Yoji Shinkawa Interview: Segment 1

  MGS2 has made a transition from the previous imagination-inspiring design of MGS to the realistic expression approach allowing you to "feel the air." Is there anything you have paid special attention to?
Shinkawa: For MGS, I intentionally worked on designs that would appeal to one's imagination. This was because of the limitations of the PSOne hardware. Even for MGS2, initially, I was going to take the same approach. However, we have changed our approach during the process and decided to add facial expressions. With the previous approach, I could work with my brush pen only. But with this new approach, I had to work on subtle facial expressions and wrinkles. Adding a great amount of thin lines became necessary, making the whole process very tough.
  So, one can say that the gems (characters) you have created are products of your hardships. Of all of them, "Raiden" the main character of the Plant Chapter and his girfriend "Rose" are not your typical Metal Gear characters. Can you talk about how they came to life?
Shinkawa: From the very beginning of the planning process, Raiden was to be a "unisexual" character. This was to all both male and female gamers to relate to this character without the appearance being an obstacle. Making players relate to a character from an appearance standpoint might have its pros and cons, but that is what we decided to do. As for Rose, Mr. Kojima requested "an ordinary person who looks intelligent." Coming up with someone ordinary was really difficult.
  The rough sketches in the artbook show that you have gone through a lot of trial-and-error.
Shinkawa: Yes, you can see just by looking at the artbook. (laughs)
  Just by buying the artbook. (laughs)
Shinkawa: Exactly. (laughs)
  The attractive characters have come to life after Shinkawa's suffering. On the contrary, there are some characters that "did not come to life." We can take a look at some of them in your rough sketches. Can you talk about them?
Shinkawa: "Doc" was the developer of the Arsenal Gear AI. He disappeared right away.
"Oldman" was a member of Dead Cell and tactical genius who has lived over 100 years. He did survive for a relatively long time. (laughs)
"Chinaman" was a Dead Cell member as well. He was a close combat specialist who uses secret Oriental techniques. He was the Psycho Mantis type, so to say. His close combat skills were not much different from those of Vamp with his knives. That's why he was "absorbed" by Vamp. Vamp's running on water and up walls are remnants of "Chinaman."
  Of all these unseen characters, we have recognized this guy in bomb squad gear. Ocean plant in New York, his name being "Ed." This is "Ed" the "Ed" we know?
Shinkawa: That's right. He is "Ed Brown" from "POLICENAUTS" in his NYPD days. He was supposed to be in the bomb disposal event, but that would mean he would die in the game. It would have been interesting to see him in this parallel world, but he ended up being dropped.
  Well, all these characters that "never made it", along with so much more, can all be seen in this artbook which will be released soon. Can you please give readers of this interview a message?
Shinkawa: Last time we did not get a hang of how to create an artbook. We ended up spending so much time putting it together. This time, we knew what exactly we had to do, and this allowed us to work on the details. To be more specific, we spent extra care of the "tempo" of flipping through pages. We have worked hard on the quality of paper as well so that you can enjoy the artbook not only with your vision but also with the sense of touch.
We are showing bits of the artbook on the web as the MGS2 ART GALLERY. But I would like you to appreciate the artbook by holding the actual artbook with your hands. If MGS2 is digital entertainment, this artbook is analogue entertainment. I really hope that this opportunity is experienced by as many people as possible.

The next segment is to be uploaded on the release date of the artbook.
Yoji Shinkawa will explain the artbook himself.
What is required at your end to appreciate the explanation is...
to have a copy of "THE ART OF METAL GEAR SOLID2" right by you.
That's all.

Till next time -- see you again on March 29.