Access Games director Hidetaka “Swery65” Suehiro talks to us about the power of Kinect and what you can expect from his latest Xbox One exclusive creation, D4.
Watching D4 in action reminded us a little of arcade games like Time Crisis and Dance Dance Revolution. Are these the kinds of games you had in mind during development?
When I first started developing on the Kinect, I played a lot of different Kinect games, in order to study the advantages and disadvantages of the Kinect device. In that sense, there was no specific game I had in mind during development. The same is true for the arcade games that you mention. If the timing inputs and the method and presentation of player evaluation reminds you of arcade games, that could be because I have a background as an arcade game designer.
What drew you towards working with Kinect on Xbox One?
The D4 pitch was originally created for the Xbox 360 however, after several meetings, test builds, and presentations, Microsoft came to us with the suggestion to develop for the Xbox One. It was a great honour, and I remember feeling very grateful. As for what originally attracted me to the Kinect device, the reason I decided to work on it was that I felt the potential of a great future. I guess I can follow up and say that this “potential” is not just an evolution of specific game content, but an evolution in the style of gameplay itself.
Compared to the Xbox 360 Kinect, you can say that the new Kinect is dozens of times more powerful. It’s truly, very precise. However, the answer to your question is no. That is because no single device can ever solve every problem.
No matter how accurate and precise a device becomes, the motion of a human being is extremely complex. Creating a device that can interpret the intent of a human being 100 per cent requires software that can identify and control that information. That’s where we game designers come in. My job is to take complex human behaviour and turn them into symbols that the Kinect can translate immediately, and then provide those symbols to the players so that they can have the best “make-believe” experience. I believe D4 is a game that can prove to you what that potential is, so please look forward to it.
What can you tell us about how D4’s gameplay evolves during the game?
The gameplay we have previously shown at conventions only represents a portion of the total gameplay available in D4. In other words, D4 is a complete release with lots of gameplay. The goal of this game is to create an experience that allows the player to see the drama, think about the mystery, experience the story, immerse in the emotions, and thoroughly enjoy the game.
Is the episodic structure of the game beginning to take shape for you? Can you tell us at all about how it will be delivered to gamers?
We plan to deliver the episodes sequentially, as a continuation of the story itself, like Episode One leading onto Episode Two… and so on. I can’t reveal the exact date or schedule of these episodes yet.
Given that D4 and Deadly Premonition are both investigation games, we wonder are you a fan yourself of playing games in this genre?
Hmm. Come to think of it, I play very few investigative games in my off time. I play a whole bunch of games – I wonder why?
You’ve mentioned that holding off the ending will help stop spoilers. Do online spoilers annoy you?
Spoilers don’t really annoy me. When I spoke in the past about holding off on the ending, the intent and hope was to create a period of time where people were being held off and the mystery was still a mystery for everyone, during which players can discuss with each other.
As a side note, when Deadly Premonition was released in Japan, the North American version last boss (the culprit) was released on his own on a video sharing site, because the North American version was released earlier, and that disappointed a lot of players. That was pretty sad.
There is a famous piece of Japanese literature titled In A Grove. This is one of the many masterpieces created by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, and in this mystery, there are clues pointing towards an answer, but the truth is unknown. You can get caught up dwelling on the truth for quite a long time. It’s stressful, but also very fun. That’s the kind of experience I’d like to provide.