Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Preview for PS3

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow screenshot
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow screenshot

VideoGamer.com: Obviously there is whipping in the game. And obviously there is motion sensing technology coming out for the Xbox 360 and PS3. You've said 2010 for release of Castlevania. I'm thinking later 2010, which might be after both Sony and Microsoft have released their motion sensing products. Is there an opportunity to incorporate motion sensing into the game?

DC: Yeah, possibly. I don't know. I'm still on the fence about Natal and Sony's motion capture technology. I love my Wii. I love playing Wii games, but I don't want to be jumping around my living room playing a shooting or a platforming game. Funnily enough I had a meeting this morning about Natal. I think it offers some interesting aspects to gameplay, but I'm not sure it's something I'd want to bolt on to a game we're halfway through developing already. I think what we've got is really special. It's got some amazing gameplay elements we haven't shown yet, which I'm really excited about. If we just said, oh let's try and get Project Natal, try and get some kind of thing where the guy can run about... I don't think it would do the game justice or the series justice. I might consider developing a Natal game at a later stage. I'm yet to be convinced about Natal.

VideoGamer.com: So it's fair to say this game won't support Natal or Sony's wand?

DC: Not this game. Absolutely not.

VideoGamer.com: Can you tell me about the graphics engine that's being used?

DC: MercurySteam developed their engine themselves when they were working on the Scrapland, then they upgraded it to next generation. They came to me with a project prior to working on Jericho with Codemasters. The technology then was absolutely amazing. I knew they had something special. And I also knew we would have to be quick if we wanted to work with these guys. It's a very powerful engine. It can do anything a lot of the other engines can do out there and some more. The game itself at the moment is probably about 60 per cent complete, so I think you'll see quite a high level of polish on the title once we get nearer to E3 next year.

VideoGamer.com: What's the engine called?

DC: Mercury Engine. A lot of the guys in the development studio have a a lot of game experience. They've been developing games for 20, 30 years, so they're very experienced. When Kojima-san came to visit a few weeks ago, we went out to dinner afterwards and he said to me some of these guys are geniuses. Real geniuses. He said they're the kind of people you need to keep on the development team. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to show the world they can be considered a premium developer. I think you're only as good as the last game you did. For them it sticks in their throat when they get bad press about Jericho. When a bad game comes out sometimes it's not the developer's fault. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. You know working with a publisher and the publisher might have certain demands, etc etc. I think they're going to surprise a few people with this game. I think people will be impressed.

Somebody was asking me have we got quick time stuff in the game? Yeah. We do have some quick time events but not in terms of fighting boss characters. The Ice Titan you saw, we have big titans like that in the game, like Shadow of the Colossus. It's all real time. All the fights are real time. I hate QTEs. We do have these little mini-games but they're not involved in the main fights. They're, without revealing too much, we have a system that's very different to what's out there right now. We want to keep that under wraps for now but it doesn't involve you having to take your eyes off the screen. Some of these games you have to go square, triangle, circle, x, and you lose the impact of the amazing things that are happening on screen. We didn't want to have that in the game, so all the big titan fights and the boss fights in the game are real time.

VideoGamer.com: What kind of framerate are you guys looking for?

DC: Well, is framerate that important? I know that Dante's been saying about 60 frames per second. Do people really care? We will certainly have the game running at a very high framerate, so well above 30 frames per second, probably 40 or 50 frames. But it's not one of our design objectives to have the game running in 60 frames per second. Not at all.

VideoGamer.com: But 30 frames at least?

DC: At least.

VideoGamer.com: I understand you're a big old school gamer, and Rocket Night Adventures is one of your favourite games.

DC: Yeah.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow screenshot

VideoGamer.com: Any other classic old school games you'd like to give a similar treatment to the one you're giving Castlevania?

DC: Yeah. I'd love to do something with Contra. But at the moment I'm completely focused on this. I want to carry on focusing on this until the game comes out, because we want to deliver something that's worthy of the Castlevania name. But yeah, who knows? It doesn't work like that at Konami. Basically you're competing against everyone else in all the other studios. So when you go to these big meetings and you say I've got this game idea, you're doing it in front of everyone. Everyone's got to be really impressed. So if I was going to do a Contra game, it would have to be something absolutely exceptional, in terms of not only visuals, but I'd like to do a really cool story associated with it as well.

VideoGamer.com: I bet you've half sorted the proposal out in your head?

DC: [Laughs] Maybe. Maybe. I used to know a guy called Mitch Ueno - you probably don't know but Mitch Ueno was the producer on Super Castlevania 4, and also the producer on Contra Alien Wars. This is a guy nobody knows about. The thing about Castlevania is it's always had people who have taken care of it. It's like a child. For the last 12 years we've had IGA-san [Koji Igarashi] looking after the series, but other creators added to the flavour of Castlevania and what Castlevania was all about. And now the baton has been passed to me I feel a huge responsibility. I think the fans will like what we're doing. I think they're probably a bit sceptical, some of them now at this point. But this game's definitely got all of the elements that have been in the previous 'Vanias. They're in there. We may not have shown it yet but they're definitely there. At the same time people are going to see this as a very new proposition in terms of what people expect from a Castlevania game. I'm not just talking about gameplay. I'm talking about story elements, where we take the game, where we take the main character, all of these things add up to something that's got a real emotional impact. So hopefully people are going to like it.

VideoGamer.com: Perhaps when you're wrapped up with Castlevania you can get that Contra proposal sorted?

DC: We'll see. Konami has got some great franchises. I think we need to work harder to get our games to a better level. We're working hard on this particular title and we have some plans internally to do some other stuff. My studio, for example, we have some new projects that we're working on that we haven't announced yet, which I hope will put Konami back in the mainstream with some cool games. Good quality, high calibre, high production standard games.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is due out on PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2010.

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Game Stats

Release Date: 08/10/2010
Developer: Mercury Steam
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 13,345 10177
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