Devil’s Third is the debut project from Tomonobu Itagaki’s studio Valhalla Games. It started life under THQ before the publisher collapsed, and today it’s coming exclusively to Wii U in partnership with Nintendo. Itagaki has now explained the move in a new interview.
Speaking with Polygon, said of his collaboration with Nintendo, “There are also cultural differences between the way that I’ve worked and the way Nintendo works, which is when it comes down to the basic grammar of games, the method of game creation. And so we certainly fought some, but I think that I saw the value in a lot of the ways that they do things and learned a great amount.
“Now this is close to a trade secret so I can’t say too much, but I feel like I learned the most fundamental meaning of what it means to push a button. When you tell someone, ‘Push the A button,’ there’s a wealth of information there. And I feel like all of us who have worked on this project, as a result, have grown a bit.”
When Devil’s Third was brought under the THQ banner, Itagaki worked closely with Danny Bilson – a long time Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive fan – who flew his team out to Tokyo and discussed the game’s concept, plot and gameplay with Valhalla until both sides rested on some solid ideas. Itagaki and Bilson’s friendship has endured since THQ folded.
In the end the decision to side with Nintendo ultimately came down to the firm supporting Itagaki’s vision for the game. That’s quite important, considering stories we’ve heard over the years of publishers telling creators how their game should be.
“I’ve been able to continue working with Danny and others who love games and love game development,” Itagaki continued. “That’s been the most important thing that has continued to sustain this. I’ve certainly realized that, at the age of 47, I need to be able to work with mature partners, and thankfully I was able to find Nintendo as a partner.
“They really supported my vision, and when I saw the level of commitment they were bringing to the project, I knew I had to follow through with them.”
He added, “I think a lot of people might have been surprised that such a violent game was going to be released on a Nintendo platform. But I think that you can say, from a certain perspective, things are getting interesting for Nintendo as well, making these kinds of choices.”
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