The 1/23 issue of Famitsu features the first of four editorial columns by Yoko Taro detailing his thought process to creating his creative, best-selling games. It was just one page in the magazine, but it still took me and my pathetic translation skills nearly all night to translate. Talk about depressing. But I hope it’s somewhat accurate enough to enjoy reading.
Drag-on Dragoon 3 Creative Director
Yoko Taro’s “Bad Thought Process” (1 of 4)
Creative mind behind the Drag-on Dragoon and Nier Gestalt/Replicant series breaks down how he came to create the characteristic hit series in this 4-part semi-regular column.
“Why do I enjoy games in which you kill other people?”
Hello, everyone. My name is Yoko Taro. Although I’m usually making games, drinking, or sleeping, I had the opportunity to write this 4-part column for Famitsu thanks to our fated connection.
Even though it often seems like I only make games in the Action RPG genre, this new title, “Drag-on Dragon 3” depicts the story of a girl brutally slaughtering countless soldiers, blood flying everywhere, as she dashes about. It’s a pretty common idea for a game, but just imagine if this actually occurred in the world we live in. For example, if a young high school girl with a knife was at the main crosswalk in Shibuya and she suddenly started killing people. That would instantly become breaking news, wouldn’t it? An event of such severity would certainly be covered in the news for days.
Usually, killing another person becomes a huge problem. But, if it’s in a game, it doesn’t matter who you kill. It’s quite common to avoid actually saying your killing somebody by changing the wording to things like “seal” or “purify”, “win against” or even “hunt”. There are also those out there who say, “Aren’t there also peaceful type games?”, but if you take a closer look, even within those games the structure type of “being better than someone else, becoming rich, or to survive” is quite prevalent. It’s the same thing in our society. Whether it be in school, at work, or within a given country, people will generally stand up against adversity.
We humans have conquered the world by “winning against others”. That’s why we may think it’s a good thing on a visceral level to win against or defeat somebody. Often times people prefer violent aspects over more peaceful ones. Weapons are also a part of this. Have you ever thought, ‘How did people come to think that “katanas” were the cooler tool to kill people over a peaceful kitchen knife?’ or ‘Why are military aircraft more fascinating than ordinary jumbo jets?’ ……Maybe you’ve never thought of this before…… But whatever, let me go on. The reason why we are attracted to weapons is because of their “strength”. We apply this strength to ourselves and thusly feel the need to protect ourselves or even defeat someone else. The design of the weapon is to awaken this desire.
Because for the living beings, “strength” is a form of justice.
So, what if gaining strength wasn’t the main goal… In other words, if there are no violent elements, what would happen then? Things such as sports are said to be “healthy” practices. In the end it is only a discriminatory system that produces winners and losers. If you want to achieve true equality, you have to compete against others from the very beginning. You become strong, defeat many others, and eventually come out on top. Those guys have it all. When I see athletes, F1 drivers, or pro golfers get married to beautiful broadcast journalists or other beautiful celebrities, I sometimes think, “Ahh! If I could have just been good at sports, maybe I could have been popular, too! How mortifying!” but, that’s just the way it is. Biologically, it’s great. It can’t be helped! (I say this as I cry tears of blood)
I got a little off topic. I get carried away when I start talking about popular guys. Um, what were we talking about……? Oh, right. Something about “humans are creatures who want to subdue others once they gain power.” However, there arises a problem. What if everyone gained power and proceeded to kill and pillage as they liked? Right. As you can imagine, the legend of the Masters at the turn of the century would have been spun by the hand of our new Mohicans. In order to avoid that the entire human race became a complete Mohican, people began providing certain rules in regard to overwhelm the others.
For example, if we’re talking about studying in school, you can brag about your higher grades over other classmates. It doesn’t even matter if dropouts are created as a result or if people feel some sort of duty to help.
For example, if we’re talking about business, if profits are regarded as top priority, everything else will be neglected. No one can blame those companies that seek to gain something when others go out of business.
For example, it is also possible for those to love one’s family and, in comparison, have no love for others. It’s a bit discriminatory but no one thought it to be shameful. People are able to discriminate against others very easily.
Even among those subjugated to discrimination, the worst act of crushing someone else has to be “murder”. Things continue to happen among nations that somehow takes precedence over human life. As well as war, there are many countries which execute the death penalty if one violates the law……Japan is one of them. Even if these rules were not allowed, what would happen if, for example, a heinous robber was about to kill your family? What if only way to save your family was to kill the robber first?
We are living beings which make it okay to kill others if given a valid reason. However, we are rarely given a reason to kill others in today’s society.
This is where games come in.
Experiencing the freedom in games have may be the perfect tool to peruse the pleasure of “besting others”. Additionally, you are perfectly free to kill others within the game. There are those who enjoy killing people within a game because “it’s only a game.” I don’t know if it’s right or wrong to make a game that involves killing people. Still, at the very least, I want to you to “doubt your own sense of justice through the making of a killing game”. If we do not have doubt, we may find some “reason” and actually kill someone in reality…sometime…in the future…maybe.