Akihiro Suzuki Interview: Bladestorm 2, Historical Fiction, and the Vitaon February 26, 2015 by Oscar TK
It’s been all systems are go at Koei Tecmo recently. I got the chance to head down to London recently to take a peek at some of their new games. You can read my previews of both Bladestorm Nightmare and Toukiden: Kiwami already, as well as Parallel’s review of Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires. But I also got to put some questions to Mr. Akihiro Suzuki, who guided us through footage before we got hands on.
Historical fiction has arguably leaped in popularity in the last few years – what is it about video games that’s especially speed for exploring the genre do you think?
Koei started off in developing historical strategy titles from its roots, so for us it has always been in our DNA as a company to come up with historical driven titles. Our research is extensive and thorough and we always make sure to not make any historical character lose their legitimacy too much. With this in mind, this genre is not an easy area to explore, which is one of the reasons we feel many of our competitors are not trying to take on too much from our own interests.
Why take Bladestorm Nightmare towards the Orochi route with demons and dragons and other fantastical elements?
At the time we weren’t considering it to be like Orochi. It was purely a case of wanting to add something extra to the gameplay to start with, and adding different sized monsters and dragons felt the most natural way for Bladestorm, purely considering the game’s plot and the era in which the original Bladestorm was set [the Hundred Years’ War: 1337 – 1453]. It was after this that the storyline was actually considered back at that time.
With the Vita being so popular for fans of Japanese games, will we see a Vita release of BSN?
We did actually look into it during the early stage of development, but looking at the gameplay experience as a whole, we felt it would be too different, so decided to focus on the 3 platforms which the console versions will become available on. [Steam has since been announced, joining the PS3, PS4, and Xbox One versions]
Why remaster Bladestorm as Nightmare instead of making a full Bladestorm 2, considering it’s been a whole 7 years?
It was always our intention to come up with a sequel in the minimal time possible after the initial installment, but varying factors declined us from doing so. However, we have continued in receiving great feedback from our fans requesting a sequel with some mentioning that they actually still played it. On top of this backing and the current generation of consoles establishing themselves, we felt this is the right time to start up the project again and here we are today. The reason for making it a reboot was to make sure we were able to pick up the pieces we left back at the time in terms of the game play (now allowing 4 units to be commanded) and graphics (no pop up issues making the enemy units suddenly appear in front of you) to name some points, but not forgetting to add something extra for the fans in adding a new storyline and a detailed edit mode as well, just to name some of the features.
What drew you to the Hundred Years War in particular?
You might say it was slightly systematic, but the decision in picking the Hundred Years’ War actually came after the concept of the game and the game system was created. We wanted to create a game which would allow players to repetitively play it in a very long run, which we did, and then we looked around for any potential match to adopt as the storyline. We ended up seeing the historical fact of the war which continued for over 100 years, thus we knew this was the right route to take at the time.
Will we see any new historical eras in a Warriors game?
We are always on an outlook for new ideas and exploring new areas of history so you never know what might pop up in the long run. Everyone asks so answering it first, we do extend our research out of the already available Chinese history as well.
Finally, what is your favourite “outlandish creature” from the game?
Creature-wise it’s difficult to answer, but if I can answer which is my favourite character. It would be Edward if choosing from Bladestorm Nightmare. My reason is because of his characteristics in the game, where he is more a people’s person, trying to help his troop and people at all times, which is something which can’t be done in real life too much.