This interview from GDC has the first details about Lily Bergamo, which was confirmed earlier today as a PlayStation 4 title. At the time of this interview the game’s title was unannounced.
After Killer is Dead, Grasshopper Manufacture will release their first game with GungHo Online Entertainment. The game is early in development and doesn’t have a title yet, but Siliconera was able to sit down with Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Goichi Suda and GungHo Online Entertainment’s CEO Kazuki Morishita to talk about the title.
Since some of my readers brought it up, I just want to confirm that this game isn’t No More Heroes 3.
Goichi Suda, CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture: It’s a new I.P. It is not No More Heroes 3.
Kazuki Morishita, CEO of GungHo Online Entertainment: Yusuke Kozaki who worked on No More Heroes is working on this.
Can you tell us about the main character. Her tagline on the concept art "what are you looking at commoner?" makes it look like she has an attitude.
KM: Internally, she’s not like that and doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder, but there is a point in time when it comes out. Normally, she’s very timid, quiet, and nice. Deep down inside there’s this thing that comes out.
Why did you pick a female lead character?
GS: That was my idea. We had experience working with a female protagonist with Lollipop Chainsaw. It was fun to work with that character and that translated into sales. Because of this I wanted to take on the challenge of making a game with another female lead.
Grasshopper Manufacture is known for making action games and hack ‘n slash games like Lollipop Chainsaw while GungHo is known for developing RPGs. What will the gameplay be like in this title?
KM: Hack ‘n slash games can be unwelcoming, the games don’t always explain well what you’re supposed to do with the gameplay. Unlike hack ‘n slash, RPGs have players take one level at a time and the game actually guides you through. While some people say that’s linear, it’s still welcoming since it holds your hand. The systems in RPGs like Lunar and Grandia are constructed well. I want to combine the RPG elements and hack ‘n slash elements to come up with a new gameplay system. RPGs are more skill based while you can get lucky in hack ‘n slash games. I wanted to make sure to have both elements, luck and strategy in the gameplay.
Hmm… I still can’t imagine the game in my mind. I remember Morishita-san talked about having luck elements in games is a way to make them more welcoming and fun. That’s interesting.
KM: Since the game is going to be an action game, practice will make perfect. The more you play it the better you will get at it, but there are going to be elements like finding items which will be luck based. It will have all of these elements mixed together to create a new game style.
GS: It’s really hard to explain. We’ll update with more information later on. Right now, it’s still conceptual, so it’s hard to give you an idea of what it looks like.
KM: Being an action game with a new style, we’re trying to polish the gameplay. Because it’s a Grasshopper Manufacture and GungHo game together we also want to focus on an online component, as well.
Is the online component versus? Co-op?
KM: Actually, it’s neither. If we were to choose it’s more on the co-op side, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely multiplayer.
Is it closer to Dark Souls or Puzzle & Dragons?
KM: Yeah, it’s very similar, but different from Puzzle & Dragons.
GS: It’s new and unique, something you haven’t seen before with a different style of friends system.
KM: From a creators standpoint and player’s standpoint, if you’ve done it before it’s kind of boring to redo something you’ve already done.
How have each of you added something unique to the collaborative game?
KM: GungHo’s strength is we’re focused more on the fantasy side. Suda-san has had this idea for this world for a long time before he pitched it to me. Once I heard this idea, I wanted to work with the world that Suda-san has created. I thought of the action meets RPG style gameplay and the ecosystem. We’ve been going back and forth trying to figure out what works for the game.
GS: That was the basic thought process, but after that it’s been a mix of everybody putting ideas onto the table. We have five to six people coming up with new ideas every week. Some people’s job titles might be higher than others, but at these meetings those go out the window and we just brainstorm.
Sounds like the game is still quite early in development. I imagined Suda-san would have shown the game to Morishita-san first to get the project started.
GS: We actually started coming up with concepts in just in November of last year.
KM: It’s still in pre-production.
Hmm… so we probably won’t see this on the current generation of consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360.
KM: That’s one of our targets, but it’s still not confirmed. We can say it’s for consoles, but we can’t say which one yet since we haven’t decided.
When it comes to the next wave of consoles PS4, Wii U, and the next Xbox what interests you as developers?
KM: Whatever we say people are going to be offended.
GS: I like them all, of course! [Laughs]
I mean as creators what features about the new hardware interest you as developers?
GS: Wii U has karaoke! [Laughs.]
KM: I like that Wii U is Nintendo. [Laughs.] For PS4, the system’s specs, network capabilities, and the cross platform capabilities interest us. We don’t know much about the new Xbox console.
GS: We’re looking forward to E3 to get more information.
KM: We’re looking forward for more information for all platforms. The more options we get from a creative side sparks more ideas.
Suda-san, could you tell us more about the prototype that you currently have for this game?
GS: [Laughs.] So, you want more information?
Yeah, I think my readers do too! I’m assuming it’s using an existing engine that Grasshopper Manufacture is familiar with and it’s being developed on PC since the platform hasn’t been decided yet. Maybe the Killer is Dead engine or the Lollipop engine?
GS: [Laughs.] We’re using the Unreal engine. Shadows of the Damned, Killer is Dead, and Lollipop Chainsaw were action titles we worked hard on. We came up with new gameplay then and I believe this game has the same quality of action. I hope Killer is Dead does well and I’ll go above Killer is Dead with an even better action in this title.
Why did you pick the Unreal engine?
GS: Because of experience. Five years ago we started using Unreal and pretty much everyone on the core team knows how to use the Unreal Engine. It makes scheduling easier too since we can figure out how long things take.
Unreal 3 or Unreal 4?
KM: [Laughs] It’s one of those two! If we told you, you would know about the platforms.
Let’s go back to the pictures. The second image has a monochrome style with red at specific points to draw people’s attention. It kind of reminds me of killer7. What makes this art style interesting?
GS: The contrast has something to do with the gameplay. It’s something that Yusuke Kozaki created. You’ll see other colors, not just red and black.
If the black lines outline characters, what does the red symbolize?
GS: The dark red there means there’s something crazy going on inside the room. It’s basically a different world on the other side.
You know this picture looks a lot like where GungHo Online Entertainment’s offices are located.
KM: That’s just a coincidence. The game takes place in the future and while it make look like it, the game is not set in Japan. It’s a combination of Western culture and Japan mixed together in a sort of future setting, but the country itself is not in Japan.
Is it a country that exists?
KM: It is a country that exists in reality. [Laughs.]
Is it South East Asia?
KM: This is a difficult question…
GS: It’s in the near future, let’s say that and since it’s in the future so we really don’t know what country it is. [Laughs.]
Suda-san you were part of the development team for Contact and Morishita-san is known for making RPGs at GungHo. So, I was wondering if you two would collaborate on a RPG some day. Perhaps, something light hearted because that’s one of the things that made Contact fun.
GS: I was the producer, not the director on that game. So, I’m not that familiar with role playing games. I just realized that part of my creative side where I utilize youth ideals, it’s kind of similar to Mother, but different as well. Thank you for the inspiration! I think I might be able to do something with this.
KM: Making role playing games is a very taxing process. Whether its new Grandia or a new Lunar, it’s not like I don’t have new ideas for RPGs in my mind, but when I start thinking about RPGs I think about how much work it’s going to be. People are going to collapse from overworking. If a new concept for a RPG pops into my head and if I think it’s a good idea I will work on it even if it means grueling days and nights. However, I need an idea that surpasses my fear before I run with it.