a fascinating (ongoing) thread from comic translator & former Capcom artist Katsuya Akitomo on his lifelong relationship with American comics🇯🇵 for context, Akitomo has been publicly credited by Akiman & Akira Nishitani for familiarising the '90s Capcom team with Marvel's work
"I didn't work on Darkstalkers outside of the pitch but I was asked for a chara for DS3 & suggested 'a man-eating bug disguised as a girl' who became Q-Bee; I was ripping off Uchuu Kazoku Carlvinson's Chika, but envisioned smtg more grotesque & less silly"
"Kingpin, the last boss of the Punisher arcade game, was originally so big that he filled half the screen, but Marvel told us 'he's a regular human, he can't be /that/ big' and made us change it"
"when St.Akiman told me that story, I said 'Kingpin's def been drawn as absurdly big in the comics' & showed him Daredevil: Love & War, which really bummed him out; that moment taught me the importance of arming yourself with knowledge when making IP games"
btw, Akira Nishitani mentioned this same story in an interview earlier this year—when he saw the Into the Spider-Verse depiction of Kingpin he was like "oh come on, that's way bigger than ours" igcc.jp/int-nishitani-…
Akitomo's first un-loc'd comic: Amazing Spider-Man Vol1 230, in which Spidey struggles against the overwhelming power of Juggernaut🇯🇵 X-Men COTA's charas mostly conform to their contemporary comic depictions but Juggs has many design elements from this era
(btw, I'm skipping around & skipping over a lot of Akitomo-san's posts, just because a lot of it is fairly personal and I imagine it's a little weird from his perspective to see people reposting it, but definitely read the thread yourself if you can)
"with regards to the impetus behind X-Men COTA & Marvel Super Heroes, my recollection differs from that of my colleagues: I recall being summoned by arcade division head Yoshiki Okamoto & asked, 'I can probably get the X-Men/Marvel license, whaddya think?"
"...but according to director Nishitani, MSH's Tezuka & artist Akiman: 'Akitomo's evangelizing about X-Men's coolness & its popularity in NA inspired the arcade division to want to make an X-Men game, which motivated Okamoto to pursue the license'"
"I recently asked Okamoto-san about those days but he says he doesn't remember—fair enough, he's a busy guy

"in short: I guess my mission to convert ppl to X-Men was more effective than I'd thought, & so Okamoto did the math & decided to get the rights?"
"of course, the decision to make X-Men COTA & MSH was primarily business-motivated & not merely self-indulgence: firstly, Jim Lee's X-Men comic broke the US comic sales record, and secondly, Konami's X-Men arcade game was a massive hit, especially in NA"
"Konami's X-Men was a shoddy game with way too many characters on screen at much & players immediately dying to friendly fire, but it was a good fit for those young players who wanted to get rowdy and make a bunch of noise while knocking back a few drinks"
"however, Konami's X-Men was based on a cartoon pilot produced in the mid-'80s, which itself was based on an early-'80s comic, so the look & tone of the game was 10 years out of date; Capcom figured a game based on the '90s comic would be even bigger"
"when work began on X-Men COTA, I was still working as an artist; I was responsible for things like the sketches of Juggernaut's walk & guard and Spiral's standing pose

as an advisor, I suggested characters & wrote docs on the appeal of each chara, but… "
"…the COTA/MSH teams were incomparably larger than the Punisher/AvP team: more & more ppl were joining who weren't familiar with the material or didn't grasp our outlines; that's when the flaws of relying on verbal explanations & spec docs became apparent"
"the young planner behind Punisher's scenario asked about Nick Fury & I said 'even tho he's high-ranking, he's a loose cannon who routinely ignores orders'

the end result: a laid-back guy who says 'I wanna get this over with & hang with girls at the beach"
"he may have understood my explanation & deliberately softened Fury's image in order to contrast with the stoic Punisher, but casually toying with a property as big as X-Men is risky—there's a core that must be maintained that mere documents won't convey"
"so after talking it over with Nishitani, Tezuka & Akiman, I stopped working on graphics & started producing in-house translations of X-Men & other Marvel comics; later, Okamoto told me 'I'm surprised you were able to create that job for yourself in-house'"
"my first in-house translation was parts 1-3 of Jim Lee's X-Men Vol.2, aka the 'Fatal Attractions' arc where Magneto challenges humankind, and next was 'Infinity Gauntlet' in which Thanos erases half the universe; btw, X-Men & MSH were made simultaneously "
"as an aside, when I visited Shogakukan, who were planning to translate/publish X-Men alongside the release of our game, I brought my X-Men 1-3 translation & said 'it's yours if you want it' but they told me 'we're good, stick to working on the game'"
"I felt like it was out of my hands...later, Capcom was visited by Hiroto Ishikawa; he saw my Infinity Gauntlet translation & said 'this is fit to be published', and it was later serialised from #1 of Marvel Cross; when god closes a door, he opens a window"
"incidentally, the '90s X-Men cartoon was aired in Japan & allegedly funded & pushed by Capcom in order to promote the game (I wasn't involved); the 'X-FIGHT' segment at the end of the show, which showed fights from the game, was part of that initiative"
"X-Men: Children of the Atom hit the market in 1994, but sales in Japan were so bad that describing them as 'poor' would be an understatement; apparently, all the US comic games prior to ours were so unprofitable that arcade operators hesitated to invest "
"the response from those who actually got to play COTA was fine, but the skittishness of the arcade operators outweighed the game's positive reception—no matter how much players like a game, if operators don't buy the PCBs, arcades can't take their money"
"the game did well in North America but still fell well short of expectations; I was given two reasons for this:

3D & digitised-actor games were all the rage, so operators balked at paying for a new dot-art game

business disputes with the NA wholesaler"
"once again, sales were affected by outside factors that had nothing to do with the will of the players, so as a dev member whose work was in service of those players putting their money into the machine, it was a frustration position to be in"
"North American comic fans & gamers were certainly pumped about COTA—the comic magazine Wizard heaped praise upon the game, saying we nailed the look & movement of the characters, particularly Wolverine, and that they wanted the dev team to draw comics"
(that'll do for now, whew)
"let's back up a little: as an artist, I was in charge of Juggernaut and I drew him as relatively 'human-esque' in accordance with his depiction in the then-current Thunderstrike series, but his design was altered after Akiman told me he was 'too vanilla'"
"sure enough, he was set to go toe-to-toe with Smart Hulk in Marvel Super Heroes, so Juggernaut required a more exaggerated design in order to visually convey his near-equal strength & superior defense, so Akiman came up with this graphic"
"X-Men COTA's main visual was illustrated wonderfully by Akiman, but collages from the comics were also used for the flyers. Due to scheduling conflicts, Marvel Super Heroes' main visual was also a collage, assembled by design dept director SHOEI (Okano)"
"u'd use Photoshop roday but img processing software wasn't commonplace; Okano manipulated the 4-color separation process on Capcom's color copier to, f.ex, use blank pages for the non-black steps in the scan in order to isolate the blacks for the grey BG"
"the rest of the collage was made by manually overlaying each of the 4 scanned colors; Shuma-Gorath's green in the comic but due to clashing with Hulk, he was changed to pink in the game; I think his color in the collage was altered via similar scan tricks"
"1995 saw the release of Marvel Super Heroes, but I wasn't told specifics on how it sold; I'm sure the money brought in by COTA must have softened up some of the Japanese arcade operators, but I wasn't told it was a big hit, so I guess it merely did okay"
"I handled the text for this flyer. I think I could do a little better within those character limits nowadays; at the time, I was trying to catch the eye of JP fans who weren't familiar with Marvel, so I worked hard to come up with cool, succinct phrases"
"after COTA, there was a visible shift in attitude from Marvel's copyright check staff—I think they came to understand that Capcom produced high-quality work, and that proposed game-related changes would be informed by a deep familiarity with the comics "
"I was particularly happy that they acknowledged Spider-Man as the character best visualised by Capcom—IMO he remains to this day the best adaptation of "slightly creepy, bug-like Spidey" pioneered by Todd MacFarlane & refined by Erik Larsen & Mark Bagley "
"the most visible example of Marvel's relaxed attitude is the increased freedom to assign character palettes—for COTA, we could basically only alter shades, so it was like Silver Samurai vs White Samurai, but after MSH we were able to include bolder colors"
(oh & here's my obligatory daily "sorry for the typos" post)
"when I was deciding on Spiral's standing pose, my first consideration was about differentiating her from Silver Samurai—both wore similar helmets, fought with swords & were of similar color, but Spiral has three sets of arms & her skin tone really pops"
"I came up with this 'on one leg, back turned' pose referencing this Indian Shiva statue

Akiman asked 'could she attack quickly from such a pose?' so I sketched out some light punches/kicks; Akiman revised my sketches & dot art but the pose is identical"
"I wasn't involved with Spiral's movements or attacks, but fwiw, I do remember suggesting that it'd be neat to have her swaying her arms from the wrists & wiggling her fingers a la an Indian dancer—as you know, the final animation looks really cool"
"MSH director Tezuka was the one who decided to add Shuma-Gorath, after looking over the character files & picking the chara with the most weird, eyecatching appearance—ppl were used to superhumans from X-Men, so they wanted someone unmistakably inhuman"
"when Tezuka-san asked Marvel about adding Shuma-Gorath, they famously replied with '...who?'

this video goes into (exhaustive) detail about the background of this obscure character nicovideo.jp/watch/sm351502…🇯🇵"
"bc Shuma-Gorath was thought to have no commercial value, we were able to give him any ol weird moves, without receiving a single correction

his EN dialog has a tone befitting a chaos god but in JP he ends his lines with 'deshu' so ppl were like, 'kawaii'"
"in Shuma-Gorath's Marvel Super Heroes ending, he lived up to his status as a god of chaos and destruction by using the power of the Infinity Gems to destroy and reshape the universe"
"ppl sometimes ask why Thor wasn't in MSH, & there are 2 reasons: firstly, his abilities are the same as Storm's & she was by far the more popular character at the time—sure, Thor's vastly more powerful, but charas that powerful are hard to adapt for games"
"secondly,'90s-era comics Thor was all over the place—the Infinity Gauntlet comic's Thor, on which MSH is based, has the traditional look but is a human who inherited Thor's power, not the real deal, & the actual real Thor had a new, unrecognisable costume"
"in the end, Thor only showed up as an assist character in 1998's Marvel vs. Capcom—in this instance, we used his traditional costume so that he'd be easily recognisable to players

Thor became a player-chara from 2011's MvC3 onwards, but I wasn't involved"
"Capcom's X-Men: Children of the Atom & Marvel Super Heroes were both games borne from a ton of time, effort, money & passion, but sadly, they didn't really make waves in Japan

I think the tide started to turn with X-Men vs. Street Fighter in 1996"
"the basic system was taken from the Marvel series, with the inclusion of characters from the Street Fighter Alpha series, whose moves had been enhanced to the level of Marvel's stable; crossovers weren't common in Japan back then, so it was well received"
"on the X-Men side, we added Gambit & Rouge, who were popular in the comics & major characters in the cartoon, as well as Wolverine's rival Sabertooth; as you'd expect, the inclusion of such stylish men & women really brought the hype"
"furthermore, the inclusion of Cammy, the popular Super SFII character who was re-appearing with a new look, had a big impact; COTA & MSH may not have reached many ppl, but I think a lot of JP players became familiar with Marvel charas via the Vs. series"
"XvSF's success can be attributed to the staff throwing their all into giving the game a celebratory all-star atmosphere—for example, I wrote/supervised the COTA/MSH endings but for XvSF, I left it entirely to the team bc I trusted their love of Marvel"
"the character depictions seen in Capcom's Marvel games have been adopted back into the source material, with one example being Sentinel: the Marvel design was akin to a giant android, but Capcom's version was more mechanical with lots of transformations"
"Marvel's copyright officer was furious at our Sentinel & director Nishitani even had to fly to their New York HQ to apologise

otoh, Marvel's artists liked it, & nowadays you'll see a lot of Sentinel art that blends his humanoid look with mecha elements"
(I can't dig up a link atm but this is something Nishitani's also talked about recently: basically, Marvel hated everything about Capcom's Sentinel—the colors, the moves, the "anime robot nonsense", even just the idea of shrinking it down to fighting-game-friendly size)
"Ed McGuinness is one well-known comic artist who has publicly acknowledged Capcom's art style as an influence... sure enough, I can see similarities in his work with that of Akiman & Bengus, particularly in the way he draws hands"
"this is a t-shirt bearing one of SHOEI's collages, made in 1995 as a promo item for Marvel Super Heroes & printed in grey/white on a black background. I own a lot of American comic shirts but this one has to be the coolest"
"Tomita-kun, who worked as a sub-planner on COTA & MSH, was the director on XvSF & MSHvSF; he went on to make the very successful Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon & the unsung masterpiece Gotcha Force...did he do the entire Vs. series...?"
"Atsushi Tomita also went by 'Tomichin(トミチン)','Tomi-chin(トミー朕)', etc— '朕' came from a plan to have Thanos refer to himself with that royal pronoun in his MSH victory screen, but it came across as incomprehensible so we scrapped that idea (1/2)"
"Tomichin and I appeared together in Capcom Secret File no.13 ('Versus Magazine'), clowning around with a bunch of really silly dialog; IIRC most of the text was written by SHOEI (2/2) "
(related: Tomichin's parody character was jokingly inserted into Marvel vs. Capcom during dev but erased from the final product; gfx data still remained in the ROM & the man himself recently commented on them )
"starting in '96 with 19XX, Capcom produced 'Secret File' booklets for their arcade games that were given freely to arcade operators to give away or distribute as prizes; the two Marvel-related issues were #13/#14 but I forget why XvSF came out after MvSF"
"I'm sure people are going to ask to see it, so I'm uploading pics of all the pages of Capcom Secret File #13 (Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter); I don't have a scanner, so excuse my snapping these pics with a digital camera" (part 1)
"Capcom Secret File #13 (MSH vs. SF) pages, part 2: Tomichin got away with being depicted as that Sesame Street-esque chara but they used a ton of real photos of me, including half-naked ones, but if it'd amuse ppl even slightly, I thought it was worth it"
"Capcom Secret File #14 (X-Men vs. Street Fighter) pages, pt.1: I advised on how to give the cover that authentic American comic look, such as adding that bombastic Stan Lee-esque 'AT LAST! quote box"
"Capcom Secret File #14 (X-Men vs. Street Fighter) pages, pt.2: although these were just 12 pages long including the cover, the contents were truly luxurious—official & new art from the developers, one-offs from the masterful design staff, etc"
"I'm adding pages from the one other Marvel-related book, Capcom Secret File #18 (Marvel vs. Capcom): these Secret Files were a great way for the staff to express themselves & blow off steam, but with the contraction of the arcade market, they ended at #26"
(aside from the 26 standard Capcom Secret Files, there's a regular & DX Secret File for Cyberbots, a Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Secret File produced in 2010 and a Street Fighter V: Champion Edition Secret File produced this year

Cyberbots DX has a pop-up diorama starring Z-Gouki iirc)
"Capcom Secret File #18 (Marvel vs. Capcom) pages, pt.2: due to copyright, most of the book's Marvel-related material is images or text directly from the game, but here & there are things like CapCom's Venom costume, 'Merican Man/Doku Man/Spider Man, etc"
(btw, they typo'd Venom's name on that Venom vs. Captain Commando image, oops)
"the Vs. Series' titles—X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, etc—always put Marvel first & Capcom second: in recognition of their long legacy as a publisher, we treated them as the defending champs & positioned ourselves as the challenger"
"one of the influences '90s Capcom had on the US comics industry can be seen with UDON Entertainment—they produce US comic adaptations of JP games, including Capcom's, & translate/publish manga; if these books ever come to Japan, I'd love to translate them"
"a Capcom Secret File dealer location sticker; we left it to individual operators to decide how to distribute Files to players. the ladies on the bottom-right are the 'Secret Gals', a fictitious team of female Capcom employees who purportedly edit the File"
"I joined Capcom as an artist—drawing was a hobby but as I began drawing constantly for work, I realised I had a chronic issue w trembling fingers that forced me to tense up as I drew which, over time, wore on my muscles & joints until I couldn't handle it"
"as you may have noticed from the Secret File, I was credited as 'Shaky Akitomo', a pen name I used around that time; that nickname was given to me by Yoshiki Okamoto-san when he noticed my hands were trembling"
"back on topic: ultimately, MSHvSF's most impactful character was Norimaro—he's a character created by Noritake 'Noritaro' Kinashi with the TV show Tunnels no Namade Daradara Ikasete, and Okamoto-san thought he was mind-bogglingly uncool, but..."
"Akiman heaped praise on Norimaro: he thought his ineffectuality was communicated clearly, the down-to-earth aspects like his school uniform made him relatable, etc. Norimaro was balanced in consideration of newcomers who came to the game via the TV show"
"Marvel was violently opposed; naturally, they didn't want some random unpowered gag character going to-to-toe with their heroes. we pleaded desperately & tried to assuage them—'we'll only use him in Japan!'—and so he's missing from the overseas versions"
"MSHvSF's other noteworthy character is US Agent, a Captain America color swap; he was originally introduced as an hard-nosed right-wing villain who showed the 'danger of zealotry' &, by contrast, highlighted the delicate balance that made Cap so virtuous"
"US Agent's design in the comic is very different to Cap's, but in the game it's a simple palette swap—that's because the nature of pixel art is such that going beyond changing the colors would be a huge job"
"Hiroto Ishikawa once asked me, 'can you add black-suit Spidey?' but it was impossible for the same reason—in order to change the pattern on the costume you have to re-draw the pixels, it's not like a polygonal game where you can easily reskin a 3D model"
"instead, Armored Spider-Man appears as a hidden character using the same pixel art, just with the colors changed: as you can see, we just changed Spidey's red to white and blue to black"
"the armor in the comic is angular and very bumpy, but we turned a blind eye to the details... he's still Peter Parker under the suit, so you can't tag him with regular Spidey (except in the Saturn version, once you clear the game)"
(I had these queued up & didn't tweet em, oops, actually done for real this time

oh & I noticed I embedded incorrect tweets for some of the translations, Akitomo-san's been numbering them so my screw-ups should be obvious enough, man this site sucks)
plug: if you like this thread & would like to read or support more work like this, there are lots of individuals & collectives working to source, archive & translate classic JP game material—I help out with @shmuplations, which has translated 300+ articles patreon.com/shmuplations
(if anyone else wants to tag themselves in here too, feel free—yall know I know who you are, I just don't want to miss anyone)
"happy end-of-Halloween! here are the 1st & 2nd entries in the 'Silver-Screen Monster Heaven' series I wrote for Capcom's fan club newsletter, CFC STYLE FAN BOOK—I played a pompous old windbag in ridiculous get-up for this series & it hurts to look back at"
"the Capcom Fan Club was established around '93~94, an originally published in flat-bound, A4 format; I don't know how many issues it lasted but, as you might suspect, they thought the printing cost was too high..."
"...so, 1996's CFC STYLE FAN BOOK was half-sized to A5 and the page count was significantly decreased. I didn't contribute to issue #1, so I don't have a copy on-hand"
"A5 size is tiny & the covers are also quite plain…from issue #4, they were given the alt title of CAP! & bumped up to B5 size—I don't know how long it lasted, but I have until #14, the Winter '00 end-year issue; Silver-Screen Monster Heaven ran until #13"
"also Halloween-ish: the commercial for the PS version of Darkstalkers" 🇯🇵

(you might recognise that tune, Eikichi Yamazawa's TROUBLE MAN, from the Darkstalkers cartoon & OVA—the JP PS version uses it in the intro & another Yamazawa song for the credits)
"something else I did for Punisher: the sfx appear visually, comic-style, when you shoot, but for whatever reason, they originally said 'BOINK'—I explained that it was a goofy onomatopoeia in the vein of 'boyon' & changed it to the more appropriate 'BLAM!'"
"Punisher's scenario was handled by a young planner, so I didn't write the text; I was happy to see the scene with the st.1 boss Scully in which, after interrogating him for info, he's shot dead in cold blood, as that showed me he fully understood Punisher"
"I remember writing the English text for this X-Men vs. Street Fighter promo shirt, produced in 1996... I wonder if I have the actual thing stashed away somewhere..."
"in the overseas version of Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, the bottom-right space on the character select screen with the game logo is blank; that's the space used for Norimaro in the Japanese version"
"it's worth mentioning XvSF's inclusion of Apocalypse, a mutant from ancient Egypt who has been manipulating history from the shadows for thousands of years. he's one of the earth's most intelligent villains…and yet, he's a strong-jawed, macho beefcake"
"there are many examples of "superior intellect" charas in US comics, including Thanos, being depicted as hulking brutes, which is uncommon in Japan

btw, Apocalypse has the power to reshape his body at will: he can grow huge, attack with drill arms, etc"
"speaking of shadowy villains, let's talk Mephisto from MSHvSF, the lord of hell who manipulates the wickedness of humanity: he typically looks like the slim guy (left), but John Romita Jr. portrayed him in Daredevel as this huge reptilian guy (right)"
"Marvel Super Heroes' Blackheart appeared as Mephisto's son in John Romita Jr's Daredevil, and so the devil and his son both bear a strong resemblance to their depiction from this comic"
"...so, in MSHvSF, we had Mephisto appear by simply swapping re-coloring Blackheart to red; Mephisto's demonic power allows him to take any form he chooses, so it's not erroneous"
"Marvel vs. Capcom saw the long-awaited inclusion of Venom! the black suit once worn by Spider-Man turned out to be an alien symbiote, so he forcibly removed it; it later met & bonded with Eddie Brock, a man who hated Spider-Man, & they merged into Venom"
"Venom's a combination of human host & alien symbiote, so it refers to itself as 'we' (like in its taunt: 'Come'n get us, villain!')

bc Venom's convinced it's a hero defending the innocent, anyone who opposes it is viewed as evil & attacked without mercy"
"violent characters like Venom were quite popular in ;90s US comics

the symbiote morphs according to the thoughts of the host, so it can theoretically take any form; these eye-catching attacks with the huge jaws, etc were brilliantly conceived by the devs"
"War Machine, who debuted in Marvel vs. Capcom, is Tony Stark's pal James Rhodes in different armor—he was actually supposed to be Iron Man but another company bought an exclusive limited-time license for Iron Man, so he had to hurriedly replace him"
"in the comics at that time, War Machine's mask had a different design to Iron Man's, a cannon on his right shoulder, etc but his in-game sprite is just a basic Iron Man palette-swap; only his demo illustrations were redrawn to be comic-accurate"
"for Marvel vs. Capcom, I suggested using Galactus as the final boss—he's a planet-eating cosmic entity that predates the Big Bang, and even the Silver Surfer, one of Marvel's most powerful heroes, merely serves as his herald. it could've been so cool..."
"…but Marvel said no—they said a god-level entity like Galactus isn't someone the heroes could just beat up

I would've quietly relented if not for the fact that there was a precedent for the heroes physically defeating Galactus: Fantastic Four #243, 1982"
"Galactus, whose energy was depleted after the rebellion of his herald Terrax, attempted to eat the earth, and so a coalition of Earth's heroes including Fantastic Four, Avengers & Dr. Strange united to take him on, & were able to render him comatose"
"I tried to reasonably explain that we'd establish that Galactus was starved & that we really wanted to recreate this classic event in our game, but they stubbornly said no

when I learned MvC3 was going to finally feature Galactus, I was a little miffed"
"still, we got to use Onslaught as MvC's final boss, so it's all good—introducing Onslaught, a psionic entity borne from the fused consciousnesses of Professor X & Magneto, rather than Galactus showing up impromptu, might've been preferable for JP players"
"what's more, Onslaught gained a second form in the comics, which made him even more well-suited as a game boss

in fact, he turned out to be the one guy more troublesome than Galactus, as seen in the 'Heroes Reborn' comic arc, but that's another story..."
"there were 2 charas proposed for MvC that were nixed by the team lead, Tomita: #1 was Howard the Duck; he's from a dimension where ducks have evolved into intelligent life, & while he seems might seem cute, he's actually foul-mouthed & short-tempered(1/2)"
"I thought Howard the Duck's distinctive silhouette made him a good candidate, but Tomita said 'Norimaro already fills the role of comedy character' and so that suggestion was scrapped (2/2)"
"suggestion #2 was She-Hulk: in John Byrne's Sensational She-Hulk, she was a meta chara who knew she was in a comic & would do things like tear the page

one could well imagine her in a game, with attacks like swinging the life bar at the opponent, but..."
"…I was told: 'games & comics have different user considerations—gags like those aren't a good fit for arcades, where the player needs to immediately understand what's happening, & she's otherwise just a worse Hulk'

it all made sense, so I didn't argue"
"upon hearing that Howard the Duck was in contention, a Capcom USA staffer said: 'Howard's movie made ppl uncomfortable—the fans /really/ want Spider-Ham'

Spider-Ham (aka Peter Porker) is a spider who transforms after being bitten by a radioactive pig"
"Spider-Pig later became a household name via the Spider-Verse comics & the movie Enter the Spider-Verse, but during the '90s, he was a very deep, cult pull...but again, the gag character slot was already filled by Norimaro, so he never had a chance"
"one more thing re: Norimaro—Yoshiki Okamoto told me 'we promised to feature Norimaro in the earliest Street Fighter-related game on our schedule & I'm glad that game didn't end up being SFIII', but I suspect he deliberately made sure that wouldn't happen"
(that's it for tonight—I can't guarantee this same pace of translation during the week but if Akimoto-san keeps dropping jewels, I'll try to keep up... once again, sorry for any typos & here's the shameless plug )
"MvC2 saw 2 new Marvel charas, the first being Cable, Cyclops' son from the future. He was popular & recognisable in the US; we'd avoided including him due to concerns about adapting such a gun-centric chara to a FG, but we were like 'we'll figure it out'"
"newcomer#2 was Marrow, the newest X-Men who fights by pulling bones from her body. She was a brand-new comic chara so no1 knew if she was popular/well-known; it's like she was picked purely off appearance

ppl have said 'surely there were alternatives…'
"
"…but other options had their own drawbacks,f.ex:

Silver Surfer's fighting style—energy blasts & zooming around on his board—didn't mesh well with a fighting game system

Dr. Strange's abilities are very similar to Dr.Doom's

Mr.Fantastic's hard to draw"
"others included Daredevil & Black Widow (popular charas, not necessarily compelling fighters), Hawkeye (too few abilities) &, otoh, Scarlet Witch (too OP)

IMO at least, it seems like we'd nearly run out of Marvel charas well-suited to 2D dot-art combat"
"afterwards, the Vs. Series switched partners to SNK & nothing happened for ~10yrs until MvC3; I'd left Capcom before then so idk about the making of MvC3

it's awesome that they were able to break Deadpool in Japan, ahead of the translated comics & movies"
around the late-'90's/00, DC approached Capcom about making a Justice League game; I was asked for my opinion but I was against it—first off, the power gap between DC's charas is way wider than Marvel's, and secondly, aside from Batman, DC was floundering"
"thirdly, Capcom's development process & the arcade business were in transition, so there was some doubt about whether pouring tons of money into IP games would continue to be profitable

2D was becoming more expensive & we were still behind the ball on 3D"
"the '90s were a time of uncertainty & tumult for the whole US comics industry—Image Comics, which had been formed by Todd MacFarlane, Jim Lee & other famous Marvel artists w the premise of creator-owned comics, was flubbing its big titles aside from Spawn"
"other famous writers were brought in for credibility, but the rights to the characters they created fell into dispute"

(pictured: Angela, the Spawn chara created by Neil Gaiman that he successfully sued for & later sold to Marvel—she's Thor's sister now)
"…and then there's Heroes Reborn, a much-hyped initiative where the writers who'd branched off to Image were hired to reimagine Marvel's characters—this was localised for Japan due to demand, but big artists fell behind schedule & the story was a mess"
"the '90s were a transitional decade in the US comics industry: the rougher style of art printed on cheap yellow paper had fallen out of fashion for precise digital art printed on high-quality white paper; prices shot up & children stopped buying in droves"
"readers gradually became fed up with artist-driven initiatives, and so focus started to shift back towards writers & narrative. the pool of artists had become much wider, so one could say that ppl had come to expect high-quality art as a given"
"the JP comics loc business was also rocked by this turmoil: Marvel Cross, which primarily localised the higher-quality stories of the '80s/'90s in magazine format, pursued Onslaught, Heroes Reborn, etc in response to calls to 'get with the times', but..."
...as Heroes Reborn began to crumble, the sales of the translated Japanese version naturally followed suit; subsequently, Shogakukan gave up on publishing translated American comics for a while"
"otoh, Media Works handled the JP publication of Image's stuff—I don't know the exact sales numbers for Spawn in Japan, but I'm sure it was hugely successful

moreso than the comics, the action figure boom triggered by MacFarlane Toys was a big factor"
"Media Work's locs were, frankly, hard to read due to sloppy line breaks, poor editing, etc. Using different translators for each of the 3 episodes in a volume also baffles me, as it would've necessitated even more work in order to keep things consistent "
"later Media Works locs were edited by Hiroto Ishikawa, and so the quality of later issues was dramatically improved, but those early issues were terrible, and I suspect a lot of ppl who came to those early comics from the figures dropped off very quickly"
"in '03, Shinchosha entered the US comic loc scene with the Ultimate series, Marvel's refresh of their biggest names; both the works themselves & the loc were praised, but they didn't initially bear the Ultimate brand, which caused unnecessary confusion"
"in the US, the Ultimate series spawned Miles Morales, star of Into the Spider-Verse, and the portrayal of the Avengers heroes in the movies drew strongly from Ultimate, but the series ended in Japan before ppl could experience any of that cool stuff"
"after ShoPro ceased magazine publication with Marvel Cross, they moved to into publishing a selection of classic works in paperback format; I've had the privilege of translating many of my favs, including Marvels, Kingdom Come & Batman: The Killing Joke"
"during this transitional era, Capcom produced a handful of US comic games, one of which was Spawn: In the Demon's Hand (2000)

icymi, this was not a hit—it was a good learning experience in making a 3D versus shooter, but there's no denying it was lacking"
"I came up with the subtitle 'In the Demon's Hand'— I asked MacFarlane Productions, 'Devil or Demon?' & got a reply from MacPro prez Al Simmons (Spawn's namesake) who said 'Demon has less religious connotation', & I was surprised by his casualness"
"for the game, I came up with a new female angel character; the angels in the comics, as exemplified by Angela, were all angry, hard-edged badasses—a bunch of female Wolverines, to put it simply—so..."
"...I thought up a different kind of hyper-violent angel, who'd ecstatically murder with a huge smile on her face, like a girl at a bday party opening presents

however, Todd MacFarlane himself was against this & she became just another Angela-esque badass"
"one of my most memorable works was co-translating Media Works' '98 release of Watchmen. Hiroto Ishikawa translated the first 1/3 & set the tone for the characters; some have said 'the loc smoothed out Rorschach's speech patterns & makes him sound sane"…'
"Rorschach's mind is warped but he's an intelligent guy, so the concern was that if we adapted his fractured speech too directly, it might give the impression that he's stupid

this book also contains a painful misprint: … "
"at one point, Nixon misspoke when trying to reassure a subordinate after a silly mistake, saying 'nobody's human (完全に人間などいない)'—when Ozymandias hears this story, he mockingly refers to Nixon's aides as 'humanoids (人間もどき)' but… (1/2), "
"the printing company took it upon themselves to 'fix' the text, changing Nixon's comment to 'nobody's perfect (完全な人間などいない)' & thereby rendering Ozymandias' jabs as nonsensical (2/2)"
"back in the day, US comic companies of all stripes would sometimes push characters in odd ways—I'm just speculating from the outside, but take Sega's 1991 Spidey arcade game: Black Cat checks out but those other 2 guys have next to no connection to Spidey"
"Hawkeye had the curiously-named 'Solo Avenger' standalone comic at the time & Namor the Sub-Mariner had just started a solo run, so I'm guessing Marvel pushed for their inclusion & Sega, not knowing any better, rolled with it (again, just speculating!)"
"similarly, when ShoPro published the first X-Men loc, they simultaneously published a loc of the comic adaptation of the Conan the Barbarian movie—John Buscema's art was fantastic, ofc, but it's a typical plot recap & not especially interesting on its own"
"that same year ('94), Marvel began publishing Conan the Adventurer in the US, so I'm guessing that movie comic loc was meant as promo, but how an old movie comic loc was supposed to pave the way for a new comic loc is beyond me (again, just speculating!)"
"Dr. Doom's attacks in Marvel Super Heroes were mainly sourced from Amazing Spider-Man #350—it not only offered one of the the best visual depictions of Doom's fighting style, it was also perfect at getting the devs to awe Doom & get attached to Spidey"
"the #349/350 issues of Amazing Spider-Man, which I translated myself & passed around at Capcom, were my own property & not provided by Marvel, nor were most of the other references—at my peak, I was spending $300/mo out of pocket & stocking them at work"
(this is the first time since Akitomo-san's thread started that I haven't checked in & seen a zillion new tweets, I might go back & cover everything from the beginning of the thread soon... this TL'd thread will be out of sequence but at least everything'll be covered)
(nvm he's back at it)
"Capcom wanted to go forward with a home port of the Alien vs. Predator arcade game, but I heard FOX, the rights holder, said no—we asked about it in ~2000 & I heard they said 'that was a good game for its time, but that time has passed"
"subsequent Alien vs. Predator games and movies suggest that Fox was trying to firmly reposition the franchise as tense horror, and if that's the case, it's not surprising that they'd want to keep our game, which was almost purely action, in the vault"
"I guess Fox relaxed a little on AvP & was willing to give the ok, bc in 2019, Alien vs. Predator finally got a home release via the Capcom Home Arcade unit, which I bought—it's a EU product, but you can play it in JP with a 5V 2A USB adapter w no issues"
"in the past, EU/US/JP all had different video standards that mean software & video hardware weren't freely interchangeable, so we have it easy nowadays; it's ~¥200k+S&H, but the software & order page only support English/French/German languages"
"the Predator's lack of cloak in Capcom's Alien vs. Predator game was informed by something established in the Dark Horse comic: the Predator's optical cloaking tech is pointless against Aliens because they don't have eyes"
"the devs took a few liberties, like the Predators not cloaking when fighting humans & not using thermal vision to see the Mad Predator enemy when he cloaks, for the sake of making the game more fun; perhaps Fox was unhappy with those decisions as well"
"here's a 1994 pamphlet for the Alien vs. Predator arcade game (pt.1): the main visuals and character illustrations were drawn by Bengus; he worked very quickly and produced a ton of illustrations & cutscene art in a short period of time"
"AvP pamphlet (pt.2): Maj.D.Schaefer is a synthetic, modeled after a legendary soldier who once battled the Predator (Arnie's chara in the Predator film); his backstory must've covered how he replaced his lost arm with weaponry, but it's not written here "
"director K was very fond of Schaefer's backstory as a synthetic & how neatly it tied into the Alien lore, but it's not even mentioned on Wikipedia…I wonder if ppl simply didn't notice, or if it's something established internally that we never made public"
"in what might be a sign of FOX's loosened attitude about the AvP arcade game, NECA released this figures exactly 25 years after the release of the game: the four player-characters Dutch, Linn, Hunter & Warrior plus the Mad Predator enemy"
"what's more, NECA also made figures of the Capcom-designed Aliens! the Razor Claw & Chrysalis Aliens are the work of my peer M-san & the Arachnoid was designed & dotted by me! I can't believe my art has become an action figure—lightning won't strike twice"
(jumping back to some AvP stuff I passed over earlier...)
"our team's next job was Alien vs. Predator—the plot, in which the military plans to use Aliens as bio-weapons & Predators fight alongside humans, came from the Dark Horse comic, but FOX said 'the rights are messy, so don't directly reference the comic"
"the inclusion of a Japanese woman as a player-chara was also influenced by Machiko Noguchi, protagonist of the Dark Horse comic, but we used the name Linn Kurosawa so as to avoid referencing the comic

I worked on the human-sized Aliens, like the Warrior"
(fwiw, I think Machiko Noguchi's influence on Linn Kurosawa is just that, an influence... as opposed to, say, the "influence" D.Schaefer took from Schwarzenegger)
"during the making of AvP, I remember producing simple translations of the Dark Horse comics 'Aliens vs. Predator' & 'The Heat' as reference material, in order to help impart the Pred's hunting-centric culture, similar to certain Native American societies"
"I also worked on AvP's Alien Queen, which was drawn as separate pieces & animated as one

the director wanted 32 rotation frames per segment for super-smooth movement but due to my own lack of confidence, I only drew 16, so the choppy movement's my fault"
"in my defense, Capcom's arcade hardware of that era didn't use square pixels—they were slightly tall, which made it difficult to draw slight diagonal lines & necessitated manually drawing lots of animation frames due to the relative inaccuracy of rotation"
"for example, a 32-frame rotation drawn with square pixels only requires you to draw a 9-frame 90° rotation that can be flipped-mirrored for the full rotation, but with vertical pixels you have to draw 15 frames, almost a full 180°...it's grueling work"
"at the time, I was told we drew vertical pixels because 'the CRT outputs using vertical pixels, so drawing this way lets us create graphics in a manner that's accurate to how it'll look on-screen', but..."
"…later, I was shocked to hear 'when we began AC dev, we bought a huge order of graph paper & accidentally spec'd the grid incorrectly, so we adapted our software to the pixel size rather than buy new paper & never got around to correcting it'…is it true?
"most screenshots of '80s/90s Capcom arcade game make the gfx look wider than they originally appeared—modern-full screen reissues typically alter the aspect ratio, but even direct-capture images are wider due to replacing the vertical dots with squares"
"it would have been ridiculously inefficient to adopt vertical pixels due to a silly error & stick with them for so many years—as with the rotation issue, it would have made porting to consoles so much harder, but I don't know much about hardware/software"
"re: the explanation for Capcom's vertical pixels, this quoted tweet from Master Akiman says they were caused by a mistake in the hardware design, and given that he lived through Capcom's arcade history as it happened, you can take his word as truth"
"btw, I was told the '80s microcomputers (FM-Towns, MSX, etc) all had different-shaped pixels, so u had to manually fix the art whenever u ported anything—there was specific graph paper for each one & if u used the wrong paper, your art would be thin/wide"
"as is typical with 2D pixel art games, the sprite data is flipped when the character faces left/right, which means any asymmetrical elements flip sides—the Predators' shoulder cannons & Schaefer's arm always face the screen & don't stick to left/right "
"we usually let this slide as a technical constraint, but that wasn't always permitted—for Punisher, Marvel said 'make sure Nick Fury's eyepatch is on his left eye', so the artist (@gilmanhouse) drew the eyepatch separately & layered it over Nick's sprite"
(fyi, the original thread's slowed down somewhat and most of the new posts are conversations with other devs explaining or questioning certain details—some of it's interesting but presenting it in a legible fashion on twitter is not easy, so I can't guarantee updates on my end)

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More from @gosokkyu

7 Jul
even more Virtua Fighter eSports info, this time from Sega's eSports dude & Japan-Asia deputy general manager Hiroyuki Miyazaki news.mynavi.jp/article/202107…🇯🇵
on how Virtua Fighter joined Sega's eSports initiative: when Sega started this initiative in 2018, VF was naturally floated as a candidate alongside Puyo Puyo, but because Sega was new to this space & wasn't sure they could run with two games at once, they decided on just Puyo
they went with Puyo Puyo over VF because it still had an active tournament scene & player base across a lot of demographics, as well as a lot of active name players, whereas VF had been dormant for a while, so it was seen as a safer game to start with
Read 14 tweets
7 Jul
Virtua Fighter eSports/Ultimate Showdown producer Seiji Aoki & Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada discuss the resurrection & future of Virtua Fighter 4gamer.net/games/572/G057…🇯🇵
Harada's always seen VF as the game to beat; he recalls being asked by now-Bandai Namco Studios president Nakatani, "how long it take for Tekken to surpass VF?" & Harada replied "five games, released once every 2 years", and even then he felt he was being conservative
in those days, the Tekken & VF communities were at each other's throats, but when VF went away, the anti-Tekken sentiment from VF heads slowly turned into fans asking Harada to make a new VF with increasing seriousness; Harada notes the mood shifted started around 3-4 years ago
Read 58 tweets
19 Jun
this comment extends to people who don't even venture online at all—you'd be shocked by how large a % of players buy fighting games with no intention of fighting another human being, & that extends to some niche ones that you'd presume have an overwhelmingly hardcore player base
one thing this clip doesn't touch on is how asocial the online experience for a lot of 1v1 genres, particularly fighting games, can be—just jumping into ranked, completely divorced of any pre-existing social/community element, isn't something most people are going to find fun
veterans are inured to the drudgery of the typical online suite because they come to these games with an existing social group or online community that motivates them to stick with it, but the games themselves need to do more to natively foster communities for those without them
Read 4 tweets
18 Jun
this was announced in the JP Nintendo Direct & I think it bears highlighting: Konami's making a new Pawapuro-kun Pocket (a 1+2 remake, actually) for the first time in a decade 🇯🇵 unlike Momotetsu, Girls Side, etc I think this stands a chance of localisation
Pawapuro-kun Pocket is the handheld companion series to Pawapuro and much like the GBC/A Mario sports games, the draw is all the extra stuff that's not baseball, but these games went much wilder than Mario ever did, both in terms of side content & the weirdly dark scenarios
Konami partnered with 2K to release MLB-licensed versions of some of the mainline games during the Wii era and they didn't take, but I think the silliness and not-really-a-baseball-game elements of the Pocket series could very easily find an audience overseas nowadays
Read 4 tweets
15 Jun
thinking way too big here, but I wonder if the licensed repro market might be a savvy way to establish certain Japan-exclusive games/series outside of Japan—my mind immediately goes to Linda Cube, but even just staying in Konami's stable, there's that one Brooktown High clone...
I thought the same thing about the TG16 Mini and not only did they not do that but they completely excised certain games for content reasons, but I also wonder if a niche format like this, where the buyers understand precisely what they're getting, might make Konami less skittish
for example, Tengai Makyou II was cut because the producer didn't want to cut the manji, but the TG16 was (ostensibly) a mass-market product with a zillion games, whereas anyone buying a licensed repro of Tengai Makyou isn't going to interpret a manji as anything fascist
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
just to re-emphasise what disregard for netcode can do to a fighting game: this lauded, once-hyped series revival just flopped onto the world's biggest platform without a whimper because for as fun as it is, it's impossible to play against another person store.steampowered.com/app/1342260/SA…
only the biggest & most casual games can skate by with bad netcode—anything smaller (and that's most FGs) needs to not only implement proven state-of-the-art netcode but do it /from day zero/ so that the launch audience (always the peak for FGs) actually sticks around
if you don't play FGs & wonder why this has become such a talking point recently, it's not just due to the pandemic: certain JP devs in particular have been handwaving or patronising overseas players on this issue for over a decade & if ppl don't demand progress, it never comes
Read 13 tweets

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