Here are a few words from Mitsuo Hirakawa of SCE XDev Studio on the thinking behind this special guest appearance.
Q: Why did you decide to include Mr. Miyagi in Reality Fighters?
A: Mitsuo Hirakawa, Producer, SCE XDev Studio: Reality Fighters is a new kind of fighting game. Not only does it introduce Augmented Reality elements that allow players to put themselves in the game and fight in real-world environments, but the game also uses many exclusive PS Vita features like the rear touchscreen, sixaxis motion sensors and more.
In addition to introducing players to the new hardware and unique gameplay, we wanted to create a mechanism for players to learn and develop throughout the game.
Eventually we decided that this mechanism should be a character who acted as the player's guide. We specifically chose Mr. Miyagi for several reasons. Firstly, we needed someone who was a true fighting master who could easily take on the best fighters from around the world, but was also wise, and capable of teaching the player.
Plus we had to consider the tongue-in-cheek nature of the game; some of our fight styles include ballet and break dance, as well as some unusual weapons like a toilet plunger. We needed someone who was tough, but also had a softer, more humorous side.
Q: What is his role in the game?
A: He is the sensei and guides we all know. He'll teach players how to set themselves up as a character in the game, choose clothing and costumes, learn special moves and more, as well as giving encouragement before a bout and wise words whether the player is victoriou...or not so lucky!
Q: Did you consider any other famous names for the role of guide?
A: Before we decided on Mr. Miyagi, we shortlisted various characters such as Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jet Li and even Mike Myers! It became clear that Mr. Miyagi ticked all the boxes for us in terms of a true master who has a humorous side. The Karate Kid movie being a worldwide hit and a film that we were all huge fans of also helped a little ...
Q: What is your favorite Mr. Miyagi moment?
A: Like many fans around the globe, I grew up watching The Karate Kid and I must have seen the film more than 10 times! There are so many memorable moments I can recall like the Halloween fight scene, the Cobra Kai dojo fight scene ... but my personal favorite is the "Miyagi vs. Kreese" moment.
Kreese goes crazy and he starts beating up Johnny in the car park. Mr. Miyagi intervenes and has a one-on-one against Kreese. After Miyagi forces Kreese to his knees he says "Mercy is for the weak... when man confronts you, he is enemy... enemy deserve no mercy." The audience expects Miyagi to deliver a fatal blow but instead he brings his fist to Kreese's nose...and honks it.
This scene is a great example of who Mr. Miyagi really is - tough, wise, playful - and this is the character we have tried to bring to life in Reality Fighters.
Q: Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, the actor who played Mr. Miyagi, sadly passed away in 2005. Who provided the voice for this latest incarnation of the karate master?
A: We went through an extensive casting process and after meeting dozens of applicants we unanimously agreed that American voice actor Jim Ward was the most suited to this role.
We weren't aware of Jim's previous voice acting background when we decided to go with him, but his knowledge of how the voice files are played in game (when, where, how) really made a positive impact on the recording sessions.
Jim's been one of the best voice-over talents I've worked with and he has great experience having worked on Call of Duty, Metal Gear Solid, Ratchet & Clank and many more great titles.
From the moment we briefed Jim, he instantly 'got' the role so recording went really well, allowing us to capture over 500 lines.