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Astral Chain's dev team breaks down the game's creation (struggles, inspirations, control tests, and more)

A huge rundown of info from the team

The most recent issue of Famitsu includes an interview with Astral Chain director Taura Takahisa, supervisor Kamiya Hideki, and producer Nishimura Eiji. This interview covers all sorts of features on the game's development and more. Check out the summary below.

- Taura attributes the variety in gameplay to inspiration by Kamiya
- Kamiya says credit should go to “Sanma no Meitantei-ism” or “Konami Wai Wai World-ism,” two Famicom games that inspired him
- Kamiya says that the exploration portions are particularly important in Astral Chain due to the player being given more freedom
- this makes the design different from other Platinum titles
- the RPG elements were included due to Taura personally liking games with stronger RPG influences
- sections without battles and the exploration sequences matched with the setting of the player character being a police officer
- Kamiya says that Taura started off too ambitious
- Astral Chain is a game that can be played in multiple ways, which requires the devs to come up methods to let players of all types enjoy the game
- this makes game design extremely difficult, and is something Kamiya has always actively tried to avoid
- he thought that balancing Astral Chain would be a tough job
- the base game was good enough that he did not have to make any additions
- he only needed to give Taura instructions on some portions and help shape things up
- Kamiya says Astral Chain is 90% a Taura game
- Taura says the remaining 10% which Kamiya worked on was extremely important
- Nishimura says that Kamiya came in on a critical period in development
- Kamiya says that as they were spending a lot of time on a high-end title, undoing things would result in huge losses
- it was hard to have an environment that allowed for trial and error
- Kamiya took it on himself to provide advice when the development team was unsure what to do
- they were also already at a point where they had tested many things
- there were cases where Kamiya suggested that they should try something only to learn that they had already tried it
- there were also elements that they had discarded after trial and error that Kamiya felt were too good
- Kamiya gave input on how they should use those discarded elements
-.Kamiya says that he could do all of this because he experienced similar things on all of his own projects
- Taura says that there were few things that they could use as reference points for controlling two characters at the same time
- the player was initially going to control the Legion completely manually, but this made controls very difficult
- the team tried out things like advance inputs and rhythm game style controls, but none worked out
- Kamiya says that he too sometimes gets lost along the way when working on his projects
- he recovers by looking at the first trailer they put out for the game
- with Ōkami, he once got so lost that the game turned into a simulation game focused on turning hexes green
- this made him wonder if this was really what he wanted to make, so he rewatched an early trailer
- the Astral Chain team may have had problems because they did not have an early trailer to look at
- people like him who joined later on could probably take a more rational look at it due to how the dynamic battle system let a strong impression
- Taura says that the amount of effort they put into controlling two characters at the same time was equal to that of working on four to five full conventional action games
- Taura is particularly pleased with the chain connecting the two characters
- the chain initially started off as a purely aesthetic choice
- Taura did not start off by trying to make the dual action system simple, even after suggestions from the team to simplify
- Taura stuck with his idea to the end, which Kamiya thinks shows that Taura is a good director
- Taura protected parts that he felt should absolutely not be changed, and that resulted in Astral Chain’s unique identity
- the game’s “unchained mode” that automates battle sequences was a result of discussions with Nintendo
- the two teams decided they wanted to have more people play the game
- Kamiya notes that Bayonetta had a similar feature, and says that the people who use automatic modes do not want to “play the game easily”, but want to “easily have a taste of playing the game like an expert”
- by first making a battle system for expert players, they can then make a mode to automate it
- this is something that cannot be done if you start off making a game that can be played easily
- another thing that Taura fixated on during development was having only one attack button for the player
- the game is complex enough with the player controlling two characters at the same time
- Taura wanted to keep the buttons presses simple, so that players can both easily perform attacks via button mashing
- Taura says being able to take photographs with both the character and the Legion is something that only a game that lets you control two characters like Astral Chain can do
- Taura does not usually use the photo mode function in games which have them
- Taura fell in love with the photo mode version in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- this lead directly to the camera function in Astral Chain
- Nishimura says that he had suggested that they remove the camera when the schedule was getting tight, and Taura’s answer was “absolutely not”
- Taura says that there the post-game content is quite big
- simply clearing the story should be satisfying, but the post-game content is particularly challenging
- this should leave action fans particularly satisfied
- to Taura, the post-game is where the gameplay actually starts, as that is when the player has access to all five Legions
- you also have an array of skills unlocked, and have collecting ability codes
- playing the game at that state is what Taura actually wanted to achieve, and he hopes that players will give it a try
- Kamiya goes says that he thinks the most important thing for a director is to have a vision and the will to do whatever it takes to protect that vision
- Kamiya believes Taura can be counted on for that
- another thing that made Kamiya feel that Taura has become a good director was seeing him get angry, which surprised him
- Kamiya says that people who hear about Astral Chain might be worried that the controls might be too difficult or that the setting might not be their thing
- Kamiya would like to reassure them that it will absolutely be a new experience, and they should jump in
- Nishimura says that development was wrought with trouble
- he says Taura became more of a director every time they overcame an obstacle, and has really grown
- Astral Chain had a problematic development filled with twists and turns, but the dual action system at its core remained unchanged
- this lead to a game with a strong backbone, and Nishimura hopes that many people will play it
- Taura says that the game may both look and play strangely, but that he thinks that will push some away and entice others
- while the game might turn out to be strange even when someone gets their hands on it, Taura is confident that the experience that they get won't be found nowhere else,
- there are things in the game that make it more fun as the player progresses
- this means the player’s impressions might change as they play the game
- Taura hopes that anyone who has interested in the game will try it out

Comments

This and Breath of the Wild are my favourite Switch games.

I love this game and I love motion controls, but the motion controls in this game are complete garbage and need to be able to be turned off...

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