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3rd Birthday boss: “I don’t believe survival horror is dying”

Wednesday, 2 February 2011 13:22 GMT By Lauren Wainwright

The 3rd Birthday director Hajime Tabata speaks from Tokyo on the evolution of the Parasite Eve sequel from mobile to PSP, future plans for the series, Aya’s sexy image and the decline of survival horror.

Parasite Eve

The first Parasite Eve game was a sequel to a horror novel of the same name written by Japanese author Hideaki Sena. It hit in 1998 for PlayStation, and was re-released for PSN in November 2010. A second title released in 2000, again for PlayStation. The third Parasite Eve game, The 3rd Birthday, was originally intended as a mobile release, but will ship for PSP in Europe this spring and on March 29 in the US. It released in Japan last December.

It was at E3 2010 when gamers finally got a glimpse at Square Enix’s long-awaited third Parasite Eve game, The 3rd Birthday.

The title had dropped its series branding and come back as a new IP, with Square Enix pushing The 3rd Birthday as a new franchise revolving around Parasite Eve’s protagonist, Aya Brea.

We spoke to director Hajime Tabata in Japan recently about Square’s latest stab at horror.

VG247: What the main reasoning to bring Aya Brea from Parasite Eve back, and why the PSP?

Hajime Tabata: Parasite Eve 2 finished the story for Parasite Eve, so we couldn’t do a Parasite Eve 3. We really thought Aya was such an attractive protagonist, so we didn’t want to just leave her alone. We wanted to resurrect her in hope to make an Aya Brea series our next big franchise.

Why PSP? Well, when we evaluated the size of the game we felt that PSP would be most appropriate. We are very much aware of the fact that the PSP is not currently the most attractive or popular console in Europe, but we’ll have to deal with that depressing fact. [Laughs] We should have made the game for PS3, really.

“In a sense, making Aya look sexy was not our intention.”

Why not take it to PS3? It is purely just because of the size of the game you had set out to create and the popularity of the PSP in Japan, or that there was just no ambition to bring it to home consoles?

Game size was the main the reason when we thought about the features and aspects we wanted to achieve. As you may know, this game was originally for mobile, which wasn’t enough. The PSP has memory that was just about right for what we wanted. We are hoping to see this franchise grow bigger and become more established. This entry will be our first step into showing off the franchise; hopefully there will be more to come.

Is The 3rd Birthday becoming the title for the franchise or just for this game in particular?

We haven’t really made our minds up yet. We’d like to wait and see how the game is received by fans, so we can see what the name should be, what should be improved and what the series should be. What challenges we should overcome.

Aya Brea’s character has changed quite a lot from the Parasite Eve series. She previously had a very strong and wilful presence, but this time around appears more apprehensive and fragile. What was the reason for the change in character, and why are all her suddenly clothes coming off?

There are a few different reasons, but they are explained in the story as you play through the game. It’s explained as to why she has become so fragile and timid. The answer is to be found in the story.

The other reason is at the moment we are trying to establish the real emotion of a female character. We wanted to depict Aya more realistically as a female character and with more femininity.

An official trailer. Cover your ears.

And the clothes? Aya Brea was a great character for female gamers to relate to. It’s a little shocking to see her even more over-sexualised than normal.

There are several reasons. Rather than sexual innuendo or for sexual reasons, we show her in torn clothes because we want to communicate the feeling of a fierce battleground. The tension and fierceness of what actually goes on on the battlefield was very important to us. That’s what we want to depict her with the damaged clothes rather than try making her sexy.

In a sense, making her look sexy was not our intention. There was a lot of talk on the internet about her sexy design, and if there was going to be a shower scene. We would not have thought that many other game heroines would have attracted so much attention. She has got an epic quality. There is more than just the sexy side to her, but the sexiness is just a part of the whole package.

The protagonist we want to establish is someone who can be liked by both men and women while keeping her sexiness at the same time.

Gameplay in the Parasive Eve games changed dramatically from title to title, the first one being more of an action-RPG and the second a survival horror game. Will the Aya Brea series carry on this trend, or will we be seeing the same type of gameplay in future games?

We may actually change the genre in the future, but we also may not. After considering what the market wants, we want to make something that will go down well as engaging and exciting gameplay.

What won’t be changed is that you’ll still be Aya, using a gun and shooting at very powerful and huge monsters. As long as I’m involved in the project these things will not be changed.

“I do not particularly believe that survival horror is dying as a genre.”

Parasite Eve 2 was a survival horror game and now we see Resident Evil 5 has evolved into more of an action game. Do you think survival horror is dying?

I do not particularly believe that survival horror is dying as a genre. This time around, that kind of flavour is something we wanted to do without for the 3rd Birthday. This is more like a tense battleground where either you kill or be killed.

If we discuss the possibility of expanding the franchise to PS3 or Xbox 360 in the future, that kind of flavour might actually be reemployed in the future. It’s something you have to decide each time: whether or not you want that kind of flavour in your game. This time it was something we didn’t want.

What kind of changes will we expect to see in Aya’s abilities now that Parasite Energy is not being used?

There will be no elemental energies like fire or wind this time, but Aya has other abilities that you unlock throughout the game. This is like a character improvement system. When you use the Overdrive system then you can collect DNA chips. These chips allow you to modify your DNA to acquire new abilities and upgrade your stats.

The 3rd Birthday is an absolutely stunning looking game. What is a real challenge pushing the PSP to its limits or has the process become easier?

[Laughs] You can’t even imagine how hard it was. At one point, I was seriously considering that we had opted for the wrong platform. So, we have shaped up the kind of game that is more interesting to experience if we could play it on the big screen. It had a kind of quality that could be enjoyed on a PS3 or Xbox 360 but as we had already made the decision to put it on PSP, we had to stick by it. We had to squash it down to a smaller screen, and that was extremely difficult.

It was very challenging and difficult for us, but that left us with a very polished and interesting game that we’re proud of.

The 3rd Birthday releases for PSP on March 29 in the US. There’s no date for Europe other than “spring”.

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13 Comments

  1. Blerk

    “I don’t believe survival horror is dying”, said Tabata, “but just in case it is we’ve decided not to bother clothing our main protagonist. Did I mention the shower scene?”

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Moonwalker1982

    How weird, i could swear that this game was already out in japan?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Johnny Cullen

    I’ve fixed it.

    As for the game itself, it looked brilliant when I seen it at gamescom last summer. Definitely one to look for on PSP.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Lauren Wainwright

    It’s really fun! I loved my time with it.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. DaMan

    Rather than sexual innuendo or for sexual reasons, we show her in torn clothes because we want to communicate the feeling of a fierce battleground.

    right, and the shower scene only helps get the point across. they wanted to demonstrate the contrast between a sweaty, tense Aya in the battlefield and a relaxed, clean one in a safe place.

    as if they already didn’t ruin the game in Pe2 enough, turning it into a crappy RE clone with cute half naked chicks running around.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. chronoss2

    Excellent questions guys !!! I’m a very big fan of this franchise, and I finished the PE2 many many times before.. I always loved the RPG part in it, but I don’t think they kept the same things in this one.. I don’t know if i’ll buy it anyway ! I’m disappointed that they made an action game out of it, but I might take it just for the story.

    They should have made it on both PSP and PS3, but if there is another PE coming, it has to be closer to the second one !

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Unlimax

    Dear Sqaure, Don’t ever ..EVER release the new one on Other consoles
    Just make it Clearly for PS3 just what you done for FF V-XII ,, open your mind for The Blu-ray Disc We want Serious Project for this franchise.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. chronoss2

    Unlimax : Amen !!

    #8 4 years ago
  9. hitnrun

    Ok, come clean: who else thought this was a weird post about VG247′s third birthday?

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Johnny Cullen

    :)

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Maximum Payne

    9@ I thought boss of VG247 Said that :D

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Michal Przyszlak

    When Parasite Eve came out for PSX I was totally in L U V with Aya Brea – I need help I know :)

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Elrood

    “In a sense, making her look sexy was not our intention.”
    Yeah strange, it just happened right?

    “I do not particularly believe that survival horror is dying as a genre.”
    Well it didn’t die but the term “survival horror” seems to have changed.
    Creating an uneasy atmosphere isn’t enough to have a survival horror game.

    For example: Dead Space has a pretty uneasy atmosphere but even that becomes trivial since your character is able to blow the shit out of almost everything. An extended use of gore doesn’t help either to hide that Dead Space itself is losing its scariness quite fast over the time, in my opinion.

    #13 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Online functionality for Ridge Racer Unbounded is no longer available, Namco Bandai Europe has announced. Solo mode and the track editor are still playable, minus the sharing options. Ridge Racer Unbounded was released on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in March 2013. Thanks, MCV.

  • OlliOlli will be a cross-buy title on 3DS and Wii U

    Curve Digital has announced OlliOlli will be a cross-buy title when it releases on 3DS and Wii U. The Roll7 title will be the first third-party title to offer the functionality on the systems. OllliOlli will be released on the eShop March 5 The game launches on Nintendo’s eShop on March 5th, followed by Xbox […]

  • Darkbeast electrifies latest Bloodborne video

    The latest Bloodborne video shows off another monster in the game. This one is Darkbeast and he’s full of electricity. The video is the last of IGN’s month-long coverage of the title.

  • Future Assassin’s Creed games will have greater focus on modern timeline

    Ubisoft plans to focus more on modern timelines in future Assassin’s Creed games, the company suggested during its latest community livestream. During the Twitch stream, one of the lead writers for the Assassin’s Creed series, Darby McDevitt, said the modern timeline for Brotherhood’s town of Monteriggioni could inspire future development. “That only came about because […]

  • Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is coming to Xbox One next month

    Halfbrick has announced Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 for Xbox One will release next month. The mobile title made its way onto Xbox 360 garnering 1 million downloads as of March 2012. It has a new multiplayer mode for up to four players with Battle and Party modes along with a new progression system. An announcement […]

  • New GTA 5 PC screens – shit the bed!

    Rockstar has pumped out 15 new screens for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 5. Don’t touch them, because they’re electric. And if you touch them, you’ll get shocked. The PC version of GTA 5 has been delayed until April 14, which both sucks and blows. BUT! There’s a new trailer coming between now […]

  • Sony Japan accidentally erases 20th Anniversary PS4 contest entries

    Sony Japan has accidentally erased all information obtained from PlayStation owners who entered to win a 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4. Those who purchased PlayStation 3, PS4, Vita or Vita TV between December 4 – January 15 were handed a calendar with a code which entered them into the contest. Somehow, all data collected from the […]

  • Hearthstone datamine suggests Blackrock Mountain expansion on the way

    Hearthstone’s next update may be based on World of Warcraft’s Molten Core raid, if datamined information posted on Hearthpwn is spot-on. According to files mined from the latest patch, three new cosmetic card backs are on the way, one of which is called Molten Core. The data suggests that pre-ordering the Blackrock Mountain expansion will […]

  • Using Battlefield Hardline single-player gadgets increases your metagame rewards

    Gadgets contained in Battlefield Hardline’s campaign mode have been detailed, and each provides the player with various ways in which to solve crimes. According to design director Scott Warner, one way to “diffuse” a conflict when confronted with criminal activity is to flash your badge and ordering the criminal to freeze. Putting your gun on […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video is all about story mode, new characters

    After promising a new Mortal Kombat X reveal “soon”, NetherRealm Studios has made good on said promise by releasing the story trailer. The video shows parts of the story mode featuring Mileena, which takes place 25 years after the events of 2011′s Mortal Kombat. Outworld has become a larger threat and new fighters joining the […]

  • Destiny’s shotgun and pulse rifle buffs mean it’s time to rethink your load-out

    Destiny’s most-ignored weapons got major boosts this week. It’s time to start thinking about how to work them into your set-up. Even if you’re used to using scout rifles and sniper rifles as a general loud-out (neither class was touched by 1.1.1), the buffs to pulse rifles and shotguns should make you rethink your contextual […]

  • Battlefield Bad Company 2: five years later, what did it do so right?

    It’s been five years since the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2. What did the much-loved entry in the franchise do for the Battlefield series? Westie’s played Battlefield Bad Company 2 for over 1,260 hours on PS3 and PC. That’s dedication. In his latest video he discusses the stand out moments from a FPS classic, […]

  • War is hell in this Zombie Army Trilogy gameplay trailer

    Here’s five minutes of headshots, shambling zombies and an undead Hitler from Rebellion’s upcoming Zombie Army Trilogy. The Sniper Elite spin-off arrives on PS4, PC and Xbox One March 6 and includes three games (obviously) and a new Horde mode.

  • Titan Souls releases on PS4, Vita, PC on April 14

    Ace indie giant-slayer Titan Souls will be released on PS4, Vita and PC on April 14. Publisher Devolver confirmed the date to Eurogamer. Those of us in Europe will have to wait until a day later for release. Titan Souls is a tough-as-nails indie game where you have one life to slay a giant enemy. […]

  • Destiny weekly update: lowdown on Inferno Crucible, Vault Transfer improvements

    Destiny’s weekly update has made some pretty significant changes – let Arekkz Gaming take you through them. Bungie has revealed the first release date for the new Inferno Crucible mode, and made it a lot easier to access your vault. You should subscribe to Arekkz Gaming. It will improve your life.

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory Feb 27, 28

    It’s Xursday again – what treats does he have for you this week? He’s in the North Tower, to the right of the Stranger’s room. Let’s take a look at the latest weapons and gear from your favourite Destiny trader. No Backup Plans [Titan Gauntlets] – 13SC ATS/8 Arachnid [Hunter Helmet] – 13SC Heart of […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will be stable on PC at launch, Visceral assures

    PC format is “by far the best gaming platform around,” says Hardline producer. “We’re doing what we can to take advantage of people’s different system with the graphics, framerate, controls, etc. We’re not just porting it over.” Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral is reassuring players that there will not be a repeat of the disastrous Battlefield […]

  • Win Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One

    We have 10 download codes for new indie puzzler Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One to give away. The be in with a chance of winning a code, just enter your details below and we’ll pull the winners from the hat on Monday March 2nd, after 2pm GMT. Pneuma: Breath of Life is a […]

  • Life is Strange Episode 2 delayed

    Life is Strange Episode 2 won’t make its expected release date. The first Life is Strange episode released on January 30, and we had expected the second to follow on March 13. Square Enix has since confirmed to Destructoid that the next chapter won’t make its release date. There’s been no word of the new […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: which character will be revealed tomorrow?

    Mortal Kombat X director Ed Boon is teasing a new character reveal. During today’s Mortal Kombat X livestream, NetherRealm said that a new character would be revealed “very soon”. Boon followed up with this teasing tweet suggesting the reveal will occur tomorrow: Very soon? As in tomorrow? :/ — Ed Boon (@noobde) February 26, 2015 […]

  • Halo played by Twitch is an exercise in great patience

    TwitchPlaysHalo is ridiculous. Halo: Combat Evolved is the latest game to be sucked into the “TwitchPlays” phenomenon, and the results are somewhat painful to spectate. If you’re not familiar with the setup, which debuted with TwitchPlaysPokemon, the game accepts commands from the channels’ chat stream. Although it doesn’t have the strategic RPG elements of Pokemon, […]

  • Gold Amiibo sold out, selling at five times RRP on auction sites

    Gold Mario Amiibo are expected to sell for pretty astounding profits on eBay and other auction sites. The Walmart-exclusive Gold Mario Amiibo is already completely sold out. Plenty of people managed to snaffle them to resell, though. There are now dozens of listings on eBay and other auction sites. One of the average asking prices […]

  • Canadian new game prices jump to $75

    Canadian gamers are in for an unpleasant price hike. As spotted by HardcoreGamer, the local Canadian branches of Amazon and EB Games have raised the prices of upcoming games to CAD$75. The CAD$5 increasing comes within a year of prices hitting the CAD$70 point. CAD$75 (£38/€53) currently exchanges for $60, the standard US pricing. The […]

  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows weather, day-night cycle

    The latest Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows off a gloriously beautiful world. Xenoblade Chronicles X is Monolith Soft’s first solo Wii U game, and the developer is clearly enjoying being able to build a big open world with all the features we’ve come to expect. Missed the whole Xenoblade thing? Chronicles X is a sort […]

  • Dead Rising: Watchtower teaser talks up the benefits of Zombrex

    Live-action Dead Rising movie Watchtower is almost upon us. Dead Rising: Watchtower will release on Crackle on March 27, and via other digital distributors thereafter. Enjoy the short teaser below, courtesy of IGN.

  • We Happy Few debut hits you upside the face with a frying pan

    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]