Silicon Studio is a middleware company, but last year they started developing video games. We spoke with Takehiro Terada, President and CEO, about the decision to become a developer and brought your 3D Dot Game Heroes questions to the interview.
Silicon Studio started off as a middleware company, but now you’re making games.
Takehiko Terada, President and CEO: Yes, to show our technology to people. We can find a partner to use our middleware, but the easiest way to show ourselves is making games.
That’s a unique strategy. So, you’re using your games almost as a marketing tool?
Let’s talk about your first game Onore no Shinzuru Michi wo Yuke. I believe the creator of Cursor*10 helped design it. How did that relationship come about?
He [the creator of Cursor*10] is working very close to our office and the director is a friend of his. We talked to each other and started the idea to make a PSP game based on his idea.
Oreike has striking artwork and it seems like a game that could come to America. How come it hasn’t been picked up?
We’re not the publisher. It depends on the publisher. If the publisher wants to release it in the U.S., we’ll do it.
Has From Software been trying to get it published overseas?
I think so, but we didn’t discuss so much about that. I think they tried.
How did your relationship with From Software start?
The guy who is running our game division worked with From Software in the past.
3D Dot Game Heroes is a title the US is excited about. How did you come up with the idea for it?
It came from one artist. One artist made a simple demo and that started the game.
I’m not sure if you can confirm this, but maybe it’s inspired by a certain green tunic wearing hero?
Hahaha. Let’s say a little bit.
If it’s a “little bit”, how come you didn’t go with an over the shoulder camera like Ocarina of Time, the most popular game in that particular series?
We can do that, but after a discussion with the publisher we decided to make it this way.
You probably have seen a lot of fan created characters. Which one is your favorite?
Maybe, Paper Mario.
The script is really sharp with references to other games including Demon’s Souls. Did Silicon Studios come up write it?
Yes. We are all game fans so we’re familiar with many games. Also, the script guy knows video games deeply.
In Japan, 3D Dot Game Heroes seemed to get a lot of press attention, but how do you feel about the sales now that the game is released?
It wasn’t as good as we expected. The economy isn’t as good now. Also, the game market is not taking new games. They’re looking at big titles and not trying new games. That may be one reason.
How do you feel about the reception in America so far?
I think we have very good feedback from the US so we’re hoping to sell more.
The American version published by Atlus comes with the most recent patch and downloadable characters on disc. Are you planning any other DLC beyond what’s out in Japan?
I’m not sure if can talk about that. I’ll leave that to Atlus.
Since the middleware is cross platform, how come you didn’t make an Xbox 360 version?
If people are waiting for an Xbox 360 version it’s not going to happen. It’s not a problem with technology, it’s the strategy of the publisher.
What about Wii?
Our engine is focused on visual effects. So, we need a shader capable GPU. This is why we cannot support Wii.
[Bishamon engine used for special effects like RPG spells pictured.]
Now that you have these tools and a blocky engine made, what other homages would you like to make?
We’re not sure yet. We have many ideas, but we haven’t released anything publically so we can’t talk about this. We’re always focusing on good technology and good ideas, together.
Do you think you’re going to move into the business of developing more games in the future?
Maybe. We don’t know. It depends on the industry and the economy. Our core business is middleware, but we are always looking for an opportunity to make a good games.
We are looking for partners in the US. If any publishers would like to work with us we can work together. Also, because we have the technology we can develop games very quickly. This game [3D Dot Game Heroes] was made in ten months. None of the members of the game team had prior experience with PS3. We just used our middleware and they started developing it. Ten months later we had a game.
Hypothetically speaking, if you were going to make 3D Dot Game Heroes 2, what would you want to add or change?
We have many ideas, we can’t specifically say them, but we have many ideas that we didn’t put into this game. If there is a 3D Dot Game Heroes 2, "if", there will be much more in it.