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E3 2012: Inafune on Soul Sacrifice, life post-Capcom

Thursday, 7 June 2012 08:39 GMT By Jem Alexander

Keiji Inafune’s first big project since leaving Capcom was recently revealed to be Soul Sacrifice, a “reality based fantasy” title for Vita. He talked to Jem Alexander at E3 about drawing inspiration from personal life experiences.

“I’ve lived a fairly long time and have a long experience in the games industry. I have had success and failure and I have realised that when something succeeds, there is always a sacrifice behind it. When you’re creating a great game, you have to work long hours and you can’t go home and you’re sacrificing your personal life and time in order to get that great game as an outcome. I have experienced a lot of that in my real life.”

What is Soul Sacrifice? Why is this your first major project since leaving Capcom?

Keiji Inafune: I wanted to create a multiplayer action RPG. Not just a typical action game, but something that involves a lot of multiplayer. Soul Sacrifice is a fantasy based game, but it’s a “realistic fantasy”. The theme of the game is sacrifice. In order to obtain power you are required to make sacrifices. You will have to make choices to sacrifice yourself or your friends, for example. How much are you willing to pay to obtain a certain power? These choices will happen often, so it’s a big theme for Soul Sacrifice.

As for why it’s my first big project since leaving Capcom, when I made the choice to leave the company I wanted to create a game that I really wanted to make as a creator. I have been coming up with different game concepts since leaving Capcom and that was around the time that Sony launched the PlayStation Vita. I felt that, of the concepts I had come up with, Soul Sacrifice best matched the Vita platform. That’s when I brought the idea to Sony and luckily it was a good match to Sony’s strategy. That’s how the project came to life.

In what ways does the game take advantage of the Vita?

I feel that the Vita has the highest hardware spec for a handheld platform. I wanted to create a realistic fantasy game and it’s good to have that high spec. It’s also good for multiplayer. I want everybody to play this game in multiplayer and the Vita is great for both online and ad-hoc play. It’s a good match.

How exactly does the sacrifice mechanic work in Soul Sacrifice?

Every time you encounter these choices – when you’re dying, when your friend is dying, when an enemy is dying – you are asked to either save or sacrifice. If you’re fighting a monster and he dies, you are asked to make that choice. You see this everywhere within the game. When your friend is dying you are asked to save or sacrifice. Ultimately you can sacrifice yourself as well. Depending on which choices you make, it will affect the way you look. It’s a kind of customisation. You can look angelic or demonic. As you play on and make more choices, it will affect your appearance. It’s sort of like real life. It’s like your personality. If you keep doing bad things to your friends, you can appear really evil in real life too.

What was the inspiration behind using sacrifice as a theme for this game?

I’ve lived a fairly long time and have a long experience in the games industry. I have had success and failure and I have realised that when something succeeds, there is always a sacrifice behind it. When you’re creating a great game, you have to work long hours and you can’t go home and you’re sacrificing your personal life and time in order to get that great game as an outcome. I have experienced a lot of that in my real life. When I left Capcom I realised how much protection I had at a big company and I have come to realise how sometimes you might be vulnerable. That’s when I had the idea of incorporating my real life experience into the game system. I thought it would be interesting to illustrate that reality. In everyday life you are sacrificing something in order to get something.

Soul Sacrifice E3 2012 trailer.

How difficult was it to build a usable game mechanic around that?

It’s fairly easy to come up with the concept. I had a strong concept to begin with and you then have to build that into the game system. Of course, my great team are the ones who do the actual work. I spent a lot of time making sure every single one of my staff understands the concept. Once it’s incorporated into the game it could have been too rigid. In that case, the soft emotional essence may get lost. I spent a lot of time working together with my staff to make it balanced. Making it into a game, but without losing that emotion.

How does the collaboration between yourself, MarvelousAQL and Sony Japan Studio work?

I have learnt during my long years of game creation that it is essential to have good teamwork. Myself and the Comcept team, the MarvelousAQL team and the Japan Studio team all work closely together. We have good communication. It is essential that no one party overtakes another. We are different entities, but one team. The collaboration is working really well and I am proud to have that team in place.

Why is it necessary to have these different companies all working on the game?

It has always been my belief that just having one idea is weak. I have been saying this since my Capcom days. I feel it’s important to bring different ideas and visions into a group. It is hard to get everybody to look the same way when they have different visions, but having different views is something that makes the team stronger. I have always tried to work with different people from different cultures. In this situation I feel that bringing in the different entities is very important because it is a collection of different views and visions and this will lead to greater success.

Some have compared Soul Sacrifice to Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls in terms of tone and style. How do you feel about this and did you draw any inspiration from these games?

Although I believe that both of those titles are great games, it was not intentional. I didn’t even think about it. I only thought about the concept of my own game, where the theme was to sacrifice. When you sacrifice things, they naturally get dark. The title is also quite close, but that was not part of the plan either.

Can you explain what a “reality blended experience” is and how it works in Soul Sacrifice?

“In reality you have to pay a price. You need to work at something in order to get better. That’s the reality essence that I am talking about. In this game you’re in a fantasy world, but nothing is a given. You have to work at it or pay the cost or give something up in order to get power. That’s what I wanted to convey and that’s why we call it a reality blended fantasy.”

If you take a fantasy game and you see a sorcerer, you automatically think that he can use magic without having to give anything in exchange. If you see a swordsman, you know he’s good at slashing monsters. That’s a given. But, if you think about reality, you don’t just start as an expert swordsman. In reality you have to pay a price. You need to work at something in order to get better. That’s the reality essence that I am talking about. In this game you’re in a fantasy world, but nothing is a given. You have to work at it or pay the cost or give something up in order to get power. That’s what I wanted to convey and that’s why we call it a reality blended fantasy.

How has leaving Capcom affected the way you approach games development, if it has?

Looking back at what I was doing at Capcom, as a game creator, I could probably do the same thing now. It hasn’t really affected that. I can’t use Capcom IP, but I can create something from scratch in the same way. Now that I don’t work for a games publisher, I can do different challenges. Things that are non-games. By working on different non-game projects, there are new experiences that I learn in those fields that translate back into games and expand what I can do. I feel that the challenges and possibilities have expanded. I am happy.

How do you personally feel about the current state of the Japanese games industry?

I’ve said a lot that I feel that western game developers are very successful and are making great games, as opposed to Japan where that is not happening too much. Every year I feel that gap between them expanding. I’ve been saying this for years, but probably since last year I feel that Japanese developers are finally realising that sense of fear. Of being left behind in the gaming world. Admitting to that state is one good step. As I’ve been saying, it’s important to work together and bring in different essences from different cultures. Working with non-Japanese developers would definitely make things better for Japan because they would finally learn to take in these essences from different cultures. I feel it’s important for the Japanese games industry to do this in order to grow back up to their previous level.

What non-Japanese games developer would you most like to work with in the future?

There are many, many companies that I would like to work with. There are companies that come up with really great games in the Western world. Not necessarily just the top-tier companies. I know that there are companies that belong to the lower tiers, but which are rising. They are working on great games. There are definitely lots of companies that I would like to work with and learn from. It’s really exciting.

No specific names?

I didn’t name any specifics because while there are a lot of companies I’m interested in. I look at Uncharted and Naughty Dog and the game looks great, but I wouldn’t know until I meet them in person what the best match is or what the chemistry there is. I’m excited to meet different developers. I’m open to that.

Soul Sacrifice release on Vita in Japan this year. No western launch window has been touted.

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    Obsidian Entertainment plans to release a Pillars of Eternity patch next week to combat issues users have reported. Until the patch is released, the developers have posted workarounds for some of the most common issues. The issues reported span framerate drops, inability to launch the game unless in administrator mode, crashes on 32-bit machines, animal […]

  • Mortal Kombat X videos show Erron Black gameplay, Ermac fatalities, more

    Erron Black, the gunslinger which was outed for Mortal Kombat X in the achievements listing last week, was featured in the latest livestream from NetherRelam Studios yesterday evening. Along with gameplay, fatalities and variations for Black, the developer also provided a look at gameplay for: Ermac vs Mileena; Ermac’s brutality and fatality moves; Lui Kang […]

  • The Legend of Zelda Wii U: 2015 release not a “priority”, skipping E3

    The Legend of Zelda franchise producer Eiji Aonuma is featured in the latest video update on the status of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, stating a 2015 release is no longer a “number one priority” for the team. While Aonuma never specifically says the game has been delayed into 2016, the announcement confirms […]

  • Destiny gameplay designer exits for Bethesda

    Destiny’s senior gameplay designer Josh Hamrick announced on Twitter overnight he would be leaving the company in a week’s time for Bethesda. Hamrick joined Bungie in 2009 after working two years at Midway Austin, where he created multiplayer maps, modified single-player levels, and other designer functions. He was in charge of fixing bug in code […]

  • What to expect from the Call of Duty Championship this weekend

    Just settling down to the Call of Duty Championship this weekend? Here’s a rundown of today’s matches and what else to expect over the next three days. The Call of Duty Championship is taking place in LA this weekend until Sunday, with 32 four-player teams battling it out for a prize pot of $1 million. […]

  • MLB 15 The Show video highlights improved graphics, updated grass patterns

    Sony has released a video for MLB 15 The Show which provides a look at graphical improvements made to the game. Along with the visual upgrade over MLB 14 The Show, the game contains new minor league stadiums, dynamic sun generated in real-time, and upgraded grass patterns which reflect each stadium’s unique look. MLB 15 […]

  • Valve to offer HTC Vive Developer Edition free to qualified developers

    Valve has said it will offer the HTC Vive Developer Edition for free to qualified developers in an effort to buoy projects before the tech launches commercially. Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa Studios and The Room studio Fireproof Games are just some of the developers which already have a free Vive in-hand. According to Valve’s Doug […]

  • DriveClub gameplay video features MotorStorm’s off-road buggies

    Some gameplay footage of MotorStorm’s off-road buggies in DriveClub has surfaced. Pictures of the buggies were shown on the Japanese PlayStation Blog earlier this month, which considering the game was developed by Evolution Studios – which developed MotorStorm – this isn’t too much of a surprise. The buggies were first spotted by Videogamer, which pulled […]

  • Mortal Kombat X live-action TV spot features the track Chop Suey

    The TV sport for Mortal Kombat X has been released, and not only does it contain a “spontaneous fight circle” taking over an entire city, but it features the System of a Down track Chop Suey. Mortal Kombat X will be released on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One April 14. The […]

  • Bloodborne Forbidden Woods progression bug caused by multiplayer summon

    A progression bug in Bloodborne is in the works, according to Sony and From Software. The issue occurs when players activate a multiplayer session in the Forbidden Woods using the Sinister Resonant Bell or Small Resonant Bell. It also appears the Lunarium Key won’t appear because of the multiplayer bug, and without the key you […]

  • Yo-Kai Watch game franchise has sold over 7 million copies

    The Yo-Kai Watch IP has sold over 7 million copies, according to developer Level-5. The figure included both physical and digital download sales. Yo-Kai Watch 3 will be unveiled during Level-5 Vision 2015 next month. The first title is in the works for the west but is still without a release window. Thanks, Gematsu.

  • Bloodborne trademark returned to Sony after accidentally losing it

    In case you were worried or anything, Sony has once again obtained the Bloodborne trademark. Earlier this week it was revealed that Sony mistakenly abandoned the Bloodborne trademark along with four others registered with US Patent and Trademark Office: Guns Up!, Kill Strain; How Games Were Made to Sound, and No Heroes Allows: No Puzzles […]

  • GTA 5 PC official trailer coming next week, 15 new screenshots released

    New PC screenshots of GTA 5 have been released along with word of a new trailer coming on Monday. The screens below are from the PC version and you can view them in 4K glory over on Rockstar Newswire. The PC version of GTA 5 releases on April 14.

  • PSN real-time server status page launching in Europe soon

    PlayStation users in Europe will soon have its own a PSN Service Status Indicator. It was released earlier this month in North America. The indicator makes it easier to check whether PlayStation services are down or running as planned. This includes account management, PlayStation Now, the store, social services, etc. Sony told Eurogamer the service […]

  • Exclusivity contract prevents Bioware from revealing Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC release on PS4

    Bioware is unable to discuss when the Jaws of Hakkon DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition will arrive on platforms other than PC and Xbox One. According to various tweets from executive producer Mark Darrah, due to the exclusivity contract between EA and Microsoft, the studio is unable to announce a release date for PlayStation 3 […]

  • LEGO Batman 3 demo, Namco Museum, more added to North American eShop

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo for LEGO Batman 3, Namco Museum on Wii U Virtual Console, and various sales. Below is the full update. Nintendo eShop Dot Arcade – Wii U LEGO Ninjago – 3Ds LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Demo – Wii U Harvest Moon: The […]

  • Square Enix’s Easter Surprise bundle contains five mystery PC games

    Square Enix offering another mystery bundle to customers in the UK, which comes with five mystery PC games for £3.99. As before, customers will be unaware of the games they are purchasing in the mystery bundle, but the bundle contains triple-A titles worth £40 combined. One of Square’s previous mystery bundles contained Tomb Raider, Just […]

  • From Software’s PSone game Shadow Tower coming to PSN

    Shadow Tower, the first-person action-RPG developed for the original PlayStation by From Software, will be released on PlayStation Network. In the 1998 title, players took on the role of a mercenary who has returned home to the Holy Land of Zeptar to find the place has been sucked into the Underworld. He must use the […]

  • PlayStation TV gets price cut in the UK, now £44.99

    PlayStation TV has received a price cut in the UK. After several retailers started offering the console for less than the RRP of £84.99, users on DealSpwn began to wonder whether this is an official price cut, and not just regular deals or stock clearance. Sony later confirmed the new price of £44.99. “Starting from […]

  • Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon 2 is now available, for free

    You can download Forza Horizon 2 expansion Fast & Furious starting right now. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is available to download now through Xbox Live for Xbox One and Xbox 360. The expansion is standalone, so you don’t need to own Forza Horizon 2 to play it. It’s also free from now […]

  • Fire-based weapons come to PayDay 2 with the Butcher’s BBQ Pack

    The 20th DLC for PayDay 2, the Butcher’s BBQ Pack, is now available on Steam. The DLC will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: Piglet Grenade Launcher, 12G Steakout Shotgun and Mk1 Flamethrower Molotov cocktails and incendiary ammo Four new masks, patterns, materials and achievements The Butcher’s BBQ Pack is another co-development between Overkill and Croatian […]

  • Lords of the Fallen developer offers Hideo Kojima a job

    Amid the current turmoil between Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, one studio has offered the legendary designer a position. Lords of the Fallen developer Deck 13 took to Twitter to extend a job offer to Hideo Kojima. Dear Mr. @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN In case you are currently searching, we have an open position as Head of Game […]

  • Destiny Xur update: should you buy MIDA Multi Tool?

    The question on every Destiny player’s lips today. And the answer, supplied by resident Destiny expert Paul Davies, is… Yes! We asked Paul whether or not he thought Xur’s Exotic weapon this week was worth the 23 Strange Coins. Here’s what he said: “It was already a great gun to own for PVP owing to […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 has an all-male cast to make it “more approachable”

    According to Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata, the main cast of the game is all-male because it makes the game “more approachable.” Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata spoke to Gamespot about the reason for his choice of making the core cast an all-male affair. “Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable […]

  • Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain is coming April 2

    Blizzard has given Hearthstone expansion Blackrock Mountain a solid release date. Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure pack will be released April 2 in the Americas region, and April 3 in Europe, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Blackrock Depths is the first wing to be released, others will follow one week apart. Other than the 31 new cards, […]

  • Bloodborne: if you can’t load your save after installing firmware 2.50, this will help

    If you’re having issues loading your Bloodborne save after applying firmware update 2.50 to your PS4, this should help you out. Reddit user KBALLZZ encountered an issue after installing update 2.50 on his PlayStation 4. Bloodborne started reinstalling the day one patch again and when it was done he couldn’t continue his game or load […]

  • Use this code to get 10% off on PSN purchases

    Sony is offering a 10% discount coupon to anyone looking to buy games on PlayStation Store this weekend. Sony’s latest discount coupon code is here. You’ll receive 10% off your cart total when buying from the PSN Store. The offer is not valid on purchases made on PS Vita, PlayStation TV, PSP, or in-game stores. […]

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin upgrade path announced, system specs revealed

    Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will offer returning customers a chance to upgrade at a discounted price. Those who already own Dark Souls 2 on Steam and are interested in picking up the Scholar of the First Sin edition will be happy to know that publisher Bandai Namco is offering them an […]

  • Bloodborne: this is what happens when you have 40 Insight

    Insight is one of the currencies in Bloodborne, but it’s also a mechanic that affects the gameplay. There are MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so turn back now or one of Bloodborne’s gameplay mechanics will be SPOILED for you. Just like Blood Echoes in Bloodborne, Insight is used to purchase certain items from vendors in the game. […]