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INTERVIEW: Hideako Istuno on Dragon's Dogma

INTERVIEW: Hideako Istuno on Dragon's Dogma

THQ recently plugged the hole of silence around Dragon’s Dogma by flying the game’s director Hideako Istuno out to Australia. 

Istuno san was responsible for the Devil May Cry series, and Dragon’s Dogma represents his team’s first attempt at an RPG rather than an action game. With battles taking cues from Shadow of the Colossus, a game world reminiscent of Skyrim, a day and night cycle bearing all the menace of Minecraft and that trademark Devil May Cry action for the combat, the game looks to be an entirely unique experience for 2012.

It will integrate a full marketplace system where players can trade AI members of their party (known as ‘pawns’) online, hire them from others and much more.

MCV took the time to speak to Istuno san about the title while he was in Sydney.

Did the game arise out of Capcom wanting to do an RPG specifically, or did one of this game’s many core ideas come first?

I actually started this game with the ‘pawn’ idea, back in 2002 when I was working on Devil May Cry 2. I thought that it could be used in many types of games, but eventually I realised it’d fit best in an RPG. That said, working at Capcom (and with us being very proud of our action games), I also wanted to include an action element, so that’s how it became the game that it is now.

It’s like an action game in an RPG-style world, with heavy emphasis on this core idea of pawns.

And are you beckoning action fans to branch out into more complex games like RPGs with Dragon’s Dogma, or asking traditionally stat-friendly consumers to try something with more reflex-based skill?

The target for us is both action fans and RPG fans. The reason is that when we started developing the game, we were very careful and even worried about the notion that RPG fans might say ‘Wow, there’s a lot of action in here, but it seems a little bit too difficult for me’, or that action game fans might say ‘The action here is cool, but these RPG elements seem really troublesome. I just wanna go into it and fight enemies’, so we created a balance of RPG and action elements. You can skip the RPG elements and use presets to get straight to the action, or if you’re no good at the action elements you can focus on surrounding yourself with high level pawns and taking more of a strategic role during combat.

We believe we’ve struck a good balance which will appeal to both ends of the spectrum.

A lot of modern RPGs go easy on people these days, but with Dragon’s Dogma you’ve let nighttime be a real burden with almost no visibility and considerable danger, and you’ve limited the amount of times players can fast-travel to move around easily. Why these bold moves?

At first, we were a little bit worried (actually, the staff were worried too) when we were playing it and people kept coming up to me and saying ‘Why isn’t there quick travel in this?’, and asking for it to be easier to move from one place to another. I said ‘No, you don’t get it. This game is all about the journey; it’s about the adventure.’ And that’s what I want people to experience with this game.

In other games, there’s quick travel from point A to B because in between it’s just not that exciting. But here, as you move around there are huge battles with massive monsters, random quests to encounter, things which will come out of nowhere and new areas to explore. The idea is to force players to focus on the journey again, which hasn’t been a focus of RPGs in a while.

That principle was definitely exemplified by watching that massive golem battle which began in the afternoon and ran through sunset into nighttime. It definitely gave the random that sense of scale (both in terms of size and time) and place.

Exactly. And after that, you’re stuck out here now, in the middle of nowhere! Very close to here [we’re in pitch black at night time now], there are two massive Cyclops creatures which will attack our party if we head in the wrong direction. Just being in the game world should be as engaging as possible.

Thank you for your time.


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