Hey. This is the head of backgrounds in Anarchy Reigns, Onishi.

Until now, I’ve made backgrounds for a lot of different game genres. Out of those that made it to retail, around 20, including those that didn’t, it’d be hard to say.

There were a few unique conditions for Anarchy Reigns, though: it was my first online game, and it’s not just online, it’s a multiplayer online brawler. Still, I’m proud of what I was able to fit into the game and make part of the game’s atmosphere.

In just one stage, there are just about a dozen places you can fight: the subway, the skyscraper, the factory, the slums, the scrapyard, the park… and in between all these places there isn’t just empty space to move around. Wires are tossed around, devices warp you from one end to another, there’s plenty enough in the environment to let you toss and crash around without feeling cramped in.

Partly because to my job, I often choose games based on their atmosphere and environment. It’s not fun to move around in a game where everywhere looks the same. If I have to look at the map all the time to go anywhere, eventually I stop playing. Let me just say, Anarchy Reigns is not one of those games.

For a background designer, nothing is more tear-inducing than allowing the player to fly anywhere around the map hanging from a helicopter.

Since there are so many possible places to traverse through (from rooftops, to inside subways and factories), deciding what qualified as “touching” something on the stage and what didn’t was pretty strenuous. Stages in a lot of new games are complicated: there can be a lot of problems with two solid objects passing through each other, or sometimes seeing through structures/features on the field.

I think I probably had the most fun in this game working on Hong Long. It took some effort thinking about what kind of hidden jokes/etc. to include for the other stages, but with Hong Long it was a blast.

My favorite part of Hong Long would have to be the big statue of Buddha. In Anarchy Reigns, each stage has different things that will sometimes move around and attack characters. In Hong Long, there’s a big Buddha sitting silently in this temple, but during development we thought, why not have it shoot lasers out of its eyes? Or, wouldn’t it kind of be cool if it just stood up all of a sudden? We finally decided on having the laser spit from his mouth, which I think was the perfect choice, right? But there’s a lot of other really good ATE on that stage, so be sure to experience all of it.

Asia’s a fun zone to work with. Lots of good material to work with.

Hope the next thing I work on might have some Asian areas too…