One day, I got a call from Editor-in-Chief T at Dragon Books.
"Oh, hi, Kawakami? There's this game about a mopey guy who runs around in his underpants. How do you feel about doing a novelisation of it? I think it'll be right up your alley," he said with a guffaw.
I, naturally, thought, "What you do you mean it sounds right up my alley!?" Did he think of me as a mopey man who spent most of my time running around in my underwear? Or did he perhaps think of me as the kind of author who would be good at depicting a man like that? I think probably the former. He's not too far off the mark, either.
I felt like this was somehow destiny, and answered right away. "I'll do it. Please give me the job." I became even more excited when I heard that it was called Catherine. I'd heard vaguely of it before on the internet, and found its style, like that of a Hollywood movie, and hard-boiled touch intriguing.
Next came the writing process...
There was a small problem. Due to considerations with the time it was being written and the release date, amongst other things, I ended up having to write my depiction of the climax and ending by actually beating the game myself and writing about my experiences playing it. Oh crap, how am I meant to do that? I thought. I'm rather fond of RPGs and puzzle games, but I'm really not good at action games at all. I've not played any in around ten years now. Despite this, there were rumours that Catherine was an action puzzle game - and a rather difficult one at that...
After hanging up a phone call with the head editor, H, this time I said, "Oh crap, how am I meant to do that?" out loud. It sounded hopeless. My deadline approached. I couldn't wait until someone else beat it and then watch that; all I could do was resign myself to it. The day after release, I began playing Catherine. And it was... well, fun! I couldn't believe how addicted I became to it. I'm not saying this just because I novelised it. The addictiveness of the stress of the action puzzles and the catharsis each time I cleared a stage... it really surprised me. I stayed up all night playing it, making it straight to the ending, and at the moment I have unlocked and am enjoying playing the bonus stages in Babel. I'm still not very good at it, though.
Let me talk a little more about the contents of this book. The story follows the game's scenario faithfully. In addition, as something completely original for the novel, I have also written parts for three of the sub-characters who appear in the game. What were they doing while the main character was going through his own struggles? What did they see? Even people who have been through the game should enjoy this, so I hope you look forward to it. It will probably spoil it for people who haven't beaten it yet, though...
Finally, I'd like to say thank you - however cliched - to everyone at Index who gave me this opportunity, Editor-in-Chief T, H, Ikumi Katagiri for her amazing illustrations, and everyone who has picked up this book. Thank you all very, very much.