Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex interview

It’s been a while since the PSP has seen any quality US releases. Now that the holiday season is coming games like Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and SSX on Tour are making appearances. Living in the limelight of the few PSP releases is Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex for the PSP. With the series’ enormous popularity worldwide and a successful PS2 game already released we were curious about the status of the PSP game. We go straight to the source for answers. Rika Maruya, the co-producer for Ghost in the Shell gives us the facts.


Siliconera: Ghost in the Shell for the PSP isn’t a port of the PS2 game. What new features differentiate the two titles?


Rika: The biggest feature that differentiates the two titles is that the PSP version of the game is an FPS, and not a third person action game. Also, for the PSP version, you will be able to select from four characters to play, and you will partner with a Tachikoma for your missions.


One thing that we noticed was new was that each player gets a Tachikoma (a tank robot) back up. How does this alter gameplay compared to other FPS titles?


With a Tachikoma back up, you will be able to add a little more strategy. Instead of just running in head first trying to gun your way through a crowd of enemies, you can send your tachikoma to help take care of them. It also allows you to experience new levels of weapon and ammo management. For example, your character could carry light artillery while your tachikoma can be outfitted with the heavy guns. Save ammo with your Tachikoma while you take down the insignificant enemies, then when a bigger enemy comes along, hop into your Tachikoma and take him out. Also, when you get low on hit points, you can hitch a ride and use the tachikoma as another set of armor.  


There are a couple of different characters you can play as besides Motoko (a female cyborg cop who’s arguably the star of the series) and Batou (a hulking cyborg known for specializing in heavy artillery). Why add the additional characters and how does each character act differently?


The additional characters are there to suit different game styles, and certain characters are better suited for specific missions. Pick the wrong character and the mission may become much more difficult than normal, or vice versa. Each character has different speed, health, and overheat. Togusa has the advantage of not having an overheat meter. When you take repeated hit from machine guns, characters can overheat causing them to move very slowly. The screen will turn red and static like making it harder to see targets for a short amount of time.


How does the PSP game tie into the Ghost in the Shell anime series airing on Adult Swim?


The story is original; written exclusively for the PSP, but set along the timeline of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 1st GIG.


What was it like making a FPS with the PSP hardware? Were you able to keep the frame rate consistent and were you able to work out a good solution for controls?


Consideration of the controls took a lot of time and effort. Without the luxury of a second analog stick, aiming was problematic. So we implemented the use of a lock-on feature, by pressing down on the directional buttons you are able to toggle your lock-on, allowing you to effectively aim and strafe enemies.


Speaking of the PSP hardware what unique features does Ghost in the Shell use from the PSP’s arsenal? Downloadable content, ad-hoc multiplayer?


Ghost in the Shell PSP uses Ad hoc multiplayer.


We would like to thank Rika, Bandai and Kohnke Communications for taking the time to discuss Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with us. You can look forward to picking up Ghost in the Shell PSP today October 25, 2005.


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