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Astral Chain - Accolades trailer

Chained by fate. Bound to slay chimera. See what everyone is saying about the brand-new action title from PlatinumGames! ASTRAL CHAIN is available now, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

Interview with Taura Takahisa discusses possibility of Astral Chain sequel, mistranslated comments about a trilogy, and more

An exclusive interview from Bunnygaming sits down with Taura Takahisa to talk about Platinum Games' recently released title Astral Chain. In the interview, Takahisa reveals he is unsure about the possibility of a sequel. He also notes that his previous remark from a different interview on Astral Chain being part of a trilogy was actually a mistranslation. Check out the snippet from the interview below.

BG – "Taura-san, you have mentioned in a previous interview that a sequel to Astral Chain is subjected to how well the game sells in the market. Does the studio have an expectation on how much sales at least to justify a sequel?"

Taura Takahisa – "I can only say that the idea of a sequel at this point is something I am unsure of and I do not have the current sales figure right now. But I will be very happy if the game is well received and sells well!"

BG – "It was rumoured that Astral Chain is part of a possible trilogy, do you already have an idea on how the next Astral Chain game would look in gameplay and story should you get to direct one?"

Taura Takahisa – "The trilogy remark was actually a mistranslation from a previous interview. I actually meant to say that I do have a lot of ideas at my disposal and if there’s an opportunity to make a sequel or more entries, I’d be able to do so."

Check out the full interview here!

Astral Chain gets a new Japanese promo video

Astral Chain is available now on Switch, but why not push the game a bit more? Nintendo has put out a new trailer to promote the game in Japan, and it's jam-packed with all sorts of action. Check out the trailer above!

Astral Chain Devblog Update: Lend Us Your Ears

You hear that?

The latest dev blog on Astral Chain comes from Naoki Hiraiwa, sound designer at PlatinumGames. In particular, Hiraiwa worked on the sound effects for Astral Chain.

In this feature, Hiraiwa talks about the special role sound effects play in the game, and how she came to create the game's unique sound. You can check out the full feature on the game here.

Platinum talks Astral Chain's development, trial and error, working with Nintendo, game difficulty, and more

Another huge rundown of info

Famitsu recently ran a feature with Astral Chain director Takahisa Taura and supervisor Hideki Kamiya. We've already covered a wealthy of details from this interview, but now another wave has come in. Check out the tidbits below, as translated by NintendoEverything.

- Taura knew that directing was a tough and lonely endeavor, but it was even tougher and lonelier than he expected
- since it was a new IP, it was hard to define what was right and wrong to do, so he tried out a lot of ideas during production
- Taura gained even more respect for Kamiya since he’s been a director so many times before
- Kamiya is confident that Taura’s going to have a very successful career moving forward
- Taura said he didn’t feel pressure with Astral Chain’s release following NieR: Automata’s
- since Yoko Taro isn’t involved in Astral Chain, Taura sees the two games as completely unrelated
- Taura noted that he was allowed to make the kind of game that he, himself, wanted to make
- Taura has a ton of experience in project planning, which gave him an edge
- Taura helped Kamiya out on The Wonderful 101 in regards to planning
- Taura said since he’s worn several different hats in development, it helped him to give direction
- Kamiya said Taura is particularly skilled at listening to feedback and negotiating
- Taura says he always saw the plans he directed to others through to the end because he genuinely enjoyed them
- Taura wasn’t planning on making the game particularly difficult, but Nintendo was
- this is why there were difficulty levels included
- post-production is neither Taura’s nor Kamiya’s favorite part of the directorial process
- pre-production started with Inaba Atsushi, PlatinumGames chief creative officer, asking Taura if he had any ideas
- Taura gave him a proposal, and they put together the basics of a medieval fantasy game in about one month
- the team size at that time was about three or four people
- the original idea was set in medieval Europe, with swords and magic
- Nintendo asked him to propose more ideas other than medieval European fantasy, and they went with sci-fi
- Taura, Naka Akiteru (game designer) and Kimura Hajime (art director) worked together to create the story, world and plot
- they worked with someone from Nintendo who was well-versed in creating good stories, too
- once they decided on the father working together with his twin children, they came up with plot points easily
- Astral Chain was not a dual action game originally, but a triple action game
- they ended up changing it early on because the controls became a little too confusing
- Kamiya was extremely impressed with the first prototype he saw and said it was unlike anything Platinum had ever made
- he was so surprised by the gameplay that he wondered what Taura’s mindset was that lead him to create this
- he looked at the proposal documents and felt like Taura had two different brains
- after changing to sci-fi, they thought about doing the character designs in-house
- Nintendo suggested getting an outside company to do the designs
- since Taura is a long-time fan of things like “ZETMAN”, he approached Katsura Masakazu
- Katsura came up with the main characters quickly, but took some time to come up with the Legion designs
- at this point in development, Legions were going to be monsters that appeared in the world that the player would catch
- after consulting with Nintendo regarding problems they were running into, they decided to change the idea
- they decided to focus on the quality of the action rather than the quantity, which lead to five different Legions
- Taura suggests fans check out the art book that comes in the collector’s edition to see how different Katsura’s sketches are
- Katsura’s female butt designs are popular with fans
- Kamiya says he would’ve put a good butt in the game whether Katsura designed one or not
- this is because it's Platinum’s destiny to show off a good butt
- Taura said they had planned to have the option to choose male/female from the beginning
- Taura likes games where you can choose and customize your characters
- Taura wanted both male and female singers for the main theme song
- Nintendo got in touch with avex (huge Jpop music label) and sent Taura several different samples
- it was an easy decision for him when he heard the sample with Aoyama William (from INTERSECTION) and Beverly
- Taura said it fit the style of the game perfectly
- there’s a featured song in the game that will have either male or female vocals based on the gender of character chosen
- even though they’re the same song, Taura thinks they have a different feel with the different vocalist
- there are currently no plans to release a standalone soundtrack, outside of the collector’s edition
- Kamiya aided in keeping gameplay diverse with things like investigations, field puzzles, and the motorcycle shooting scene
- Taura has always loved games with strong RPG elements, so he wanted to include these elements in Astral Chain
- all of the variations in gameplay fit the narrative of the main characters being police officers
- Taura and Kamiya talk that about 10 percent of development was Kamiya’s influence, the other 90 percent was Taura’s
- Kamiya said it’s hard to provide a trial and error environment for developers
- he says you need to make something really special nowadays in order for it to get attention
- Taura mentions how there aren’t many games that have done dual-action, so they had to experiment with what worked
- in the final game, Legions operate semi-auto because that’s what they found was the best balance
- in the beginning the player controlled them 100%, but as was mentioned, controls were too complex
- the team tried issuing commands to the Legions, but that didn’t come together as they had hoped.
- Kamiya mentioned how he’s had those kinds of times where he’s felt lost in the director’s seat
- the chain connecting the player and the Legion was originally included just because it looked cool
- Taura is really happy that fleshed it out, because it’s now so integral to the battle and narrative
- Platinum implemented the Unchained Mode because they want all kinds of players to get their hands on Astral Chain

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

Astral Chain - Story trailer

The few survivors of a massive global disaster gather together in a futuristic megacity. Now it’s your job to protect them against otherworldly invaders–but you’re not alone as a member of a special police task force equipped with sentient armaments called Legions. In this brand-new action game from PlatinumGames, control the protagonist and a Legion simultaneously to chain stylish combos. Change Legions on the fly to vary your style and unleash a variety of abilities. The last remnants of humanity depend on you, and to save the world, you must investigate its dark side.

Astral Chain Devblog Update: Change and Consequence

Crafting the story

Akiteru Naka is the designer in charge of the main story for Astral Chain. In the most recent dev blog for the game, Naka goes into detail on how the story was crafted. Check out a snippet from the blog below, and then click over for the full piece.

Every time I came up with an idea for the story, I sketched it out like this. I’ll admit there were times when I made more progress on doodling than on actual work… I thought I’d have more early idea sketches to show you, but it turns out that too many of these pages are covered with completely unrelated material to share here. Whoops.

Once we’d established our themes for the setting and story, it was time to get started on a draft. I dug deep, wrote and rewrote, trying to come up with something that connected directly to the gameplay, without anything strictly nailed down beyond those initial themes.

Full blog here

Platinum Games shares a special piece of art with Astral Chain fans to celebrate the game's success

Well-deserved success

Astral Chain has been topping the eShop around the world, and we also know it had a nice debut in Japan at retail. While we don't have hard numbers on sales so far, Platinum seems to be quite happy about the game's reception. They've shared a special piece of artwork on Twitter to celebrate the game's success. This art was created by Platinum Games' Hajime Kimura.

Astral Chain sells 85% of its initial Japanese shipment in its launch week

A fantastic debut

Launch week sales for Astral Chain in Japan were shared earlier this week, and various reports put the game at somewhere between 32k and 33k. According to Dengeki Online, that would make up 85% of the initial stock for the game, which goes to show that Nintendo and Platinum may have underestimated demand. Nintendo did report shortages soon after launch, which makes sense with these figures.

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