Interview Segment 6
About LEVs

"Phantoma" which we talked about last time is a LEV. What are the differences between an Orbital Frame (OF) and a LEV?

Shinkawa : A LEV is a weapon based on current technology in its advanced form. An OF is a weapon based on things from a completely different dimension, beyond our imagination. LEVs have details that we can see in conventional weapons. They walk on their two feet and use old-style verniers. Since I wanted to give LEVs an old look to contrast them with OFs, I gave them trumpet-shaped verniers that may look too old for the time setting. They can jump but cannot fly for a long time. Originally they were really weak. (laughs) But this time they do play a significant role.

When they appeared in the movie sequences of the previous game, they seemed very slow. However, in the movie sequences of this game, they move very quickly. Have they been improved?

Shinkawa : You can say that.

Director Murata : They were supposed appear in the game portion of the previous game. They were supposed to walk slowly and get destroyed with one shot. They were supposed to fire their Vulcan cannons but give no damage to Raptors and Jehuty. They were to serve as moving but soon-to-be-destroyed objects. But they were cut. You could see them in the movie and demo sequences, though.

This is the LEV "Phantoma" that we got to see from the previous game. They're so weak.

The outdated vernier nozzles in a way make fun of the generation gap.
Shinkawa : There was only 1 LEV guarding that factory (the 1st stage of the previous game). (laughs)

Director Murata : Pretty weak defenses, really.

Shinkawa : LEVs are quite expensive, but they are weak.

But they look cool.

Director Murata : They remind me of the Space Shuttle, and I like them.

Shinkawa : I tried to give them a NASA look by making they white and adding black panels.

Director Murata : The camera eye resembles that of the Raptor. Is this because they share common ancestors although they differ in the level of technological advancement?

Shinkawa : Yes...The LEV was developed before the Raptor.

Didn't the people on Mars develop OFs based on LEVs?

Director Murata : I think they used LEVs to cultivate Mars in the beginning. Like cars, there are different types. There is the military LEV Phantoma, and I'm sure there are civilian models to construct space stations, etc. Since the people on Mars are not Martians but people who immigrated from Earth, they share the same technology.

I would like to ask you about the weapons of Phantoma. In the previous game all it had was the Vulcan cannon. Does it come with anything else this time?

Shinkawa : Even in the previous game it had missiles on its back, but it never had the chance to fire them...

Director Murata : It also comes with a stun gun.

Shinkawa : It jumps up to an enemy and stuns it from below.

Wow! Can we expect great use of it?

Director Murata : But it's only a stun gun. It only stuns.

The back pack is gigantic. Looks very heavy.

Shinkawa : (points at the illustrations) These are supporting stilts.

Oh, so the LEV comes with crutches!

Shinkawa : No, stilts.

Director Murata : They serve multiple purposes -- banlancer, thrusters, etc.

Shinkawa : They serve multiple purposes -- banlancer, thrusters, etc.

I see. What is it about Phantoma do you think is appealing?

Shinkawa : I think it's the balance. When I first saw the model created for the previous game, it looked like a well-balanced human being. I said, "No, this isn't it." The shoulders aren't where they are with humans, and the head is way up. Where shoulders normally are are units sticking out. The shoulders look like they are there, but then sort of disappear at a low point and blend into the vernier unit. I think the overall balance is really good.

Camera eye -- a similarity between the Raptor (below). Residuals of old-generation technology.

Phantoma in action.You get to see him in the game this time! (from the top: stun gun, missile, Vulcan cannon)

Labor LEV. Still used for cultivation purposes.

When will we see it?
What will he do?
So, you've redone the model from scratch, right?
Will we be seeing him in the game portion?

Director Murata : Yes, indeed. Look forward to seeing him.

There are labor LEVs as well. The arms and joints give the LEVs a construction site look.

Shinkawa : Our designer Noguchi designed it. I remember asking him to give it a weird shape head.

Director Murata : This construction model is supposed to move slowly.

Very clumsy...

Shinkawa : No, no. It can do a major jump.

Director Murata : Yes it does. Like "Voom!"

I've heard that there are other LEVs as well.

Shinkawa : Originally I designed a leader "Phantoma 2". Using that as a foundation, I designed one called Vic Viper.