Gloating About Killing People Is Strange So Drakengard’s Protagonist Is Insane

By Spencer . May 20, 2014 . 3:33pm

Square Enix shared a developer interview with Taro Yoko, the director of Drakengard 3. However, he doesn’t actually appear in the video, a hand puppet fills in for him. When speaking with Japanese media, Yoko typically used a mask, but he showed his face during his talk at Game Developer’s Conference.


The interview goes beyond Drakengard as a series since Yoko talks about expectations for players when they purchase a retail game and has a critique on army of one beat ’em ups like Dynasty Warriors.


Drakengard 3 is out now in North America.

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  • LexKitteh

    Just picked up a local preorder, glad the Japanese Voice DLC is avail for $4.99 to those who didnt preorder super early :D

    • It really is worth it, the voices are amazing. :3

      • Aoshi00

        I played the Jpn ver to death alrdy plus the dlc chapters, just rec’d my eng LE today, I’m loving the eng dub as well, even though Mikhail is not as ultra cute, but zero s mouth is just as foul as kaine. Also the lines from e soldiers were funny. Yokoo tarou isa genius, so humble and creative.. Wonder if he could cook up something with mistwalker..archaic sealed heat was a little dark too

    • Pyrotek85

      That’s a generous price too.

  • Theywontseemecoming

    That heading remind me of this for no apparent reason

  • I haven’t gotten my copy yet… *tears up while touching PS3*

  • Isaac Todd

    Whoever priced the EU version of Drakengard 3 must be insane as well.

    • Stephen Mc Devitt

      I know, right? If it’s made like a physical release but not released in physical form while claiming it would be too expensive, then why charge the same amount in digital form.

      I would’ve loved to get the physical version imported instead if not for the whole DLC region-compatibility nonsense.

      • Gregor

        To be fair the vast majority of games that come out physically and digitally are priced the same in both forms. Which is absurd, but it seems it has become the normal thing to do :|
        The problem here is that we don’t have a choice, I’ll probably wait till it drops a bit…

    • TheRealMalek

      That’s why i bought it in canada…

  • Stephen Mc Devitt

    So basically Drakengard beat Spec Ops: The Line to the punch on deconstructing the whole notion of the player killing loads of enemies without being bothered by a conscious.

  • Got my copy on the 17th. I love the game. I guess that makes me crazy too.

  • Ghoul_Aid

    I love this guy :D
    Really hope the game does well.

    • Captmotorcycle

      It certainly is as jagged as hell game play wise. I plays Ok, but doesn’t live up to the hype.

      • Rayhan PromisedGallery

        no one ever hype this that much

      • Ni ~Algidus~

        so it’s our typical drakengard game

      • Ghoul_Aid

        That’s fine. I’m positive people hyping this know what to expect from it. Nier’s game play was far from perfect, but it’s still one of my favorite games.

  • makubexnas
  • Shippoyasha

    I guess his message is that characters in violent games tends to straddle a line between being insane and doing so for righteous reasons and it can be a thin line at that.

    He keeps saying he ‘fails’ at showing of the nuances of his violent game worlds, but I think he’s being way too honest and humble. I think as far as the themes of the games go, he’s doing a good job of putting a new wrinkle on how violence is perceived in the story.

  • ギャビン

    LOL this is a great video! I went out and got it today!!

  • I have to admit that while I understand what Yoko is trying to say about the unseen limitations present in game development today, and particularly in regards to the concept of the killing-game, I don’t think he failed.

    The biggest thing that stuck with me from playing Drakengard 3 was, and has been a deep concern and question about the “killing” that I’m doing in video games. The questions of justification, extent, motivation, and morality come to my mind all the time now.

    In fact, recently while playing Child of Light I had to ask myself these questions in regards to the random monster battles. While Aurora’s battles with the main bosses made sense and felt justified, many of the mob battles felt random and even vicious. It felt really out of place and I ended up making the game personally about avoiding as many non-essential fights as possible, arriving at each boss battle more and more under-leveled. It really increased the challenge and lent a lot more weight to the story than if I had approached it as a typical RPG and laid waste to all.

    I had even more issues with this concept while playing Ar nosurge, a game that (impossible to avoid minor spoilers following) plays the “you think this is a game but for us it is real” card on you.

    Honestly I almost want to feel angry at Yoko for possibly ruining my appreciation for what could and maybe should (or maybe not) be harmless fun, but he definitely accomplished at least part of his goals as far as I am concerned, causing me to ask the same questions he is, and to consider where we could go in terms of games from here.

    When I began playing Drakengard 3 I felt entrapped by a cumbersome control system meshed inside a game suffering from low frame rate and questionable performance. When I completed it, I had almost forgot I was playing a game, as I was too invested in the story and the ideas being addressed. The downloadable content was an even more intense extension of that experience, each sister’s story like a self contained DOD3 storyline compressed into ~1 hour of game play.

    I can really appreciate Yoko’s mental process and in a way I hope that he can himself break some of these unseen limitations that he’s discussed here and design a game that is not as dependent on the manipulation of emotion and the dark side of human nature and potentially explore something else, with as much of a great effect.

  • Rayhan PromisedGallery


  • Ethan_Twain

    Holy crap. Mr. Yoko has in nine minutes revealed himself to be a more thoughtful director than… any? remaining Square Enix talent? Seriously – Square Enix stopped making insightful games that reflect society years ago. The World Ends With You seems like it happened by accident almost, because NOTHING else from that company suggests the ability to make games like Mr. Yoko is discussing here.

    It’s just a shame that Mr. Yoko’s honest appraisal of the violence in games has led his games to niche territory. Violence is a dark, unpleasant thing and since his games are action games where there’s constant killing that’s been reflected in them. In the art, in the narratives, things can get pretty grim.

    But I’ll take a game that reflects an unpleasant reality that struggles to find an audience over another big budget Final Fantasy game about absolutely nothing.

    • Shippoyasha

      Come on now. That’s kind of unfair. Not every game should be about contemplating the nature of violence or the action. That’s ultimately something Yoko Taro wants to get into but it doesn’t mean every game needs to be that. Especially not something that intends to carry a more mainstream audience like Final Fantasy games. Not to mention some FF games do delve into the reasons why you fight so many monsters you run across. FF6, FF7 and FF10 at least shows more of a reason for fighting in the lore itself. And many ‘heroes’ do fall into becoming villains in many FF titles. They don’t explore it in the same exact way Yoko Taro does, but it’s not like they don’t have a shred of contemplativeness to these elements.

      • Ethan_Twain

        That’s fine. Nothing wrong with popcorn entertainment. Nothing wrong with sweeping melodramas with characters taking turns being “heroes” and “villains”. There’s a market for that and that market is being well served.

        But I think that the plot of, say, FF 7 is inherently inferior to a more thoughtful narrative that stems from real problems and real societies. I will take Devil May Cry over Dynasty Warriors when I want action. I will take Etrian Odyssey over Final Fantasy if I crave rewarding turn based game systems. I will take Spec Ops: The Line over literally any Tales of game when I want a story.

        Dynasty Warriors can have fun action, but it’s simple. Final Fantasy turn based combat systems usually reward mashing “attack” more than anything else. Tales of games have long and complicated plots, but rarely manage to say anything beyond praising the power of true love and friendship.

        These games are not “bad”. But they are simple. And I like to recognize games that elevate above that. Mr. Yoko here has made games that meditate on both the current state of the video game medium and the current state of the world. He’s gone a step beyond.

        I celebrate that. And no, I don’t think that’s unfair at all.

        • Shippoyasha

          I don’t think it’s fair to say FF7 is popcorn material though. It was one of the few mainstream games with a lot of heady psychological, ethical themes all around it. It was so much more layered than its haphazard translation made it seem. It was perhaps too ambitious for its own good when not many people really understood what the game was shooting for and so many people shot it down with ‘lol, Japanese wackiness’. Much like in Drakengard games, one could even come to a conclusion that the stuff Sephiroth was doing to try to destroy humanity was actually more heroic than villainous, depending on how one views the humans’ meddling with nature. FF10 was kind of similar, despite the teenybopper aesthetic, it had a lot of things to say with regard to tradition, culture and religion and the power of emotion transcending death. Yu Yevon could also be seen as a tragic hero in that story as well.

          Also, while Tales may not have the most intricate of stories, they still have pretty good characterizations because the characters get ample talking time even compared to many other RPgs.

          Yeah, I do agree Taro deserves recognition for his specific brand of storytelling though. That being said, I think it’s kind of easy to misconstrue his angst with the sales trends of games, as to that of games’ thematic qualities. I don’t think he meant to take violent games down a notch as it’s more that a specific brand of violent action games sell extremely well. And to be fair for those games, if their gameplay is fun, then that’s all that matters in the end. If a game has a great message but is totally unfun to get through, then it’s not exactly easy to actually plunk down $60 a game for it.

          Which comes to his point about ‘Nobody will buy a $60 game for 3 minutes of beauty’. Which indicates that the $60 pricetag is a bit of a hamper in general. Which means more games could afford to be $5, $10, $20 or other flexible increments for gamers to be more reasily accepting alternative games but at an easier price to justify, compared to games delivering the gameplay content.

          • CRUSHING

            What he meant when he said “$60 game” referred to the budget, not really the price point. He can’t really just come out and say what kind of budget a big release has, that’s just a bit of a no-no, companies don’t like admitting how much they really spend on making these games. What he meant was that if you could spend that kind of AAA budget on 3 minutes, it would have incredible potential.

          • Shippoyasha

            Maybe so. Which is way Japanese devs tends to fare much better on handhelds where it’s not as low budget as mobile but not as high budget as console fare.

            I think his ultimate point is also that with that amount of money for the average console game, there’s a certain expectation of longevity with the gameplay/action/violence. Maybe it’ll help if more gamers can justify themselves to get a more narrative or even entirely non conflict driven game if it can deliver that $60 of content. But like Taro has said, there’s no strict answers to that yet. Though I guess stuff like Telltale games has found a nice niche with their episodic releases at a reasonable price these days.

        • MrSirFeatherFang

          It’s why I wasn’t bothered at all by Tales of Graces’ “friendship” theme… I just think Graces was kind of throwing it in your face is why it bothered some folks.

      • Bunzi

        For me, the story in most of those games is the means to the violence, rather than the other way around – there’s really no justification for any given cave in FFVI to house monsters, or for an animate house to attack you in FFVII while you’re strolling through the slums.

        And even than, all of these things are idealized and prettied up, to make the wanton acts of violence easy to digest – enemies explode into fireflies or vanish into balls of light, rather than fall to the ground in bloody heaps. The heroes never have to justify what they’re doing in the interim between cutscenes, because it’s all just there to pad out the game. I’m with Ethan in being sick to death of that brain dead approach.

    • TheRealMalek

      The world ends with you was made by Jupiter not SQuare enix

      • Ethan_Twain

        You know, I’ve always wondered how the division of labor split with that game. Because on one hand, everything about that game SCREAMS Nomura. His influence is evident in everything from the character art and narrative to the smallest things like menu layouts.

        But on the other hand Square Enix was only the publisher, Jupiter was the developer. But Jupiter doesn’t make all that many JRPGs really. So I feel like Square Enix probably had a little more to do with this one?

  • DesmaX

    After this video, I do hope he’ll become an indie developer now (Especially now that Wada is out of Square-Enix; don’t think they’ll call him again).

    He might be able to do whatever type of game he wants (And maybe he can even resonate whatever message we want to for a wider audience, by giving a more appealing package). Who knows, maybe he can even make “The best 3 minutes of your life”

  • Slickyslacker

    I viewed this when it was first posted, this morning. I must say, this is a profoundly moving and poignant oration. I’m not one for puppetry, but I find his desire to remain enigmatic endearing and kind of cute.

    Though Yoko may be virtually invisible, largely by the mediocre success of his games…and his own efforts to conceal himself…he’s clearly an artist that cares infinitely about his work. He shouldn’t blame himself so categorically or label his shortcomings as “failures”, he just hasn’t been given the opportunity to produce those “beautiful 3 minutes”, as he put it. Even if the game containing these so called minutes wouldn’t be literally that short, he should be able to showcase his talent unabashed.

    I can’t help myself but want to support him, now. I had previously passed Drakengard 3 off as an unimpressive hack and slash. A hack and slash it may be, but I’m sure it’s an endearing little game notwithstanding. I’ll try to pick up a copy as soon as possible.

    He’s been out of work for several months, by this time. Being an unemployed game developer in narrow Nippon must be unfathomably crushing. He even spoke to societal advantages and mortal power, in the video…

    I hope he’ll at least get back on his feet soon.

    • Shippoyasha

      I feel Taro could use some kind of an action studio that is well versed at making action games while he focuses on the narrative. His stories are always terrific, but he is not exactly the master of making action games. I feel the ‘mainstream’ gamers care more for the fun of the gameplay and it’d help if the games are as fun to play as they are to contemplate about. I still thought games like Nier was still pretty fun, even if the gameplay elements could get too grindy or wonky at times. Drakengard 1 and 2 was even worse in that regard.

      • Lynx

        I would totally pitch the idea of Taro working with Platinum but on second thought, the style might clash a bit too much. Then again, that could work for the benefit mainly due to how over the top Platinum normally is and how good the stories Taro works on are.

        Plus the Platinum Curse would probably multiply by 2 in that case.

        • Göran Isacson

          This idea is utterly wonderful. Granted, as you say it WOULD probably crash and burn in sales, but MAN if I wouldn’t love that burning wreckage more than any other burnt out wreck in gaming history.

  • DivinePhoenix69

    From what i’ve read from reviewers/other gamers who played it as well as watching several gameplay videos on youtube, this game honestly looks like a sloppy mess. Which is a shame because both the artstyle and music look fantastic. I understand that some people play the Drakengard games mainly for the story and the “bizarre” nature of it which is fine, but me personally i’d take a game with a crappy story but excellent gameplay over a game with a fantastic story but mediocre gameplay.

    Idk i was really looking forward to this game, but i guess i’ll probably wait a bit for a price cut before picking this up.

  • Spirit Macardi

    The protagonist of a Drakengard game is insane.

    In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet.

  • Earthjolly

    Drakengard 3 is getting pummeld review wise. So I want to hear it straight from the fan base, how is the game so far to you?

    • César H. Sandoval

      No game of the Drakengard Franchise is gonna get 9/10 reviews, all of the previous entries were flawed, even the spinoff (NieR) the fanbase is niche because of that, but we like the games beyond the technical flaws they obviously have, is more about the lore of the universe, their themes, characters and scenarios.

    • Lynx

      The game is a mess just like its predecessors.

      Everything else though?

      I’m having an utter blast with it.

      • MrTyrant

        I think even Nier was a little better but yeah compared with the previous Drakengards is like a little better aside from that if someone played those and liked them, then it’s obligatory to get this game.

    • Slickyslacker

      It isn’t the prettiest game, and it’s a hack and slash. It’s bound to be derided to death.

      It’s summated well in the interviews. The game is short, you run around killing everything maliciously.

      • Earthjolly

        Reminds me of EDF. Those games never get reviewed high for technical reasons as well but its just a mindless fun game

    • Ni ~Algidus~

      gameplay wise? could be better (just like ALL the other installments)
      Story, characters and emotion? Yoko Taro/10 “WIll replay many times – Ni

      I Still don’t see why people got hyped so much about drakengard 3 gameplay. The gameplay will be Okay at best while the story, scenario, characters will grab your attention (DoD 2 beign the exception where the battle system is better than DoD1 but the story is a step down compared to DoD1).
      sadly the DoD franchise will never get a high budget investment into it for these aspects be able to get a upgrade (or any other JRPG that isn’t FF, KH and Tales)

    • Shippoyasha

      Interesting story, GODLIKE MUSIC, pretty decent voice acting (I still prefer the JP voice work though), okay-action. But it has combat mechanics straight out of the early PS2 era. Graphics are a total mess and I wouldn’t argue with people saying it looks horribly ugly. The frame rates drop to unplayability, jaggies everywhere, low polygon count, N64 texture work. I think Yoko Taro really needs help from developers who know how to work an action game.

  • César H. Sandoval

    “Nowadays You can’t make a game that costs $60 and last 3 minutes, even if those were the most beautiful 3 minutes ever made!”

    Someone introduce Kojima and Taro, I’m sure they would be very good friends.

  • Go2hell66

    Smoking hot batshit insane protagonist. Dont need any other reason to buy this game

  • Kotori Itsuka

    It’s the 21st for me here in Norway, And Drakengard 3 is not out on psn?;

    • Milewide

      Have to wait for the store to update. Which I think can happen anytime between noon and 15:00.

      Checking the blog history about PSN update ( it seems like the post appears around 15:00 Wednesdays. So I take that as the upper limit.

      • Kotori Itsuka

        Oh, I see! Thanks :)

        • Milewide

          Seems to be available now!

          • Kotori Itsuka

            Yeah, I saw that. damn, the japanese voices haven’t even finished downloading, and it’s been 2-3 hours since I started downloading the game

  • DawnWolf

    Well that… was incredibly interesting.
    And am I the only one who thought the sock puppet thing was awesome?

  • Bacon_n_Lettuce

    Man, I love how straightforward and honest Yoko Taro is, it’s something you really don’t see from prominent developers that often. I find it interesting that he addressed Western audiences specifically in regards to his introspection about violence though, does he think it’s just something that the Japanese audience doesn’t really care about?

    Also, whoever was operating that sock puppet is amazing. Its quick head-tilts and melancholy face-plants were quite expressive… and adorable, too.

  • Bunzi

    I loved watching this – he hates the typical PR BS and doesn’t even try to hide it, so I was already taken in. He also hits on why I’ve been disenfranchised with not just JRPGs but a number of video games in general now – even titles that are fairly multifaceted and intelligently written like, say, Devil Survivor, tend to skim over the implications of killing one particular part of the population over another, while at the same time preaching a message about the importance of saving -human- lives.

    I’d like to see some sort of tripe A title with a deep, engaging story where killing or violence is, at best, an option, instead of the be all end all.

    Also… him having to adjust the puppet near the end. =3

  • Serephitus

    The reason he couldn’t find the answer to his own question is that he refuses to accept the answer provided to by history and nature. Nothing is wrong with killing. Life and death is a natural cycle and without things killing each other the world would be out of balance and eventually run out of resources.

    The concept of killing each other as being bad is a necessary form of maintaining order in society in the current era, a large part due to religious beliefs that was enforced in the last few centuries. However once we run out of resources capable of sustaining our exploding population, wars, famine, and natural disasters will eventually kill off a large number of the population until we find a balance of sustainability with our environment again.

    The only hope to avoiding that is to pray that technology advances faster than the rate at which we’re consuming our natural resources and provides the discovery of a new resource, or a more miraculous renewable resource that can sustain however large our population grows to.

    Taro Yoko can search for a moral answer to why murder is bad all he wants, but the truth of the matter is, that is up to one’s own beliefs. The function of the law to condemn murder is a functional means to maintain order, as opposed to a moral one. Our genetics have wired us to do violence as a means of survival when needed, hence in these games our conscience is cleared as the setting usually is, if we do not kill, we are killed.

  • Göran Isacson

    “But when I thought about it in an extremely calm state of mind, it hit me that gloating about killing a hundred people is a bit strange”.

    Said the hand-puppet.

    Seriously though, I dig his reasoning here- the bloodless carnage of games like Dynasty Warriors is kinda off-beat. Sengoku Basara kind of gets away with it because the whole game and world is just off the walls bizarre (I will never stop laughing at that scene in the SB anime where Shingen Takeda talks about how they have to protect life… while he’s sending away a tornado with his axe that kills people in the hundreds. It’s just such a wonderfully serene moment that seems aware of it’s own bull-shit, and then the final villain is defeated by the rainbow radiation of the main rivals massive bromance. That kind of world can get a pass, whereas a game that tries to be more serious really needs to acknowledge that, hey, slaughtering a thousand people is really kind of horrifying. And that’s why we have Caim. And our world is all the more richer for Yoko Taro applying a bit of consequence to his game design and story.

    Anyhow. I really do dig his thoughts on violence in games, and why his stories developed the way they do. I kinda wish he could see all the adventure games and such that get released here in English like Dear Esther, Gone Home, The Stanley Parable etc. I wonder if he’d get a kick out of those.

  • Kotori Itsuka

    Shit man, I downloaded drakengard 3 and the game installation was waaaay faster than the voice pack download and installation. 10GB for japanese voices? They better put voices on every single conversation no matter what kind of conversation it is, when I get home from school

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