3rd Birthday director Hajime Tabata believes the game's protagonist Aya Brea - previously seen in the Parasite Eve games - has what it takes to star in Square Enix's "next big franchise".

"Parasite Eve 2 finished the story for Parasite Eve, so we couldn't do a Parasite Eve 3," Tabata told VG247. "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."

He added: "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."

The director also responded to claims that Aya has been sexed up for the new game.

"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," he explained. "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."

3rd Birthday is scheduled for release this spring on PSP.