E3 2002: Capcom's pre-E3 conference

Capcom shows Resident Evil 0, Devil May Cry 2, and Steel Battalion and talks about the future of its VS series.

Earlier this morning, Capcom held a pre-E3 press conference where it showed footage from a number of games, including Devil May Cry 2, Resident Evil 0, and Red Dead Revolver. Atsushi Inaba also gave a brief demonstration of Steel Battalion for the Xbox.

The conference began with Mega Man character designer Keiji Inafune giving a brief overview of the North American version of Onimusha 2. He basically said that much of Onimusha 2 was designed in response to some of the complaints about the original game, such as the game's relatively short length and lack of difficulty. Inafune went on to say that he chose Yusaku Matsuda to "play" Jubei Yagyu because he knew that actor would appeal to a much broader audience. Inafune also made a few comments on Onimusha 3. He said that he would like to use full 3D backgrounds for the game because they're much more natural looking, especially when weather effects are involved. In addition, he said that would personally like the Onimusha series to end as a trilogy, but like Star Wars, there's always the possibility of examining other storylines.

Next up was JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for the PlayStation 2. Noritaka Funamizu, producer on the Street Fighter series, and Yoshihiro Tsuda, who is also producing Auto Modellista, gave a brief description of the game, explaining that the game is much more adventure-like in nature as opposed to the previous JoJo fighting game. The game will utilize cel-shaded graphics, which will help bring the game back to its manga roots.

There wasn't very much shown of Auto Modellista except for a compilation of replays. Funamizu and Tsuda said that the goal for Auto Modellista is to create a unique racing experience via the game's controls, cel-shaded graphics, and network features--though, online play is apparently still up in the air for the North American and European markets, due to uncertainties involving Sony's online plans. The tracks in the game will take place in city streets, on highways, and through mountain passes. It was also explained that there isn't a noticeable damage model in the game because different manufacturers have different requirements as far as damage is concerned. Tsuda also added that car manufacturers were actually quite excited about the concept of Auto Modellista because they thought the idea of a cel-shaded driving game was unique.

After the Auto Modellista demo, Funamizu answered a few questions about Capcom's lineup of "versus" games. While he wouldn't go into specifics, he did say that Capcom has been investigating the possibility of doing a Marvel vs. DC game, and that the Capcom vs. SNK series has not been affected by SNK's demise and subsequent legal problems.

The producer of Devil May Cry 2, Tsuyoshi Tanaka, then took the stage. The Devil May Cry 2 footage showed a large city environment where Dante--who looks noticeably different from the original Dante character design--was standing on top of a building before he takes a Matrix-like leap toward the ground below to take out a group of enemies. The battle sequence looked similar to the battles that took place in the original game, only Dante's hair moves around while he swings his massive sword. We only caught a brief glimpse of the other playable character in Devil May Cry 2, but Tanaka did say that she would be able to use throwing knives as a weapon, and that she and Dante will have different abilities. In addition, Tanaka said that the camera system in Devil May Cry 2 will actually come closer to the action so players can see more detail in the characters.

Capcom then showed two videos of Red Dead Revolver, a third-person shooter based on old Western films (it actually started out as a SWAT game, but was later changed by Capcom). There will be two methods of control in the game. The first is designed to be accessible enough for players who want to jump right in, so the game will perform auto-targeting on enemies. The second control mode, which is called revolver style, not only lets players manually target enemies, but it also lets them target specific parts such as feet, hands, or heads. Red Dead Revolver will be mission-based, but interestingly, executive producer Ray Nakazato said that the game won't take very long to complete, and that in addition to a story mode, there will be another mode in the game (called bounty-hunter mode), in which players will be able to earn money for some unspecified purpose. Red Dead Revolver will also have support for up to four players.

Even in its relatively early state, Red Dead Revolver looks very good. The indoor environments are visibly dusty, as you can see beams of light bursting through the windows of what appears to be a saloon. The character models also look detailed, and the main character is animated well, especially when he performs rolls and an assortment of gunslinging moves. The development team is also trying very hard to make sure that players feel like they're out in the scorching sun at high noon. Most of the visual technology in the game comes courtesy of Angel Studios, but Nakazato said that Capcom is always sending people over to Angel to help develop the game.

Capcom then showed a video of Resident Evil 0. Graphically, the game looks quite similar to the recently released remake of Resident Evil for the GameCube. The rain effects shown while Rebecca was walking outside of the train and the water effects shown in an indoor area were particularly noteworthy because they reacted to the movement of the train. As mentioned in previous reports, the biggest difference between Resident Evil 0 and other Resident Evil games is that players can instantly change control from Rebecca Chambers to ex-Navy officer Billy Cohen. They can also drop items anywhere on the level if either character's inventory is full and then return later to pick up the same items. When both characters are onscreen at once, the computer will take control of one character, but players can still equip the computer-controlled character with a weapon of their choosing or prevent the other character from attacking entirely.

The producer for Resident Evil 0, Tsuyoshi Tanaka, answered a few questions about the game. Apparently, the save system from previous Resident Evil games will return, as will the multiple control schemes from the Resident Evil remake. He also said that the train portion revealed in early screenshots of the game is only one section of the game.

Not much was shown of the Breath of Fire game for the PlayStation 2. There was a brief video showing off the cel-shaded look of the game, as well as the battle system, which will be turn-based based.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the show occurred when Atsushi Inaba demonstrated the massive Steel Battalion controller. Not surprisingly, the idea for the controller actually came before the idea for a game because the development team wanted to create an experience in which players really felt as though they were piloting a mech. Upon starting the game, Inaba took his seat behind the controller and got in the game. The first thing he did was a press a button on the far right side of the controller, which closed the hatch. He then pressed another button to charge the mech's general power systems. Then, by flicking a series of switches on the bottom left side of the controller, he turned on the mech's subsystems. Once the mech is ready to move, players can zoom the camera in and out by using buttons on the right panel, fire and move the reticle around the screen by using the right analog stick, and maneuver the mech by using the left stick. The massive controller also features an eject button, which can be used if a mech receives too much damage.

The environments in Steel Battalion are fully destructible, as was shown by Inaba when he took down a communication tower with a machine gun and a large building with a series of missiles. He also showed that mechs can fall over if players take turns at high speeds.

Steel Batallion looks pretty good at this point. The ground textures are sharp and clear, the frame rate remains steady, and the lighting effects are impressive. When an explosion occurs close to your mech, dust will accumulate on the screen, forcing you to clean it manually with a quick spray of water.

One stage in the game appears to have taken its inspiration from Saving Private Ryan, as a group of mechs were loaded off a carrier and sent toward a beach populated with barricades and massive bunkers. The sun would produce an amazing lighting effect on other mechs heading toward the beach. Steel Batallion will have 12 stages and approximately 25 missions, though that may change by the time the game is released. Unfortunately, no details were given regarding the price of the Steel Battalion controller, but Inaba said that they would let other companies support it if they received proposals.

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Polybren
Polybren

Marvel vs. DC Capcom fighter... if only...