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According to series producer Yosuke Hayashi, the Snow stage was directly inspired by the Castle stage from Virtua Fighter 4. The Beach stage is also inspired by the "beautiful rendition of water" on Jeffry's stage from Virtua Fighter 3.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
In a Reddit AMA with Shutaro Iida, he revealed that, for him and his team, the most insufferable thing about developing this game and for the Nintendo DS was strict demand from higher ups "to use the touch [screen technology] as much as possible" during their development.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Console: Wii
Retro Studios, according to one of it's developers Bryan Walker, were at first extremely concerned about wanting to develop for Nintendo's upcoming Wii system due to the console's mediocre specs compared to the competition. However, being among the first westerners to see a prototype of the unique controller for the console, they were immediately won over by the gaming machine's groundbreaking motion-control gimmick.

“...And we were a little concerned to be blunt, and then, ta-da: they rolled out the Wii Remote. Kind of in unison, the whole team went, ‘Ohhhhh. Ahhhh. Okay.’ Everybody was watching at E3 where the Wii was rolled out and the stampede when they opened the door of people running right past the Sony PS3 display to get in line with the Nintendo display to play the Wii. We were like, ‘Ah okay. We understand now. We’ll be quiet.”
Contributed by PirateGoofy
The idea for Lei-Fei was inspired by series creator Yu Suzuki's trip to China:

"In 1993 or 1994 I went to China and met a famous Shaolin monk, and so I wanted to create a Shaolin monk fighter for Virtua Fighter."
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Retro Studios dev Bryan Walker recalled in an interview how unexpectedly understanding Shigeru Miyamoto was to him and his team's vision for the project in the planning stages and how considerate and mentorlike he was with their pitches and ideas. When the final moments of the collaboration were almost done, however, Walker recalled that Miyamoto said something in English to them that stuck with them forever: "Please take care of DK. He is my friend."
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
In a 1997 interview with the game's director Koji Igarashi & designer Toshiharu Furukawa, they were asked how they came up with ideas for the game's huge assortment of weapons and items. Igarashi stated that they used a variety of different references, books and other materials, and tried to include things that had never been used in a Castlevania game before.

Furukawa added that each of the staff members had a special attachment to a different kind of blade, so they ended up using a good variety of blades in the final game. However, this bias did result in the developers' favorite weapons being overpowered, adding that "Not realizing that no one liked shields was a bit of a blind spot…"
Contributed by ProtoSnake
The game was originally going to be titled "Polygon Fighter" during its prototype phase of development. The title was then changed to "Ninja Fighter" before finally settling on "Dead or Alive" because of the pressure Tecmo placed on the game's success.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
According to Tom Lee, Diego was created largely to give representation to the Hispanic community in America as well as appeal to American sensibilities.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
In a 2001 interview with the game's director Jun Kobayashi featured at the game music column of allabout.co.jp, he was asked who his target audience for the game was. He responded:

"At first, I was thinking of a game for people who liked club music, something they could enjoy without actually going to the club."

"However, after mulling it over, we finally decided on targeting people who are new to video games with Rez. I mean people who maybe bought a Playstation 2 and watch DVDs on it, but hardly play any games. Or people who think “games today are too difficult, I can’t play them.”"

"By the way, I’ve been playing games since the Famicom era, so for most games today I don’t need to read the instruction manual, I can just start playing. That’s all good for people like me who grew up with and experienced the evolution of Famicom, Super Famicom, Sega Saturn, and Playstation… but Rez was aimed at those who don’t have that experience, the kind of people who have just bought a PS2 for the first time. The PS2 may be their first experience with a video game controller, and I wanted to create a game that even those new users could enjoy."

"With Famicom games you have a directional pad that moves a character, and when you press a button your character immediately jumps or attacks. I’m very familiar with those kinds of controls. Most games today are released for people like me, who are familiar with those kinds of controls, and developers then try to take that formula further and do more refined things with it."

"Consequently, people whose first video game console is the PS2 see these more complex games and have no idea what’s going on. The buttons are too complicated and the appeal of the game is lost on them. Of course with a player like me, I prefer those kinds of games, but with Rez I wanted to immerse new players in a different world: one where a brand new sensation has been added to the traditional formula of “aim and shoot the enemy”-type games. "
Contributed by ProtoSnake
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
According to game's director Tatsuya Nakae in a 2000 Arcadia magazine #3 developer interview, he was asked how Cable and Marrow were selected for this game? He responded:

"One of the staffers at our company is extremely well-versed in American comics, so we asked him to come up with a list of candidates. Using the selection criteria of “attacks that can be easily understood at a glance” and “doesn’t significantly overlap with any of the characters introduced with the previous games”, as well as “cool factor”, we narrowed the selection down to those two."

"With regards to Cable in particular, we also factored in his slightly convoluted backstory as Cyclops’ son from the future as something that players would find fun."
Contributed by ProtoSnake
According to game's artist Ben Fiquet on his Twitter account, the elevator platform from "Stage 11: Airplane" was inspired by the manga series Akira. The name of the stage's soundtrack is even "A Ki Ra".
Contributed by ProtoSnake
Shizumaru Hisame's visual model was based on Kurama from the 1990 manga series Yu Yu Hakusho.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
One of Nyotengu's victory poses is taken from Tengu's intro sequence from Dead or Alive 2. The English translation is taken from Dead or Alive: Dimensions' iteration of the intro.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Samurai Shodown 64
Shiki's personality and some of her win quotes were based on Rei Ayanami from the anime "Neon Genesis Evangelion".
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Samurai Shodown II
Nicotine Caffeine's name originated from Adachi's addiction to coffee and cigarettes during the game's development.

"I came up with the name "Nicotine Caffeine" because I was addicted to coffee and cigarettes when we were developing the game. I took the words "caffeine" and "nicotine" and changed them to kanji characters. I no longer smoke cigarettes."
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Adachi was originally going to make another ninja character that was very similar to Hanzo Hattori's design. However, because his wife was a fan of the 1987 manga Animal Doctor, he wanted to make a character that would be popular with the female market. Galford's character was inspired by the main character, Masaki Nishine, and his pet Siberian Husky, Chobi.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
The idea for the Ikari gauge (renamed the POW bar in the Western release) was inspired by a Street Fighter II match that background designer Tomoki Fukui had with series creator Yasushi Adachi.

"Adachi came up with the idea, but the inspiration for the Ikari gauge came when the dev team was all playing Street Fighter 2 together for research purposes. Adachi and I were playing against each other and I frustrated him because I won. Adachi was so mad because he lost that he was silent for a minute. Then, he suddenly got up and shouted “Ikari gauge!” So we took that frustration, that anger and rage that players feel when they lose a battle, and decided to incorporate it into the game. That was where the inspiration for the Ikari gauge came from."
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
The game was designed to illustrate the terror of fighting weapon-to-weapon and the impact of fighting with a sword. Thus, being hit by a weapon does significant damage to the opposing player. This punishing difficulty faced criticism during the game's development. As noted by series creator Yasushi Adachi:

"There was a lot of internal criticism about deducting so much life gauge with one attack. SNK management said this design had to be changed, but I thought it was very interesting to have players fight under the risk and fear of fighting with weapons and feel the destructive force of the sword, so I ignored them and kept it in the game."
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Gen-An's character was inspired by Johnny Depp's titular character from the Tim Burton film Edward Siccorhands. When asked why Gen-An became a green, hunchbacked character instead of more resembling Depp, series creator Yasushi Adachi replied: "I think you’ll agree with me on this, but Genan is more handsome than Johnny Depp. [Laughs]"
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Haohmaru and Ukyo are based on historical figures Musashi Miyamoto and Kojiro Sasaki from Sengoku era Japan, respectively. Nicotine is likely based on the Buddhist monk Takuan from the same era.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
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