The Story of Chuhou Joutai’s Development

I want to see Chuhou Joutai on this someday.
(Image courtesy of Twitter user CeoFire)

So yeah, this is a remake of a blog post I made way back in March 2019, nine full months before I parted ways from the Dream Logos and Fiction Wikis. Here are some questions that you might have about the game, and I am eager to answer them in this post.

What did Chuhou Joutai originally start out as?
Chuhou Joutai was originally going to be a web-based Pokémon doujinshi series under the name of Rainbow Girl Kagami (Japanese: 虹色少女カガミ Niji’iro Shōjo Kagami). However, it didn’t get very far into development, as there was no concrete map of Kozankyo (then known as Minecraftia City, as that name was not yet coined until January of 2019).

Wait, where was The Real Driller at the time?
Kagami Ochiai was originally going to be the series protagonist and was the first character I created for that project way back in December 2014. You can read more about her here. In addition, she was based on my ex-girlfriend from high school, as she ended up warping my then-15-year-old mind. This means Susumu Takajima, Chuhou Joutai‘s true protagonist, wasn’t created yet, and it did not come into fruition until June of 2015.

What else did you do before the Chuhou Joutai name came up?
Like I said, Kagami Ochiai was originally going to be the franchise protagonist. There were going to be a pair of twins that accompanied Kagami named Shira and Rikka Katsumoto. Shira had pure pink hair, while Rikka had very long twin tails similar to Hatsune Miku. Then Kumiko Uchida was created.

After the conclusion of my freshman year of high school, the Pokémon idea was cut. Somebody suggested we make a video game. Originally it was going to be in the style of Super Mario Bros. 2/Doki-Doki Panic. Yumi Ochiai was then created, and we came up with the idea of a tale of two sisters in a game titled Crystal Island. It originally had a much simpler, Disney-styled plot. This was the intended story:

Kagami and Yumi were shipwrecked onto an island named Crystal Island. Upon meeting one of the island’s inhabitants, the sisters do not realize they are both princesses, with Kagami being heir to the throne. For too long, an evil maelstrom has been terrorizing the island and feels Kagami is the chosen one against it. If Kagami succeeds in defeating him, she will become empress of the island and peace will be restored.

What happened to Crystal Island, and how did Chuhou Joutai become a bullet hell shooter?
Again, that did not happen and it had to be scrapped, as we did not want to create a game that would appeal only to young girls. The general idea for Chuhou Joutai actually came from frustration. Touhou 15: Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom had just been released, and the idea of one-hit deaths were a way to come up with something new. And so, it was decided that a danmaku shooter would be perfect. Danmaku shooters have never been a mainstay of Western players due to their complicated nature, and felt I wanted to make a game in that genre for beginners.

How did the designs for Chuhou Joutai‘s art style and characters come about?
One programmer said Kagami looked to casual and we needed to make her look a little more fashionable. Touhou Project characters were said to be the inspiration for female character designs, and so, Kagami Ochiai was remodeled into the outfit she wears today. The works of Kyoto Animation also served as inspiration for character designs and personalities, primarily their slice of life anime such as Lucky Star and K-On!. Development of Chuhou Joutai was going smooth at the time, but halfway through development, that catastrophic terrorist attack on KyoAni happened. The attack and its aftermath deeply affected me. It was really a bummer because it happened just two full weeks before I was due to visit Japan, I even passed by the burnt ruins of the studio while roaming around Kyoto.

How did you get the name for Chuhou Joutai?
After enough failed names such as Shinkoku Project and others, I struggled to come up with a name that I and others didn’t hate. At the time, representatives from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education came to my high school to perform their accreditation. So, I had Middle States on my mind and translated the name to Japanese, and bingo! That’s how the name Chuhou Joutai came about.

How did you end up setting Chuhou Joutai in a war setting?
During my freshman year of high school, the brutal terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria were at their peak. I studied them a lot in high school. The group served as a major inspiration for the Shintoist Province and Scarlet Devil of Team Crimson. Our team wanted to do our best to avoid referencing Islam in any way possible, as it is one of the strictest religions in the world. Luckily, I’ve studied Islam myself, so we wanted to respect Sharia law on what we could have SPASDOT follow. So, we came up with a group following doctrines influenced by the Soviets.

Why in the right mind does Kozan have a monarchy?
The idea of having a princess in Chuhou Joutai came from one of my friends suggesting we have “Konata should be a princess instead of an annoying nerd.” But, we needed a ruler. We named the king Soujirou and the deceased queen Kanata. To get around intellectual property laws, we dropped the surname and designed Crown Princess Konata as a woman in her early 20s with a navy blue to black gradient.

What about Kagami, and how did you get inspiration for the game’s world?
Interestingly enough, Kagami Ochiai almost didn’t become a playable character in Chuhou Joutai. She was intended to be a damsel in distress but we didn’t want to make another game like that, as that’s one of the most overused game plots. But, we insisted on a co-op danmaku game, so we needed Kagami Ochiai in there.

While taking the influence of Touhou Project into Chuhou Joutai, we decided that a parallel Gensokyo be the game’s world, with Kozankyo being the flagship city. We drew heavy inspiration from the land of Erie, Pennsylvania during the late Heisei Era for the game’s setting.

How did you incorporate humor into the game?
In order to make this game unique from other danmaku shooters, I felt humor should play an integral role in the game, but being funny is actually the hardest part while making the game. I have to go into account of all the different species of humor. Luckily, having had experience with GoAnimate and watching Angry Video Game Nerd, it helped a bit. I eventually grabbed more inspiration for humor after seeing Doctor Strange in the fall of 2016. The Mario & Luigi games also helped shape things a bit more well (especially Hearthcliffe), though this is a danmaku shooter I am making but does incorporate RPG elements except there is no leveling up nor an inventory.

What were some of your favorite anime, games, or movies that inspired Chuhou Joutai?
All that being said, the following games, films, and anime inspired the game environment:

  • Driller’s real name, Susumu Takajima, is named after Susumu Hori from Mr. Driller. The name Driller is also a connection to the source game.
    • Driller’s hairstyle of spikes originally came from Bart Simpson, before he was given Dragon Ball-style spikes.
  • Kagami is named after Kagami Hiiragi from Lucky Star and the name Princess Kagami came into fruition as my ex-girlfriend was a fan of the film Frozen at the time.
    • The royal family of Minecraftian monarchy also draws inspiration from Lucky Star.
  • Hearthcliffe, being a villain with a sense of humor, was influenced by Fawful from the Mario & Luigi series. The Marvel Cinematic Universe also drew inspiration for the game’s humor. It’s not to be confused with the comic book character Heathcliff, as it is a corruption of it.
  • While the game’s villainous group, SPASDOT, was largely influenced by ISIS, it was originally called Team Crimson with grunts in a similar fashion to the Pokémon series. Unlike ISIS, the group is based on Shinto ideology and follows a customized doctrine of Maoism.
  • Frederic Sam Fawkes is named after Guy Fawkes and is based on the final boss Fred Fuchs from Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures.
  • Films such as The Interview was also an inspiration for the game’s plot of having to go out and defeat Fred Fawkes.
  • Touhou Project is considered as major inspiration for the gameplay and some of the characters.
  • The name Kozan (was originally going to be called Minecraftia, had to be changed to avoid trademark issues), is a direct reference to Minecraft, which is what I was playing a lot at the time and I still play it to this very day. Minecraft also played a role in the development of the game too.

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