I will have a text-interview with Masamitsu "Moo" Niitani...

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By MP83

Master (194)

MP83's picture

02-04-2017, 20:04

Yes, Jump Man. That's one of the Japoon games with the long nose characters (which always reminded me of Spy vs Spy). I will definitely ask some Disc Station related questions as I'm a big fan of them. Smile

Apparently Compile also made Peach Up disk magazines under the name Momonoki House. I'll ask about those, as well.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3095)

sd_snatcher's picture

03-04-2017, 17:44

- Question-1: There's a story that goes around about the game Aleste-3 for the MSX: that it was canceled, then Compile would have refactored and released it as the Power Strike 2 for the Sega Master System to recoup the development costs. The storyline was changed from Eleanor/Dia51 to a western/1930/cyberpunk theme, but essentially the engine,and most of the in-game graphics and soundtrack would have been kept.

Is this story true? Does Compile still have any of the assets of the canceled Aleste-3 game, like graphics, FM soundtrack or even the source code?

- Question-2: Compile has always been a great supporter of the MSX standard and even supported the MSX-Audio until the very end. Why didn't they release any specific games for the MSX2+ and MSX Turbo-R? At most they included some bonus features when the games are run on the MSX2+ like the scroll and static screen-12 images on Golvellius. But a game in screen-10 would have been great with its 12499 colors, so why didn't Compile even tried?

- Question-3: How was ASCII's relationship with developers like Compile? Did they released enough documentation, development kits, etc? Did Compile have access to beta versions of the hardware before it was released? (like each generation of the MSX) Did ASCII offer a good feedback channel so developers could say what they wanted to be improved in the platform?

- Question-4: Compile was one of the early adopters of the MSX-Music (AKA FM-PAC). How did they arrived at that decision? Was there any kind of lobby from Panasonic?

- Question-5: What were the biggest challenges Compile faced when developing software for the MSX back then?

- Question-6: How important was the MSX for Compile's revenues back in the 80's? Was it a major money cow, or just some minor platform without too much return? Was there any kind of financial incentive from ASCII or any other MSX maker for the development of software for the MSX?

- Question-7: Why did nearly every software developer, including Compile and Konami, abandoned the MSX bandwagon when the Turbo-R was released, even if the machine has sold very well?

- Question-8: Any good backstage story that he would like to share with us? Smile

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3095)

sd_snatcher's picture

03-04-2017, 18:48

Some more questions:

- How big was Compile back in the 80s? How many employees did they have?

- How was the relationship with other developers like Bit2, T&E, Konami, Falcom, TechnoSoft etc? Did they have any form of collaboration or competition?

- Compile seems to have been contracted by companies like Namco, Sega and Irem to "undercover" develop games for many systems like the MSX and Sega Master System. Besides the well known Xevious, what other games for the MSX were developed this way?

- How was the Creative process inside Compile in the 80s? How the idea for a game was developed, turned into a concept and finally coded?

- In average, how long did it take to develop an MSX game, and how many persons were involved in the project?

- Does Moo Niitani still have an MSX and play MSX games for nostalgia like Hideo Kojima? Smile

- Japanese games in the 80's and 90's were as closest as possible to the state of the art as you could get. Games developed in the west were way behind in every aspect: storyline, soundtrack, graphics, direction, attention to detail, playability, fun-factor, etc. Animes were also top notch. The stories were compelling, shocking and involving. But nowadays it feels that that wave of creativity is mostly gone and this seem to be affecting both the Japanese game and anime industry. Many stories are shallow and poorly directed. Very few new concepts emerge. Many games look bland and feel like clipart turned 3D. What does Moo Niitani thinks to have caused this change? Does he see any end to this? Can we hope that Compile-O will bring us brilliant titles like the old Compile did in the 80s? Can we expect a brand new Aleste game with incredible visuals/soundtrack/story for the PS4 and a creative reinvention of the sci-fy shmups? Would Moo Niitani take the challenge to prove that there's still a flame inside the Japanese game industry that would make everyone scream "shut up and take my money" for a new game release again?

By ren

Paragon (1303)

ren's picture

04-04-2017, 09:14

@frs: those are the questions Wink

One more, something like: There's still an active scene of MSX fans around the world, still making games and applications, and even hardware for MSX, and still playing games like Aleste on their MSX's. Would you, provided you have the means to do so of course, consider opening source code (and perhaps even assets) (in some form) so this community can study & learn, and/or e.g. even can create a fan-based Aleste spin-off for MSX themselves?

(Every 80/90's producer should consider this btw Wink (so if you read this.. Wink))

By Louthrax

Prophet (2093)

Louthrax's picture

06-04-2017, 12:48

Hi MP83,

Hope it's not too late to ask question to Moo! Here's my list:

  • What were the sources of inspiration for the Compile universe at the time (for musics, characters, graphics...)?
  • Zanac and Zanac-Ex were filled with secrets, and the game mechanics were quite complex. Does Moo remember why this has been removed from the Aleste sequels?
  • Any background story behind the recurring "Randar" character?
  • What were the tools and machines used the develop on MSX and MSX 2 at the time (compilers, graphic tools, etc...). Was the development done on real MSX machines?

Also tell Moo Niitani how great the Compile games were. Golvellius and Zanac-Ex filled my head with magic and dreams at the time Smile)

By MP83

Master (194)

MP83's picture

06-04-2017, 20:39

@sd_snatcher: Whoa, that's a lot of questions! LOL! Very good ones too.

@Louthrax: Nah, you were still in time. Smile I won't be doing the text-interview for a week or so.

Thanks for the questions so far, guys. Keep them coming as this is a rare opportunity.

By ricbit

Champion (438)

ricbit's picture

06-04-2017, 20:59

I still want to know if it's true that the name ZANAC was chosen because it's an anagram of NAZCA (likely because nazca-like glyphs appear in xevious which is the direct inspiration). I already asked Pac about it, but he couldn't confirm.

By Manuel

Ascended (15842)

Manuel's picture

06-04-2017, 21:17

Pac Fujishima? You have contact with him?

By ricbit

Champion (438)

ricbit's picture

06-04-2017, 21:37

Yup, he follows me on twitter, even though I don't post much in japanese. (I should, you can fit a lot more text in 140 kanjis than in 140 ascii chars).

By Manuel

Ascended (15842)

Manuel's picture

07-04-2017, 00:08

How cool! Smile I'll never forget his name on all these famous Compile games!

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