Producer: Ken Horii
SCE Japan Studio External Production Division
Director: Hidetaka Miyazaki
From Software Production Team 1 Chief Director
"The Reason for Creating a Fantasy Game Again"
- How did the team-up of SCE and From Software come about?
Horii: I have been a huge fan of games from From Software, especially King's Field series. One day I had a chance to visit the company, and in a brief conversation I asked, "You have no plans for making a sequel?" Then somehow conversation started heating up and ended up promising to create something together.
Miyazaki: When the project came in, I was mainly working on Armored Core series, and both the company and I personally have been away from creating a fantasy game, so there was a strong feeling inside me to do one.
I guess the timing was perfect.
Also I thought that teaming up with SCE could cause a chemical reaction to create something with new possibility.
And we did get a lot of advices and inspiration that From Software alone could never come up with.
Horii: Being a fan of From Software means I did have some problems with their games. If it was a sequel of King's Field, there would have been things that couldn't be changed because of tradition of the series, but by collaborating with them on new IP, we could create something new.
I remember we made a major change on something almost out of my ego.
Miyazaki: We also experimented with violence to push the envelope.
Horii: Because I'm from SCE, we tend to be careful with the rating, but we did some extreme things.
Miyazaki: For instance, I thought treasure boxes were quite unnatural in a battle field, so they were replaced with glowing dead bodies of other warriors.
We convinced them that we still needed treasure hunting element in the game.
In a way, we took liberty on this more than games published by ourselves. My boss peeked at the screen and asked me whether Sony would sign off on these things. (laughs)
"A Game System With Feel of Free Adventure"
- Looking at the story and the main character, there seem to be quite a lot of freedom.
Miyazaki: Main character is the player himself. You can set the name, sex, and of course facial features and appearances.
The fact that the protagonist is nameless is in a sense very From Software-ish. The purpose of the game is given to you in minimum amount, and you won't be forced to pursue it.
There will be some people telling you to "save the world," but you can say no and the game still goes on.
Horii: I think it does have a lot of freedom. The difference between weapons isn't in the parameter but in the moves, and it changes the whole tactics. Even with a same weapon, the motion will change depending on whether you grip it with one hand or both hands.
The game won't give you a helpful hand telling you what to do next, so how the story progresses and style of play will depend on the player.
There are many episodes.. (unreadable)
"A Game That Feels Like a Game on Playstation 3"
- What is the aim of this game coming from the company that made the system?
Horii: We are trying to create a game with distinctively new feel while being a traditional, carefully crafted action RPG. We want the gameplay itself to evolve rather than cutscenes or graphics.
Miyazaki: We are always thinking of ways to tell the joy of classic RPG with modern technology.
For example, long weapons will be hard to wield in small corridor or torch lighting up the dungeon in realtime. We want to express things that we have ignored in past generation and integrate it in the gameplay.
By doing what Wizardry games did in commands by player's action, realism, speed, and immersiveness will be enhanced greatly.
We call it a "strategic action," but it's a system with strategic element in classic RPGs in mind.
Horii: It's not exactly a pure action game where you need reflex and button mashing ability. Rather, you need to... (unreadable)
It's more of an tactical action.
Miyazaki: We want to create a "videogame that feels like a videogame" that we used to play when we were little with the latest technology, and I believe we see a new possibility in that direction.
But because a small tweak changes the whole balance of the game, we are taking a lot of time balancing the gameplay.
- It seems like there will be a lot of discussion among each other in terms of the balance.
Horii: As a SCE title, it's preferable to have the game played by wide variety of audience, but because I'm a fan of From Software, it's leaning toward "From Software" balance. (laughs)
These days the general consensus is that a game is better when it can be beaten easily, but I think a game used to be something you try again and again because you want to kill the enemy that killed you. By making a game which you can enjoy the process of trying, I want to wake up the gamers who are being used to easy games.
Miyazaki: But that doesn't necessarily mean we are making it insanely hard. There will always be a good reason why you die, like "you forgot to kill the archers" or "stepped inside without caution and surrounded by enemies."
If you analyze and think, you will be able to progress even if you are not good at action games, and that means even if you are, you will get stuck if you don't think.