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Yasuhiko Fujii

Fujii's profile in the Nintendo Official Guide Book for Super Metroid.

Yasuhiko Fujii today

Fujii today.

Yasuhiko Fujii (born October 23, 1969 in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese former programmer at Intelligent Systems, who specialized in programming enemies. He did so for Super Metroid and The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls. As of 2016, Fujii is an executive at Freemind Inc., a Kyoto-based web, mobile and server development company. Fujii holds a diploma in computer science from Kyoto Computer Gakuin, which he received in 1991.

BiographyEdit

In elementary school, Fujii played arcade games at his local candy store, including Pac-Man, Xevious and Space Invaders. During his spare time, Fujii would use computers at a department store, which at the time were free to use, and spend hours drawing and writing text and pictures on them. On a summer vacation, he borrowed a Famicom Disk System, and eventually purchased a PC-8801 mkII MR. Fujii taught himself how to disassemble computers, use copy tools to remove DRM protection from floppy disk games, and built a radio and a computer.

Having become greatly interested in DOS, Fujii sought to work for Microsoft. However, he was initially discouraged by his teacher, who thought there wasn't enough programming work in Japan. In his third year of college, he decided to join Intelligent Systems, partly because their headquarters was within biking distance from his house. An unprepared Fujii took a test during his first visit to Intelligent Systems, and was quickly hired as a programmer after that. He also took a part-time job at a computer rental store that he had visited frequently.

Super MetroidEdit

The person who wrote the scenario for Kaeru also worked on Super Metroid, and through that connection I got invited to work as a programer on it. There were seven programmers in total, and I primarily worked on the boss and enemies: their sprites, hitboxes, etc. Samus alone took so much data to animate and draw, there was a single programmer dedicated just to working on her—that’s how big and involved the Super Metroid development was.

—Yasuhiko Fujii

Following his work on The Frog, Fujii was recruited for the development of Super Metroid. Since the game had many designers, Fujii created a "Programming Tool" as a manual of style or set of guidelines so that the designers of the game would keep their work consistent. Despite this, Fujii recalled that the game still required "an imposing amount of work" due to the complexities involved in programming each boss and enemy. He specifically programmed the minibosses. Fujii had not played Metroid beforehand, and was unfamiliar with the series. He was initially unimpressed when he did play it, but came around when he started discovering the game's many hidden passages.

During development, Fujii heard a strange "fuu, fuu" sound coming from the office next to his; he found it to be Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi practicing his shakuhachi flute. He was surprised that the president's office was next to his, and shocked that he would often see Yamauchi walk through the office in his momohiki (traditional tight-fitting Japanese trousers).

Fujii implemented a secret tribute to Keiko, a girl he was dating at the time, in Super Metroid. The dance that is made by the Evirs before Samus faces Draygon is actually tracing the English letters of "Keiko Love". This design was not in the design documents, and he implemented it while his co-workers were sleeping. No one ever discovered what he did, and he revealed the tribute in a 2007 interview in the book Game Shokunin Vol. 1, which resurfaced through an English translation in late November 2018.[1][2][3]

In the Japanese guidebook's developer interview, he gave his favorite film as Jurassic Park, and said that he cleared Super Metroid in 2:40. Asked for a secret of Samus that only he knows, he said: "Samus has no secrets. The enemies have a few secrets." This may have alluded to the "Keiko Love" easter egg.

Years later, when the "statute of limitations" on the game had expired (i.e. his non-disclosure agreement/NDA), Fujii revealed that Spore Spawn, Phantoon and Draygon had different development codenames: Eriko Flower, Obakeen and Dankoon.

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