Interview Segment 7
Vic Viper

(continued from last time)
Let me ask you about Vic Viper. It was seen in the E3 trailer. It's name is Vic mean, "that" Vic Viper, right?

Shinkawa : Yes.

Director Murata : Strictly speaking, it's "another" Vic Viper based on the original Vic Viper.

And the runner is Leo Stenbuck -- the main character of the previous game.

Director Murata : Leo pilots this mech in this game and puts on his show. I communicated to Mr. Shinkawa the background details of the previous game and the role of Leo's mech in this game. The Mr. Shinkawa said, "I want to make it morph into a fighter plane." When I said, "That sounds cool!", he said, "Let's make him pilot Vic Viper." I was like, "Leo's gonna fly Vic Viper!?"

(laughs) Wait a minute. Did you want to introduce a fighter plane just because you wanted Vic Viper to make an appearance?"

Director Murata : We always discussed including Vic Viper regardless of Leo piloting it.

Shinkawa : We were discussing since the previous game that if the Space Force owned the LEV "Phantoma", we thought they would own more conventional weapons such as fighter planes. I was thinking of Vic Viper but without the morphing. With Phantoma having no role in the previous game, there really was no room for Vic Viper's appearance. That's why I had to drop the idea. But with this game when I was asked to come up with a mech for Leo, I said to myself, "Now is the time to bring Vic Viper into the game!" (laughs)

Front view of Vic Viper. Although a LEV, it comes with a support AI at the chest.

The fusion of the old generation (LEVs) and new generation (OFs). Its sharp silhouette slashes through the space-time continuum.
Director Murata : I always believed that Vic Viper would morph into a robot. This transformation was a "dream come true".

Shinkawa : You believed so?

Director Murata : Certainly. I was saying, "These things must be legs."

Shinkawa : I...never thought so. I thought it was purely a plane.

So was it turned into a robot because Leo was going to pilot it?

Director Murata : Given the game plan, it had to be a humanoid, so we made it morph. It works well in the game and has become a valuable character.

Shinkawa : I never expected it to fire the ripple laser.

It fires the ripple laser?

Director Murata : As the whole thing evolved around the idea of Vic Viper, everyone was like, " OK, it's the Vic Viper!", "It's going to fire the ripple laser, right?" I was like, "Will it?"

Shinkawa : So, you as the director didn't expect this?

Director Murata : The programmer really got into the whole concept. "It's going to shoot lasers, right?", "There's no way the OPTION balls won't appear, right?" This is when we decided we should go all the way with the Vic Viper thing.

Let me ask about the design. Does it have a sharp silhouette because it morphs between the plane and robot modes?

Shinkawa : As I mentioned last time, there was a design for Phantoma 2. I took the proportions of it and tried to change it to a plane. But the legs did not look right when turned into the nose of the plane. When I changed the legs so that they looked like the nose of Vic Viper, they became sharp like the legs of an OF. I had in mind the designs of both the plane and the robot. I made changes and worked on the details so that one common design worked well for both modes, and ended up with this.

A unique point is that both arms are blades.

Shinkawa : The fingers are stored and will pop out when necessary.

The fingers look special.

Shinkawa : There is a moment in the scenario where it gives Jehuty a special weapon. Since it is a punching weapon, we needed fingers. The fingers could probably grab things, but they exist mainly to use this weapon. Originally, I did not intend to assign fingers, but I ended up doing so to coincide with the scenario.

The sketch includes the number 74. Is there any meaning to this?

Shinkawa : 7 (NANA) and 4 (SHI) together make up "NASHI" which means "None".
Therefore, 74 represents "There is 'no meaning' to this number."

Are you sure you're telling the truth?

Shinkawa : I thought a LEV or figher plane should come with some kind of numbering. I just wanted to make sure it had the LEV / Phantoma taste. As for the morphing, I first drew the humanoid design and thought it would somehow work out. I had no concrete plan as for how it would morph. I had a model created for the humanoid design, fiddled around with it and made it work to enter flight mode. I did keep in mind the morphing when designing the parts, and then compared the sketch design and the actual model. It ended up working as expected. Some parts are barely linked to each other, though.

I guess this is due to its relation to the flight mode. The rear portion where you can see the inside is unique.

Shinkawa : In flight mode, all verniers on the back point in the direction it's flying in. In humanoid mode, I designed them so that they face different ways.

Director Murata : When you see it do a perfect morph in the game, it surely is a breathtaking sight. Make sure to keep an eye on it when playing the game. It's one of those moments we don't want the player to miss.

Shinkawa : The flight mode model has more joints than the humanoid mode because these extra joints play a role in the gimmicks. These joints are unnecessary during humanoid mode and are removed. In other words, models are swapped instantaneously when going between modes. They look the same and you won't be able to tell the difference.

Phantoma unit leader mech.
It leads 4 Phantomas.

Phantoma unit leader mech.
It leads 4 Phantomas.

Details of the rear with the vernier pack removed. You can taste the LEV flavor from this.

This is the flight mode! You've got to watch the Tokyo Game Show trailer!
It really IS Vic Viper.

Director Murata : Well, if it is called Vic Viper, we made sure that it looks like it. We don't want people saying, "No way this is Vic Viper!"

Will Jehuty let out a blue capsule when attacked?

Shinkawa : That means Jehuty must die.

Both wings have weapon-firing hole-like structures.

Shinkawa : Yes, this detail has been added so that it can be turned into a weapon structure if necessary. If all weapon details are fixed from the very beginning, I would include them in the design. But with games, you never know when or how a weapon would be added. That's why I included this hole detail so that weapons could be fired from it if necessary. It can be a thruster, it can fire homing lasers, and it can even be used to fire missiles.

This mech has no energy lines.

Shinkawa : That's because this is not an OF.

So metatron is not used to build this? And this LEV can still fight an OF? ...Wow! Any last comments on where to keep an eye on for Vic Viper?

Shinkawa : Definitely the morphing.
Look forward to the morphing scene.