Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ueda discusses God of War in new Famitsu

Andrew 'Reno' Alfonso was kind enough to pick up the new issue of Famitsu (July 6, 2007 issues) and translate everything for us. I really like it when developers discuss games that they didn't make and wish people would do it more often. Unfortunately everyone feels like they might get in trouble either by their PR group or whatever. Oh well. Below is the translation:


Q: Have you finished God of War 2 yet?

A: Yes, of course I have. However, at first when I was playing God of War 1, I thought "This kind of game is rather cool". The player's character is on the screen, and he can move on both the X and Z axis. Also, it's the type of game where you have to be up close and personal with your opponent, and it's quite interesting but there have been so many games that have the same style that I was sick of it. So, I had kind of a negative image about the game to start off. But as I progressed through the game it really opened my eyes and I was like "wow this game is pretty cool!". The guys who developed this game have such enthusiasm that I really felt like they were saying "dude I want you to see all of this awesome stuff!" on purpose. Usually with sequels the tension and excitement goes down but I felt with God of War 2 that was the complete opposite, and the excitement factor was definitely higher than the first game.

Q: What was your first impression of God of War 2?

A: The way the game first grabbed me was pretty awesome. The way the game started off, it made me think about how in Japanese games that would never happen. It wasn't a matter of "how many explosions can we have on the screen in a short amount of time", but it definitely felt like a Hollywood movie. The way that everything was changing and expanding, I had never thought of that, I had never gotten tired of it, it constantly pulls in the user into the game's universe. Everything from the combat, to the programming, to the way of thinking is totally different from a Japanese game. For example, when you see the stage where you're flying (ed. note flying pegasus stage), and you see another stage, the more someone says they're two different games, the more varied the game becomes. The game's contents change, and if too many elements are thrown into a game you can quickly lose the interest of gamers, and it'll end up costing you. When I talk about Wanda and the Colossus (Shadow of the Colossus), the whole game is consistently based around the system of "the climb and the battle", and if you really say that we only made that kind of system, then it really was a success. However, when making God of War 2, because of the ideas, the programming of the stages and the numerous ways of capturing gamers, it became something really different. Each part was specially created, and the parts were all consistent with each other. That's a really extravagant way of creating things. But having so many different elements in a game makes me feel a little uncomfortable, and it's expensive too. If it was me, I guess I would use things multiple times.

Q: Perhaps the amount of volume kind of opens your eyes, right?

A: Even more than before, the modulation, and even though you push, it's still advantageous, I think. However, I think the service is a little excessive. However, talking about the flying stage I mentioned before, it's a little bit hard to put into words but I got this really old feeling when I played it. You can't really fly around like you could in newer games, and you could only attack on the Z Axis... But, even though the game design isn't totally new, the powerful imagery doesn't make me feel like it's an old game. With the CS Attack, the tension and the imagery's power is vast, I think. You could easily say that it copies a game like Made in Wario with its numerous mini-games, but it's a type of game where you can enjoy the varying tempo. Not only that, but the game also has a wonderful sense of direction.

Q: As for the graphics, from the way it looks like it's done by hand, did it surprise you?

A: I think the way that Japanese people handle it is a little different. It's only my impression, but perhaps Japan would say it's a little low poly? It's a minute detail of course, but usually in Japan we use textures to cover up for the low poly, I think. The edges of the polygons aren't all that conspicious so it has that soft look to it. On the other hand, God of War rather than use textures they use polygons to represent their characters, so it seems very hard to Japanese people. So, like a rock's hardness, that's how God of War looks. So in God of War II, even if you arranged ICO or Shadow of the Colossus' objects in that game, they wouldn't match at all, since the way we made all three games are different.

Q: Do you think there's a relation between the way the game looks and how late it came in the PS2's lifetime?

A: Yes, perhaps. With PS2 games, right now you can get a lot of power out of the system. In God of War 2, there's almost no loading time, and how fast it reads your save games is really fast. That's because you only have to look for procedures on one hardware, which makes things easy.

Q: So everything rests on a higher foundation then, and that's why everything looks so good, right?

A: As for the ideas, even though they are very common, the way everything is represented makes it interesting and fun to play, I believe. And yet, the action, puzzles, graphics, everything was realized on a higher foundation, that was my impression. From the start, everything was put in with care, and nothing was really neglected. Basically, like how a Japanese game carries itself. But with japanese games, the really interesting parts are kind of sparse....

Q: It's not fresh but...

A: That's right, the attacks, system and ideas have been done before, I think. However, when you try to play the game, you have a usual sense of tension, but the graphics and the reactions become better and better. Perhaps, starting now, Western games are advancing quickly, you know.

Q: Has God of War 2 inspired you in any way?

A: Well there are certainly a lot of ideas and such in the game, and they're all really fun things. I haven't had a lot of time to think about it though. If there are things that I can really absorb from the game I think I will absorb it, but God of War 2 is such a high value game (ed. note: I don't know if it means that it's valuable or if it was expensive to make.) that I don't think I can really copy it. Perhaps with this kind of game, we'll leave it to the Western designers to make htem, hah.

Q: Why would you do that?

A: Well, I think it'd be kind of difficult to do things like that. The reality is that costs to develop a game is different between Japan and Western studios. One year ago I observed how things were going with God of War 1, and I was really surprised by the number of people on staff. With one team they made a lot of programs that couldn't be used more than once. It's the kind of trouble I hadn't thought of. Also, everything took a lot of time too. Perhaps they were implementing a lot of elements into their game. When you have a lot of stages, the player won't get bored and it's really interesting. However, with Japanese style, when you apply that kind of thinking, I don't think it'd be cheap at all. I don't think our schedule or budget would be enough for that kind of project. However, budgeting and scheduling is difficult, but more than that, focusing on the scope of the game is important. Within our team, and within a workable scope, the best ideas will eventually win out and be something we can work with. Up until now I've held that idea and I've made games with it. However, right now when I play God of War 2, I think that if I don't think things clearly and with a level head, I may create something that's only halfway finished. That's the kind of impression I get.


Lion-Gv said...

I agree with Ueda-san's assessment. The thing that has always stood out to me about GoW is that it is executed so well, on both a micro and macro level; resulting in a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts—and most games. I think that the average player can intuit this level of craftsmanship that no doubt took a lot of attention, time, money, effort, and expertise.

Australian Ninja said...

Haven't picked up GOW#2 yet.
But after reading about GOW related stuff in this blog I was inspired to start playing the frist God of War again last night, from the begining.

I played it for about 2 hours straight, took a break then played for maybe another hour before going to bed around midnight. If I didn't have to be somehwere the next day, I would have just kept playing.

I think I'm finding it more enjoyable to play the 2nd time through and I'll most likely pick up GOW#2 soon.

Also, the interview above was a nice read, sorry to bore people with my rambling.

Maj said...

Something i keep meaning to ask ... Why doesn't your game have subtitles?? Every single cutscene annoys me because of this. If you're not down to cover the screen with words, at least tell the narrator to speak up!