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How Vanillaware's games embrace change, from pitch to release

'Depending on the team, there are times when the entire game changes.' Vanillaware's George Kamitani reflects on creating visually stunning 2D games like Dragon's Crown and Odin Sphere.
"As long as it becomes a more appealing game, it's ok that the original concept changes. That's probably the real thrill of being a director."

- George Kamitani reflects on his role at Vanillaware in an interview with Glixel.

Vanillaware's George Kamitani is well known for his work creating beautiful two-dimensional games, even today when three-dimensional titles are more often the norm. 

In a recent interview with Glixel, Kamitani shared stories from his time developing everything from 1997’s Princess Crown to the more recently released beat 'em up Dragon's Crown

Kamitani’s tales alone are an entertaining read, but the full interview also contains several useful lessons for game developers on how important flexibility can be when designing and pitching games.

In one case, Kamitani said his team decided to channel their love for StarCraft into creating their own RTS game, only to later come face to face with the challenges of creating something of that genre for the Japanese market.

Another story explained that he had originally intended for Princess Crown to be an action game, but made the quick decision to change it to an RPG while pitching the game face-to-face with a major player at Sega. 

Throughout the entire interview, Kamitani’s experiences highlight just how necessary flexibility can be for game developers.

“As the game director, I determine the game mechanics, character, and background design as part of the overall game concept,” explained Kamitani. “Then, various members of the team [iron] out the details. Nobody helps me with the game scenario so I have to struggle through that alone.”

“Depending on the team, there are times when the entire game changes. For example, in Dragon's Crown, the initial idea was that there would only be underground mazes like in the game Wizardry but the background art team kept creating these beautiful outdoor scenes. I couldn't reject them so we ended up changing the original concept of the game.”

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