Magnacarta 2 Producer Shares Character Details And Explains Platform Choice

By Spencer . July 30, 2009 . 2:10pm

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Played the Magnacarta 2 demo on Japan’s Xbox Live Marketplace yet? Now you can learn about the characters and the monster AI. Masahiro “Mabi” Knittel, Localization Producer at Namco Bandai, introduces us to Argo, Juto, and his rival Crocell in this interview.

 

What can you tell us about the lead characters like Juto?

 

Masahiro “Mabi” Knittel, Localization Producer: Juto is a boy that washes up ashore, after having lost his memory. So, he suffers from amnesia. He is essentially on a journey to discover who he is and what his destiny is. Being the main character in the story, the story follows Juto as he searches for these answers.

 

How does Argo fit into the story?

 

Argo is the former leader of a tribe of large, bulky creatures. He joined the counter central unit in order to resist the main villain, Schauenzeit. He’s there to give assistance to Princess Zephie who is resisting Schauenzeit because they both have the same goal.

 

And Princess Zephie is Juto’s love interest?

 

I’m not going to comment on any of that. But I will say, that Zephie and Juto have a relationship that is unique in that she is there when Juto’s island is taken over by Schauenzeit’s forces. She feels a sense of responsibility for what happened to the island and takes him under her wings to make sure he stays safe. Juto is essentially cared for by her as she feels a sense of responsibility to him.

 

Can you tell us about the other characters?

 

The other one you can switch out in is Crocell, he’s a fire wizard. He has a rivalry with Juto from the get go, right when they meet they do not get along essentially like oil and water. There’s a lot of really humorous banter that goes between Juto and Crocell. They are kind of always saying quips at each other.

 

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Where did the idea for the character switching system come from?

 

That was one of the design elements we wanted to add to the battle system to keep things fast paced and exciting. Players control one character. When they burnout that character and enter an overheat players will be prompted or nudged to switch characters. Players will get a good taste of the strengths and weakness of all characters as they rotate them on the fly.

 

I noticed you can pull monsters by getting close to them and having them chase you. Do monsters have any other AI features like jumping out of hidden areas to surprise you?

 

I haven’t seen anything like that put into the game. What they have is essentially sight aggro if they see the players they move towards the characters.

 

There is some AI in that, I don’t know if you got a chance to explore the combat mechanics of chaining attacks and doing a chain break, but when you try to chain attacks together you have to time things very well in order for things to pull off. There are some creatures that will attempt to thwart this by stunning before you go into that chain. If you don’t watch for that you’ll get stunned right as you’re about to chain an attack and they’ll essentially stop you dead in your tracks. There is a little bit of that programmed in the creativity of the enemies attacks.

 

What else can you tell us about the enemy’s AI? I made it up to the werewolf boss, which pounded me with strong attacks. Do bosses or regular monsters have any other tricks like stunning?

 

Each monster has unique characteristics. The werewolf boss has its set of attacks and the werewolf thieves have their set of attacks. As you go further into the game you will run into monsters that have stuns, monster that cast spells at you, give you status ailments.

 

You’ll see teams of enemies where one is a wizard and there are a couple of sword fighters that accompany them. If you just leave the wizard unchecked and not take care of that wizard, he’ll be attacking at a distance and afflicting the player with status ailments. It’s definitely something you have to reckon when you’re fighting teams of enemies like this. They do have a team play mechanic and the player is essentially compelled to deal with multiple threats at once in a really chaotic battle environment, switching back and forth between characters.

 

There isn’t much time between the Japanese release and North American version, but are there any plans to enhance the US release with extra features?

 

No, essentially what we have is the game localized in English. We don’t have any plans to enhance the game with Japanese voice overs or anything like that.

 

I heard Magnacarta 2 has DLC…

 

We have been considering various DLC options. As far as what’s going to happen and how that’s going to play out, we don’t have anything solid so we can’t comment on DLC plans.

 

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Is Magnacarta 2 guaranteed to be an Xbox 360 exclusive, unlike Tales of Vesperia which has a PlayStation 3 version coming out soon?

 

We have plans for no other platform, at the moment, except for the 360.

 

How come you decided to build Magnacarta 2 for the Xbox 360 instead of any other console?

 

At the time when the development team was considering what platform they were going to build the next game on, the 360 was the next-gen platform. This was several years back. The 360 was, essentially, a new platform. It was next-gen, the graphics were superb, and the power of the platform was much more than any of the other consoles out there.

 

The development team wanted to take this game series in a new direction and felt that with all of the things they wanted to do with the graphics, the epic story, the voice acting, the volume of graphics, sound, AI, and storytelling the next-gen platform was the way to go. So, they decided on the 360 at that time.

 

Since then the PS3 has come out, but at that time it was a no brainer choice.

 

The game has been in development so long there must have been some changes. How has Magnacarta 2 evolved? Was the battle system the same? Were there alternate characters that got cut?

 

I’m not the one really familiar with the development process from start to finish so I don’t know what sort of evolutionary changes occurred in the planning or design docs.

 

Does Namco Bandai view Magnacarta as a franchise like Tales?

 

This is actually the first Magnacarta that Namco Bandai Games is publishing in the United States. Previously, it has been published by Atlus. We hope this is the start of a new franchise. But, it is a first for us as a company to tackle. We’re optimistic.


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  • TurkeyPotPie

    The story and characters sound so very generic. UE3, no Japanese audio, DLC…not sure about this one especially since I am not a fan of the art either. What was the performance like on the demo? After Lost Odyssey I don’t have much confidence in Japanese developers and UE.

    • http://anosou.com/ Anosou

      They’re Korean. I’d be surprised if there was Japanese audio. :)

      • TurkeyPotPie

        Who is Korean? The developers? I know this was a Korean franchise first, but I thought this game was developed by Japanese developers?

        • Ereek

          Unless something has changed, Softmax is the developer. Softmax is a Korean company.

          • TurkeyPotPie

            You’re right. This reminded me of the game Rhapsody of Zephyr (another Softmax game), ports of which came out long ago for the DC and PS2. For some reason, I thought the ports were handled by a Japanese developer, but Softmax did them and they were just published by a Japanese company (Falcom). I have not really been following Magna Carta 2 and thought the same for this game.

            I still have reservations about Unreal Engine though given how Lost Odyssey and The Last Remnant turned out.

    • Aoshi00

      I just played the demo and beat the boss, the battle system is quite fun. Gameplay was smooth and loading from room to room to overhead map doesn’t seem bad at all (one of Lost Odyssey’s biggest problems). The animation’s okay, unlike Kaim who runs like a flying sissy :( or Rush who runs like a retard (what’s the deal w/ TLR’s stiff and unnatural animation anyway, they walk and move like robots which really bugged the heck out of me)

      I actually rather like the art, music (especially the main theme), and story, at least from what I gathered from the trailers. I’m glad one doesn’t need to play the first game to play this, as I haven’t finished the first Magna Carta. It’s too bad there’s no Jpn audio, for me that’s one of the biggest drawing points of this game, hearing Hirano Aya guiding thru the tutorial in a soft voice was rather heavenly.

    • Hraesvelgr

      The Japanese voice acting was nothing special, anyway. I can understand your skeptical stance, though.

      • Aoshi00

        Have no idea why you keep on insisting the Jpn voice acting is not good. Do you even speak Japanese or understand the Japanese language at all? If not, I’m not sure what you base your criteria of a dub on. Like I don’t speak French, German, or Italian, so I certainly cannot comment on the quality of those dubs for Lost Odyssey, also I’m not familiar w/ the voice actors of those countries either.

        Or if your generalization of “nothing special” means they sound like anime characters, that’s because they are anime characters in a game, not sure what you’re looking for here in an RPG.

  • QBasic

    Meh. Magna Carta is still Magna Carta: Crap.

    • Hello Hello

      I’ve played the demo and it was fun. Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to literally judge the game by its cover.

    • http://www.nisamerica.com NickyD

      lulz. I re-bought the first one because I felt I needed to give it another chance, but no, it still was horridly horrible.

      This one sounds like it took a nice long look at itself and changed things around to make it, well, fun. But I don’t have a 360 so I can’t try it out for myself and judge. Hopefully it’ll make a run onto the PC, as the PS3 is rather poor at running UE3 games. Rather, the UE3 is rather poor at fitting into the complex, un-PC-like PS3 architecture.

      • QBasic

        Haw. I’m half-expecting an xbot to run in here and chew you out for that last bit. :P

        But, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter if the game “looks closer at itself.” Interviews posted on this very site have pretty much confirmed that the game is gonna tend to stick to some of it’s old habits; ones that utterly killed the first game for me.

        • Hello Hello

          If you actually played the game, you’d know that it plays nothing like Tears of Blood. I hated Magna Carta: Tears of Blood, but I had a lot of fun with the MagnaCarta II demo.

        • Hraesvelgr

          People who use terms like “xbot” and whatever other fanboyish terms you kids use these days suck. Just sayin’.

          • QBasic

            Oh, don’t worry about that; I only reserve the use of those terms for extreme cases, and I have no reservations or biases. :3

            You know…like the Narutoid archetype; the hopeless breed of fanboy who knows nothing else, and will jump at the chance to attack anything else.

          • Hraesvelgr

            Alright, you got me there.

  • Aoshi00

    It looks like this game would be pretty hard, I hope save points wouldn’t be too far apart. I like how Zephy is the boss of Juto :) The 3D models look rather different than the original art, but I like it like that as the slender doll-like characters remind me of Claymore.

    *need Magna Carta faceplate*…

    • Hraesvelgr

      I hope the difficulty is upped from the demo, because it was boringly easy.

      • Aoshi00

        It was just right for me. I could imagine the whole party easily being wiped out by some of the overwhelming huge bosses. It would be great if a save point is available before any major boss battle, don’t want to lose an an hour of progress when you hit a crazy boss. That was the main problem of TLR, some boss battle takes over 30 minutes to finish, then comes another consecutive boss battle that could last another hour. I know that’s challenging, but that’s also very frustrating if you keep dying.

        I’m sure they would have different modes of difficulty to satisfy the hardcore.

  • LORDMATRIX2004

    to TurkeyPotPie:

    Yeah because we all know Lost odyssey was a bad game right? (rolls eyes) As for The Last Remnant I loved the game, but to each his own I guess!

    Magna Carta 2 looks to be pretty interesting and I enjoyed the battle system once I tried the brief demo.

    • TurkeyPotPie

      You can keep your eye rolling to yourself. Where did I say Lost Odyssey or The Last Remnant were bad games? I enjoyed both very much, but both were hurt by Unreal Engine performance problems on 360 (especially The Last Remnant). In fact, the Lost Odyssey developers specifically mentioned unfamiliarity with Unreal Engine being an issue during the development of the game.

      • Hraesvelgr

        Honestly though, if the Unreal Engine is such a problem to these developers, then maybe they shouldn’t be using it…

        Anyway, I don’t seem to recall any issues in Lost Odyssey…?

        • Aoshi00

          Long loading time was LO’s main problem, perhaps over 10 seconds from enemy encounter before you can start choosing commands in a battle (like Xenosaga Ep 2 but worse). I understand it takes time for data to be read off the discs, but I tried the HDD install and the loading only improved a little.

          I for one also love Lost Odyssey but would be lying if I said I wasn’t bothered by the loading time at all, the worse one lasts 20+ seconds after you get the submarine.

  • epy

    I’m pretty interested in this game, the battle system looks fun and I’m a fan of the art style. The top class japanese cast was a big draw for me but they’re being pretty clear that they won’t include it, so that knocks it down a few points though.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Don’t worry, you aren’t missing much.

    • Aoshi00

      Yeah, the Jpn voice cast is top notch.. can’t understand why they’re being so stingy now after the initial batch of RPGs that all came w/ dual tracks (Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Eternal Sonata).

  • thebanditking

    Why is it that so many companies make games using UE3? Personally outside or Gears of War I can’t stand it, especially for Japanese games it makes every thing look bland and overly lit by bloom lighting. Here is a perfect example take any picture from a UE3 RPG (LO, TLR, MC2) and then look at a pic from FFXIII, it’s like someone forgot that muted grey, sepia, and gun metal were not the only colors the human eye could see, even greens are oranges have a muted hue to them. This is fine for the Gears games it suits them, but that has always been my point Epic designed this engine to work with/for their titles and nothing else.

    RPG’s (well JP ones anyway, western ones are always devoid of color) always have such a vibrant look to them, and personally for a game I am going to be looking at for 30+ hours I really do prefer that it have some color. Even look at Sakaguchi’s two titles, Lost Odyssey may be the better game but Blue Dragon has it beat in terms of graphics, it just more fun to look at. Watch Magna Carta’s first trailer particulary the parts with all the soldiers and the guy sitting in the chair, there is what 4 colors at the most (white grey, black, and muted red on their uniforms) I don’t know maybe this doesn’t bother people as much as me but I just can’t keep playing games that all look the same.

    • Hraesvelgr

      What WRPGs are you playing that are “always devoid of color”?

    • Aoshi00

      I think I see what you’re saying, SO4 was kind of like the first next gen JRPG that uses the whole color palette, in fact it could be too colorful sometimes. And so far all JRPGs using UE3 have been plagued by technical problems, while Gears and Bioshock’s gameplay were totally smooth.

      Lost Odyssey’s world maybe look a little grey, but I think it rather fits its bleak world setting. While Blue Dragon was certainly more colorful and vibrant, the design was kind of bland, not to mention the simplistic story..

  • http://twitter.com/DanCiTi Dan Citriniti

    HD Boobs, Johnny Yong Bosch, and action gameplay? I’m sold.

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