Quantum Game Design Questions Answered By Tecmo

By Spencer . June 26, 2009 . 2:30pm

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Quantum may feel familiar to the West, but the PlayStation 3 game marks a new direction for Tecmo. Quantum is their first third person cover centric shooting game. You control Syd a stocky fighter who explores living towers with changing cover points. These gothic deco spires are filled with monsters, which Syd and a female ally/rival shoot through.

 

I spoke with Makoto Shibata, Director, about Quantum to see what Team Tachyon and Tecmo can add to the genre.

 

Why did you decide to make Quantum a PS3 exclusive?

 

Makoto Shibata, Director: Japanese development tends to focus and specialize on particular hardware. When we were thinking about doing this we saw the PS3 as the hardware with the highest specs.

 

Tecmo started off doing a lot of Xbox 360 games. Now Tecmo is making more PlayStation 3 games like Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Is Tecmo shifting towards PS3 development?

 

It’s not that Tecmo is shifting away from the Xbox 360. It’s about timing. From the beginning this was seen as a PS3 title and it happens to be coming out at the same time as Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.

 

Are you afraid Quantum is going to be compared too closely to Gears of War?

 

The comparisons are OK. Resident Evil 4 is what started the TPS (third person shooter) genre. It’s a good example of shooting and moving. Gears took that further and is another evolution.

 

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Was Resident Evil 4 the inspiration?

 

I’ve been playing first person shooters for awhile and Resident Evil 4 was the first game that worked with with a controller.

 

Is Quantum designed for the West first?

 

Yes.

 

Is Tecmo focusing on making more games primarily for the West?

 

It’s not like we’re focused on the West, but we do know the market is bigger. Games that sell over here, you have to invest in development and work hard to make a good game. We all understand that within Tecmo.

 

There are games in Tecmo geared for the Japanese audience so it’s not that we’re completely focusing on the West.

 

How long have you been working on Quantum?

 

About two years.

 

What aspects can Tecmo add to the TPS genre?

 

We think we can add action to the TPS genre. The tower shifts and changes shape. Syd can climb up slopes and fight while hanging. Since Tecmo knows action games we can bring that to the genre.

 

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The game doesn’t seem as violent or gory as the average shooter designed in North America. Are you concerned about a CERO Z* rating? (*Editor’s note: it’s an 18+ rating similar to the ESRB’s AO rating in Japan.)

 

That was one of the considerations. Also, what’s the point of all the blood? The blood doesn’t make it more fun.

 

Yeah, I agree with that, but Ninja Gaiden was ultraviolent. Quantum seems like it’s on the low on the gore scale.

 

We were thinking from the beginning this was a beautiful game, a pretty game with an organic feel to it. That influenced the design.

 

Do you think it would be better received if the game had more blood?

 

Me personally? I don’t need or want fountains of blood so this is fine for me, but for the general American gamer I have to say, yeah.

 

We didn’t have it in here, but we were thinking about having things like blowing off parts and armor.

 

I think that would work. Since the enemies are organic it wouldn’t be as visceral. You could still have the glow effect when an enemy dies instead of blood.

 

The first question you asked, is it tough being compared to much to Gears of War was interesting. That’s the first time we’ve actually been asked that.

 

No way! Are you serious?

 

Peter Garza, Localization Producer: Everybody says it, always Gears, but nobody ever asks anything about being compared to Gears.

 

I think people compare Quantum to Gears because of the character design. Syd is stocky like a football player and Marcus.

 

In the beginning he was thinner, but when thinking about what an American audience would like we referenced comic book heroes and 80′s action movie stars that kind of figure. Not so much a football player. Gears is like a football player.

 

Sort of like Schwarzenegger?

 

Yeah. 80s action stars, Dolph Lundgren. That’s the kind of style we were going for.

 

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Are you planning any downloadable content for Quantum?

 

We’re looking at the online mode. New maps, new rules, and new online play modes.

 

How many online maps will it come with when it ships?

 

It’s still up in the air. We’re looking at around ten or twelve.

 

Is there offline multiplayer too?

 

No, it’s online only. Do you think that’s a must have?

 

Maybe not a must have, but gamers like together and have FPS parties. I guess I’m a little surprised that there isn’t any offline multiplayer. That’s rare for a FPS game.

 

The main focus was offline was the single player mode where you control two characters at the same time.* We didn’t really consider offline multiplayer that much. We always thought of the offline mode as a single player mode.

 

*Editors note: In Quantum you control Syd, the gun toting hero, and a nimble female warrior that Syd can throw.

 

Since you have two characters how come you didn’t make a co-op mode?

 

The girl is not with you from the beginning. You only meet her part way through and she has her own motivations for climbing the tower. Sometimes you’re together, sometimes you’re separate. It wouldn’t work for offline co-op all of the time.

 

What characters will players be able to use online?

 

You will be able to use enemy characters and other characters that appear in the story, as well. You can also use the female character online.

 

[I watched Shibata play a boss fight with a giant monster. He stuns it then fires at a weak point.]

 

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Is focusing on weak points the style boss fights?

 

Bosses will have weak points, but all bosses won’t have that pattern. Within the story there are two kinds of enemies the Nosferatu and Geldskids. There this Diablosys phenomenon that mutates the tower and everything around it. If the Nosferatu come in contact with the Diablosys phenomenon they become Geldskids. Geldskids coats the Nosferatu body and you can find a part might not have been covered completely, that can be the weak point for that particular Geldskid.

 

Not all the bosses are humanoid. In the trailer there is a glimpse of flying boss. We have a spider-like boss, as well. We’re trying to get a good variety.

 

Did you build this engine just for Quantum?

 

Yes, this is something we made for Quantum, but we took a basic engine we had for all hardware and adapted it for PS3 and Quantum specifically.

 

Now that you have an engine ready is Tecmo planning on making more TPS games?

 

I have a couple of ideas I’d like to explore, but nothing concrete.


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  • ECM

    If you wanted to be pedantic, you could point out that since Tecmo and Koei are the same entity now, that they long ago did the cover shooting ‘thing’ w/ Winback, long before Gears of War made it hip.

    • Hraesvelgr

      But most people hated/don’t know about Winback, so it doesn’t get credit for a lot of the things it did. Of course, the game was pretty terrible outside of Bot Mode, but…

      • ECM

        Eh, I actually enjoyed them quite a bit and far more than games like Gears of War. (Which is not to say that it’s necessarily a better series, but that I may have gotten my fill of that play mechanic with Koei’s outings.)

    • PN04

      C’mon, everyone knows it’s Kill.switch that Gears owes it’s cover system to more.

      • ECM

        This may or may not be true (or sarcastic), but you couldn’t get to Kill.Switch without going through Winback first.

  • Mazen

    I cant wait for this game.

  • UFO

    Looks too Gear-ish for my taste. They should really consider making the graphics Fist of the North Star style. I so loved God Hand.

  • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

    This sounds like Gears of War set in Tartarus with Prince of Persia mechanics.

    Still, PS3 only? That seems kind of not worth the risk to me…

    • PN04

      No more a risk than any other exclusive 3rd party title. If anything it means they can put all their attention into it as much as a 1st party would.

  • name

    bloody freaking oath offline multiplayer is a must.
    it realy pisses me off when devs spend so much money into setting up servers makeing shure lag is minimal, and completly ignoring offline MP.
    what hapend to the good old days where almost every single game had a 2 player mode.
    the ps3 can have up to 7 controllers if memory serves me right.
    7 but WTF is the point if .1% of all games have offline MP, WTFs the point?
    im sick to death of having to switch controllers every time my family wants to play, or when a friend comes over it gets extremly boring.

    • Aoshi00

      It really doesn’t make much sense for no offline multiplayer, since I play Gears over at my friend’s too sometimes.

      I guess the game just wasn’t designed that way like he said since the girl is not available at the beginning story-wise.

      I have to say the design is just not interesting to me at all, the guy looks like the dude from Berserk… Since I like Gears I would probably give this a try.

  • name

    and im lost they make a game NG2 which has the most blood and gore ive ever seen in a video game.
    than make this with absolutly none WTF?
    and ive seen alot of laser guns for this game in pics please dont tell me this is one of those futuristic styled games like the old terminators or im going to be extremly dissapointed

    • x BeAzT x

      me 2 hope they have shotguns and snipers that shoot real bullets

  • PN04

    A lot of the 360 decisions were also forced on them by Itagaki who Tecmo finally fired. After that they suddenly started showing a more favorable eye towards the PS3. Choices like lots of blood in NG2 and then the shift back away from that for Sigma2 show they’re trying to make up for their early failure to recognize the PS3.

    I think the interviewer does a disservice to the West by suggesting that some how we’re all blood thirsty and want to see gore in Quantum. We want to see a suitable amount of damage being done not an excessive amount.

    • x BeAzT x

      But thats not fun at all i want to see enemys body parts flying all on the wall and blood splatting everywhere its just more fun, who wants a shooting game with no blood? Tecmo should try to make this game the best they can if they want to get a lot of sales. Everyone these days like violent gory games not know boring games and plus its more REALISTIC.

  • x BeAzT x

    WOW! NO BLOOD thats going to kill it, if they dont put no blood not that much people are going to like this game. Who wants green blood? It feels good when you blast an enemys head off and blood splats everywhere. Tecmo should do a poll if there should be blood because everyone i know wont buy a game with green blood, make more violent and gory its more fun. TECMO PUT BLOOD!

  • theunleashed666

    I think there doing a awesome job I can’t for this game this just made me even more excited for it this is going to blow everyone away when the final version is released next year and in the editors note says the girl is playable at some point in the single player storyline and it’s exclusive exclusive so it’s not a timed exclusive anyway can’t wait to play this awesome soon to be greatest hit

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