After producer Takamasa Shiba demoed Drakengard 3, we talked about Zero, the game’s anti-hero who is on a mission to kill her sisters. Siliconera also asked Shiba about editing content in previous Drakengard games and Valkyrie Profile.
I know you can’t go into why Zero wants to kill her sisters at the moment, but it’s clear that the story is quite dark. Can you please explain what goes into making a dark story that still engrossing, and without making it so dark and foreboding that it turns people off?
Takamasa Shiba, Producer: We have a good balance of darkness and humor… there’s actually a good bit of the former, in the in-game dialogue for example. We don’t want to turn it into a completely dark story. There are still scenes were you can laugh.
Speaking of story, can you talk more about how the story in Drakengard 3 connects to Drakengard 1, Drakengard 2, and Nier?
[Drakengard] 3 is actually a prequel to one. So part three happens first, then part one, then part two. There is relation, between the worlds of Drakengard 3 and Nier, but I can’t talk about that right now.
In recent years, primarily in America, there has been a great deal of sensitivity towards how female characters are represented. Are you at all mindful of how Zero will be received in the West?
In terms of how we portray the protagonist, there won’t be anything sexual. Instead of revealing or spoiling anything here… we wanted to let you know that, that sense of sexuality might mostly be conveyed via dialogue rather than her actions.
I also noticed that Zero’s dragon’s had the voice of a child.
Dragon companions are back in Drakengard 3. But one big difference is how it’s very child like, hence the voice, whom Zero has to protect.
Care to elaborate on what you mean? Will it go out of control, like a child sometimes does?
No, the dragon will simply have child-like, characteristics, not behavior.
Drakengard has in the past dealt with sexually taboo subject matters, and it would appear that the latest continues down that path. Some details were removed in the past for Drakengard. Will Drakengard 3 be unaltered in the West?
The basic principle is this: we are not planning on making any changes. But, for the script, if there are areas in which it is absolutely necessary, we will make changes.
When you say the script, are we talking about bits of dialogue or actual scenes, like the cut scenes and the like?
Just the dialogue.
Will players be able to choose between English and Japanese voices?
We are considering it, because many users are interested in such a feature. Though Sony puts limitations on the size of games, so we have to take that into consideration as well.
When it comes to on the ground combat, Drakengard 3 has on the fly weapon switching. What other changes differentiate Drakengard 3 from other action RPGs?
Much like in Nier, we call our system "weapon story"… meaning, each weapon tells a different story. The more one powers up a weapon, the more story it ends up telling during gameplay.
Can you talk about the changes to the on dragon gameplay? Is there maneuverability?
It’s a very different animal in Drakengard 3. We’ve put a lot of focus in improving the aerial gameplay. In the previous games, you couldn’t even walk on the ground, while mounted on a dragon. Before, you just flew and shot fire, that’s it. But here, you can charge up, you can lock onto enemies, you can walk on the ground… there’s a lot more you can do that you couldn’t before.
I know it might be too soon to ask, but any thoughts on a possible Drakengard 4?
It entirely depends on how well part three does. Though, if it does happen, it would more than likely be for next gen, the PlayStation 4.
OK, Shiba-san, you successfully got a new Drakengard game in development, and you worked on the original Valkyrie Profile too. Can you tell us anything about the Valkyrie Profile series, have you tried to start a new project within Square Enix.
Well, I really wasn’t the main producer, just the assistant… so I can’t really say. Do you think we should do another one?
Then, I’ll consider that!