Soul Sacrifice Interview: Adding An Emotional Aspect To Hunting Games

By Spencer . June 15, 2012 . 5:29pm

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While Keiji Inafune contributed to Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 and Bakudan Handan (he’s a guest character in both Idea Factory developed titles), Soul Sacrifice is Comcept’s first full game. Soul Sacrifice begins with your character about to be executed, but is saved when s/he is sucked inside a sorcerer’s diary. You gain magic powers, but spells in Soul Sacrifice have a price ranging from blood to shoot bullets to giving up an eye to fire laser beams.

 

Soul Sacrifice has players give up their body parts to cast forbidden magic. Why did you want to focus on the concept of sacrifice as a core part of the game?

 

Keiji Inafune, CEO of Comcept: In video games these days, it’s typical to have statistics like how many enemies you defeated or the number of rare items you collected. I wanted to incorporate an emotional aspect to a game and have players make hard decisions. In this game, it’s having to pay the price for the powers you get. Sacrificing yourself or teammate has emotional weight and adding this to the gameplay would be a brand new experience. When you play multiplayer, it might mean a lot to your friends when you sacrifice yourself to them and it might mean a lot to you if a friend does that so you can progress through the game.

 

soulsac1 What did you have to sacrifice to make this game?

 

[Laughs.] The question you probably wanted to ask is what happened after I left Capcom. I didn’t just leave a company, I left behind a legacy and the stability of being in a safe environment. Starting from scratch on smaller projects with a new team was a big challenge. I had to give up the influence I had to start over and that was a sacrifice, I suppose, in return I hope to rise with the success of this title.

 

Are you worried the game will be a CERO Z (adults only) game in Japan since it’s so gory?

 

We’re aiming not to get a Z. There may be necessary changes to avoid that rating. In that case, there is a chance the way that Soul Sacrifice looks might be different in North America than it does in Japan.

 

You can’t get much more graphic than ripping your own spine out, right?

 

You’re right if this was reality, it would be pretty grotesque. Because it’s sorcery and everyone in the game is a sorcerer, the player can still fight after he creates the sword.

 

How long do you live after you create Excalibur?

Time is limited after you create the sword, but the game doesn’t create a cut scene and automatically kill the enemy. One of the best parts of the game is spending the last moments of your life fighting with limited powers. You want to defeat the enemy as fast as you can with the limited amount of life left.

 

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So, if you defeat the enemy within that amount of time what happens? Do you live?

 

No, you die anyway. Whether you defeat the enemy or not you die. Using a forbidden art it’s like your last resort.

 

I think Soul Sacrifice is the only game where you can ‘win a fight’ and still ‘lose’ since you die. That’s an interesting mechanic.

 

I promise you that even if you die when sacrificing yourself as a last effort it will feel good. If you lose, after making that big decision, it will be disappointing. Let’s say you have a girlfriend and you want to protect her when she’s being attacked. You would go and try to save her. Even if you get killed, if she lives you fought and died for someone you love. It’s a better than watching her die.

 

In most games you play to benefit yourself. In this game, you play for somebody – you can die for someone. There are different emotions players will feel when your hero dies in the battle and everyone else in your party benefited from your death.

 

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Maybe this is the perfect game for couples then…

 

[Laughs.] If you play in single player mode you have an AI partner in the game. I recommend the multiplayer mode where you can play with your friends or girlfriend. Because that’s when the emotions come out and everyone can feel the sacrifice.

 

I was at your GDC talk, was Soul Sacrifice the game you were talking about that you wanted to revolutionize the industry with?

 

This is definitely one of them, but I don’t want you to think this was it. You might say this "doesn’t look revolutionary," but I am thinking about change all the time and there are a lot of projects I’m developing that I haven’t announced yet. My goal is to do something innovative and something new for the industry and Soul Sacrifice is one of those games.

 

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What do you have to say about the comparisons to Monster Hunter?

 

It’s natural that people compare Soul Sacrifice to Monster Hunter since I’m from Capcom. I don’t mind being compared to other Capcom titles as well, but I’m not trying to imitate MonHun. It’s always good to take in the positive points in a game that are liked by everybody, but in the end we have to create a title that is even better. Not just for MonHun, but the history of games have always been like that – creating something new and something new that’s even better.


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  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Eye ball funnel??? That make this game Day One here lol.^^

  • SirRichard

    I always love those sorts of online experience stories. You know the ones, where two players who don’t know each other team up and proceed to dominate together, or a player is spared or saved by another’s actions that cost themselves a death or something. This game looks pretty ready to breed that kind of story rapidly, which is great!

    If nothing else, the element of sacrifice is reinforced through the game. “They ripped out their spine to save the rest of us” is certainly a hell of a lot more hardcore than “He took the bullets to give me the chance to shoot back”, at least.

    • http://twitter.com/josequijano jose

      Just had an awesome Journey flashback.

  • http://epiclyamazing.wordpress.com/ AzureNova

    I will be happy to sacrifice my money for this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arnaud-Phantomhive/1816181579 Arnaud Phantomhive

    Playing with scumbag friend
    A : I’m gonna sacrifice you to win this battle
    B : No…I’m the one who gonna sacrifice you
    A : No..Its me
    B : Me
    A : MEEEE

    *Fighting in reality*

  • http://amc9988.deviantart.com/ amc99

    So… after you sacrifice your eyes you can’t use the same spell right?

    “When you play multiplayer, it might mean a lot to your friends when you sacrifice yourself to them and it might mean a lot to you if a friend does that so you can progress through the game.”

    I rather being a troll and mess up my friends XD

  • Jonathan Keycross

    The developer´s idea of multiplayer:
    “No, don´t do it. We can still win this!”
    “See ya everyone, make sure to reach the end!”
    The player used excalibur, they won and everyone recogniced her sacrifice.

    A week after launch, the reality:
    “Alright, summon excalibur.”
    “What? No way, you do it.”
    None of them cast anything and everyone died…in the tutorial.

    I already mentioned my fears regarding this game, but it seems it´s not as fatalist as I thought it would be. The mechanic seems to be more like an option rather than an obligation, like in Covenant of the Plume, so I hope I´ll get the chance to play this…and power on/off as much as I think I´ll need to.

  • Omikuji

    I always feel rather iffy about games where it was built around multiplayer. Many multiplayer games die after a while, so if you come into the game late then… well you lose that aspect of it. That and I have rarely met with multiplayer where I got an emotional responce from having them there with the exception of Journey and the non intrusive multi that happens in Dark Souls. Something about everyone exploding in bloody spine swords at the same time keeps pop’ing up in my head that ruins it for me.

    It’s a curious game though, I hope it is more emotional rather then how I keep picturing it.

  • Roberto Armando Iraheta

    Those are some genuinely scary looking enemy designs. I wish Inafune the best of luck on this project.

  • http://www.angelmassb.co.nr/ Angel Mass

    We still need MonHun for VITA though

  • Abhishek Posooa

    Looks like my social life will be sacrificed :/

  • Alexandra Cordes

    Color me interested.

  • AzuNo17

    Hopefully we see more scary aspects besides art design. Something along the lines of realtime Confusion or Blind spells cast on players. (meaning the monsters inflict tunnel vision or you seeing players as monsters)

  • malek86

    “In most games you play to benefit yourself. In this game, you play for somebody – you can die for someone.”

    Ok, I guess this is not for me. I prefer to play to benefit myself. Unless there’s some kind of mechanic that rewards sacrifices, but I doubt it.

  • neetyneety

    Gah, no offense, but I’ve had enough of these talks on how the sacrifice concept is emotional and all, what I want are actual details~! How does HP work in this game? What happens when you sacrifice yourself?

    And frankly, I hate any co-op multiplayer games. Must be because of my horrible experience with them. Usually my “teammates” are douchebags who LOVE typing useless stuff like “noob lol” and “wtf you should have done this”, etc. If I could play with my friends instead of anonymous idiots that’d be great, but most of them don’t even have consoles/handhelds, and in my area it’s extremely hard to find people to play with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dylan-Ng/100000854638739 Dylan Ng

    Laser EYEBALLS!! How ‘d I miss tht?

  • http://s932.photobucket.com/ usagi_san

    Excalibur: Certain Defeat Within Possible Victory. Love it!

    I love the answer Inafune gave to that “sacrifice” question.

    If I did have a girlfriend, and she had a Vita, I would definitely sacrifice her cos there is no greater way to show that she cares for me than to sacrifice her “life” for my imminent victory. ;D

    I hope that if the western release does make changes to ensure a lower rating, it doesn’t differ too much from the Japanese version.

  • Göran Isacson

    On the one hand, I do admire the fact that they seem to add a complicating element to the MonHun formula in order to differentiate themselves. I just hope that it’s an element that makes it FUN to play as well. That sacrificing yourself is not just dangerous, but also rewarding and fun. Because I don’t know if I can recall any game that tried to limit it’s players without making the limitation “fun” somehow and succeeding. After all, unless this game has a story so brilliant and moving Ebert himself will declare it Gods gift to mankind, it’s gonna have to sell on gameplay and gameplay has to be fun.

  • isfuturebright

    Will this come to the US?

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