Surrounded by more Sony gadgetry than you could count, amongst the plush sofas and showy table furniture of the company's swanky press venue 3rooms, I managed to secure some time talking with Kazuhito Miyaki, producer on Eye of Judgement, who filled me in on some details of the curious new PlayStation Eye card game.
Pro-G: Eye of Judgement is something that could become quite a niche game. Who makes up the game's target audience, and can you see the game reaching to more casual demographics?
Miyaki: The first target is the 18 to 30-year-old age group. Then we're not only going for existing trading card game players, but also aiming for new trading card game players, because Eye of Judgement has such a visual impact, which should draw new people towards the trading card game.
Pro-G: So do you see Eye of Judgement as capable of revolutionising card games then?
Miyaki: It certainly has the potential to engage existing card players in a whole new way, and to take video game players and create a whole new kind of player. Also, we don't only see this as a game that is attractive, but as a whole new kind of entertainment that will really draw a wide audience.
Pro-G: Rules are clearly of key importance to a game like Eye of Judgement. How did you manage the problem of balancing a rich gameplay experience through complex rules with accessibility for the wider audience you talk of?
Miyaki: I must firstly answer that with a confession. Before starting this project I was not actually a trading card game player. But being an amateur did give me a refreshing take on the game that allowed me to approach making the game in a certain way that makes it easier for people to become engaged. That's the one thing. The other thing is the PlayStation Eye and the technology, because the PS3 allows the player to proceed without fully knowing the game.
Pro-G: So you can leave the rules to the computer?
Pro-G: How challenging was it to work with this new card recognition technology?
Miyaki: I would say it was a big challenge and very difficult to progress. At first it started with the Sony laboratories developing the technology, but it wasn't practical or designed for home game machines. Initially it was using two supercomputers and high vision cameras, with this barcode system that was very complicated compared to now. It had a whole mile to go, and to get from there to now has been very difficult.
Pro-G: Both in terms of the game and the cards, there is a distinctive visual style. What were your influences when creating such a look and feel?
Miyaki: This was a very key point to me, as I asked myself 'where could I go with this new type of game?'. How it felt and how it looked was actually really important to where the game came from, as my main influence was table top RPGs, using boards and dice and metal figures. I'd always loved those games, and started to think 'what if they could move?'. Also, the disproportion and intricate detail of the metal figures, with their large heads and small bodies, was a major influence on the look of Eye of Judgement's characters.
Pro-G: Are there any plans to use the card recognition technology you call 'cybercode' in any other games?
Miyaki: At the moment there are no other titles in development that work in the same way, but of course if it goes well, there's the potential that we could make similar card-based games with different themes, such as, off the top of my head, sports or dinosaurs.
Pro-G: Fantastic. Thanks so much for your time.
Miyaki. Thanks very much.