Recently Rule of Rose has gotten a tidal wave of interest thanks to a Gamasutra article where the lead designers of the game spoke about the “erotic themes” in the title. Way before Gamasutra garnered interest in Rule of Rose, Atlus obtained the rights to release the title in North America from Sony of Japan. The game was even shown at E3 and its pretty CG screens captured our attention. Now that the cat’s out of the bag we took some time to speak with Atlus about the game. Zach Meston (PR Manager of Atlus USA) explains how Rule of Rose plays, comments on the Gamasutra article and the game’s North American status.
Siliconera: Let’s get everyone up to speed what’s the story of Rule of Rose?
Zach: Because the story is the best part of Rule of Rose, I don’t want to give away too much. A run-on-sentence setup: you’re an orphaned British girl who’s dumped off at an orphanage that it so happens has been commandeered by a group of creepy little girls who call themselves the Aristocracy of the Red Crayon. The majority of the game is spent catering to the whims of the Aristocracy and having your brain ever-more-scrambled by the twisted story.
Rule of Rose is an interesting title, what’s the significance of it?
It refers to an element of the story that defies a spoiler-free description. Suffice to say, it’ll make sense by the time you finish the game. But doesn’t it sound cool even when you don’t know what it means?
Rule of Rose isn’t exactly a run and gun survival horror game with shock scares. How would you explain the horror dynamics of Rule of Rose?
Rule of Rose is roughly three-quarters psychological horror (such as the scene in which a portly snaggle-toothed girl smears lipstick all over her face, grinning all the while) and one-quarter gross-out horror (such as the scene in which a dead, maggoty rat tied to a stick is waved in someone’s face). Something to emotionally scar every member of the family!
And for gameplay, what can we expect in Rule of Rose? How would you describe fifteen minutes of sit down time with the title?
If you’ve played Silent Hill, you’ll have a decent idea of Rule of Rose’s gameplay mechanics and visual presentation. You explore creepy environments, solve puzzles, and use makeshift weapons to defend yourself against frenzied attacks by a nasty horde of monsters called the Little People.
Who’s doing the voice acting for the North American release? Also are the characters going to have accents?
We’re not changing any of the original voices, which were English to begin with; we’re just changing the subtitles from Japanese to English. And, in keeping with the game’s British setting, all the characters have lovely accents that make everything they say sound impossibly dignified, even if it’s “Gimme those fish and chips, you right bastard!”
At what point did Atlus say Rule of Rose is a game we want to work on?
About two minutes after booting up the evaluation copy. The intro grabs you right away, and the gameplay sucks you in. Plus, it’s got a dog in it, which seems to be our unofficial theme for this year (mutts also play a significant part in Deep Labyrinth and Metal Saga).
How do you feel the audience responded to the Rule of Rose demo at E3?
The response was fantastic. We knew that it would “show” well on our big-arsed booth monitors, but it had attendees stopping in their tracks and watching the entire six-minute CG intro. Six minutes at E3 is a long time, man!
Ok let’s get to the controversy… recently an article appeared on Gamasutra about why Sony Computer Entertainment America passed on localizing the game due to “erotic themes” is it really that serious? Or were some things taken out of context?
The game’s erotic content isn’t the AO-rated girl-on-girl action that some people seem to be imagining; it’s far, far more subtle than that. Not that my PR self particularly minds that everyone is fixating on the lesbianism; I just don’t want people expecting an action-horror version of The Guy Game.
Atlus is keeping everything true to the original version right?
Indeed, sir. No censorship and no watering down. To do so would be to screw up the game, and desecrate the developer’s creative vision.
All of the controversy led to some confusion about the game’s North American release. For the record is it still coming out?
We’re currently on track for a September release. (Somewhere along the line, enraged bloggers stopped mentioning that while SCEA isn’t publishing Rule of Rose in North America, Atlus is publishing Rule of Rose in North America. D’oh!)
Keep it posted right here to Siliconera where we’ll give you guys and gals the skinny on Rule of Rose this September.