Yoji Shinkawa Interview: Segment 3

  (Continued from last time) This is Part 2 of the artbook with character settings.
Shinkawa: 3D diagram used for actual game development and an image illustration to convey the image of the character.
  You really do give a lot of detail to the setting illustrations, don't you?
Shinkawa: What I did was gave these to the designer along with photocopies of photos of pouches and camo uniforms.
  After Snake, Pliskin, and Otacon comes Emma's page. You have written down "morphs to SD in 3D polygons" (laughs)
Shinkawa: That would have been really grotesque. (laughs)
  That would have been really weird. (laughs)
Shinkawa: I know. I'd really love to do that. (laughs) Very weird or revolutionary. (laughs)
  OK, next is Raiden. Mesh patterns. It says you can see through his underwear. His suit is really tight too.
Shinkawa: I wanted something sexy...even erotic. A very unisexual sexiness.
  I have heard that drawing the contours of a young character is difficult. Is this true?
Shinkawa: Not really. You'll see some rough sketches later on, and I had some trouble over the new sneaking suit design initially. Once we decided on the "bonelike" concept, it was quick from there. The breathing apparatus is like a "scroll". You know, ninjas and scrolls.
  You haven't given too much detail to Rose in the setting artwork.
Shinkawa: When she appears at the very end (of the game), Raiden is wearing black gear. So I made her wear a light color suit and give her black hair in contrast.
  Next are the Colonel and Ames.
Shinkawa: With the Colonel, it's only his chest and up.
  The come Peter Stillman and President Johnson. Did you struggle when working on the setting of the President? Like giving him gear allowing him to do a back flip. (laughs)
Shinkawa: Back flip? He wasn't supposed to do a back flip initially.
  Which character did you have trouble with the most when working on the setting?
Shinkawa: Fatman. He's fat, you know? He had to be fat and good looking. How can I make a fat person cool, I asked myself. Raven from MGS was big but not fat. When someone is fat, he looks cute. I had to come up with a way to make him cool instead of cute. An actual bomb blast suit comes with nothing else, but I applied a lot of extras on the front.
  Why is he wearing inline skates?
Shinkawa: That was Mr. Kojima's idea. He said "Inline skates!" Fat but quick.
  You've been staring at Olga's page for a while now. Any special memories with Olga?
Shinkawa: Olga is the first character I drew after Snake. I thought the stripe shirt Russian soldiers wear in reality would look good on her. And I made her wear it, and it did look good. People say that the Ninja in MGS2 is fatter than the Ninja in MGS. Of course the Ninja in MGS2 is fatter, she is wearing her uniform inside! (laughs) The Ninja in MGS was a cyborg!
  Next is Fortune -- the fighting housewife.
Shinkawa: I made a suggestion to include an African-American lady in the game.
  For what reason?
Shinkawa: I get to go to the US and see a lot of African-American women. They really look cool -- actually beautiful. I wanted to show that in the game.
  She is wearing shades here, unlike in the game.
Shinkawa: In the beginning, all of them wore sunglasses. They were supposed to remove them right before battle. Then we saw "The Matrix" and everyone in that movie were wearing sunglasses. We didn't want to do something someone else has already done.
  Then comes "Antarctic Penguin Snake."
Shinkawa: There really was no use for this in the game. It was supposed to be an item in the game that allows to stay in water without breathing at all. "Based on what king of logic?" is the big question. (laughs) But it would have been cool. But then including this design would have been extra work that would not be worth it.
  Next is Vamp.
Shinkawa: When he opens up his coat, it looks like the wings of a bat.
  How about Ocelot?
Shinkawa: Originaly, his arm was supposed to be a cyborg arm. But then I was told that his arm was Liquid's. If I were told that, I have no choice. (laugh) What could be more fun than the arm being Liquid's! I like his clothes in the Plant Chapter. It's horseriding gear. He wears a gunbelt with a suit. Mr. Hikozo Ito, who is mentioned in the talk (at the end of the artbook), did a photo with a man in a suit with a saber. I really liked how they didn't match.
  Solidus -- his snake arm suit is really something
Shinkawa: I guess this is normal for Americans. X-MEN, Doctor Octopus.
  Did you have to suffer to "give birth" to Solidus?
Shinkawa: There was the joy to give birth to him. I love powered suits. I enjoyed drawing it.
  Are there things that you drew but did not make it in the game?
Shinkawa: I really wanted to have more powered suits in the game. But then the game would no longer be Metal Gear. When the world of Metal Gear pursues reality, I came up with the exoskeleton instead.
  As for the mechanical setting, you said you like powered suits and mechs. Is this because of "GUNDAM"?
Shinkawa: No, it goes back even earlier. "MAJINGER Z" and "CONBATLER V".
  Do you want to come up with robots that merge?
Shinkawa: That would be tough. Doing powered suits would be tough too.
  Would you like to include them in a game?
Shinkawa: Not really.
  What was tough about drawing Metal Gear?
Shinkawa: Its joints. With REX, the joints looked like they were parts of construction machines. But with RAY, which is a robot that goes under water, I wanted to come up with joints you've never seen before. I first thought of a bunch of discs forming a chain mail like armor, with the discs sliding when RAY moves. I thought it would give RAY a grotesque look. But when expressing all this with polygons, it would be a problem. They are all circles, and when they are drawn as the texture, I was told that "the circles, when the joints elongate, would stretch and become ovals." I wanted to use a lot of discs to fill in any gaps, but I ended up getting rid of them. Also, RAY originally came with a tail. But since there were too many joints, that fell through. With REX, I thought too much of polygons, saying to myself that "polygongs must make up squares." This ended up governing the design of REX. With RAY, I tried not to think about this at all. I thought of these joints and a streamline shape armor.
  You really work on the details of the setting of the cockpit, don't you?
Shinkawa: The same is true with the modeling too, you know. You only see this in a few cuts (in the game). Please pay extra attention (when seeing these cuts). I just love the idea that this old guy with a mustache is controlling this really complicated robot. (laughs)
  How about Arsenal Gear?
Shinkawa: I had to do a lot of thinking for Arsenal Gear. How can I make it look gigantic? I tried not to give much detail and left it very smooth like the surface of a submarine to make it look huge. It does have some grooves, though.
  Many consumers say that they wanted to fight Arsenal.
Shinkawa: How on earth can yo fight it! (laughs)
  You've done a lot with the setting of RAY.
Shinkawa: This RAY on the bottom left of page 96 -- I drew it on a whiteboard, took a digital photo of it and turned it into digital data. This one is huge. 1 meter by 1 meter. (laughs)
  1 meter by 1 meter! (laughs)
Shinkawa: Shinkawa: That's right. (laughs)
  The next is -- stage settings.
Shinkawa: This is about half of all stage settings. The rest was done by designer Noguchi. I drew the Tanker Chapter settings while looking at photos and other reference materials. But with the Plant Chapter, I wanted to give it a more Sci Fi look. There are no retinal scanner doors around us, you know. Something not totally Sci Fi but a little more realistic -- I guess that's what Metal Gear is.
  What did you find tough doing?
Shinkawa: I had to draw a lot. Another things was the process. The Tanker Chapter is realistic, and the Plant Chapter is one step away from a Sci Fi world. Then at the end of the game your are brought back to reality. This process is similar to that of MGS in which you start out and stay in a dark world and at the end come out in broad daylight.
  Part 3 of the book is ILLUSTRATIONS: PART 2.
Shinkawa: Shinkawa: I've been working on settings for such a long time then, and I finally had to work on illustrations again. But it was not easy to return to illustrations. I was almost crying while doing these. "Aaaahhhh!!!" (laughs)
  After character illustrations are Metal Gear illustrations from the Game Boy game.
Shinkawa: The character designer of this game is Ikuya Nakamura -- the "Vibration Master" of MGS2. I was asked to do illustrations based on his designs.
  How did you come up with Metal Gear Gander?
Shinkawa: When I joined the company, I was told that we were developing Metal Gear. I then started designing a lot of Metal Gears. So I used one of these old designs.
  Part 4 is rough sketches.
Shinkawa: This interview is too long! (laughs)
  I'm sorry. (laughs)
When let's skip rough sketches. We've already talked about them in Segment 1 of these interviews. (laughs)
Shinkawa: Are you sure? (laughs)
  The end of the book is a talk with Mr. Takato Yamamoto .
I've heard that you respect Mr. Yamamoto very much. What was it like meeting him in person?
Shinkawa: People say this about me, "I thought you were a hard person to talk to." The same was true with Mr. Yamamoto. He turned out to be a person very easy to talk to. He was not intimidating at all. UKIYO-E (Japanese wood block printing art) is art showing people's lives of the time. In that sense, doing game illustrations and designing characters is the same thing. We go in different directions, but I share the feeling that we are doing the same thing. The same is true with Mr. Yamamoto, myself, Mr. Hikozo Ito, and Beardsley too. We illustrators as a whole are the same. Not exactly artists, but more public-oriented.
  At last -- the artbook is now on sale. Can you please give us your last thoughts?
Shinkawa: The book isn't some great "artbook." But you do get to see parts of the game-developing process. Those who like the game will get to enjoy the game even more.
  It will be great to get E-mails of people's comments on the book.
Shinkawa: Maybe we should use those comments in our next interview.
  That's a great idea! Let's do that. Thank you very much for doing this very long interview today.

The next interview will show people's comments on the MGS2 artbook.
Yoji Shinkawa will respond to questions.
Your questions can be about the artbook as well as MGS2 in general.
Please feel free to send E-mails to the art gallery mailbox.

Enter the art gallery mailbox from HERE.

Since we wish to gather as many comments as possible, we are postponing our next interview upload to April 19.

So see you again on April 19.