User:eighty5cacao/misc/WMG dump/Umihara Kawase
|WMG||This article contains wild mass guessing, or original research about the settings, characters, or events in a work of fiction.|
In brief: An evil cult tells the public that global warming isn't a problem and that big companies should stop wasting money to prevent it. Actually, they believe that it is a problem, and they would like it to continue until rising sea levels provide justification to aquaticize humanity through genetic engineering. The games depict the training missions of said organization's opponents.
The canonical games actually depicted VR training missions like the VR Missions of Metal Gear Solid. The training environments were designed to hone the sensory-integration abilities of the operatives, like the Snoezelen treatment for autism-spectrum disorders.
The real mission is an assault on an evil organization bent on world domination via genetic engineering. (See below.)
Early stages of the evil organization's experimentation produced fish-like creatures, some of which were captured for use on the training holodeck of the canonical games. Later R&D milestones would look like selkies and the eponymous Selkie from the webcomic, in no particular order.
Leaders of the organization are wanted alive, together with some secret documents, and certain dangerously large/powerful "mistakes" from the project are wanted dead.
Other soldiers involved in the mission are using older, bulkier technology. In combat gear, they would resemble the protagonists of the Bionic Commando franchise. They would be unable to jump from ordinary solid ground.
The evil organization's plan
The organization was founded to fulfill a prophecy that "the human race's future lies in the sea." Their secret plan is to genetically engineer humans with aquatic adaptations. Meanwhile, they would allow the melting of polar ice caps to flood a substantial land area, which they believe to be an inevitable consequence of global warming. Then, only the modified humans could survive in (formerly) coastal habitats.
In phase 1, the organization would begin research and development while spreading propaganda. They profess opposition to the scientific consensus on global warming; though they admit that some global warming is anthropogenic, they believe the problem is overstated. (For example, they may mention that unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic ice cap is not significantly losing mass and may even be gaining it. They would make an argument from authority, saying they are "smart enough" to know that global warming is not a serious problem.)
They oppose all forms of geoengineering on the grounds that they would be too expensive for too much risk and little benefit. Instead, they say, companies should continue tweaking existing renewable energy technologies, and individuals should take responsibility for their own impacts by practicing waste minimization. This would free up money to address poverty, hunger, and other socioeconomic causes. (TODO: Mention something about global-warming countermeasures on a smaller scale than geoengineering that nevertheless require fundamental innovation. This may include alternative power sources such as solar and wind power. Also, make some mention of data dredging as a propaganda tactic: For example, they might cherry-pick a few species that would benefit from a rise in temperature, such as by habitat expansion.)
In poorly-educated areas near coal-fired power stations, they would promote electric vehicles, hoping the people would not realize that this actually makes global warming worse. If questioned about this, they might say misleadingly that the power plant is designed for "clean coal."
In phase 2, the organization would create a small community of modified humans to demonstrate their idea to world leaders. They would implement a form of trait-based genetic use restriction technology, selling a drug which their modified humans must consume in order to unlock their full oxygen-handling abilities. (TODO: Specify what physiological attributes are affected ... this includes at least hemoglobin, myoglobin, and neuroglobin production)
Once the sea-level rise becomes an urgent concern, the organization would begin phase 3 and drop the genetic DRM, insincerely apologizing for their past business practices. (They don't expect all major cities to be totally submerged right away; as sea levels rise, some cities would be redesigned to operate like present-day Venice, IJburg, or Giethoorn, except that the modified humans would be expected to swim under their own power rather than relying on boats to transport themselves.) The newly modified humans would then outcompete natural H. sapiens by reproducing normally.
- Consider similarities of character design with Dora "The Explorer" Márquez: backpack with magic satchel functionality; hair shape and color; eye color (but not skin color, strictly speaking). The similarity is more evident with Kawase's in-game sprites than her box-art depiction. See also Destructoid comments[dead link], Classic Game Room (mini-)review, and comments on a playaround TAS (obsoleted and current versions).
- While on the subject of YouTube: did someone say that the original Umihara Kawase looks like something an European Amiga developer could have come up with in the mid-90s? Or am I confused again?
- Could the 16:9-safe UI mentioned in this NESdev Wiki edit summary be construed to support the simulation hypothesis? Suppose that the game screen represents a lab technician observing the simulation on a TV monitor.
I initially remembered incorrectly what azuritereaction said (xe was actually referring to Susie Derkins). ZetaPlays doesn't seem to have said anything about Dora either. It is possible that the video I'm thinking of was by someone other than a "notable" let's-player.
|Behind-the-scenes info: Development|
Strictly speaking, an interview with character designer Toshinobu Kondo josses my idea: The protagonist is a traveling chef on a quest to find the tastiest fish, and the fish aren't happy about it (or else she feels guilty about harming innocent life). There is some interconnection between the world's physical constructs and the psyches of its human inhabitants, as confirmed by designer/programmer Kiyoshi Sakai, but no evidence of surrounding sociopolitical or economic crises. There is also no evidence whether the time-manipulation abilities in the 3DS game exist outside the visible portion of the game world.
The excuse I'd like to make is that the above is just a cover story imposed by the simulation or its operators.
Perhaps the trainees eat parts of the captured enemy fish to build resistance to any infectious or toxic agents they may contain. (TODO: When do they cook the "fish," and when not? Are they intentionally breeding the "fish" for food? Work in some mention of "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us.")
None of this precludes the protagonist actually having cooking as a hobby.
The prototyping of the game's mechanics was done on an X68000 computer. This is not too surprising, although it raises the question as to why Umihara Kawase itself wasn't developed to be an X68000 game. (It was supposedly a decision based on "market" reasons, but was Nintendo of Japan's licensing process as onerous as Nintendo of America's?) Was any programming done on Apple IIGS computers? (TODO: find the forum thread [NESdev?] where it was mentioned that some SNES development team used X68000s for graphic design and IBM-compatible PCs for coding)
A development screenshot of Sayonara Umihara Kawase shows a door numbered 81, but the finished game contains 50 levels numbered contiguously.
Any info on the "mobile phone" game that was supposedly released after the DS game?
Most previous character artwork (see HG101) shows multiple strands of hair sticking up, while the version in the Toshinobu Kondo interview shows only one. What is this meant to imply?
TODO: look over this and this interview, the latter of which suggests that the plot mentioned above may not be officially accurate (was it made up specifically for the manual of one version of the game?)
|For code-name issue (see In-universe)|
The cancelled PSP localization and the 3DS game (but not its Vita or Steam re-releases) were titled "Yumi's Odd Odyssey" in North America.
- Describe any special materials / magical technology used in the fishing rod and backpack. For example, does the "rubber" of the fishing line make use of "hypersteric hindrance" to enhance its strength? (The 3DS game plays right into my theory: some form of time manipulation exists in this universe, though it is unknown exactly what forms of time travel are allowed by this universe's physical constants.)
- What's the name of the evil organization, and why (etymology)? Working guess: "Douglas Moldavia" – see discussion. But perhaps that's just a front organization, and the real organization/cult has a more foreign/exotic-sounding name. Another name idea is "Fortran Engineering" – see COBOL, Cobol, Fortran, and Fortran – which may refer to the good guys.
- Is the fishing rod intended to be passed down through generations, like the "Vampire Killer" whip from the Castlevania series? (Evidence for this is unlikely to exist; see the next bullet.)
- Is "Umihara Kawase" a code name, much as "James Bond" has been hypothesized to be? Is Yumi (part of) the protagonist's legal name? Caveat: The WMG of multiple Bonds is generally agreed not to be accurate. Likewise, the "Umihara Kawase" in the canonical games is probably the first and only person by that name, whether or not it is a code name. Was a Markov chain program involved in the choice of the name?
- Ivan Farkas and Simone B. "7 Insane Stories Behind the World's Weirdest Looking Towns (Page 2)." Cracked, 2014-10-08. Accessed 2014-10-09.
- See also The Cutting Room Floor coverage of Dian Shi Ma Li, where it is hypothesized that "Fortran" may be an alias of the game's developer.