Why did you have to make a flow chart so long that Hattori-san has to hold out both arms to describe it?
Last time, the method of determining how to coordinate items was comparatively simple, so you could kind of tell what you needed to do to get the customers to buy everything. This time, we wanted to cast that aside somehow.
If you make determinations systematic, then it tends to turn out that streamlined ensembles always turn out best. But that’s not the case when pros do the coordinating. Even starting with simple fashion, they might add to the mix by throwing in one item to make it a little off.
Earlier, Tamura-san talked about whether it’s fun or not. Something too standardised simply isn’t fun.
If it’s too orthodox, it isn’t fun.
If you play around with coordination and run it past the system, it will tell you it’s not fashionable. But when you look at the final outfit with a human sensibility, it may be wonderful, so we were adjusting the system right up to the end in order to allow some sense of play.
A computer can’t really understand subtle degrees of style, so that must have been really difficult.
It really was. We struggled a lot in order to make determining the outcome closer to real girls’ opinions. For example, we girls use the word “kawaii” (cute) a lot, and I myself often use this expression incautiously. We say this is cute and that is cute, but what we each mean by “cute” is quite different each time.
But it’s a very convenient compliment.
Right. We lump everything together as “cute.” But if you analyse it closely, each “cute” is different. So in this game, when it comes to something described as girly and cute, there are different kinds, like mature-girly and pop-girly and girly with an ethnic element and so on. We couldn’t go that far with the previous game, but something I noticed this time working together with fashion professionals was that if we didn’t broaden the scope of what was allowed, it would lack a human element.
As a result of programming in those kinds of ambiguous decisions, we made a system that allows for combinations with one item that’s a little off or with edgy taste.
But of course, it you say everything is okay, that would ruin the game, and it wouldn’t be right from a fashion point of view. For styles that are really not right, the system has to determine against it. To resolve this contradicting problem, we needed to make that really long flowchart we were talking about.
And while introducing a results system with a human element, you also included men’s fashion.
Did men’s fashion come up later in development?
No, it was quite early on.
That’s right. We decided at an early stage to make men’s fashion, so we set about making the items early on.
Compared to girls’ fashion, how much energy did you pour into the men’s?
To be honest, it’s mainly about girls, so at first we treated the men’s fashion as just a little thing on the side.
Some boys may not take well to hearing that they were just a side project, but you conceived the idea of men’s fashion as complementing women’s fashion, which was the main subject.
Yes. But when we lined up pairs, we thought that the men’s fashion might work well too and noticed satisfying progress during development. Then we began setting aside quite a bit of effort for things like making the characters and bringing out a distinct men’s character.
But when it comes to men’s clothing, there aren’t that many variations.
Compared to the women’s, that’s true.
There aren’t many types of men’s clothes compared to women’s. And the types of men that appear in this game are the kind of stylish men that girls might like to be with, so we had to exclude some clothes for that reason.
That’s right. They aren’t necessarily the kinds of clothes that men themselves want to wear.
They’re the kinds of clothes that a girl might want her boyfriend to wear.
Yes. What guys want to wear and what their girlfriends want them to wear are different in some ways, so we mostly put in “girl-magnet” clothes.
Even though the last game didn’t have any men’s fashion, despite the fact that its main target was girls, a lot of guys played it. What fun can guys have with New Style Boutique?
The way I personally enjoy it is to think of the customers who come to the shop in the game as enemies in RPGs and simulation games.
The customers are…enemies? (laughs)
Yeah. And their requests regarding budget and clothes are like attacks that, as the salesperson, I have to find a way to deal with.
That’s like a fighting game! (laughs)
Against the attack of a customer’s budget being 20,000 yen (2,000 euros), I have to use the weapons I have on hand to satisfy that demand. So I’ll look over my fashion items, and luckily there’s no time limit, so I’ll think for a while, turn over all sorts of possibilities, and then suggest something at the very end — as if shouting “Fire weapons!”
You don’t sell, but rather shoot. (laughs)
And if the customer says they’ll buy it, I think), “Yes! I won!”
You defeat your customers?
Then money comes in — cha ching!—and my score goes up! I play it like that.
Hattori-san, what do you think about that from a woman’s perspective?
(dejectedly slumps her shoulders)
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