Itagaki Talks Devil's Third, What He Liked From E3
Tomonobu Itagaki has always been an interesting interview, so we jumped at the chance to talk to the Devil's Third designer recently. His new IP may not be debuting until 2013, but we learned a little about the style the outspoken designer is shooting for. Read on to hear about his new project as well as his thoughts on games he checked out at E3.
Game Informer: What stage of development is Devil’s Third currently in?
Itagaki: In terms of technology, we finalized the middleware, the engine, all the specs. So you know, we’re about ready to go into mass production.
Will it be as action-heavy as your work on Ninja Gaiden, or will there be more puzzles and other activities to break up the action?
Do you think shooters are lacking any action elements?
No, I don’t think they’re lacking. Call of Duty and others keep up that kind of constant “action, action, action” pacing.
But those are all preset actions, right?
Yes, they usually feature a lot of scripted actions.
The action that you’re talking about, these are all passive kinds of actions. Preset, scripted actions. But what I’m talking about is the kind of action that you can create voluntarily. You can actually create the action.
So you’re saying the player creates the action, rather than the action is coming to the character in triggered sequences?
Yes, that’s right. The shooters are lacking those that are true actions. I want to show you something.
Itagaki calls on a co-worker to stand
In a current shooter, you can shoot him, right? Like this. [Mocks aiming a gun] Or you can shoot him like that, right? [Mocks aiming a gun while ducking] Well of course you can do that in Devil’s Third. You can do this too, right? [Mocks shooting the man in the rear] Or you can use the knife to cut him too, right? [Mocks slicing] But that’s all you can do so far. In Devil’s Third, you can do this. [Mocks a variety of slicing and striking motions] You can use knives...really, really powerful. You can use that to chop off their head. [Mocks a decapitation, followed by a fountain of blood] You can do close-quarters combat. The way you fight is different than if you’re far away. Did I really make sense to you?
So basically, there’s this player choice where you can do close-quarters combat, melee combat, swords, guns, etc. Does the game encourage one over the other, or is it pretty much “Here are the toys. Have at it”?
It’s all as realistic as it should be. If you wanna kill me, you would do anything you could to do that, right? If you don’t have anything, you just punch me or whatever. It’s really up to you. If you have a sledgehammer right there, you could use that. But at the same time, that could slow you down too because it’s heavy.
It seems like this game is embracing very over-the-top violence. We’ve seen that with some games like No More Heroes and Bayonetta. Are you a fan of their style of over-the-top?
It’s just all about cruelty. But [those games are set in] a fantasy world, it’s not really realistic. So it’s not something that I’m targeting to compete with. In terms of No More Heroes, I’ve only seen a trailer of that game. I find the graphics very unique, that’s how they describe the violence. But neither of these games are based on real stuff. Our game will be completely based on the realistic wars.
So Devil’s Third is set on Earth, in real-world locations, in modern day?
Yes, that’s right.
Where does the game take place?
In the universe. Pretty much all the satellites will be destroyed. Do you know anything about military weapons?
Basically just what I’ve learned from video games.
Cannons. They can aim at something that’s 40 kilometers away. In World War II, back then they had to do trial shots. That’s too long, that’s too short...they did it several times to get it right. Now, in today’s world, the military has satellites up there that can help the cannon hit the target with one shot because of the GPS helping with the direction, angle, the right amount of ammo, all of that. You know Tomahawk missiles? Cannons are the same thing. So in the current world, if the military satellites no longer exist, then all the weapons are gonna become very useless. The game is about the killing and the wars that occur in that kind of world without the military satellites. That’s why you see swords and other stuff.
In terms of geographic setting, is this kind of a globetrotting experience or is it set in one specific location?
This catastrophic situation is not happening in one location, it’s happening globally.
At E3, I saw you on checking out Ninja Gaiden 3 on the show floor. I was curious to hear your thoughts on how the game is looking.
I was there just watching the trailer, I didn’t really play the game. I did see some of the gameplay. Of course, that game is made by a different team of people. It’s not like I was going to make another one or anything, but I found it completely different from what I would make. More than anything, there was a problem in Sigma II where these blue puffy things would appear [when enemies die] and I thought it was kinda weird. I really worried about the direction of the game, it was just kind of appearing flowing in the air and I thought it really looked funny and strange. But I noticed that they got back to the more violent direction of the game. I didn’t really play it, so I can’t really comment on it. Concept-wise, I think it’s getting back to the real stuff. I don’t think there’s anything I have to worry about.
Did you notice anything on the E3 show floor that particularly excited you?
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I’m definitely gonna buy it and play it.
Did you see Battlefield 3?
EA, right? I didn’t walk that route. Modern Warfare 3 was the only one that I actually went to see, all the other ones I just happened to see on the way there. Prototype 2 was also interesting. You mentioned two games earlier in terms of violence, and I think Prototype 2’s trailer is just awesome. It’s the coolest. The sunset in the background, and the guy going like this. [Mocks Alex Mercer tearing someone apart] Do you remember? That really looks awesome. That is violence!
This isn’t lip service, OK? But I really liked Saints Row by THQ. It really looks cool. The silliness of it all looks crazy, and I love it. I loved the trailer, too. There’s a guy in the elevator who’s smoking a cigarette. He’s walking with two girls, and he hands off his cigarette and kills the guy. Then he gets his cigarette back. I love that guy. I love the way he is. I think I’m gonna try to be like him someday.