Shinji Mikami is best known as the designer that reinvented Resident Evil and gave birth to the over-the-shoulder third-person shooter genre in the process. Mikami’s next game, Vanquish, is exciting to many because it involves him re-visiting a genre he helped create and, hopefully, helping it evolve further.
But Vanquish wasn’t always the game it is you see today. Originally, the environments were larger and more open, resulting in what Mikami describes as an “open battlefield” experience, where you would move around, disabling enemy positions. This direction was abandoned in favour of the game’s present fast-paced design early in development, and it required the development team to re-think other elements of the project — most importantly, the presentation.
On the PlatinumGames blog, Mikami gives us some insight into the changes:
“In an environment where we were doing whatever we pleased, it became pretty obvious that there was no good way of keeping your eye on the prize — the enemies you are targeting. I felt like I was being pin-pricked by the staff talking about how hard it was to see the enemies. Moreover, the enemy character that you see most often, a robot we call a Gorgie, was predominantly white. We had primarily gray backgrounds with white enemies. When you think about it from a realism standpoint, camouflage exists to make things difficult to see, so in that way things make sense, but from a game standpoint, it was not the best idea. I really liked the white enemies, so it took me a long time to come around to the idea of making them red. We also had to limit the number that we could put on screen at once due to hardware limitations. (This had the effect of limiting the huge amount of information we were throwing at the player, so I’m sort of on-board with this one.)”
The white Gorgie is what you see in the concept art above. The new red Gorgies are depicted in the screenshot below.