According to a 1997 Comptique Magazine (March edition) interview with the game's director/designer/writer Tomoyoshi Miyazaki, he was asked why he chose Ark to be the only playable character. He responded:

"That was something that was decided at the very beginning, to only have Ark. Well, there’s also Yomi who you control inside Pandora’s Box. Because the player is alone in the story, we figured there should only be one character the player controls. That also makes it easier for you to empathize with the protagonist. One advantage was that since limiting the characters increases the memory available, we were able to do more complex and detailed movements and animation for Ark that we couldn’t do in the previous two titles. The controls are a step-up in that regard, I think."
According to the game's director Tomoyoshi Miyazaki during a 1995 interview featured in Dengeki SFC and Famicon Tsuushin magazines, he was asked how the game's development began? He responded:

"We started the planning for Terranigma very shortly after completing Illusion of Gaia, so we’re about a year and a half into the development now. Of all our Super Famicom titles, I think Soul Blazer would be the most iconic Quintet game. However, the world of Soul Blazer didn’t feel like a big, epic—it felt more like you were playing a series of miniature set pieces. That was something I was left a bit unsatisfied with.

Soul Blazer had a unique worldview, though: in that game we tried to depict humans as viewed from a non-human perspective. So the inspiration for Terranigma came from the desire to combine that concept with an “epic”, larger world a la Illusion of Gaia."

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