TGS05: Mizuguchi/Lee 99 nights interview
Let's continue with the TGS interviews. This one was especially difficult to rewrite since I'm not a native english speaker and neither were Mizuguchi-san and Mr Lee's translator so certainly this interview will sound a bit strange. But still, it's quite interesting !
Are all the characters in the opening trailer playable?
Mizuguchi-san: Yes so here are the 6 players. (Points to horned demon character) This is not a playable character (room laughs)! One more character is a secret so you can play 7 characters! I think this is kind of a surprise. So we won't to tell about the last character!
Will each character be able to play all levels or just specific levels unique to that character?
M: So we will prepare 3 or 4 characters first and if you play those chapters first you can then get the new characters. Every character has this story, his own drama. They are in the same field, in the same war. There are five human characters and two non-humans. If you chose a goblin character, you will have a drama in a society of goblins. He has a family, friends and everybody talking about justice and human beings like "We hate them!" This is a kind of a mirror.
So characters will meet each other on the battlefield?
M:Yes. We spent almost one year to find a good scenario. We had to watch many aspects and adjust the scenarios. That was a long long way, but I think we now have a very good scenario.
A lot of people have been comparing this to Dynasty Warriors. What do you think separates this game from the Dynasty-games?
Mr Lee: They look very similar to the basic action. Speaking of action, in Ninety Nine Nights you fight against massive units compared to Dynasty Warriors. Compared to any other games. Including Dynast Warriors. So the goal of this game is to give some very dynamic feelings to the user who plays this game cause it deals with massive units.
In this build we didn't show a feature, the guardian system. The guardian system is to control the troops, not just the character. By using such kind of guardian system, we can give more versatility to the gamers because we can show more various game styles. So each thing, each object, so we have this physics system too. We didn't show the feature properly in this build because we are still working on the physics engine right now. We can show it, you will see some examples when using the old spark feature. Every element, every object - they move according to the physics, it's just not an animation.
Each element affects each other. For example, when the tree falls, the enemy under the trees gets killed.
The goal of using a physics engine is to describe more reality, just like a real battlefield. When the player gets used to play this game, he can give more various strategies to... (Stops).
So, that's why it's different from Dynasty Warrior. The character are fighting against the enemy in wide fields, that's way they are pretty similar, but when you look more deep inside, the games gets totally different.
When I played this on the show floor, the goblins actually dropped rocks on me, I didn't know that I could go up there and knock them down.
M: Yeah, this kind of physics... yeah, this is just one sample stage, but we are preparing like a castle stage or snow fields. Many stages use physics effects, like canons, big explosions...
L: In the castle stage, the player can destroy every house, every building. Player can use strategy to destroy a wall of the castle, to kill many enemies.
M: Like Phantagram's Kingdom Under Fire - that is 80% strategy and 20% action. In Ninety Nine Nights, it's 80% action and 20% strategy.
Dynasty Warriors is very historical, but this is a fantasy. You can use the natural powers, like water, fire, the wind and you can beat the enemies, thousands of enemies.
When I was playing the game, the blue meter actually got filled and it got flashy, and I didn't know how to execute any moves to it. How does it work?
M: Let me explain. The red bar is the health. When you kill an enemy, you get a red orb ? the enemy's soul. Then you can do orb attacks, and gather blue orbs from the enemies. And if you get a full gage of blue, a full bar, you can perform an Old Spark attack.
Mizuguchi-san later in the interview show one of those old spark attacks. Think Lord of the Rings: Return of the king, with the large battle with the ghost. Hundreds of souls fly around and kill hundreds of enemies around the character.
How many moves per character are there?
L: 30-40 attack moves. When you level up you gain new attacks.
The moves also depends on the weapons?
L: The moves stay the same, but the range, power and effect area change depending on the weapon you are using.
Is there any inspiration behind the design of the characters?
M: They are based on fantasy. We thought about the high def (laughter), about how realistic they had to be. We had a mission first, we had to do a game for the Japanese market, to make a success of Xbox 360. This is kind of my mission. But of course we also watch the rest of the world.
points to screen: I will show the old spark
L: Other orbs affect units, houses and buildings. So it's almost like a nuclear bomb. It involves everything.
So for example, when player use that old spark, thousands of characters, thousands of trees and thousands of logs can blew up together.
How many characters can be onscreen at once?
L: Right now it's one thousand. We are aiming at two Thousands in the final version. This is still an alpha version.
Will there always be the player and some friendly units against large amounts of enemies, or will it vary with, for example, the player against 20 giants?
L: There are very many various styles. In some missions for example, thousands of very huge dragons attack you at the same time.
M: Some character can play one stage, while others characters won't be available for it. Everybody has his or hers own story, which in the end will put all the stories into one. Sometimes the characters will go solo, and sometimes they will fight together.
If you finish this game, I think you will play it all over many many times. Cause... I play a lot, it's fun, I can't stop playing (laughter).
Are all the humans on the same side, or are there different factions?
M: The girl you've seen, she fights with her brother. You can also choose to play as her brother, and then get his drama from his point of view. They go together, but it can end with different scenarios. Sometimes you have to choose which way you want to go. The future can change.
Are you planning any online features?
M: We want to have online features, but we haven't decided yet. We could have something. We are always talking about it.
How easy or hard was it to develop for the Xbox 360?
L: We had some hard time at first, as the SDKs weren't final. But right now it's fine.
Are you using the Kindom Under Fire-engine, or is it brand new?
L: The engine is based on the KUF-engine, but it has been enhanced.
Who did the music for this game?
M: A female composer, who lives in LA. She's also making movie music. She's still young but she's got a great talent.
M: Yeah I think so.
Will all the music in the game be orchestral?
M: Basically, yes. No techno! (laughs)
Can I hook up my Ipod and have techno if I want to?
M: Yes, I think so.
Personal question: What is your highest combo you've performed in NNN?
M: Two thousand (laughter).
How long does it take to create a character with this detail?
L: Depends. We started the project pretty late, we didn't have that much time to develop the characters. We have invested around three to four months to develop each character.
We wanted to have great replay-value. When a player plays a mission a second time, we want the player to find new features. Missions changes a little bit, depending on the level of the character.
How long will it take to finish the game with one character?
L: For example, this female character you've seen - around 30-40 hours.
The mission itself changes. So when I say 30-40 hours, it's just from the start to the end quickly. But the missions keep changing depending on the level you have, so it's hard to say any exact number.
Will there be any rewards for skilful players?
L: Yes, there will be. For example, new items. And some weaponry you can't get if you don't reach certain levels.
Is it possible to re-play a level after you've completed it to level up the character up even more?
Is there a level limit for the level of the character?
L: Yes, there will be some limit. It's not decided yet completely.
Downloadable content can change this later.
And then Mizuguchi-san explains the cinema we put up on Xboxyde earlier this week. He confirm it's real time. The guy we see is the brother to the female character. The dying soldier is from the castle he talked about earlier in this interview, which the orcs attack. Her mission is now to go to the castle, which is the next mission. He also explains that the cinema sequences in the game are totally over one hour.
This is one of the launch games in Japan. When will we see it in USA and Europe?
M: We haven't decided yet, but it will be released there.
L: We want to release it there as soon as we finish it. But it's all up to Microsoft.
M: Would you want us to change the characters or the story for the launch in America?
No, keep it the same!
M: (Laughter) OK, OK! We won't change it!
And please give us the option to choose between Japanese and English dialogs!
M: Sure, sure!
L: Maybe we will have Japanese dialogs with English subtitles.
In this version, the characters speak in Japanese. The lips are synched. But when we put English sound, the lips will move according to the English language. The engine basically analyses the sounds.
Did you get famous Japanese voice actors?
M: The motion actors and the sound actors are the same for some of the characters. Some other characters are actors, pretty famous voice actors. Like Tom Hanks in Japan.
How complete is the game?
L: Personally it's very hard for us, developing such a large scale game in such short time. So, comparing to KUF, it's three times harder to develop this time.
Mizuguchi-san, how is it to work together with Phantagram?
M: We (Q-entertainment) enjoy it very much, the chemistry is very good.
How did you guys meet?
M: I first told Microsoft "Let's make a massive action fantasy game!". Microsoft guided me to Phantagram and told me they were best suited for it. I flew to Seoul next day, and we met up and decided to make the game. We work very close to each other, Q and Phantagram.
We work in three languages. Korean, Japanese and English. So we have some translators. Sometimes we have to wave to each other. It's fun, like the united nations (laughs)
Do Phantagram have any more Xbox 360 games planned?
L: We just announced a new Kingdom Under Fire game for Xbox 360 today, with an even more upgraded engine.
We are thinking about using the KUF characters and world, but making it an action RPG instead.
By now we are pretty much Xbox 360 exclusive.
What about Q-Entertainment, any Xbox 360 games planned?
M: It's still a secret (laughter). Can't say the details!
Phaethon360 @alimokrane: Righty-o old bean. (8 Hours ago)
alimokrane @Phaethon360: He was over the top to be honest even his British accent was overdone and I am British! (8 Hours ago)
Phaethon360 I don't think I've ever seen a negative preview that's designed to bad mouth the game before their review. If this was a big studio they'd be blacklisted quick. (8 Hours ago)
alimokrane @Seth: That game has always had a "Without Warning" vibe. Remember that sucking game from Circle Studios published by Capcom? (8 Hours ago)
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