ライブ・ア・ライブ © 1994 Square Company, Limited.
(Live A Live)
Role-playing video game. The game follows seven distinct scenarios scattered across different time periods, with two more unlockable scenarios linking the narratives together through the recurring antagonist Odio. Gameplay is split between exploration with story-specific twists, and turn-based combat played out on a grid.
GAME ID: SHVC-5V
Live A Live was released on September 2, 1994 in Japan. Originally meant to be released in Japan before Final Fantasy VI, delays occurred in Live A Live's production and the release order was reversed. Reception of the game has been positive, with praise going to its unique gameplay and narrative mechanics, though its short length was faulted. Selling 270,000 units, the game was considered a failure.
The original concept was born from the desire to make an RPG where players could experience multiple standalone stories at once, contrasting against Final Fantasy where smaller stories served a grand narrative arc. The production was made possible by the expanding storage capacity of the Super Famicom ROM, with the aim being for players to be able to complete each section within a day.
Active production began in December 1993, though the entire development including early planning lasted one and a half years. Once production finished, the team split up to work on other projects within Square.
The first world created was the Medieval edition, which informed both the wider narrative and the gameplay design. The scenarios originally had a graduating difficulty scale, but Tokita abandoned this so players could tackle the scenarios in any order they wished. Inoue was responsible for the battle system design, wanting to make a strategic experience which Tokita described as 'real-time shogi'. Another goal was to evolve the standard gameplay of RPGs at the time. One idea of Tokita's that was rejected involved not displaying hit points, but having the character physically act like they had been injured or look weakened as they took damage instead.
Developed by Development Division 5 of Square.
Illustration: Gosho Aoyama, Osamu Ishiwata, Yoshinori Kobayashi, Kazuhiko Shimamoto, Yumi Tamura, Yoshihide Fujiwara, Ryoji Minagawa
Scenario: Takashi Tokita, Nobuyuki Inoue
Main Program: Fumiaki Fukaya
Battle Program & Menu Program: Kazuhisa Murakami
Event Design: Takashi Tokita, Hideki Okuma, Kazuomi Suzuki
Mapping Art: Naoya Kawahira, Yukiko Sasaki, Takaharu Tanaka, Yuko Abiru
Battle Design: Nobuyuki Inoue
Battle Data Design: Yasushi Shimizu
Main Character Art: Kiyofumi Kato
Main Background Art: Yukiko Sasaki, Takaharu Tanaka, Yuko Abiru, Toshiyuki Mogi, Yuka Miyamoto
Battle Character Art: Kiyofumi Kato, Yuka Miyamoto, Kazuyuki Kurashima
Monster Art: Jiro Mifune, Yoshinori Ogura, Yuka Miyamoto, Kazuyuki Kurashima
Battle Background Art: Takaharu Tanaka
Battle S.F.X. Art: Tomoyoshi Sakaguchi
Sound Program: Minoru Akao
Sound Design: Teruaki Sugawara
Sound Effect: Tamio Otomo, Kazumi Mitome, Yoshitaka Hirota, Yasumasa Okamoto, Shun Ohkubo
Voices: Yoshihiko Maekawa, Yasushi Matsumora, Yasunori Mitsuda, Misako Tsutsui, Akiyoshi Masuda
Tool Support: Keizo Kokubo
Tosa-ben Translation: Tetsuya Nomura
Publisher: Michio Okamiya, Kei Hirata, Noriko Watanabe
Coordinator: Yusuke Hirata, Hitoshi Takemura, Masakazu Kubo
Executive Producer: Tetsuo Mizuno
Battle Director: Nobuyuki Inoue
Music Composer: Yoko Shimomura
Director: Takashi Tokita