Tecmo Koei's Deception 4: Blood Ties, first shown last month at Sony's pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference, is not exactly a game for all ages. It stars a demonic girl harnessing the powers of three equally demonic mediums as she tries to kill the descendants of the sages that banished her father. She does this very, very messily.
Like in the rest of the series (the last entry, called Trapt in the US, came out for the PlayStation 2 in 2005), you hunt down your prey by setting up a variety of traps within your victim's environment, hopefully causing damage and eventually death. Successfully pulling off traps earns you points, and points are used to strengthen your character and access more, nastier traps.
"With this game," producer Keisuke Kikuchi told Famitsu magazine, "we're aiming to expand on the two core aspects of the Deception series: you playing the side of evil and defeating people, and combining a large variety of traps to do so. The story here has Regulina, daughter of a demon god, trying to kill the brave descendants of twelve sages in order to resurrect her father. The mediums that Regulina works with reflect the three types of 'beauty in evil' that we gradually discovered as we've worked on the Deception series."
What are the three types of "beauty and evil" Kikuchi is talking about?
"One is cruelty," he replied. "Getting a charge out of being hurt or in pain is something seen as taboo in everyday life, but you could say that there's also a secret sort of respect for it. The second is the flamboyance inherent in getting vivid results from your traps. Finally, there's using things like barrels or banana peels to humiliate your opponent in an amusing way. So in this game we're personifying these three core tenets of cruelty, flamboyance and humiliation."
The Deception series has a fascinating, macabre concept, but has always had trouble with poor controls and technical issues like wildly varying frame rates. Kikuchi emphasized to Famitsu that his team's addressing that.
"Masaki Shibuya, the director, has taken in a lot of feedback from users about the gameplay of the previous titles," he said. "With this game, we're taking a lot of the things we've always wanted to do and making them a reality. With the advances in hardware and game tech, I feel that we're making solid advances as we build around the core of what makes Deception feel the way it does."
Deception 4, called Kagero: Dark Side Princess in Japan, is coming to the PS3 and PS Vita February 27 over there, with a North American and European release coming sometime next year.