Silicon Studio Talks 3D Dot Game Heroes And How They Started Making Games

By Spencer . March 17, 2010 . 1:25pm

image Silicon Studio is a middleware company, but last year they started developing video games. We spoke with Takehiro Terada, President and CEO, about the decision to become a developer and brought your 3D Dot Game Heroes questions to the interview.


Silicon Studio started off as a middleware company, but now you’re making games.


Takehiko Terada, President and CEO: Yes, to show our technology to people. We can find a partner to use our middleware, but the easiest way to show ourselves is making games.


That’s a unique strategy. So, you’re using your games almost as a marketing tool?


Uh huh.


Let’s talk about your first game Onore no Shinzuru Michi wo Yuke. I believe the creator of Cursor*10 helped design it. How did that relationship come about?


He [the creator of Cursor*10] is working very close to our office and the director is a friend of his. We talked to each other and started the idea to make a PSP game based on his idea.




Oreike has striking artwork and it seems like a game that could come to America. How come it hasn’t been picked up?


We’re not the publisher. It depends on the publisher. If the publisher wants to release it in the U.S., we’ll do it.


Has From Software been trying to get it published overseas?


I think so, but we didn’t discuss so much about that. I think they tried.


How did your relationship with From Software start?


The guy who is running our game division worked with From Software in the past.


3D Dot Game Heroes is a title the US is excited about. How did you come up with the idea for it?


It came from one artist. One artist made a simple demo and that started the game.


I’m not sure if you can confirm this, but maybe it’s inspired by a certain green tunic wearing hero?


Hahaha. Let’s say a little bit.


If it’s a “little bit”, how come you didn’t go with an over the shoulder camera like Ocarina of Time, the most popular game in that particular series?


We can do that, but after a discussion with the publisher we decided to make it this way.




You probably have seen a lot of fan created characters. Which one is your favorite?


Maybe, Paper Mario.


The script is really sharp with references to other games including Demon’s Souls. Did Silicon Studios come up write it?


Yes. We are all game fans so we’re familiar with many games. Also, the script guy knows video games deeply.


In Japan, 3D Dot Game Heroes seemed to get a lot of press attention, but how do you feel about the sales now that the game is released?


It wasn’t as good as we expected. The economy isn’t as good now. Also, the game market is not taking new games. They’re looking at big titles and not trying new games. That may be one reason.


How do you feel about the reception in America so far?


I think we have very good feedback from the US so we’re hoping to sell more.


The American version published by Atlus comes with the most recent patch and downloadable characters on disc. Are you planning any other DLC beyond what’s out in Japan?


I’m not sure if can talk about that. I’ll leave that to Atlus.




Since the middleware is cross platform, how come you didn’t make an Xbox 360 version?


If people are waiting for an Xbox 360 version it’s not going to happen. It’s not a problem with technology, it’s the strategy of the publisher.


What about Wii?


Our engine is focused on visual effects. So, we need a shader capable GPU. This is why we cannot support Wii.


image image

[Bishamon engine used for special effects like RPG spells pictured.]


Now that you have these tools and a blocky engine made, what other homages would you like to make?


We’re not sure yet. We have many ideas, but we haven’t released anything publically so we can’t talk about this. We’re always focusing on good technology and good ideas, together.


Do you think you’re going to move into the business of developing more games in the future?


Maybe. We don’t know. It depends on the industry and the economy. Our core business is middleware, but we are always looking for an opportunity to make a good games.


We are looking for partners in the US. If any publishers would like to work with us we can work together. Also, because we have the technology we can develop games very quickly. This game [3D Dot Game Heroes] was made in ten months. None of the members of the game team had prior experience with PS3. We just used our middleware and they started developing it. Ten months later we had a game.


Hypothetically speaking, if you were going to make 3D Dot Game Heroes 2, what would you want to add or change?


We have many ideas, we can’t specifically say them, but we have many ideas that we didn’t put into this game. If there is a 3D Dot Game Heroes 2, "if", there will be much more in it.

  • Sharp and to the point. I like his style.

    • Artavasdus

      Yeah, there were times reading the interview when I was taken aback by his abruptness XD

      I was also surprised to hear that the whole game was developed in ten months without previous Ps3 experiences :O
      That’s pretty amazing advertising material, both for them and for their middleware.

  • Lol he is pretty sure of himself O.O, thats the only way to survive in business world anyway :P

  • Ereek

    Thanks for asking my questions, Spencer!

    He is quite abrupt and just reading through it he seems very professional – almost like he was having a business meeting with you. I think this is one of those interviews that actually seems better in person than reading it in text. I wish he could discuss more, but I suppose he is limited with the publisher agreements. I’m particularly interested in the comment about how a single artist came up with the idea for the game.

  • Mazen

    Thanks Spencer for asking my question man I feel indebted to this site now :)
    I wished he talked more about it, the behind the shoulder view would have made the game feels like really you are inside an 8bit Zelda world, I hope he consider it if there is a sequel.

    • No problem!

      When I ask people to submit questions I really try to push all of them in. I mean that’s why I ask everyone :)

      I hope people will be just as pleased with our fan powered FFXIII Q&A.

  • I didn’t like their response when asked about a Wii version. It’s as if most if not all developers nowadays choose graphics (hi-res, multiple filters, fx) over gameplay (interactivity, input, fundamentals). I’m sure a Wii version is possible if they try limiting the special effects. Even so, think of how intuitive it would be to build things in the game. Look at Boom Blox (it’s a million seller)!!

    Well I have a message to the publisher (or whoever responsible for marketing strategy): Even though I’m purchasing this game, I don’t agree on your decision about keeping this an exclusive title to the PlayStation 3. I mean if you’re in for sales, I personally don’t see it happening. Your audience is not just on this machine, at least not the majority. I can guarantee you that. For a game like this, you have to think “bigger” and “wider”.

    // Roth

    • malek86

      Now to be honest, it’s not their fault Nintendo has made a shader-less console. TEV is not quite the same things, because it requires different instructions. Which makes a multiplatform engine quite difficult.

      If you read the interview, he said that they are a middleware company. It’s only normal that they would also try to show off their engine. And there doesn’t seem to be much demand for middlewares on the Wii.

      • Yeah, it looks like devs want the easy way out. If they they see it possible to create the same game on another consoles with a potentially bigger audience then why won’t they try. If it weren’t for the PlayStation 3’s capabilities, they might as well just release the game on the PC. But we know they wouldn’t dare go there. They want the game to be played on a console. Still, their problem would be finding their audience then.

        I’m sure it will be a great game, but I’m just skeptic on how the game will appeal to owners of the console it’s on. Will it sell enough to even accommodate a sequel? I guess we’ll have to see what happens once the game hits in May.

        // Roth

        • But, is their goal to create a sequel and spawn IP or advertise middleware?

          • Possibly both if they’re lucky. I’m assuming they have no plans after this game, probably hop back on to the PSP platform, unless it sells. One thing for sure is their product will be great whether the ideas were original or inspired. It’s just never been done in such a way before.

        • Keep in mind that this was done in ten months. That’s an incredibly short turnaround period for a game with the scope of 3D Dot Heroes. It’s got a lot to do with smart design decisions of course, but also that they were able to focus on a single platform.

          Going multiplatform would have taken considerably longer and the team have probably moved on to another project by now. Plus, as Spencer pointed out…the goal does seem to be to provide a middleware service, rather than get into game development fulltime.

          • jarrodand

            From previous interviews, I doubt 360/PC versions would’ve added to the R&D timeline at all, the entire game was done on 100% multiformat middleware and SS had said repeatedly a port would be simple. Obviously a Wii version would though, as it’d demand a ground up engine or port to their Bishamon toolset (which is Wii/PSP compatible iirc).

            Personally, I’d say if they want to do a Wii game, they should just make something like 2D Dot Game Heroes for WiiWare. They could even publish it themselves then. :)

          • You know what, not 2D but a “2.5D Dot Game Heroes” for Wii would be a great idea! ’cause I wanna still be able to build things and share them with others (like in Boom Blox or BlastWorks). But I see it more as a retail game than a digital download.

            If they could publish it themselves, that would be great. I mean I respect Atlus and all but sometimes big name publishers make some annoying decisions.

    • “I didn’t like their response when asked about a Wii version”

      Well too bad.

      “I’m sure a Wii version is possible if they try limiting the special effects.”

      You really have no clue about game development.
      The game uses an advanced physics engine for starters, they probably couldn’t do it on Wii no matter how dumbed down the graphics get

      I wish people would realize it takes processing power to run the gameplay as well. Play Dead Rising on 360 then Wii. That’s what processing power does to a game.

      • Well I guess so.. It’s a shame, I mean, with all that time you’d think they can built a separate engine for the other platforms. That’s probably what they should be thinking of next.

        I wonder what their response would be when asked about a PC version.

    • Why should devs have to limit themselves when there’s a bigger palette they can use? And actually, I think the RPG community is very much on the PS3 (and the PSP as well). I mean, you’re bringing up Boom Blox as an example of a best-selling Wii title. I could bring up Final Fantasy XIII as an example of a best selling PS3 title.

  • Wait, what? They developed 3D Dot Heroes in ten months as a marketing front for their middleware? That’s both insane and awesome! Hahaha, wow.

    • malek86

      Gears of War was less of a game and more of a big-budget advertising for thir UE3. And considering how many games licensed the UE3 this gen, I’d say it paid off.

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