At the 2007 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, iNiS Vice President Keiichi Yano described the process which eventually resulted in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. His first inspirations for the game came when he first tried a Nintendo DS handheld, and development on the game began after successfully pitching the concept to Nintendo.
At the conference, he also displayed early concept art for lead Ouendan character Ryūta Ippongi, who originally wore the shirt of his gaku-ran uniform unbuttoned and had a significantly shorter hairstyle. Yano noted that Nintendo was fond of the characters due to their manga-style aesthetic. Yano also displayed an unused Ouendan stage from a prototype build that featured a puppy in danger. The stage concept was ultimately dropped from the final version of the game because the puppy died if the player failed the stage.
Due to the surprisingly high import rate of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Nintendo and iNiS began discussing the possibility of officially exporting the game to other regions. However, as Keiichi Yano, vice president of iNiS and director of the game explained in an interview with 1UP.com, selling the game at retail in Western markets would have been unfeasible due to the game’s innate reliance on Japanese popular music and cultural references. It was due to this fact that when Yano and iNiS began work on the North American version, the black-clad cheerleaders of Ouendan were removed and work began on a replacement.
The first concepts were of a trio of dancers styled after the Village People, before the final decision of a trio of men styled after government agents, using distinctly Western references such as the Ghostbusters, Blues Brothers, Men in Black and Austin Powers series for inspiration. In addition, the concept of the Elite Beat Divas and Commander Kahn directing the Agents would come from Charlie’s Angels. [Info from Wikipedia]
Images from www.dsfanboy.com
The first video below is from the Beta version of Elite Beat Agents. The EBA beta shows many small differences that weren’t present in the final version of the game. These many things include flames on the bottom of the touch screen for a certain amount of consecutive beats, pink circles for completing song sections, different girls in the car and different transitions used. Some audio differences are also in place. Those include different voices (such as the announcer at the start that says “Mission” and a few sound effects.
Also, Yosher noticed that the second video below includes beta stuff like the agents not waving their arms before the gameplay starts. The same goes for the character in need. The image that pops up of the lead Agent on the bottom screen is also different, and there’s some images on the top screen as well that aren’t there in the final game. Other than that, the Agents animations are entirely different from the final game, almost like those of the Ouendan. This video seems to show the game being in the middle of the translation from Ouendan to Elite Beat Agents.
Thanks to Yosher for the contribution!