By Spencer . July 10, 2009 . 2:00pm
Atlus is advertising Demon’s Souls as “a game that enjoys the taste of your tears.” A fitting tag line since Demon’s Souls is merciless. However, when Takeshi Kajii, Producer of Demon’s Souls at SCEJ, was developing the dark fantasy game he didn’t think it would be received that way.
“As developers we never thought it would be that hard,” Kajii said at the Demon’s Souls panel at Anime Expo.
After the panel I caught up with Kajii and asked him a few questions.
There’s been a lot of discussion about how Demon’s Souls is difficult. What boss battle do you think is the most difficult?
Takeshi Kajii, Producer: It’s probably different for everyone. You say boss, but it’s not just the boss. It’s everything including the road up to the boss that makes this game really hard. If you find patterns to destroy the boss, it’s not that hard. It’s how you get to the boss that makes this a difficult game.
What class is your favorite class to play as?
I like the paladin knight.
How come you decided to have these Twitter and paste style messages? Why didn’t you let people freely write messages?
First, it was easier to implement since we didn’t need to implement a profanity filter. If we made a freeform messaging system it would turn it into a large chat, which detracts from the feel of the world.
What do you think about the helpful Black Phantoms that altruistically help other players?
System-wise we know you can do it. You can invade other people’s worlds as a black phantom and help them out. We left that in the hands of the players to decide their own path. Overall, it worked out in the game’s benefit.
But, there are sneaky players that come in as Black Phantoms. At first, they seem like they’re helping out, but later they may backstab you.
[ Editor's note: By using a special item a human player can force their way into another player's game as a Black Phantom, which is supposed to replace a boss monster. Demon's Souls has an interesting quirk where Black Phantoms aren't harmed by monsters since you're supposed to be on their side. However, some (few?) players act as "friendly" Black Phantoms by showing up in other people's games to clear monsters and so forth. Since players don't have a way to directly communicate you never really know if the Black Phantom is friendly or not.]
How did the English localization with Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong come about?
Sony has groups in Japan, Europe, America, and also Asia. There is an English speaking audience in Asia so it was a must to publish the game in English.
Does Sony view Demon’s Souls as a franchise? Have you thought about making a PSP game similar to Monster Hunter or creating another game on the PS3?
The simple answer now is no, but we are currently evaluating how it will do in North America. Like how much it will sell, how popular it will be. In Japan, it started off slow and gradually gained popularity so were taking all of this into account to see if we can make a franchise out of this.