What's the significance and message behind the title Spy Fiction? Why'd you choose it?
Kuniaki Kakuwa: The title has three meanings. The first is the immediately apparent one, the simple meaning of "spy fiction" - which we broadly interpreted to mean and tried to capture in this game as a "spy story." At first, we had plenty of contenders, but we ultimately chose this title to mark us as the last word in spy stuff.
Another meaning is hidden in its abbreviation, SF - SF as in science fiction. In other words, it means that the game has a kind of science-fiction quality that transcends its setting. There's that excitement of going beyond reality in some capacity rather than following directly from it - the idea that, hey, it'd sure be cool to have this, etc.
Finally, the SF abbreviation can also refer to Scarface. It emphasizes how important his very existence is to the heart of the story.
How did you choose the names Billy Bishop and Sheila Crawford?
Swery: We asked for possible names for our two heroes from our staff and chose from the suggestions. The development team for the game conducted a lot of business through the BBS on the internal company network - business communication, placing and receiving orders for supplies, etc. - so we used it to send out a survey to everyone.
Everyone came up with an idea where Billy would have a name with the same first and last initials (like B.B.), and they wanted Sheila to have a first name that was feminine and a surname that sounded tough. I won't deny that I finally just chose the names that sounded the best to me. (laughs)
Who's your favorite character out of the cast?
Kakuwa: I don't know about the rest of the staff, but my personal favorite was Lysander. He's the character I liked the most both designwise and backgroundwise, and I personally didn't want to kill him off, but the plot progression demanded that he die, and considering the flow of the story, there wasn't any reason to keep him around. I liked him so much that I myself produced the lightweight mockups of his Golden Butterflies used in his motion capture performance. I also made them so that he could do his reloading action!
Swery: This might be getting into spoilers, but mine is naturally Nicklaus Nightwood. If I can touch here on his development materials for a little bit, the real Nicklaus was undercover in Eastern Europe under the codename of Snowman. He was a pro among pros who could always be counted on to get a job done, but no one knew what he looked like. But then Dietrich showed up and killed him. He then took Snowman's place and returned to S.E.A. headquarters.
So if you really think about it, no one knows the true face of the real Nicklaus. The name "Dietrich Troy" is probably naturally an alias as well - so the man who appeared as Nicklaus really was an enigma. See?
Which character do you think is most like yourself?
Kakuwa: I don't really think I'm like any of the characters.
Every character more or less has something in them that I really don't. If pressed, I'd have to say they're all wish-fulfillment characters in their own way.
Swery: That's a tough question! All the characters have something of me in them - Billy's dedication, Sheila's fastidiousness, Nicklaus's mellowness, Samuel's American jokes, Michael's pride, Dietrich's cruelty...the list goes on and on. [Translator note: Your assignment for Swery's next open interview: get him to tell us an American joke.]
What was the toughest part of the production, and what scene had the most impact on you?
Kakuwa: The first thing that comes to mind would be how all the staff were so much like spies themselves.
As our meetings went on, I came to understand that each person possessed an unexpectedly wide range of spy-like qualities, so we tried our best to incorporate as many different elements and ideas as we could into this thing we called "Spy Fiction." In doing so, with an eye on the game's entertainment value, we finally pulled the title into its current form.
Swery: The scene that made the biggest impression on me was the last one, the hand-to-hand combat scene that plays after the fight with Dimitri.
I've been a big fan of Jackie Chan from way back, so I'm particular about my action scenes. I put my head together with a stunt coordinator to work out the action for Billy and Sheila both in that scene especially, and I also followed pointers given to me by performers in action films, and I think it really worked out well.
If you could have any one of the weapons and spy gear from the game in real life, which one would it be, and why?
Kakuwa: The Octo Gear [stealth camouflage], naturally.
Being able to sneak in places you normally couldn't... I'm joking, but I would like to be able to hide through optical camouflage when I want to concentrate on my work. I have a job where I'm in contact with a lot of people - in a good sense - but there're times when I'd really like to be alone...
Could you recommend three books, movies, etc. that would enhance a player's enjoyment of the game?
Swery: This is entirely based on my own tastes, but these are musts:
- Mission: Impossible (movie)
- Die Hard 2 (movie)
- Midnight Plus One (book)
Finally, do you have a message for the players?
Kakuwa & Swery: We here at Access Games made certain to put all our effort into creating Spy Fiction. We obsessed over the smallest details and strove to give our best no matter what. We all certainly hope from the bottom of our earts that we've created everyone's definitive spy game. I hope all our S.E.A. agents truly and unreservedly enjoy it.
Translated by R. Capowski, 12/7/2013. Spy Fiction and the official game guide are property of Access Games, Sammy, and/or SoftBank; this translation has not been sanctioned by any of them.