Edge Interview with Naka, Oshima and Miyoshi

Interview Data:

  • Interview Date: Unknown (1988)
  • Interview Topics: Burning Rangers, Audience, Design
  • Interview Source: Edge Interview at Y2 external.png

Edge #55 interview (Transcribed by Andreas Tunek)

Peoples interviewed:
Yuji Naka, executive producer
Naoto Oshima, director
Takao Miyoshi, chief planner and designer

Edge: When did development start?
Yuji Naka: We started Burning Rangers just after finishing Christmas NiGHTS, which would make it around November 1996.
Edge: How big is the team, and is it the same as the one responsible for Nights?
YN: Yes, it's almost identical and comprises about 20 people. The whole Sonic Team is made up of 50 members of staff, but the rest of them are working on a defferent project. The Burning Rangers team is the size of a regular project-there are bigger teams within Sega.

Edge: How complete is the game?
YN: We're currently about 80 per cent through the project and we're hoping to release it domestically in February. Abroad , it will come out roughly one month later.

Edge: It's a fairly deggerent departure from the usual genres. Where did the inspiration come from?
YN: Oshima-san wanted to make a game based on 'heroes', as he's a big fan of Superman, Batman, et all. We tought about how to incorporate that notion into an original game and eventually came up with Burning Rangers. Essentually, we like to make 'soft' games but this time decided to go for something really different.
Naoto Oshima: When we made NiGHTS, people asked us why we hadn't opted for a Sonic game. And when we first showed Burning Rangers, we where asked why we didn't make NiGHTS 2 (laughs). Yet as these games were made by the same staff, the message they contain is the same: they're all Sonic Team games.
YN: We wanted to make a game with a rescue theme-there are very few fames based on this concept. We experimented with some code and got positive results so we began developing the game. This is our usual approach-we did the same thing for Sonic. We've tried to create a good environment, atmosphere and a good level of tension. All of these parameters should turn Burning Rangers into something of a new game.
No: ALso, we prefer the helping concept more than the killing one.

Edge: How many maps does Rangers have in total?
YN: There will be four maps in total. Differing dramatic events will occur; therefore, the stages are very large and we've designed the game system so that it can be played several times. A player's experience will increase progressivly throughout the game.

Edge: How does BR's difficulty level increase?
Takao Miyoshi: The number of events occurring increases as the game proggresses, as does the size of the stages. The last influencing parameter is the navigation system. At the beginning players receive navigation help messages but as they progress through the game these will become less frequent or radio inerference will prevent whole transmissions getting trough.You'll have to gave to find the right path on your own.

Edge: The gtaphical style for Burning Rangers is signfigicanty different from your team's previous efforts. Is this simply due to a different designer?
YN: The graphic designer is the same, it's the man sitting next to me (laughs).
NO: Do you not think that the graphics in Burning Rangers are similar to those in NiHGTS?

Edge: Not really………
YN: (laughs) That means we were succesful. Our objective was to create a very different atmosphere.
TM: We also watched films in order to help recreate the realistic mood, such as 'Backdraft' for example.
YN: If you play attention to the sound you'll notice that we didn't bother with any in-game BGM and instead used some realistic sounds.

Edge: Who is responsible for the sound?
NO: Hataya-san, who was the music designer on NiGHTS, He's part of the CS sound team.

Edge: What was the most difficult aspect of the game to realise?
YN: The navigation system was difficult to implement. Also, until now, no voices had been used in Sonic Team games but for Burning Rangers we had to include all of the help messages.

Edge: Did you experience technical difficulties?
YN: We really enjoy our work so I wouldn't call them 'difficulties', rather 'challenges'. The transparency effects, for example, were a challenge. As the Saturn isn't able to do this effect we had to program them.
NO: The light managment was also difficult to perform. We played around with blues and greens to give the game a nicer appearance.

Edge: Who is Burning Rangers aimed at?
NO: We want to attract a new audience, not necessarily the kind of person that played Sonic or NiGHTS. The target is wider. However, Burning Rangers will retain elements that are characheristic of the Sonic Team. We still care about the same things: style, feeling, etc. Players should recognise the Sonic Team touch immediately.


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