An Interview with the People Behind Rockman Xover, Plus Potential Boss Character Contest in the Works

interview_rockmanxo_20130109_07 A short while back, Cap Stone, the official site for Capcom's sound team, posted an interview with some of the production team on Rockman Xover. It includes the producer, Takeshi Tezuka, the director, Mr. Matsuura, and two members of the sound team, one going by Mr. X (who worked on the original Mega Man X) and Masahiro Aoki (of ROCKMEN fame).

Since Cap Stone is a site for the sound team, the interview largely centers around the main theme song of Xover, written by Aoki. However, it does delve into some interesting stories of inspiration, both for this game and for the original X. Also, after a bit of schilling, the prospect of a potential character boss contest is mentioned. Perhaps future Xover updates will include fan-made bosses?

Anyway, it's a fairly lengthy interview, but please enjoy!

DJ Sando: To start, let's have the producer Mr. Tezuka introduce himself.

Tezuka: I entered the company in 1990, making arcade machines originally. Arcades, then consumer games, and now I'm in charge of mobile titles. My background is arcades, but I had an aspiration to be in charge of Rockman on some platform. I got to be be engaged in the Rockman series for the first time, so I've finally become a member of the Capcom family (laughs).

DJ Sando: Woah! That's awesome! You've been at it for some 22, 23 years now. You're pretty much a living chronicle of the game industry! Anyway, continuing we have the director Mr. Matsuura. Introduce yourself please!

Matsuura: Mm, Rockman Xover. Unlike Mr. Tezuka, I was working at another company, but I joined Capcom in 2008! Now, under Tezuka's authority I could lend a hand in Xover. It was my dream to make a Rockman game since I was a boy! As a fan myself, I don't want to get the fans angry. (laughs) That's my motto.

DJ Sando: You clutched your childhood dream. More or less a success story! (laughs) Thank you, Mr. Matsuura. Continuing on, we have a legend of composers, Mr. X.

Mr. X: I joined the company in '92. I was a composer going on 10 years. Lately I work to support the developers. I was the main composer for Rockman X!

DJ Sando: I'm overcome with history. With time comes fine age, be it wine or Rockman! Alright, next is the composer Mr. Aoki. Please!

Aoki: OK! I came on board in 2008 fresh out of college, and was in charge of the Sengoku Basara series from 3 on. Honestly, I came in saying "I want to make Rockman!" at my job interview.

DJ Sando: So essentially your dream came true with this crossover! By the way, I heard that you made a preview.

Matsuura: We made a preview for the Tokyo Game Show. In the process of making a preview, a main theme song is vital... you'd think! But actually, I forgot about making a theme song!

DJ Sando: Say what! Should you even admit to that!?

Tezuka: That slipped my mind, too. (laughs) I mean, there are a lot of social games that don't even have sound. I was convinced this needed a theme song during the development process. But with the short development time I just forgot.

Mr. X: Yeah! The sound team received the offer for a song, and I thought that Aoki, the newcomer, would like to take a swing at it.

DJ Sando: You had such a passionate guy on hand!

Aoki: Yeah! At last my time to take charge of Rockman came, and (laughs) I was delighted!

DJ Sando: Well, let's take a look at the preview! (video) Oooh, nice! I heard the response to the preview was incredible, too! It has a ton of views!

Matsuura: We had loads of feedback with all different opinions. (laughs) We got to know how much the Rockman series is loved by fans. The weight of 25 years is impressive.

Tezuka: A quarter of a century. It really weighed down on me The biggest challenge was whether or not the fans' expectations could be answered, and if they'd accept this.

Matsuura: Of course the response from fans wasn't all good, you surely know. I think our challenge now is to change those impressions as much as we can. Rockman fans, please keep your eyes peeled!

DJ Sando: Next up, How about we hear about the theme song? I've been playing it myself, but really it's getting around all over.

Aoki: Ooh, that's nice of you to say. (laughs)

DJ Sando: You got a new guitar for this!?

Aoki: Yes, eight years ago. (laughs) I'd say the keyword to Rockman X's music is rock. I made the tune racking my brain over how to express a fresh sounding rock song while thinking back on the Rockman made 19 years ago.

DJ Sando: Amazing! Just awesome! No matter how much I hear it I can't get enough. It's like a delicious bowl of of udon that you can eat anytime! Is there some kind of trick to it!?

Aoki: I'd say so. I worked as hard as I could to keep the composition from getting simple; even having the sound drop out at points. But the melody has one constant part throughout.

DJ Sando: I heard you changed out the strings of this guitar with high quality ones for this too! While we have Mr. X here today too, please tell us about the Rockman X from back then!

Mr. X: At that time, we wanted to go forward with something all new as a fresh title in Rockman. We planned for the story to have a certain firmness, but also sadness. I had the challenge of making music I wanted to convey the struggle and the pathos of the Reploids, but at first I troubled being unable to express that sadness and tension. And then, while riding my bicycle along the banks of Yodokawa, I saw the sunset and, with that, came up with the melody for the highway stage.

DJ Sando: What a great story! I bet that highway was the Hankyuu Express! Going back to the story of the preview theme, Mr. Aoki, you've loved Rockman since you were a child, right!?

Aoki: Yes. (laughs) At four years old I had Rockman 2, and would play up to the Wily stages.

DJ Sando: Four! Rockman X is completely engraved in your DNA! And all that is loaded up in this one song!

DJ Sando: Alright, to go out with a bang for Rockman's 25th anniversary, I'd like to hear what you have to say about Xover.

Tezuka: Well, I'd like to explain what I think Xover's best "selling point" is. It's that all of the Rockman series up until now have their presence. The contents can be enjoyed from adults in their 40s like us to children of the generation that experienced Ryuusei no Rockman. I think a wide range of generations will enjoy it. For Xover, I hope it will also connect with people who play games casually on their iPhones, and people who've watched anime but never played games.

DJ Sando: Basically a Rockman festival!

Tezuka: It is the 25th anniversary, so in my ability I want to produce a grand jubilee; perform a dream collaboration.

DJ Sando: Fantastic! Continuing, Mr. Matsuura. I've heard this game has some kind of Battle Memory function. Please tell us about that!

Matsuura: In Xover, the hero is a new Rockman we call OVER-1. He has a feature where he can get stronger by equipping cards called Battle Memory. The Battle Memory cards have tons of characters that have appeared in all the Rockman series up until now, and I think that's made it a nostalgic production for series fans.

Aoki: I have mine here.

All: Ooh.

Tezuka: You're pretty far along. (laughs) Any desired variation can be put together depending on the player. For example, gathering only Battle Memory from the Rockman X series. There are many ways to play. It's not an exaggeration to say there are as many ways to enjoy the game as there are people playing it.

Matsuura: I agree. A chance to have all the characters of Rockman assemble doesn't come twice.

Tezuka: Like the title indicates, we wanted Xover to represent a world view of all the series blended together.

Matsuura: Being a social game, there are parts in the game's components made to express this simply. I think the meaning of Xover, henceforth, is having the players enjoy while imagining a "Xover'd" world.

DJ Sando: I see! I feel I've heard how that world view can be fully enjoyed, and the points that set it apart from other social games.

DJ Sando: Now I happened to overhear, but even now there are Battle Memory cards appearing with all new artwork!?

Matsuura: Of course! I have good news for those reading this article. We have an original art piece by Hitoshi Ariga, who's well acquainted in the world of Rockman manga. This limited edition Battle Memory is available now until the end of the month. Don't miss it!

DJ Sando: That ought to get players from the Bonbon era especially excited! That's some great news indeed. Thank you!

DJ Sando: Also, Aoki, aren't you a member of ROCKMEN right now!? Don't you have something you'd like to say!? (laughs)

Aoki: Oh right. (laughs) The ROCKMEN team has been busy, and to congratulate the 25th anniversary, we've released "We are ROCKMEN! 2"! This album has the full version of the Xover theme song.

DJ Sando: A version you can't hear in the game! If you want to hear more, you have to buy the CD!

Aoki: This time, we've arranged music from Xover, as well as the Famicom series, X series, and even the EXE and Ryuusei series! Moreover, it also has an arrangement of the Flutter VS Gesellshaft theme by guest composer Makoto Tomozawa, who made music for Rockman DASH. And more still, it has the specially made new track "TIME AGAIN" by Takashi Tateishi of Dimension. It was prepared by a shockingly rare sound source.

DJ Sando: Sweet! A real dream collab, no!? Hoping for 2013 to be the year of Rockman, fans of Dimension, fans who want to get more immersed in Xover's music; just all Rockman fans! That's because all things Rockman are starting with this.

Matsuura: Also, buyers of the CD can get a special code for the "8-Bit Rockman" Battle Memory!

DJ Sando: Need to buy that right away! For yourself or for a friend!

Matsuura: And I think we're still just getting started. Sorry, Aoki, but don't you have a recital coming up!?

Aoki: It's not like I'm singing or anything! (laughs) On January 13th, the ROCKMEN will be performing live at the Tower Records in Yokohama. We've planned to present an unrecorded track by Mr. Kitagawa for purchasers of the CD there!

DJ Sando: This is seriously a full plate. Is there any other good news!?

Tezuka: Well, I have one last thing to say! It's not set in stone right now, but I'm thinking I'd like to have a boss character contest. When you think Rockman, you think boss character contest, after all.

DJ Sando: That's a huge expectation. When you think Rockman, you think boss character contest!

Tezuka: It's still on the drawing board, but I definitely want to make it happen.

DJ Sando: Thank you very much. We'll be looking forward to it!

DJ Sando: Well now, Xover is really building up! You can get immersed in its world, listen to the CD, get special items, it just gets better and better! And we got to hear some amazing stories. Thank you everyone!

All: Thank you!