Utawarerumono – Interview with the creators

The guidebook for the PS2 version of Utawarerumono (Utawarerumono – Chiriyuku Mono he no Komoriuta – Official Guidebook) includes an interview with Washimi Tsutomu (director), Suga Munemitsu (scenario writer) and Amazuyu Tatsumi (character designer / art). Here is a synopsis of the most interesting parts [personal comments in brackets]. Spoilers follow.

Project

Since the very beginning the plan was to make a more game-like game instead of a mere VN. Also Suga wanted to make a story with kemonomimi characters. Both things were united and thus Utawarerumono was born. Since the beginning there was also the premise of having a country, and conquest (国取り). The basis of the game was then since the start “kemonomimi+country”.

Gameplay

The top priority was always the scenario, which is why the battle density is all over the place, with long segments without any. There was also the idea of scenes that could or not be seen according to the progression, but since it had gameplay multiple playthroughs could become a chore, so it was made that one could see everything in a single one.
For the PS2 version, they asked Flight-Plan to be in charge of the gameplay. The idea was to leave it all to them, though in the end things like the combo system were left in so as to not lose the identity of Utawarerumono. Copies of the game were given to the Flight-Plan staff, and they really got the spirit of the game and characters, and the changes were all spot on. Actually, there was also a thought of making Eruruu able to attack, for example, and it was categorically denied by Flight-Plan. The combination attacks were also all thought up by Flight-Plan.

World

They’re indeed in Japan. However, the Earth axis is tilted, so what seems as a tilted angle is actually the correct orientation in that world.
The rest of the world exists, but it’s a little in chaos [does this mean that there aren’t countries like in Japan?]. There are races and such that doesn’t appear in the game, though.
Hakuoro is the only human, the rest of the people are all humanoids. Benaui is the same race as Kurou [and Oboro, like later is said; this also would imply that they’re a different one from Eruruu and the rest]. The humanoids were all made so as to like the humans, which is a reason why all characters naturally flock to Hakuoro (not the only one, Hakuoro himself has also a great charisma).
There were ideas of having Benaui and Kurou killed in the last battle, or of having Oboro have a cool death. An idea for Kurou’s death was to have him take along an Avu-Kamuu when falling a precipice.
Suga wanted to write a Japanese themed story, but wasn’t very convinced with a Heian or Sengoku setting, so decided to make it Ainu. They didn’t have a lot of reference material for Amazuyu to make the designs, however, and the books were kinda expensive, so they borrowed form the library. They had to return them in two weeks, though, so they kept returning them and borrowing them once again.
The woptars were made dinosaur-like because having animal-like humans mounting horses seemed weird.
The race is inherited through the mother, so fundamentally there aren’t hybrids. The Evenkurga women search for strong men, however, so the father’s genes are not totally irrelevant.

Characters

Hakuoro
Hakuoro is basically a “person with power”. He’s the archaeologist that appears in the game, that fused with a certain “something with power”. As for that “something”, Suga has the setting thought of, but leaves it to the imagination of each one.
About his name: when Tuskur was little, both halves of Witsarnemitea (called in the interview the White God -Hakuoro- and the Black God -Dii–; because of their colors, not because one is good and the other bad) awakened, and there was a great war. Tuskur fought that war alongside the White God. At that time, he told Tuskur his name: Hakuoro. In the end the White God lost and was sealed, and most of his partners died. Tuskur managed to survive, and finally arrived to the village of Yamuyura [the one at the beginning], and started living there. Eventually she grew up and had a child, whom she named Hakuoro. Tuskur recognized immediately the wounded man as the White God when Eruruu brought him home, which is why she named him Hakuoro when she discovered that he had lost his memories.

Aruruu
Her power of communicating with animals is inherited from Mikoto, whom also had that power (there was the idea of having a battle using Iceman and Mikoto, but in the end it got canned). Tuskur’s sister also had that power; Tuskur and Eruruu had the genes but didn’t awakened the ability. There are also other people with the power (also descendants of Mikoto), though usually is not as strong as in Aruruu’s case.
At debugging, when Aruruu used her final attack Gachatara always appeared, even before its introduction. So it was made that she couldn’t use her final before she gets Gachatara.

Urtorii
What is called magic is just a form of visualizing easier what’s actually closer to a superpower (inherited from Mutsumi). People not from the Onkamiyaryuu race sometimes can use magic, but it’s not as strong.
The magicians you meet in battle are all Onkamiyaryuu; more exactly mercenaries. That’s another of the functions the race have; dispatching solders as a form of mediating conflicts.

Kamyu
She drank Hakuoro’s blood as an impulse as Mutsumi. It’s not like she just wanted blood; she wanted Hakuoro’s blood as he was his father [though doesn’t she drinks Aruruu’s blood too?]. Suga thinks of it as energy replenishment, though it wasn’t added as an official setting.

Karura
Karura’s father was the head of the Giriyagina race, and an emperor. In the last great war between the gods, he fought alongside the Black God, and after the victory he built the great country of Rarumanionu as a prize. Genjimaru was also a partner of the Black God, though in the process of him increasing his forces Genjimaru and Karura’s father fought several times. Karura’s father died when his country was destroyed; at that time, the ones who attacked it were the Shakukoporu’s Avu-Kamuu leaded by Kuuya’s father. This means that Rarumanionu was part of the present Kunnekamun country. It was at that time that Genjimaru, who was accompanying the Shakukoporu, fought Karura’s father, which is the battle that Karura saw.
The original image for Karura that Suga had was a burly one, and he got surprised when the design came and she was a more smart woman. “I wanted a more macho design!” “You have to say those things beforehand!”

Touka
When traveling around searching for a master, she heard the rumors about Rakushain and how he killed Orikakan’s family. She couldn’t forgive him and so went to help Orikakan in his revenge, which is why she was along him when the game started.
The Evenkurga have wings as ears because Amazuyu was getting out of ideas for ears and wanted to make something distinctive for that race.

Oboro
Oboro’s grandfather was a previous emperor of Kenashikourpe, and fought along the White God in the previous Great War. After defeat his family fell into ruin and Inkara’s father took the throne.
Dorii and Guraa were males since the beginning. Along the way there were voices from the scenario side of making them females but it was denied.

Benaui
He’s a relative of the legitimate royal lineage, that is Oboro’s family. This is the reason he thinks Oboro should inherit the country in the ending. He noticed Oboro’s lineage when they first meet and Oboro introduces himself, which is why he let Oboro flee alive.

Kurou
Unlike Benaui, he wasn’t a relative of the imperial family.

Derihourai
He got separated from Karura when their country fell; Karura fought so he could flee, and in the end got captured by slave traders.

Genjimaru
For his contract with the Black God he got simply power; a battle power beyond the normal people. Karura’s father also did the same contract, and Karura’s impressive strength comes in part from inheriting that.

Kuuya
There’s wasn’t an intention of making the weak race rabbits, it just worked out that way. They’re about as strong as present humans [which also shows that the humanoid races are stronger than humans].
Kuuya’s father made the contract with the Black God in order to liberate his people from oppression. He thus got the Avuu-Kamuu and could exterminate the Giriyagina [which I guess were the ones oppressing his people. Also, the Giriyagina made their country after the Great War was over, so this should mean Kuuya’s father made the contract after it, at some point that the Black God awakened alone and thus there wasn’t any war].
The Avu-Kamuu were made by the old people so as the Shakukoporu would mount them and would work in the surface. They’re machines for work and manufacture, which is why they don’t have weapons. The Sakukoporu just unearth Avu-Kamuus made in ancient times, and sometimes they are not in working conditions and have to be disposed [the ones in the stage where you liberate Urutorii’s father]. The Shakukoporu get into a kind of jelly inside them and move them with their minds [Eva much?].

Tuskur
Until the end of the previous war she lived in Onkamiyamukai, and fought along Oboro’s grandfather and Onkamiyamukai’s emperor Waabe. This is the reason Waabe got surprised when heard the name of the country Hakuoro had made.

Chikinaro
He’s a man of Dii’s side, but in the end there wasn’t room in the scenario for that explanation.

Dii
Unlike Hakuoro the Black God is only a mind; he needs to fuse with a body each time he awakens.

Nuwangi
Nuwangi’s mother was of low standing and of frail health, which is why she was driven out by Sasante when Nuwangi was little.
The original setting for Nuwangi was to have him as Hakuoro’s rival (the image in mind was Char Aznable). Originally he was a pervert that chased around Eruruu while wearing only a fundoshi, but that plan was stopped. Once his personality got into place his presence was low so he got out of picture quickly and was replaced by Dii.

Inkara/Sasante
When their design was finished, somebody from the staff said “They must certainly talk with Nyamo~!”. And so it was made.

Niue/Orikakan/Suonkas
Amazuyu only got a simple setting for each one. Respectively, “Old general”, “Deceived, tragic general”, “Okama”.

Hauenkua
Suga hasn’t thought how he got to such a high position with his personality.

Kamuchataaru [from the new scenario of the PS2 version]
Suga’s original idea was of having an old man, and he actually thought she was until the design was finished; Amazuyu wanted to draw a girl since there was a new character and all. There were also too many males in the new scenario. The basis for her and her group is the villains from Time Bokan. The only setting the three girls that work with her have is that they’re slaves bought/liberated by her; they don’t even have names.

The fight between gods

The previous Great War was won by the Black God because he had Genjimaru and Karura’s father on his side; until then the White God, who had Tuskur and Waabe and then also Oboro’s grandfather, had the advantage. And the tide of war turned around because of a “certain reason”.
The Fire of Purification / Amaterasu is a satellite weapon, built as a part of a project to make an artificial sun. There may also be several Amaterasus. In order to stop Witsarnemitea, a high amount [of the power of one? of satellites?] was used, and an important ratio of the Earth’s surface was scorched. The humanoids were already living in the surface, and so they also suffered a heavy damage. The Shakukoporu were a race pretty loved by the humans; after Amaterasu attack they had to leave for the surface, and the humanoids that were already there were jealous of their preferential treatment so far and so started persecuting them. When Kuuya said that they were expelled from paradise she’s talking about this.
The jelly monster at the end are the scientists, but also humanity itself; the final destiny of the humanity that lived underground. Although there may be humans who survived without being turned into jelly.

Finishing

Q: Is Hakuoro that one at the ending?
Suga: I leave it to each one’s imagination.
They have in mind a sequel [keep in mind this is from 2006]. If there’s indeed a sequel, Suga has already more or less planned the scenario. Though in that case the protagonist would probably not be Hakuoro.

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