Famitsu sat Yu Suzuki down with Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi this week to discuss the collaboration and the state of fighting games in general.
As discussed a while back, Team Ninja's Dead or Alive 5 (which received straight 9/10 scores in this week's issue of Famitsu magazine) features a number of characters from Sega's Virtua Fighter series. It's a crossover that VF creator Yu Suzuki probably didn't have that much involvement, given that he left Sega a while back and is busy running smartphone/console game producer YS NET. Still, he's always eager to talk fighters, so Famitsu sat him down with Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi this week to discuss the collaboration and the state of fighting games in general. Some of the highlights:
- Suzuki seems genuinely impressed by DOA5. "I feel like this is a real evolution, one that features a lot of the latest effects you'd see in Hollywood films right now," he said. "I can see their approach is definitely to heighten the entertainment aspect of the product, and I think that's good. I don't work for Tecmo Koei so maybe this is weird of me to say, but I think they're definitely going in the right direction."
- How weird was it for him to see Virtua Fighter characters in the game? "Having characters from a different game world appear in another game is always going to be a bit nerve-wracking for the original creator in terms of retain the original feel and so on, but personally I think it's gone really well, I also have to say, the female characters in DOA5 are pretty cute! I can't deny that it has to be effective for capturing the attention of fighter fans, most of whom are male anyway."
"That's part of our identity, after all," Hayashi added. "I don't want to compare this to other games, but we consciously feel that we need to have the game where the most beautiful characters always show up. It's something that our team really strives for."
- Along those lines, many of the main characters in DOA, including heroine Kasumi, have had their looks a bit revised for the new game. "It was the result of us pursuing that goal of having players say 'They're really cute,'" Hayashi explained. "With this game, we wanted to show the effect of the fight directly on the fighters' bodies, which is why they sweat and so forth, but we still took pains to ensure they looked cute while sweating. We went through with this idea because we thought it'd help boost the rest of the game package as well. There's certainly no need for every fighting game to go in the direction we do, though, and I think it's important each one retains its own individual traits."
- Although Suzuki admits to not exactly being a hardcore fighter fan any longer, he does feel the need to expand the genre a little. "This is something I really felt after picking up a fighter for the first time in a while," he said, "but with games like these that require precise button timing, it feels really great when you get it just right. Of course, on the other hand, if you don't have that skill, that's a pretty quick impetus to giving up on the game. I'd like to have it so more people can feel this sort of excitement, but if you don't have the skill set for it, it just winds up becoming a stressful experience. I think it'd be nice if we could make a game that tries to reduce the frequency of people losing because they couldn't execute the skill they wanted to; something that focuses more on strategy than technique."
"If we tried to do that, I think that'd be a new title," replied Hayashi. "I think fans of individual series are always looking for new games in that series that further deepen the game world and gameplay."
"It'd be better that way," Suzuki agreed. The core strengths of any series are also its main weakness; the inability to do this or that new thing. That's why making it a new series is best, because you can say 'This is the game we have' and people will accept that."
To sum up: Although there's no way to tell if he's getting royalties for it, Suzuki really wants you to play DOA5. "My first impression after playing the latest ROM was 'Wow, I can't believe how far games have gotten on consoles,'" he said. It was really impressive. Even if you aren't used to fighting games, you can still mash the buttons and pull out combo moves, so in that way I think it's a really good, entertainment-oriented game."