Ace Combat 2 (1997) - Asahi Higashiyama
What are your feelings on the second game in the series?
I was in charge of controlling the rival aircrafts and the structure of the missions as a planner for Air Combat. At the time, I realized the potential of what 3D technologies could bring to a flight shooter. In the sequel, we put all our efforts into creating something which would establish a new standard in the flight shooter genre. Our team was young, enthusiastic and was willing to try out new ideas and methods.
What aspects of the game were unique to the series at the time?
More so than the brand-new features such as the improved graphics, stronger wingmen aircrafts, landing and replay, I believe the highlight of the sequel is the variety of missions. Through the completion of the missions, the player is able to assume the role of a mercenary soldier in the face of changing outcomes of the aerial battlefield. Also, we had to carefully choose from over 200 ideas gathered by the team to ensure that the player is able to experience a unique and different game play in each of the 30 missions available. Although this is a flight shooter, we had to draw inspiration from bike races, comedies, Yakuza movies and even westerns to ensure that we have a wide range of variety in our concepts.
Looking back, is there anything you think that could have been done better?
Actually, one of the missions in the game was originally supposed to take place in the daytime. However, we felt that it was more dramatic and realistic if a surprise attack came in the midst of darkness, so we decided to change the setting to night. Even though we changed the setting of the scene, we had completely forgotten about the voice! In the end, you can still hear the voice clearly saying, “Move in at 3pm!” By the time we caught this, it was too late for us to re-take the voice or make changes to the stage. As a last resort, we had to quickly make amends by fiddling with the graphics of the sun to make it look like an eclipse. As a result, we later learned from an internet game forum that users thought it was cool how the surprised attack was timed perfectly with the eclipse! Luckily we were able to salvage this and something good was able to come out of this tiny mistake.