Ishiwatari Daisuke Interview Translation [AMG Graduate Documentary]

Screencap of Ishiwatari Daisuke taken from the documentary video.

On March 19th the Shibuya-based Amusement Media Academy (AMG) released an interview with Ishiwatari Daisuke, the creator of Guilty Gear, as part of a documentary on their graduates. Recently I have been enjoying Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R, a game that is about as fully-featured as it is fully-titled, so it caught my attention. It was a nice video, but unfortunately it is only available in Japanese, with Japanese subtitles. Auto-translation is possible — however, although I am far from an experienced translator, I think even I can manage better than that… So, without further ado, check out the original video below and I hope my amateurish script translation helps non-Japanese-speaking fans of Arc System Works enjoy it more.

(And if you do spot any egregious errors, do let me know. There were a couple of spots where I certainly struggled to follow his meaning.)

Ishiwatari Daisuke
Amusement Media Academy Graduate
CCO of the Arc System Works Company Board
GUILTY GEAR Series Director

Even after graduating High School I was not totally set on going to University. When adults asked me “What would you even study?” — how can I put it… There aren’t many children who can say in detail what it is they are dreaming of, so I felt like the answer wouldn’t come out.

My parents let me know that, as far as they were concerned it was better for me to go to University, one way or another, to pursue something I like. While I did have a creative drive, to put it plainly, I was just enjoying myself with friends. Instead of going to prep school my focus was on watching amusing anime or playing games. Yeah, if my parents saw it, they would have been stunned at the lifestyle I had fallen into.

Together with everyone at the Game Centre, what drew my interest was not merely the enjoyment of playing the games themselves, but wondering how they created the graphics, or what designs they used, or what kind of music and sound effects could be heard. Every aspect had my interest.

I studied up on all of it, and somehow or other couldn’t help thinking “Let’s try breaking down a game.” Yeah, I must have had the same kind of feeling you have with a kid’s walkie-talkie, wanting to see if you can actually disassemble and reassemble the radio.

Ah, but surely one of the biggest impacts had to be getting my hands on Street Fighter II for the first time. The experience was just so clearly different from the games that came before it. Because you’re confronting an opponent, you could really feel a kind of excitement that was unprecedented at that time. Seeing that such a thing was possible with games was something that had an immense impact on me.

Put simply, the joy of a fighting game is in two players coming to know themselves by knocking together ideas according to their own sensitivity, or to their own nature. If I made something that enabled people to enjoy getting to know one another, then that would surely be something great. I was only thinking of it in this way.

Players from all over the world come together, people from different countries, but even if they don’t have a single word in common, just by shouting out the voice line for a character’s special move together, they can be as one, they can have that moment. You cannot but be moved by something like that. Prior to that, for me, even just getting people to the Game Centre and making friends, that was something great. But suddenly that reached a global scale… That was something I wanted to share with everyone, that it could be something [laughing] that might bring peace.

Really though, I had an impression that it might somehow help towards world peace. Making people more connected — people say that by having this game they could come here, get married [laughing], find a girlfriend, make new friends…they have that chance to feel as part of someone else’s life. Hearing more of this kind of thing from people, honestly that is my dream. If I can feel this for the rest of my life, then I think that would be a happy existence.

Now, what is the best way for games to progress? The industry as a whole is going through a period of straying off course — wilfully, I believe.

As for big titles succeeding to this degree, there are various cases we can point out However, outside of these big titles, when we ask about whether there are any [with this kind of success] we don’t have many successful examples of that nowadays.

There is however quite a lot of this in the indie space. Taking something you have dreamt up yourself, and releasing it to the world as a completed thing…the end product is something very genuine.

When one hears that because it [the state of the industry] is difficult, there may be no solution, [I think] that is not how it is… With the staff I have now, I think I am heading for that path. I want the company to exist as a place to dream and express things, just as indie artists do. There must be people out there who have that dream like “If only I could make something like that…”

Surely this kind of craftsmanship is something enjoyable in itself, and what’s more, if we can show it to others, well, then we can be encouraged. I think there absolutely is this kind of cycle, and I feel it is something I myself am searching for now.

Do not let your dreams end as just dreams.

An Irish fool on Data Analysis, Fighting Games, Japanese and Nonsense.

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