LOS ANGELES--Konami kicked off the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo madness last week by holding a globally broadcast pre-show conference. Among the news from that taped segment was first word on the Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders HD Collections and an announcement for Silent Hill: Book of Memories, as well as teases for a new Contra and Hideo Kojima's new game.
However, Konami hasn't skipped out on this week's festivities. In addition to offering a look at its upcoming digital lineup and announcing Blades of Time, the publisher held a VIP interview session Tuesday.
On hand to answer questions from the collected gaming press were Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3DS producer Yoshikazu Matsuhana, PES 2012 executive producer Shinji Enomoto, and NeverDead producer Shinta Nojiri, as well as Silent Hill: Downpour design director Brian Gomez and producer Devin Shatsky.
In the full presentation, which will be available on GameSpot later today, Matsuhana revealed that Konami had struck a deal with Nintendo to allow it to use an expanded 4GB game cartridge for Snake Eater 3DS. The Downpour team also confirmed that Silent Hill: Book of Memories will be the first installment in the series to feature multiplayer.
Konami capped the VIP session in the interest of time. However, the publisher sent over a handful of additional answers to questions posed by GameSpot, which can be found below the evening's Downpour segment.
GameSpot: How have the 3DS's capabilities let you improve the MGS franchise? What new things have you been able to do that you couldn't do before?
Yoshikazu Matsuhana: The MGS series has a long-running tradition of trying to break the "4th wall" in order to directly interact with the player and the player's physical space. With the capabilities of the 3DS, we are able to take these ideas further in several ways. Not only are we able to pull the player further into the gameworld with 3D, but we are also able to let the game interact with the player's world through the use of unique 3DS features, such as the Photo Camo feature, which lets users bring a piece of the real world into the game.
Next, there's the gyro sensor, which allows players to become one with Snake's movements as they try to synchronize with the onscreen action. And finally, there's the touch screen, which allows for more intuitive interaction with Snake's inventory, removing another layer of separation between game and player.
GS: It seems more Metal Gear games are coming to handhelds these days. Is that because there's too much financial risk involved with console games? Or is it merely because you think they're better suited for the Metal Gear experience?
YM: It's not a financial decision as much as a desire to match gamers' busy lifestyles, allowing them to game anywhere, anytime. As you saw in Hideo's E3 video, we don't want gamers to be tied down by their environment or schedules. But, that doesn't mean we've abandoned consoles. It is our goal to have portable gaming experiences evolve alongside console games in a synergetic way that may someday eliminate the barrier between the two, creating an all-new gaming lifestyle.
GS: What's the process like for creating the story for a Silent Hill game? How does it come together?
Devin Shatsky: Story is obviously very important to Silent Hill, so it's one of the first things we decide on. With Downpour, we tried to start with a compelling premise. The first two games did this very well (such as Silent Hill 2, where you receive a letter from your dead wife), and we felt it was the best approach. We decided on a convict stranded in Silent Hill. From here, we pick out which themes we want to explore and begin to build our characters from there.
Once we have a good general structure, we write it. In this case, we contracted Tom Waltz for the job, fresh off his Sinner's Reward graphic novel. Together, we crafted what would become Murphy's journey, and Waltz scripted each scene out. From there, it's a constant process of editing and revision as we fit it into gameplay, the different areas visited in the game, and specific cutscenes. Obviously, some details end up vestigial and get removed, while other new ideas occur to us and get folded into the game.
GS: What is NeverDead's marker for success? And are there plans to turn this IP into a franchise?
Shinta Nojiri: Above all, I aim to receive a great reputation and reviews for NeverDead. I think it is more important than its sales.