Episode Two: A Story of Stories
This is a translation of Sakari “P”’s (Phantom Breaker: Omnia’s producer) second developer diary where he tells us a little bit about the latest installment of Phantom Breaker, coming out in 2021.
Hello again. To those who don’t know me, it’s a pleasure to meet you. And to those who do, it’s great to be back after a month. I’m the Director/Producer of “Phantom Breaker: Omnia,” most commonly known as Sakari “P.”
Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about the game’s story. I have a feeling this is going to be a long read, so settle back into your chair before you get started. (You’ve been warned.)
The “Phantom Breaker” franchise was originally presented to MAGES by an external company. At the time, I was working on one of my own projects called “Bullet Soul,” but because no one else at MAGES had ever developed a fighting game before, somehow I got assigned to oversee the Phantom Breaker project as well.
I probably shouldn’t say this out loud, but initially I saw myself as a figure-head producer making the super-high level decisions and giving the external development company some direction here and there.
Nevertheless, approximately 18 months into development is when the incident happened. Before Phantom Breaker’s official announcement, I found internal documents and concept art leaked anonymously on various forums. At the same time, development was behind schedule, so I made the difficult decision to reorganize our entire development structure.
First (with a few exceptions), I took on the creative task of coming up with characters and their backstories. It was around this time that I became directly involved in managing the external development company.
It was thanks to this incident that I became so deeply involved in the Phantom Breaker franchise that is near and dear to my heart. …But seriously. Info leaks are bad. Don’t do it. I still have nightmares about that day. Whenever someone casually brings up the original Phantom Breaker in conversation, my PTSD kicks in.
I am embarrassed to admit that during this time in my career, whenever I even heard the word or hints of a “leak,” regardless of context, I began to suspect everyone of being a spy. It was not a healthy way to view the world, and I want to extend an apology to anyone I may have doubted during this phase of my life.
And this finally brings us to the story portion of this diary. As I mentioned above, when I came on to the project, I had to revisit a lot of characters and their settings, but at the same time I was restricted by the overall direction of what had been created up to that point. It would have been impossible to convince the powers that be that we needed to throw away work that was already done.
I took the existing assets and progress that had been made and assembled it all together with the new elements I was introducing, like a jigsaw puzzle. I gave more structure to the world and potential for sequels–both of which were quite fuzzy at the time–and ended up with a storyline that roughly accounted for four major arcs.
Phantom Breaker “Vanilla” we’ll call it, was the first installment of the series that covered the first arc, and Phantom Breaker: Extra covers the second.
I decided to make “Vanilla” a multi-ending scenario partly due to the nature of fighting game stories and partly because I wasn’t sure if it would ever get a sequel. Likewise, in the Phantom Breaker universe there exist multiple parallel worlds, making each character’s ending a perpetual possibility.
The second arc onwards picks up from what we will call the “official” storyline, which stems from Mikoto’s good ending. On the other hand, the cute pixel-style spin-off, Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds, stems from one of the parallel endings of the “Vanilla” story.
Earlier, I mentioned that Phantom Breaker: Extra covers the second arc, however, in Extra players are presented with the “Situation Battle Mode” instead of a traditional story mode. In this mode, players must clear certain challenges and conditions to progress. And through this progress, the new characters, like Sophia, would be introduced in their own episodes–I suppose you could consider it more of a character introduction. For that very reason, Extra does not cover the second arc of the story in its entirety.
And this brings us to the third and latest installment of the series, Phantom Breaker: Omnia, where I’ve introduced characters slated for the third arc of the story.
I admit, it’s not necessarily a good thing that the narrative has been paused while new characters are introduced. There have been many twists and turns that brought me to this moment in time, though, and I’ve fallen in love with these characters and story. That is why I want to do everything in my power to deliver it to the fans in the best way possible.
I’ll share a very personal story that’s related to the narrative of the game.
Thanks to Rocket Panda Games and all the fans who have shown such strong support for Phantom Breaker, the hands of time that had frozen years ago have once again begun to tick. I cannot possibly express all the gratitude that I now feel. But, at the same time, I find myself lost on how to progress with the next chapter of the story.
There is a character named Waka Kumon in the Phantom Breaker series, whose Japanese voice-over is performed by Miyu Matsuki. I first worked with Miyu-chan on my original title, “Missing Blue,” in which she performed the role of the main heroine over 20 years ago. After that, we worked on many games together, and I eventually came to write characters with her performance in mind.
Be it Phantom Breaker or Missing Blue or any other game with my signature coming-of-age story, she played the role of characters that stayed true to their virtues, at times at their own expense… supporting the characters around her. She was on the top of (read: only one on) my shortlist when it came to these roles. She would breathe life into them like no one else could.
As I’m sure a lot of you already know, she sadly passed away in October of 2015. It’s hard to believe that that’s over five years ago now. It never crossed my mind that I would one day be thinking about Phantom Breaker’s future and who could fill Miyu-chan’s shoes in the role of Waka. Since the beginning of the Omnia project to this very moment, I have carried this confusion and loss with me.
What I’m trying to say is that, because of the aforementioned reasons, there are no new recordings for the existing characters in Phantom Breaker: Omnia. The Waka that you will hear in Omnia is the last Waka that Miyu-chan performed. Please never forget her voice.
And, if and when there is a new Waka, please love her the same way you’ve come to love Miyu-chan’s interpretation of her.
But before we get there, I need to unfreeze the hands of my own time, much like Omnia did with the Phantom Breaker franchise.
That’s all for today, folks. I wish you all a wonderful time over the holidays.