Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire Prerelease Q&A
Producer Hirofumi Inagaki speaks about the development of the first PS3 Gundam game just a few weeks prior to release of both system and game.
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No console launch is complete without a game featuring giant robots blowing each other up, and Namco Bandai will fill that niche at next month's PlayStation 3 launch with Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire, a graphically imposing new shooter based on everyone's favorite old-school anime series. To get the straight dirt on what will make this new Gundam game different, we went straight to the source: producer Hirofumi Inagaki.
GameSpot: How did you approach developing a Gundam game on the PlayStation 3?
Hirofumi Inagaki: First of all, the sheer volume of content we can put on a Blu-ray Disc is significant. This allowed us to start developing a game that can truly show the scale of battles between gigantic mobile suits.
Due to the size of the mobile suits, we knew that the battlefields in the game had to be broad and expansive. We paid close attention to optimizing the size of the battlefields and environments within them to create a realistic feel of scale. This direction required us to develop a set of features to accommodate long-range combat as well as melee combat. The sniper mode is a good example; it lets you view objects from a far distance in great detail. We were also able to incorporate a highly detailed destruction-physics simulation feature into the core gameplay.
GS: What elements not seen in previous Gundam games did you think the hardware could make possible?
HI: My answer to the first question covers this topic to a degree. For Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire, we are trying to incorporate positive features that were used in earlier Gundam games while introducing brand-new features. For example, the sniper mode has been inspired by a similar feature that existed in a title released on the Dreamcast. The feature was received very positively by many gamers, and we decided to reinvent it in this game. On the other hand, the location-specific damage feature that works against both the enemy's and your own mobile suit is a new feature. In addition, the realistic physics simulation that exists in the game is also a new feature that was made possible by the hardware.
GS: How are you taking advantage of the PS3 controller's tilt functionality?
HI: Although we have deferred an introduction of the tilt functionality in this title, we would like to use this in a [way] that is suitable for intuitive controlling such as sniper mode in the future.
GS: Can you explain how the story mode is going to work? Will there be branching paths? How will you gain access to new mobile suits?
HI: Of course, the game is based on the One Year War and there will be more than 30 missions to complete for each side of your choice. However, there won't be an extensive storyline to follow in the game. We are focusing more on a chronological sequence of war rather than the character-driven storyline of the original animation series.
Players will have a choice to either join the Earth Federation Forces or the Principality of Zeon Forces to conduct given operations. Players will start their careers as a mobile suit platoon leader and rise through the ranks. They'll begin as a lower-ranked commander with limited responsibilities, but as they gain rank, their sphere of command will increase and the tools available to complete their missions will also increase.
Upon completing the missions, players will be rewarded with points. With the points, players will be able to claim cutting-edge weaponry, more experienced pilots, and a wide variety of mobile suits (including a brand-new mobile suit that has been exclusively created for this game) as they make their way through the war.
Please note that players will not simply be unlocking new mobile suits. On top of unlocking more mobile suits, players will be able to customize them extensively. They will be able to customize their weapons, their abilities, looks, and so forth.
GS: What elements have you included for hardcore Gundam fans?
HI: Here will be several mobile suits appearing that have never shown up in video games in the past. You will be able to unlock a brand-new mobile suit that will have a first-time appearance in a Gundam game. We will release more information about the mobile suit in detail as we get closer to our release date. More over, I believe the realistic visuals of the mobile suits will excite not only the hardcore fans but also any mecha-loving fans out there.
GS: How are you incorporating the squad mechanics into the experience?
HI: Players are promoted in the ranks by successfully accomplishing missions. They'll get promoted through military achievements (perform well on missions). A higher rank opens up higher-priority missions and allows players to expand their ability to give commands to their platoon and allies in general. A variety of commands will be at their disposal, from very basic commands such as advance or halt, but also sophisticated ones such as flanking your enemy. In addition, the higher the rank, the more powerful mobile suits are available and the more elite pilots will join their platoon.
GS: What resolution are you running in?
HI: It's running in 720p [at] 30 frames per second.
GS: What's been the biggest challenge in working in HD?
HI: Developing everything that exists in the game, in realistic detail, required a tremendous amount of time and effort from our development team. Everything that exists in the game will have great detail, and we had to put an extra amount of effort to make it look as realistic as possible.
GS: Crossfire is receiving positive buzz from the US media. Are you surprised at this reception?
HI: The Gundam franchise has been popular due to the introduction of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing series in North America. However, the overall popularity for the franchise has decreased. In Japan, the popularity of the Gundam brand is comparable to that of Star Wars in North America. Characters from the franchise are easily recognized by almost everyone in Japan. This time, we are very pleased that the Gundam franchise has been receiving recognition through the video game title for the PlayStation 3, not the animated TV series. Please support us since all of the staff are working hard to seek simultaneous release in both Japan and North America!
GS: Thanks for your time.