It's not that often that we hear about the creative process behind designing a game's box -- our own interview with Konami's contracted illustrator and packaging designer Julie Giles is a rare piece. Most people would rather read about the people who designed the actual games.
Seeing an opportunity to share his experiences with packshots, Atlus creative designer has posted an update on the publisher's informative series of Production Diaries, detailing the adjustments that were needed to adapt Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2's Japanese cover for the U.S. audience. Join us past the post break for comparison shots and a scan of the surgery sim's new print ad!
Gallery: Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2
Higher logo. Darker background. Glowing hand.
As with its predecessor, Under the Knife 2 is a card-carrying member of the outstretched-hand-boxart club. This practice of emphasizing touchscreen features with artwork of reaching fingers fell out of use as more and more games included touchscreen support, so it's strange to see it pop up again! We're just happy to see character art on the box, something which Trauma Center: New Blood for the Wii would have benefited much from.
Notice the "charged hand" that Atlus added to the U.S. box. This was also photoshopped into the original game's cover, though it's nowhere to be seen in any of the official Japanese artwork. The company also took care to position the title at the top of the localized box, accounting for retail bins where the bottom ¾ of the cover can sometimes be hidden.
Interestingly, Atlus considered over a dozen different subtitles for the sequel, including The Hands of Fate, Syndrome, Surgeon's Oath, and Under the Gun. None of them seem as brilliant as New Blood or Second Opinion, but the company was bound to run out of perfect surgery-themed subtitles eventually.
In the end, the localization team decided to stick with Under the Knife 2: "This has been one of our most successful games, so why radically change a title that works? It doesn't bowl you over, but it does the job and doesn't alienate our already solid Trauma Center fan base with a title that might not be well received."
Lastly, as we promised, here's the new Under the Knife 2 ad featured on the back of this month's Nintendo Power. Once again, it's not as creative as some of Atlus' previous work (e.g. the blood transfusion bag for New Blood), but it gets the job done!