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Shin Hokuto Musou Famitsu Special



This is a complete translation of the interview that was featured in last week’s “Special Edition” of the Japanese Weekly Gaming magazine, Famitsu. It contains interviews with Buronson (Author of Hokuto No Ken), Tetsuo Hara (Art Designer of Hokuto No Ken) and a double interview with Hisashi Koinuma (Shin Hokuto Musou Producer) and Nobuhiko Horie (Coamix CEO who helped publish HnK and has also supervised Shin Hokuto Musou). All this is accompanied by photos and images.

With Thanks to:

Impe - Finding scans and translating from English to Italian
BlackKite Koei Warriors Forum Admin Translation from Japanese to English
Lee Shellum - Co-Ordination and Final Check of the English Translation



Interview #1: Buronson (武論尊)



Shin Hokuto Musou will be released on Hokuto no Ken’s 30th anniversary. First let’s talk about the early creation of Hokuto no Ken.
I wanted to make a story that focuses on interesting martial arts and muscle strengths, so the setting should be a place with no culture. That became a setting in the near future, and the phrase ‘Savior of the End of Century’ came from there. And then there’s the destiny of the Big Dipper... all of them blended well into one setting. From the beginning there were the keywords ‘Inheritor’ and ‘Hokuto Shinken’. The idea of the "Nanto" came from that, to "conflict" with one another, and with that, the Nanto Generals were born.

From here the story kept growing. Of course there was a sense of victory in creating a firm basis from the start, but if I only created from the initial ideas, it wouldn’t have a huge development like now. There was a sensation which felt like many different rivers flowing into the same big one. So for the series it felt like it was "Destiny".

So the ‘Celestial Emperor’ and ‘Kingdom of Shura’ arcs are included here in Shin Hokuto Musou.
After the final fight with Raoh, the ‘Inheritor’ part became more subtle. It turned into a story of blood relations and roots, about where did ‘Hokuto Shinken’ actually come from. I didn’t realize that when I first wrote it, but when I think about it, the latter part could become an Episode 1 to Hokuto no Ken.

Are there characters from those arcs that are most memorable to you?
Maybe ‘Falco of the Gold’. When you put ‘of‘, the character’s image boils up. It was a cool combination of ‘ Gold’ and ‘Falco’. If you can make a character from a name like this, you can also create using the image you have in mind. So I thought not only about his martial art strength, but also the classy, beautiful looks, amongst many other things.
 
For example, names like ‘Jagi’ or ‘Amiba’ would produce something evil, right? At that time I created characters like that without resting each week, so it was quite a busy task. But I felt the best when I could create a new character. Then I thought ‘what should I make next’.

With the release of Shin Hokuto Musou, I think there will be more people who will touch Hokuto no Ken for the first time. Please give a message to them!
I think it would be better if you’re not just playing it [the game], but also feel something whilst playing it. The manliness, love, affection... please feel those things. And I’ll be happy if you think ‘Ah, interesting. That was a good game’.

 

Interview #2:Tetsuo Hara ( 哲夫)



Shin Hokuto Musou will cover right up to the ‘Kingdom of Shura’ arc, how do you feel about that?
In the first Hokuto Musou, I was surprised that they made [many] character designs, [saying] ‘You did it until here!’. So in Shin Hokuto Musou, I expect even more characters to appear.

Were there any memorable moments when writing the ‘Celestial Emperor’ and ‘Kingdom of Shura’ arcs?
Actually, we had originally planned to end the story after Kenshiro defeated Raoh. However, after the Raoh arc ended, we ended up moving straight to the Celestial Emperor arc. So we started from redesigning the world setting from start without rest. Because the setting was some years after Raoh arc, of course the time had also changed. At that moment, we decided to create the End of the Century to have a change of scenery that was new, and could evolve further as the story progressed. It was hard to draw this, but I made it in 1 week. When I think about it now, it was unbelievable.
 
Who is your favorite character from these latter episodes?
I think Ein has been made a good character. After that, grown-up Rin & Bat. I’ve always wanted to draw Rin who has become a beautiful adult. For Bat, when he first appeared he didn’t look strong, but he developed into a good man. This could be because I personally wanted him to have a change. A wish that he wanted to be an adult like that. When creating his character design, there was a problem physically, which we couldn't change, due to his appearance. But in spite of this, he became a good fighter, and wore his heart on his sleeve.

 
Bat became a good man when he proved he could temper from the reflections of his past experiences. He learnt from Kenshiro and Raoh’s ways of life because maybe to him it was like looking back at his parents lives, this was probably the reason why he learnt from Kenshiro & Raoh. If he had never met Kenshiro and Raoh, he would have remained being a petty thief, so when you think about that he did need to meet good men. Drawing things like this is important in a shonen manga. I want to see children growing up to be like their good role models .
 
Finally, please give a message to fans around the world who are anticipating Shin Hokuto Musou!
Hokuto no Ken is a world that merges East & West. I’d like people to enjoy that "United World". Like the West’s dynamism and the East’s sharpness. The West element has movies like Blade Runner and people like Sylvester Stallone, while the East has the likes of Bruce Lee. Those cool cultures from both West & East are gathered in Hokuto no Ken. I’d like to see people around the world enjoy Hokuto no Ken through this game, Shin Hokuto Musou.

 

Interview #3: Hisashi Koinuma (鯉沼 久史) & Nobuhiko Horie (堀江信彦)


 

Finally, Shin Hokuto Musou has been announced. What is the concept of this title?
Koinuma: The concept is to make it more like Hokuto no Ken and more ‘Musou’ like as well. At the same time there is also a theme to ‘fully complete it this time’...

Please can you describe it in more detail.
Koinuma: The prequel was after all a brand-new title, so there were a lot of mistakes. The story was also made up to Raoh arc, and even there were also lots of parts that were cut. However after release, when we saw the opinions from the fans, most of them were either ‘I want to use that character!’ or ‘I want to see that scene’.

From there, we decided to use ‘ (Shin) rather than ‘2’, and we develop with the theme to complete everything from the beginning to the end.

Does that mean almost all story parts of Hokuto no Ken can be enjoyed here?
Koinuma: Yes. In Shin Hokuto Musou, the featured part in prequel which is Raoh arc will be also getting a tremendous volume increase, and story-wise you’ll be able to enjoy up to the fight against Kaioh.
 
I see. From the video shown at E3, we did get some hints on that.
Koinuma: Correct. In that video we played some famous scenes from the first Hokuto Musou, because we intended to say that ‘This is not a continuation of the prequel, because we’re including those parts as well’. And about Kaioh’s armour silhouette at the end, we hinted that ‘The story will go until there [Kaioh’s arc]




So it’s like that. If the content is that huge, the supervision from Horie-San and Hara-San must have been very intense. (laughs)
Horie: It is indeed! (laughs) But I’m relieved since Hara-San is watching [the game development] too. Hokuto no Ken is a very old series, but to bring it to the modern age, for us it’s very exciting. So that’s why we tell Koinuma-san to ‘make it great’.

Koinuma: To Quote the supervisors "We don't mind you changing and modernising the characters" so this was fairly straight forward, though Hara-San was very particular in this area, and many times asked for them to be redrawn (Laughs).

Horie: Hara-San's drawing skills have much improved down the years [since he created HnK]. So when he said ‘please check it’, that means [the design] needs to be remade with the current sense rather than the past. (laughs)

Koinuma: On the contrary, we’re relieved that he was here to supervise.

The story will go until the defeat of Kaioh, but will it follow the original series?
Koinuma: Yes. Basically we are following the original series. The Dream mode which was in the prequel also returns, so that "Fiction" can be realised in this mode.

Horie: It’s the same like in manga, but if we deform the fiction, the story becomes more interesting. For example in Hokuto no Ken, Hokuto Shinken is of course fiction. (laughs) However, when you have belief in your creation, and continue to add more to it, it becomes more interesting. That’s why they said that in Shin Hokuto Musou’s Dream mode, more fiction is added so that players can enjoy the game more.

Koinuma: Speaking of which, after the prequel’s release Horie-San also said that ‘he wouldn’t mind if the game is made more Musou-like’. (laughs)

Horie: Yeah, I also said it’d be better if the game was longer.

Koinuma: Hokuto Musou was the first title developed in the series, so we do feel there are parts cut off. But this time we are encouraged by Horie-san’s words, so we’re adjusting those many parts to make it more Musou-like.




On the point of ‘completing it’, does that mean the appearing characters here will be more than in prequel?
Koinuma: There are very many additions. Even in the original series, Raoh arc is just half of the entire series. If we put a 1 scale to the prequel’s volume, this time there will be more than twice of that.

Horie: Until now there had been many games games based on Hokuto no Ken, but there are none that have completed the entire series. Most of them only went until Raoh’s arc, and didn’t continue afterwards. But there are also many people who do like the Celestial Emperor and Kaioh arcs. I think Shin Hokuto Musou will be enjoyable by such people.

Koinuma: Since there are few that completed the series, there are fewer references when we do the latter part, so that is quite bothersome indeed. (laughs) For example we contemplated on how to reproduce Kaioh’s moves.

The presentation of fighting techniques is indeed quite difficult.
Koinuma: We had some hardships in this department, but also some fun. What’s left is game-wise problem of ‘there needing to be this certain number of moves (techniques)’, so we ask for consultation there...

Horie: There are characters that didn’t fight much yet get killed quickly. Hara-San liked Shuren of the Flame so much, but in the original series he only appeared for an instant. (laughs)

The level [you’re implying] is that he was only featured in few frames, right? (laughs)
Horie: Yes, that's right. But his role in the story was what made us readers remember him so fondly.

Koinuma: The likes of Shuren only appeared for a short time, yet they were greatly remembered in the memories of people like Horie-San and Hara-San. (laughs)

I’m expecting many side characters to be appearing in Shin Hokuto Musou!
Koinuma: In order to "Complete the story" there were many more characters that we needed to add, but hopefully, by adding them, we are able to conclude this aspect. If there are anymore ‘I’d like to play as this character!’ requests, I feel that we’ll need to examine that each time a new request comes...

So your first priority is to create a complete version with Shin Hokuto Musou?
Koinuma: Yes right. I think right now we are focusing on that.

Well then, would you now explain to us about the appearing characters that are revealed right now?
Koinuma: First we start with Adult Bat. When he fights, there’s a feel like he’s mimicking Kenshiro a bit, however he doesn’t use any specific martial art or fighting style. Game-wise also he is not so strong a character.

When [Adult] Bat appeared in the original series, he became surprisingly cool, which I think impressed people.
Horie: I think a human’s looks represent that person’s soul well, especially in mangas such representations have to be done or else. That’s why they consulted Hara-San and made the grown-up Bat look cool. If he hadn’t met Kenshiro, he wouldn’t be like that.

That point is like Rin’s beauty in her late teens, right?
Koinuma: Exactly like that. (laughs)

Horie: This was as we intended. From the beginning she was aimed to become a beautiful lady.

Koinuma: This is a bit trivial, but Rin in game will become a character that will get a position similar to Yuria. For her strength, like a weaker version of Mamiya when she was playable in the prequel, and she will use throwing projectiles here.

I’m wondering about one thing, will clothes get torn off again like in prequel...?
Koinuma: Ahahaha (lol) That is still not being adjusted yet, so I can’t say anything at the moment. (laughs)

I’m looking forward to it! Next, would you please describe Ein?
Koinuma: Ein is planned to be staying true to his setting which is fighting with a boxing-based moveset.

Horie: Falco will be too, but when we were creating Ein [back then], there were parts that were imaged from a certain movie. But it was a wonder, and he became a character that went along with the serialization. It was absorbed inside Hara-San and then digested. I think this was one of Hara-San's finest works.

Just now Falco came out in the discussion. Is he really going to have golden aura as his weapon?
Koinuma: Well he’s Falco of the Gold, a user of Gento Kouken after all. (laughs)

Horie: Using aura colors to show character personalities were first used after Raoh arc. It was influenced by things when Hokuto no Ken got an anime adaptation, and then in manga there was also an inclusion of colors becoming a feature.

On the idea of aura and fighting spirit, Hokuto no Ken is like a pioneer to that, right?
Horie: Maybe so. Back then during the serialization, there were times when I kicked a shoe rack over and Hara-San was angry, but maybe at that time he saw an aura on my back and started drawing it. (laughs)

What the.. (lol) So Ein and Falco each had memorable episodes in the original series, so is it safe to assume these will also be firmly featured in Shin Hokuto Musou?
Koinuma: Yes right. I can’t tell you in detail yet, but let’s think it’ll be as imaged in the original series. I don’t think we’ll go as far as including Falco’s flashback scenes though.

Let’s talk about Hyoh next.
Koinuma: On the development side, you could consider it easy to reuse Kenshiro’s model for Hyoh, and Raoh’s for Kaioh. After all the [original] setting is that both of the siblings are twins. However it only means that we’re using the same proportions for them, and it’s changing their moves that are hard to do.

I'd like to ask you about Shachi. Originally, when this character appeared, Kenshiro's version of events weren't covered
Koinuma: In order to reproduce Hokuto no Ken’s story more accurately, things like that will be reproduced well in the game, so look forward to that!

Which means...!?
Koinuma: I can’t tell you in detail at the moment...

That’s too bad. (laughs) But if you’re saying that Hokuto no Ken’s story will be made that accurately, does that mean those who play Shin Hokuto Musou will get to understand Hokuto no Ken already without reading the original manga?
Koinuma: Correct. In a sense, maybe it could be considered a very beneficial title. (laughs)

Horie: That’s nice. Even the creators themselves tend to forget the story past Raoh arc, but the fans really remember those very well. (laughs)

Huh!? So you wrote the post-Raoh arc in reflection of your mood at the time of writing?
Horie: Until Raoh arc, the story was advanced with a clear epilogue in sight, however for the story after that I left it [to Buronson & Hara] on how to draw each characters’ movements.

It really is like Musou Tensei mode!!
Horie: Right. (laughs) With that, since the characters moved far above my intentions, I became quite puzzled. (laughs)

Koinuma: Until entering that mode, the characters must have been created so firmly, so it could be like that, right?

Speaking of which, what parts will be the difference between Shin Hokuto Musou and its prequel on the system side?
Koinuma: In order to represent the original story, we’re changing the game system. Growth system among others are rebuilt from scratch. Of course for many characters to be playable, Dream mode will be included like before. And then Online-related things will be made more interesting than in the prequel.

 What about action part?
Koinuma: The prequel focused much on visual, and in doing so there were parts that ended up not feeling Musou-like. In Shin Hokuto Musou, to make it more Musou-like, we’re making it so that the enemy quantities are about twice the amount of those in the prequel.

And also to increase the lightness and easy-to-use feel, the technique attack speed among others will be adjusted, and thus should greatly increase the [game’s] excitement.


The playable character types are same like in prequel?
Koinuma: Yes. There will be new styles different from the first game, such as our interpretation of Hokuto Ryuken and Flying Projectile user types.

I see. Finally, would each of you give a comment to all fans who are looking forward to Shin Hokuto Musou?
Koinuma: ‘If you play Shin Hokuto Musou, you can understand the entire Hokuto no Ken!’ We’re planning to make the game very accurate to the original series for that reason. We’re making this so that it could become something like a collector’s item for Hokuto no Ken fans, you can expect that.

Horie: Maybe Shin Hokuto Musou’s story could be a complete document after the original manga? [This game is] a new title that can be made because Hokuto no Ken fans bought the prequel, so that’s why I think they will be absolutely overjoyed with this game.

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