The lights are on
The Ravagers are back! In the year 2025, the Earth Defense Force is called into action again as a new army of giant insects and robots try to destroy Earth. The latest installment in the EDF series is back in the hands of original developer Sandlot (after Vicious Cycle’s entry, Insect Armageddon), and promises more bizarre weapons and bug-killing than ever. As a fan of the series, I posed my big questions to director/planner Takehiro Homma, game director/main programmer Toshio Noguchi, and producer Nobuyuki Okajima.
What has happened in the EDF universe since the events of the previous game?
Takehiro Homma: In 2017’s battle, mankind shot down the Ravager’s mothership, and were able to send them away from the Earth. Battles continued for a year after, as the EDF eliminated the remainder of the giant bugs. Mankind was able to enjoy peace once again and started to rebuild their civilization.
The scars left in humans were tremendously deep and severe. But ironically, the Ravagers’ remains brought unknown technology to humans as a result, which ended up helping to restore civilization.
The story is set in 2025. Eight years since the sinking of the mothership. Civilization recovered most of the prosperity it once had... The EDF military power has strengthened, and EDF has successfully developed many new weapons. Some people even say that human forces can now stand up to the Ravagers. The Earth is now protected by the strongest-ever military forces.
However, something unthinkable has been happening deep underground. In June, 2025 – the giant insects appear from underground. EDF has deployed for emergency action. On site, the EDF troopers find a horrible scene.
Do any previous EDF heroes like Storm 1, play a role in this new war against the Ravagers?
Homma: Storm 1 (The commander of Storm team) in the previous title was the hero who challenged the mothership by himself and destroyed it. It’s said that he has not been heard from since then. Is Storm 1 dead? Or if he is still alive, where is he now? The secret will be revealed in the EDF 2025. In the game, EDF troopers are talking about him every now and then. If you listen to what they’re saying, you’ll know his secret.
What were the concepts from Insect Armageddon that you felt were the most important to include in the new title?
Toshio Noguchi: What we used from EDF:IA as a reference is how to differentiate between classes. In EDF 2025, the Fencer is influenced by IA’s Battle armor, and Air Raider is influenced by IA’s Tactical. From the start when we decided to add the classes, we were considering adding a heavy-armored type and a strategic type, but we had a chance to play EDF:IA that was being developed, so we used it as a reference for our game. Having that said, in EDF 2025, these two classes have been enhanced further by adding various elements such as request of air raids and vehicles. We’ve completed the classes that have more characteristics and more unique gameplay style.
The Ranger and the Wing Diver classes deliver the most traditional EDF experiences. When designing the other two classes, did you have to work hard to entice players to try new playstyles?
Noguchi: We’ve planned the design so that the users who played the previous EDF titles can play this game at ease, and Air Raider and Fencer can bring different and new play-feel. We added the elements of air raids, vehicle requests, dual-wielding, Shield Protection, etc., so Air Raider and Fencer have enabled you to battle in a new way.
As a result, each class provides completely different gameplay and strategy. With these classes having different abilities, please enjoy the thrill of co-op to the fullest by helping each other.
What drove the decision to return to using a large number of individual missions? Was the structure of Insect Armageddon not well-received?
Nobuyuki Okajima: The original EDF series that have become popular in Japan haven’t changed the style. EDF:IA has the same idea of earth defense, but the developer is in US, and different. It’s a different title that has different story, so please don’t get confused.
The dialogue of other soldiers was one of my favorite parts of EDF 2017. Is this element being expanded in EDF 2025?
Homma: Thank you. The dialogue of soldiers is an important element for us. The number of voices has drastically increased in EDF4, which provides a wider range of AIs’ dynamic dialogs. Also, the story-related lines have significantly increased.
I see the classic designs for Hectors, ants, and spiders are returning. Since several in-game years had passed, were you tempted to change those designs?
Homma: Insect Armageddon is like a spin-off title, and the event occurs in the world that is different from the original EDF series. EDF 2025 happens eight years later than EDF 2017, and they share the same basic concept. Not to mention the graphics, the story also continues after EDF 2017. Most enemies will re-emerge after their graphics and functions are tweaked. Also, many new enemies are featured.
Some of the weapons players could unlock in EDF 2017 were only useful in very specific situations, like the Air Tortoise. How are you approaching the balance between those kinds of weapons and the well-rounded guns like the assault rifles?
Homma: The weapon like Air Tortoise is surprisingly strong depending on what situation you’re in and how you use. We think it’s one of the pleasures in EDF that players try to figure out how to use these weapons. The availability of various unique weapons creates more room for players to come up with the strategy and establish their own style of gameplay. Also, the game can be played mission by mission, so there are many chances for you to change your weapons. I believe you can readily enjoy the element of tactics in the game.
Although some weapons don’t appear to be so helpful… I’m hoping players can find the weapons that work for them among the uneven mixture of the strong weapons and the seemingly-trashy ones.
In some cases for earlier titles, players found the way to use the weapons that we thought were not so powerful, and incorporated them into their strategies.
This time too. We’ve created numerous weapons that are more unique than Air Tortoise. The game features the largest number of weapons from the series. The number of weapons in EDF 2025 surpasses the total of all weapons in the past series (EDF1, EDF2, and EDF3).
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Great job, GI!
I'm kind of pumped for this actually.
I was already pumped but this cements my excitement.