Suda and Mikami Talk Shadows
With Goichi Suda and Shinji Mikami at the helm of EA and Grasshopper's mutual endeavor Shadows of the Damned, we can expect Garcia Hotspur's adventures in hell to be memorable at a minimum. We were given a brief opportunity to talk to each of the visionaries about inspirations for Shadows, how their unique design mantras will manifest in the game, and exactly what a "Psychological Action Thriller" entails.
Interview: Shinji Mikami
Game Informer: We've heard the official description of the game, but would love to hear you explain the new property in your own words.
Shinji Mikami: The game tells the story of Garcia Hotspur, who finds his love abducted, and he must go to hell to find her.
GI: What do you consider the major inspirations or influences behind Shadows?
Mikami: I would have to say Biohazard 4, Left 4 Dead, and some of BioShock 2.
GI: The game is being branded as a "Psychological Action Thriller." What exactly does this term entail, and how is it different from the genre that you are known for - survival horror?
Mikami: Right. So, survival horror is kind of my genre and I think survival horror is very serious in both visuals and gameplay. However, for this game, it really has a punk rock flavor. It isn't always serious. It is very easy to get into. It is a very stylish game. I want players to always be excited when they play. It is very different than a normal survival horror game, despite the subject.
GI: How does the "Psychological" aspect come into play, then? Is it facilitated through the setting? Intensity in the atmosphere?
Mikami: I guess it is most easy to understand if I describe it as "crazy world." It is a very unique setting.
GI: It was mentioned that the boss battles in Shadows of the Damned will be iconic of your development style, but are there any other aspects of gameplay or design that will feel true to you as a designer?
Mikami: Not just boss battles, but my influence will be shown in minor enemies, too. I will be giving lots of feedback to the team to make sure they are all unique and interesting.
GI: As far as looking at your history in game design, the last several projects you have been attached to have seemed like a departure from what you become known for. Do you feel like in some regard Shadows of the Damned is returning to your roots?
Mikami: This project is originally from one of Suda's ideas. I heard about it and was like "Great! Let's do it!" That was around four or five years ago. The projects with Sega and Platinum they are more recent. If I wasn't working on this project, I think I would have created something similar, but because this project is underway, I don't need to.
Interview: Goichi Suda
Game Informer: We already got an introduction to the game from Mikami-san, but would love to hear you describe the game's premise in your own words.
Goichi Suda: For this game, the background is hell. The main character Garcia his girlfriend was taken away by demons. This is the story of Garcia going to hell to rescue Paula. So this is like your worst nightmare in a road movie.
GI: Mikami-san stated that the concept was originally yours. How did this collaboration come about, then?
Suda: So six years ago, I had this game concept, and after finishing working on Killer 7, I showed it to Mikami-san and he was like, "okay, if this is your concept, I would like to work with you on it." So CAA (Creative Artists Agency) brought the project to EA. So when that was happening, we brought Mikami-san on in an official capacity.
GI: You are known for your unique and offbeat gameplay. What are you contributing to Shadows of the Damned that will feel iconic of your style? That people will look at and know you had your hand in the final project?
Suda: So there are going to be many factors in the game that you will see. But one of the most obvious ones is that the main character Garcia is wearing a leather jacket. That is one of Grasshopper's themes. It is very punk rock.
GI: How do you define "Psychological Action?" How will this concept be infused into the game?
Suda: What I want to do is introduce the audience to a brand new experience. A very exciting experience that isn't like a normal action game. Not normal at all. That is where we came up with the idea of a "Psychological Action Thriller." We would like a dark atmosphere like in the movie Seven, but exciting like Robert Rodriguez. Also, like BioShock's bent and twisted experience.
GI: Mikami-san stated that although it is a dark game, that it isn't intended to always be serious. Will there be humor, then?
Suda: Yes. You will see the pop style in the game that I am really good at. But this time, it isn¹t going to be low-class like Travis. It is going to be a little more sophisticated. (Laughs).