Patron!