The Worldview of Baroque
Interview with game designer Kazunari Yonemitsu
First and foremost, this game is designed to discover the answer to the question, "Why has the world become like this?" It isn't egocentric like most games of its type, in which you "save the world". The reason the world has been distorted so is directly tied to the catastrophe of the "Great Heat Wave", but why did it occur? What series of events led to the Great Heat Wave? This is why we included a system in which you can gather clues through information spoken throughout the game. However, this means that some information will not be available depending on how the game has proceeded, so some players may not be aware of certain details.
Therefore, it's a pretty harsh decision for the creators to state something like "this world is scary, so please figure it out yourself." Of course, it concludes in a single ending.
However, the ending itself is not entirely about solving the problem. Perhaps I shouldn't talk about it too much, but the "distorted" nature of this game is basically a reflection of reality. It could be said that the distortion is no different from our reality. That's why it doesn't end with "Everyone is at peace. And they lived happily ever after..." It's not a fairy tale - it's a story about reality.
However, if there aren't any uplifting elements it will be a disappointing game, so I added a little hope to the ending so that the player doesn't feel frustrated (laughs).
If you would like a hint to unravel the mystery, the Order of Malkuth and the Archangel are directly connected to the cause of the global distortion, so you may want to pay particular attention to their actions and words. But keep in mind that common angels and the Crypt Angel are amongst the lowest ranking members of the Order.
The 3D, real-time, auto-generated dungeon system is the result of toying around with all of my favorite things. I loved "Rogue" and "Dungeon Star". When it comes to auto-generated dungeons in video games, it's already been done in a great game called "Toruneko's Great Adventure". So to not be derivative, I tried to think of methods of making it fun in different ways, such as multi-layered dungeons, 3D, or dark settings.
The first project to use this idea was entitled "A Lifetime of Plucking Earthworms", an adventure in a dungeon made by insects. After many twists and turns, it eventually became the Saturn version of "Baroque".
The story of the Playstation version is basically the same, but I think that the way you play the game is quite different. The biggest change is the number of levels within the Nerve Tower and the appearance rate of items. In the Saturn version, the area of each floor increases as you go deeper, but in the Playstation version, the size does not change much - however the total number of floors has increased by nearly 10 floors. This was changed to increase the tempo after the mid-game. Therefore the item frequency in the Playstation version is much higher. This was the trade-off for increasing the number of floors, and I wanted people to consider their strategies concerning items from a comparitively early stage, in other words, I wanted you to give a lot of thought to which items you would be taking with you.
So then, the post-game Hell Dungeon is also a feature exclusive to the Playstation version. When I was making it, the staff kept saying "keep going, keep going" but it was already seriously difficult. After all, I can't even beat it. Of course, some of the staff were able to beat it by using some devious and complex exploits. If you lack combat prowess or haven't raised your equipment to +99, it's going to be a harsh experience.
Although not exactly the "reverse" of development, there are no official names for anything found in "Baroque". "Abnormal" can be read as ikei or igyou,* it doesn't matter whichever you prefer. There are two ways of naming each Abnormal, such as "Tower" and "Bubugel". Neither is the correct choice, both are acceptable to use. Just like in the real world, the way you describe things changes based on the person and context.
[*TN - Ikei and igyou roughly translate to "atypical appearance" and "grotesque" respectively.
As a matter of fact, in the original premise, we had planned for each character to use different terminology. For example, some people call the angelic insects "Littles" and others call them "Angelbugs", it lends a sectarian feel to the world. We eventually had about three different names for each individual concept and it quickly became cumbersome. This would have confused the player, so in the end we consolidated a lot of this terminology into unified names.
Anyway, the Abnormals are given the names of tarot cards since the Archangel is obsessed with tarot. Well, honestly it's a bit more complicated than that but in short, it was necessary to make the Archangel be interested in tarot. Only Grue didn't match up with any major arcana, so it is referred to as "waste" since Kato spits it out.
As the game progresses, the people inhabiting the outside world - including Neck Person - begin to sink into the ground. This is due to the feelings of guilt they carry, but the nature of their crimes is not immediately clear. Some of these people are easy to understand, but you'll never get any explanation for the Horned Woman in the game.
Of course, it doesn't matter to the progression of the game, it's more or less just something that happens. I just think it's entertaining to ponder why exactly it is that people are becoming buried in the earth.
However, it is unlikely that becoming buried will save these people. Neck Person certainly is happy to be buried, but honestly he's just trying to escape from reality. Their sins will not disappear into the soil.