Crimson Dragon started its development as a Kinect only Xbox 360 game for Xbox Live Arcade. At E3, the dragon riding game reemerged as an Xbox One launch title with standard gamepad controls. Speaking with Siliconera, director Yukio Futatsugi talks about the added RPG elements, free flight missions, and friend dragons to Crimson Dragon.
Aside from switching from Kinect to traditional controls, what was the biggest change when shifting Crimson Dragon from Xbox 360 to Xbox One?
Yukio Futatsugi, Director: The major changes from the 360 version were the big jump in visual quality we could achieve, the new online gameplay element called "partner dragons", and the great variety of missions we were able to create including free-flight missions.
What Kinect features did you keep?
The new title has a completely fresh Kinect design, and is entirely separate. This game has been created with comfortable gameplay using a gamepad as its core, and the Kinect is positioned as a game aid and a “playful element” that allows the player to immerse deeper into the game world.
For example, when issuing orders to your partner dragon, you can hold your finger up against your temple, as if activating a communicator device, and issue the order by voice.
How do the AI controlled dragons work? Since those were based on a friend’s data did you need to make any changes after Microsoft changed the network infrastructure?
Friends’ dragons are used as partner dragons in playing through the missions, providing advantage in battles. This feature was not implemented in the 360 version. Development of this feature is completely thanks to the new Live environment with Xbox One. Players can download dragons raised by other players from the cloud whenever they want, and play the game with those dragons.
Players get to see dragons that other people have raised, which could be something they have never seen before. Also, experiencing the awesome powers of these dragons would motivate the player to raise his or her own dragon to that level. This naturally also leads to the player’s desire to earn bragging rights by raising dragons that would impress others.
What kind of boss battles does Crimson Dragon have and how did you create these?
A number of the boss battles involve free flight. In free-flight mode, the gameplay is no longer a rail shooter, but allows you to freely fly around the boss to discover its weak points and use them strategically.
The game has been designed to combine rail shooter and free flight elements to produce enjoyable boss battles.
Crimson Dragon for Xbox One has more RPG elements than the 360 version. Could you tell us how these work?
To ensure that the game is fun to play for a long time, I added developmental elements. The dragon matures by gaining experience points in battles.
Also, by giving the dragon various foods, it can learn different skills, and the skill you use can change the way you deal with the mission. As the dragon matures, it evolves, and changes in appearance. Dragons also have attributes, which in turn affect the dragon’s form.
In the end, we have provided several secret-type dragons that are only obtainable by engaging in the developmental play.
Speaking of the 360 version, will that ever be released?
We do not have any news to share on an Xbox 360 version at this time.
Crimson Dragon: Side Story was a surprise since it came out before Crimson Dragon. Can you tell us how development of the Windows Phone version started?
The project began when it was decided that it would be great to have a shooter for WP7 leveraging the 360 release. Originally it was intended that they would be released together, but we ended up releasing the Windows Phone version first.
However, due to common traits among the characters and other aspects, if you play that game, the Xbox One version will be even more fun, I think.