Wild Arms 2nd Ignition Complete Guide (Famitsu, 2000)
Summary of interview (pg 344-353) with Kaneko Akifumi (writer, total game design), Ookubo Tetsuya (monster design, battle graphics), Itou Yukihiko (character design, field)
Kaneko says the theme of the game is heroes; How "hero" is interpreted. An antithesis to the kind of heroes that appear in RPGs.
Ootsubo says they ran with their own interests a lot, with even more homages to things that they love, and Itou notes that the people in charge of the battles were having great fun working on the game.
Kaneko says that Force is something that builds up with fear, when you're in danger. Regular enemies just die to normal attacks so it's mainly for bosses. It's a system they came up with solely for Ashley- Letting him just transform right off the bat would be equivalent to Ultraman starting a fight with his specium ray. Ootsubo interprets force points as a "rage meter", and Itou compares it to runners getting better midway through a marathon.
The game doesn't have MP because Kaneko wanted to make a game where you can use all the magic you want.
Kaneko says that Ashley's parents are dead, and that he has no friends: That's why Marina and her aunt are so excited when Tony shows up as a friend to Ashley, and since Ashley himself knows he has no friends that's why he's so surprised. The bakery is Marina's aunt's house, her parents are dead too. Her parents are dead outlaws, akin to Bonny and Clyde, and probably died in a hail of bullets. That's why Marina isn't too fond of state power. Ashley and Marina's parents had something to do with each other and that's why the two of them grew up together in that house. They went for the opposite of Rody (WA1): Rody had a big secret in his past while Ashley's past isn't touched upon, Rody's loved by the girls but doesn't end up with anyone while Ashley starts in a relationship.
Ootsubo notes that Ashley does share the same "Gundam colours" of white, blue and red with Rody.
Kaneko says that the trucks that show up in Ashley's prologue have names, Ouka and Kaiten, derived from WW2 Japanese suicide craft; It's supposed to be ironic. Also, the three kidnappers, Gungal, Zoug and Geloog get their names from the Gungal line of Gundam knockoff model kits that showed up in the 80's.
With Marina, Kaneko aimed for a realistic character. She's the sort of person he personally can't stand. She tends to be argumentative, yet works purely based on emotion and not logic. Ootsubo calls her a "landmine", and Itou says that she's clingy. Kaneko says that that's why Ashley manages to come back to Fargaia, though: She's his marina, his port or bay, his collar. Riruka does her best, but in the end, Ashley comes home to Marina.
Riruka is the opposite of Marina, a character who's not normal or realistic. People in the game comment on how odd her costume is too. She's mostly a stereotypical character, with the only exception being that she's bad at magic. You can see this not just in the story but also in the stats; Her magic stats are really low compared to Tim's. Kaneko also makes it clear that there's no saving Riruka's sister; She closed off the entrance to the Millenium Puzzle herself so that nobody else would end up trapped in it. The interviewer asks about the time Riruka asks Terry is he's in love with her or something, and Kaneko says that she doesn't actually believe it, it was just a thing she said in response to him frequently pestering her.
Brad's real name is of course not Brad; He swapped names with Billy, the man in the wheelchair, who's the real hero of Slayheim. Brad didn't get permission to do this from Billy and feels guilty about it. The Liberation Front itself was too big and the majority of its members can't tell which of the two was which.
Tim was designed to look like a girl from the start. Pooka's design changed a lot over time, and other proposals they previously had where Chapapanga's and Kalivos'.
Kanon was meant to be a more Cyborg 009 kind of hero. In other RPGs the main character would have some sort of association, maybe be a descendant of the heroes of legend, but Ashley doesn't have that, and they needed another way to get the Sword Saint into the story, and that was Kanon.
Kaneko makes it clear that the Noble Reds are immortals, but not vampires; Mariabell only hates the sun because she thinks it's bad for her complexion. They do age, but very slowly, several hundred times slower than humans. They can also bite humans, which does not turn the humans into Noble Reds, but does slow down their aging.
Anastasia's character was written to be a "normal person", like Ashley. She has a birthmark under her left eye, and all the Valerias do too, including Kanon (under her eyepatch).
Neither Vinsfeld nor Altaecia knew about Irving's plot. Kaneko jokes that Altaecia spends all her time in the kitchen because she cooks all the meals for everyone in the chateau, and that it's always curry because Irving likes it. Also, she was originally going to be a much bigger character, playing a part in all the important scenes in the chateau and having more indications that she and Irving are "very close", but they had to cut all that because of space issues.
They originally wanted to do more with the other staff members of the chateau as well, especially make a clearer portrayal of how they all live there. Kaneko wanted drink cans and candy around Amy's spot, for example. He says it's regretful that they had to cut a lot of chateau-related events due to space.
Ptolomea is based on Rambo from First Blood, someone who came back from war only to be treated with disdain. He was a member of the Slayheim Liberation Front, but doesn't know Brad because he was a new recruit.
Judecca's original weapon was supposed to be a huge tuning fork which he'd used to shoot shockwaves, but they turned him into a gunman because Kaneko thinks guns are cooler. Kaneko also says the Judecca was a character that was easy to move, and he loved writing him.
Vinsfeld is the sort of person who likes having tons of medals, and looking at himself, and being seen, and Kaneko compares him to Giren Zabi (Gundam).
Odessa controls monsters by planting receivers in them, and they keep the monsters under their control asleep until they're needed.
Caina's key, Randolph, is named after Randolph Carter. Vinsfeld's sword, Mountains of Madness ("Mad Mountains" in the English release), is also from Lovecraft.
Kaneko notes that the enemies in WA2 are not monsters, but kaijuu. Ootsubo says that he designed them so that 20% are monsters while 80% are kaijuu, and that he especially tried to make it so that they look like they could be suits with humans inside. He also says that the kaijuu were inspired not just by Tsuburaya stuff but also P Pro shows and Kamen Rider.
The idea for Toka and Ge (English: "Liz" and "Ard") came from Gorri and La from Spectreman. Kaneko and Ootsubo also say that they originally wanted the boss introduction scenes to have data like their height and weight, and where they're from. The two of them spent two years working on the enemies, starting immediately after WA1 was finished, because they knew it'd take time.
The Spriggan bosses from the Ley Points (English: "Ray Point") were originally a Guardian of mirrors, and Bulgogidon (English: "Bulkogidon") got its name from Ootsubo was hungry and decided to order some Korean food, saw Pulgogi-don (Korean pulgogi in a donburi) on the menu, and thought it sounded like a kaijuu name (he also misread the "pu" as a "bu"). Kaneko says that the guardian Zephyr taking his heart out is "the Getter ray reactor" (Getter Robo). Ootsubo's favourite kaijuu is Saddath, which is a combination of all the kaijuu from Mirrorman, and Itou notes the Earth Federation (Gundam) logo on its stomach. Kaneko thinks Greater Beast, based on the seven-headed ten-horned beast from the Book of Revelation, is Ootsubo's best work. The Gobs were designed by someone not in this interview, but they note that they were based on Zeon mobile suits from Gundam (there was also going to be a blue one with a heat rod, but it was cut from the game). The artist who handled the Kaijuu Encyclopedia was an actual trading card artist that Sony found for them.
Regarding the encounter cancel system: Kaneko notes that people who don't like battles just run from them, but thinks that it's silly that they have to do that because it's not that they actually want to run from battles, but that they don't want to get into them in the first place. The encounter cancel system was made for such people. The coin continue system was something that came as natural to the developers, as most of the people on the staff love arcade shooters and fighters. Kaneko doesn't like how you can't use all the characters in your party at the same time, and would've liked all the characters taking on Ragu O Ragula together, but hardware limitations meant only three party members could be displayed at any one time.
The interview ends with Kaneko using half a page to talk about how he plans making Wild Arms 3 a baseball game.