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Convenience Wars : Interview with cbx33, Project Coordinator

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Convenience Wars – An interview with Cbx33

I’m Slient_Phoenix and I was asked by cbx33 to conduct interview for Rakit Studios all about Convenience Wars. Knowing some of cbx33’s previous projects, I’m excited to find out more about their newest project. After doing some research and finding that I had more questions than time, I decided to break my questions up into topics. So, in what I hope to be the start of a set of interviews here’s what cbx33 had to say.

Where did the idea to get together and make a game come from?

“Well, it started out as more of a merchandise idea. AliasVegas was working on character designs to put onto products with a view of starting an online manga merchandise store. We liked the characters that AliasVegas came up with and we decided that they deserve some kind of back stories to make them more real to people and so the idea of putting the characters into a game was born. With me doing the majority of coding and script writing, AliasVegas handling the artwork for the sprites, sbx34 working on the sound effects and extra coding and stupid_little_genius doing the backgrounds.”

So what is the premise of the game?

“It’s based around two Convenience stores which were inexplicably built right opposite each other. The game follows Satoshi Kobayashi, who gets a job at one of these stores. The work force at each store intensely dislikes the workforce of the other store, cue many an insult and funny moments. Things start off well, but after a while Satoshi is drawn into a battle that he knows nothing about and is totally unprepared for. The events that follow will completely change his life and the relationships he has with his co-workers at Yuudai-Mart.”

And how are you going to deliver this story to your audience?

“Well, we’re using the format of a Visual Novel. Very popular in Japan, not so in the Western world. It’s kinda like an interactive story. The beauty of it, is that you can make choices and decisions as the game progresses in order to change the outcome. That’s a plus and a negative at the same time, we’re not just happy with creating a single story arch with a few subtle changes, we’re talking about major changes in story archs. That’s the plan anyway.”

How big and how many arc’s are you thinking about?

“It’s hard to say. On the major side, no more than two or three. The subtle ones are a little easier, like you may be walking down the street and depending on your choices, you may meet two different people. The larger arcs might be like, X dies or doesn’t…..that’s gonna be a game changer.”

You mentioned that visual novels are more popular in Japan than the western world, so why chose that as your vehicle for your story?

“Um, I think basically because it’s as close to making an anime as we can get. There’s no way that we’d be able to create an anime series. So merging an anime story with a still(er) medium, allows us to create the same look and feel of watching an anime, with a thousandth less of the work. Looking at some of the newer series where there are 11,000 frames per episode, there’s just no hope of us ever achieving that with one artist”

So would you say you draw a lot of inspiration and direction from Japanese culture?

“Oh of course, we are anime fans through and through, so Convenience Wars is supposed to be our best attempt at making an anime-ish story if that makes sense. I mean there are things in the story that are drawn from the culture itself, you know, things you wouldn’t get in the UK or US, but it’s more about the type of story. I’ve thought for a long time that we’ve kinda grown a little stagnant in Western cinema, and it’s only occasionally that you see something crazy that’s taken seriously. If that makes sense? A lot of anime stories are based around an entirely ludicrous idea, but it’s just a mechanism for telling a much deeper tale.”

Knowing a little about japanese culture and anime myself, what genres within the anime world does your story fit?

“Hmm….that’s kinda tough and not. It’s got your basic anime feel to it, there is a lot of humour and character interaction, but also there will be a very dark undertone. It’s most definitely not all rainbows and sunshine. I guess in english terms, it would be a fantasy thriller, though the emphasis on fantasy is less so.”

Bearing that in mind who are your target audience?

“Um, we’re trying to appeal to a more general audience first time round. It’s all too easy to get sucked into a very tight genre, so we’re trying to create something that has universal appeal. The idea of it being in a shop is rather mundane, something that a lot of people have experienced, either working there, or even just shopping in itself. So it’s a trade off between creating something that has a uniqueness, but at the same time, not narrowing the field too much.”

I caught on to something interesting in there, ‘first time round’ are you leave it open to a sequel?

“Well, not necessarily a sequel, but we may try something different if we make another game. Possibly something with a very strong game mechanic or based around a very tight genre, I’m really not sure.”

Going back to something you said earlier, you decided to make a game to go along side merchandising. How did that evolve?

“Well, Aliasvegas was starting to draw a lot more anime/manga characters and had the idea of putting original characters onto some merchandise. Original characters are cool, but of course if no one knows them, then you have less of an attraction, to some. So the idea was the generate an affinity for the characters, so that other people would be able to relate to and want to buy CW merchandise”

So Aliasvegas is your artist, can you tell me more about your team?

“Well, it’s pretty tiny, we only have 4 team members right now. 1 scriptwriter/coder/voice actor/composer, 1 creative director/lead artist/voice actor, 1 foley artist/coder/emoter/voice actor, and 1 background artist. But I see the voice acting crew growing”

And one last question, in a short summary what can you audience expect from Convenience Wars? A synopsis if you will

“Hmmm……fun, pain, excitement and maybe some tears. I’m not giving too much away right now – wait for the demo”

Thank you to cbx33 for giving me an insight in to Convenience Wars and the direction it could be going. Hopefully I’ll be back and next time I’ll be talking to Aliasvegas about the characters and who they are.

I’m Silent_Phoenix and until next time, stay frosty.

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