PlatinumGames’ upcoming Switch action game Astral Chain is made as a single-player title, but there is a way to play two-player co-op using the Joy-Cons. However, director Takahisa Taura talked about how it can be challenging but also fun in an interview with Kotaku at E3 2019.
In Astral Chain the player controls two character at the same time. One is the main character and the other is a captured Chimera known as Legion. By splitting with two Joy-Cons, you can basically play with one player controls the main character while the other controls the Legion.
Takahisa Taura: “You may have noticed that the characters are connected by a chain. That’s not to say that I have a thing for chains, or anything, but that when you’re controlling two characters, that chain allows you to see where the other character is in relation to the one that you’re controlling.”
He shared more about the idea of including co-op that came from making a single-player game that has you control two characters at the same time:
Takahisa Taura: “I thought as I was developing the game that, of course, it could be made into that kind of system where it could be split up, but generally what I wanted to do is have one player control two characters at the same time. But the Switch actually has this great feature where, obviously, you can detach the Joy-Con and share play. We wanted to take advantage of that as well.”
Splitting the controls between the cop and the Legion is the only way the game’s dual combat sequences can be played with two players instead of one. Taura compared it to Super Mario Galaxy, but explained how it’s also different:
Takahisa Taura:“But this game is different from that. Because you don’t just have one person doing assists. Both players actually have to put effort into controlling the characters and playing the game.”
“If you’re going for a high score, it’s challenging to do this, playing in two-player. As one example, while you’re playing the game, there are several synchronous moments where you’re doing attacks with the Legion at the same time. And if you’re playing two-player, the other player and you—actually, it’s almost like you would actually have to be of the same mind.”
“But it’s not just that it’s hard. If you’re sitting next to somebody and playing this game, it’s also really fun.”
Astral Chain releases for Nintendo Switch on August 30, 2019. Check out its E3 2019 trailer in our previous report. You can also check out a short video interview here featuring Takahisa Taura who describes the game’s style as something between Bayonetta and NieR: Automata.