Q&A: Genji 2's Yoshiki Okamoto

The developer of Genji: Days of the Blade talks about creating a launch title and PlayStation 3 exclusive.

Creating a launch game for a new hardware platform is never an easy job, as the development team of Genji: Days of the Blade will attest. The follow-up to the original on the PlayStation 2, it continues the story of the Genji clan in ancient feudal Japan. It's partly inspired by true events and partly by Japanese mythology. You take control of four characters in the game, including the young master swordsman Yoshitsune from the first game, a club-wielding warrior, a priestess, and a lord.

Although the game has already been released in the US, the console isn't due for release in Europe until March, so PAL gamers have yet to sample Genji 2 firsthand. We took the opportunity to attend a recent preview in London and talk to Yoshiki Okamoto, exectuive producer, and Yukiko Goto, European producer.

GameSpot UK: Can you give European gamers a little bit of background on the game?

Yoshiki Okamoto: That's a very difficult question, and a very difficult answer! The game is set in ancient Japan where the country is split in two--the Genji clan and the Haishi clan. A lot of this game, especially the second part of it, is based around the real battles that took place as a result of the power struggle between the two clans.

GSUK: Why did you decide to bring Genji 2 to the PlayStation 3, as opposed to the PlayStation 2?

YO: When we were making the first title, we already had a sequel in mind because of other historical aspects we wanted to explore. Immediately after finishing the first game, we started building the sequel on PS2 and even the internal teams didn't know a release date for the PS3. But as soon as the date was announced, the SCEI head office came to me and said that they wanted me to make the game on the PS3. They thought that my team could do it, that they could really bring the graphics out and use the emotion engine. At first I was thinking "Oh no!" but it was very much an honour and I said yes, I wanted to make a launch title.

GSUK: Genji 2 was a launch title for the US and Japan--how difficult was that time constraint when producing the game?

YO: Well, making any game is hard work, but when you're working on a launch title the date cannot be moved, even by a day. If you're not working on a launch title this day can be moved around depending on how development goes. We wanted to make a good game, as pretty as possible graphically and as fun to play as possible gameplay-wise, but there were bits we had to cut out to make launch. That was the hardest thing for me, development-wise--working the 24-hour shifts was easy but we wanted more time to work on the game.

GSUK: Of all the launch titles, Genji 2 is one of the most technically accomplished. How much of this was down to internal expertise and external development tools?

YO: The average age of our team is older than you might expect for a game developer, so we had a lot of experience working internally on this game. What really helped us out though was being treated almost as a first-party developer when it came to backing from Sony, with all the right tools and technical support to make sure the game looks as good as it does onscreen.

GSUK: Can you talk a little bit about the upgrades that are being made for the European version of the game?

Yukiko Goto: Basically, we've tidied up the PAL version a little bit--nothing has changed design-wise, but we've certainly tweaked it here and there. We also wanted to make sure the localization was as good as possible. This means that all the major European languages are in there apart from Russian, and our testers have been up days and nights testing this game. Basically, it's a very clean version of Genji 2.

GSUK: New costume sets have been made available for download in the US and Japan--will these be available out of the box in the UK?

YO: Whereas the downloadable content was available in Japan and the US within a few months of launch, Europeans will be able to get hold of this content on launch day for free. We'll have a number of downloadable costumes, and we're looking at bringing more out in the future. At the moment, there are no plans to charge for these updates when they are made available on the PlayStation Store.

GSUK: Thanks for your time.

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Discussion

39 comments
Heretic32
Heretic32

Why are people saying to ignore the GS review?! Look at the They Say score. Its even lower than the GS score. You aren't proving your point very well that way.

theKSMM
theKSMM

The PS3's library is very small at this point (obviously), so or anything...

Eararaldor
Eararaldor

Sounds like this generations version of "The Bouncer". A PS2 launch game all about graphics, which wasn't that good... Still everyone forgets that launch games are nothing more than experiments with the hardware for the first time. Then they charge customers to to cover this basic experimenting development. Still without "The Bouncer" would "Final Fantasy X" or "Kingdom Hearts" been that good?

Rariv
Rariv

Why is everyone blaming GS for Genji 2's bad score? I played the japanese version when it came out, and it was rubish. The visual quality is great, and the sound is not bad at all, but everything else sucks... The truth is: this is a boring game that brings us nothing new at all. I'll wait for something better (DMC4, GoW3, Ninja Gaiden Stigma).

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

i personally found my self getting quickly bored with the 1st genji, i was surprised about this 2nd game and really didn't care much.

NightRain
NightRain

No.. the real question is: Is there real-time weapon changing?

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

The game is disappointing when compared to the previous iterations. Then again, its one of the first games to be released for PS3 and hopefully, the next installment will be a stellar.

Zharak
Zharak

You can attack weak points of giant enemy crabs for how much damage?

XAF1
XAF1

To hear some of you guys talk you would think that gamespot was the only site that gave Genji 2 a low rating . Nearly every game site I have checked has given the game a low rating. Everyone loves the graphics and overall presentation but they all agree on one thing, the gameplay is last gen. I find myself agreeing on a great deal of new gen games on the new consoles. The fact is that for $59.99 the game still plays like $39.99. Expectations are and shall continue to be high for this new gen. So if you accept mediocrity as a standard for gameplay then that is all you will get this generation gameplay wish from many developers.

Lord_Daemon
Lord_Daemon

I greatly enjoyed the first Genji and I hope they bring the new game to the other systems. It probably won't happen but I can hope...

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

You know what they should have added? Some camera control... And why didn't the interviewer ask about the Giant Crab?

botanisk
botanisk

Yuck_Foo Sony didn't even treat themselves as a 1st party developer for the PS3. That's why GoW2 is PS2 bound! Poor guys... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Maybe because they want to keep support for the small number of people having a Ps2 worldwide (100 mil) against the 1 mil that owns Ps3. And why rush a good game, that will be able to look and play much better, if they are willing to wait a bit and let the developers get used to handle the Ps 3's hardware. just a thought

ultimate_zero
ultimate_zero

I listened to the reviews that this game were given, until i played the demo from the PS store, the game was really good.

Mark2099
Mark2099

too bad the game kinda flopped.

Doolum
Doolum

If you ignore the GSpot review.Genji 2 is a decent game to look at.

Pablo620
Pablo620

Gamespot is way to harsh on this game and on Full Auto 2. Yeah the camera is a pain but nothing else really keeps it from being unplayable. Repetitive gameplay, yeah of course when its your job to play every damn game on the market of course its repetitive. This game is decent and the graphics are nice

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

I don't think it is really necessary to tweak the game up. The change won't be too drastic and I think they should just concentrate on a brand new game

BILLNYE6983
BILLNYE6983

6.4 isn't THAT BAD, anyways I think GS loves to underate and overate games anyways, although I'm not sure which of those catagories that Genji fits into, still making fun of a game from japan for having something weird in it is stupid, since when do videogames (especially japanese one's) have to be realistic and normal (if so then the Wii is doomed...).

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

Sony didn't even treat themselves as a 1st party developer for the PS3. That's why GoW2 is PS2 bound! Poor guys...

Enterprise-E
Enterprise-E

LOL!!! One question that seems to be missing? Gamespot: Have you guys done anything to address the suckness of the game? YO: Umm. No. Everything the same. Gamespot: PWNED!!

mestizoman
mestizoman

"according to gamespot it sucked. And the fact that he says sony treated them as a first party developer makes me laugh. yea...right." u dont know what ur talking about

VladimirCrow
VladimirCrow

Giant Enemy crabs joke is a must at this point, as well as MASSIVE DAMAGE.

Blakerz21
Blakerz21

Why didn't they ask him about real time weapon change?

anime-2k3
anime-2k3

How about a download to fix the crappy camera.

Goze
Goze

I didn't read the article, but isn't this about attacking the weak points of giant crabs for MASSIVE DAMAGE?

slipshoddoa
slipshoddoa

"could really bring the graphics out and use the emotion engine." Geez, no wonder the game sucked so bad. The guy doesn't even know the hardware he was developing on! Hint: The PS3 doesn't have an emotion engine.

quickshad3
quickshad3

according to gamespot it sucked. And the fact that he says sony treated them as a first party developer makes me laugh. yea...right.

el_rika
el_rika

The game is pretty good.

sdifjds
sdifjds

6.4 doesn't mean it sucks big time, it's just a rental.

zintarr
zintarr

GameSpot UK: Can you give European gamers a little bit of background on the game? Yoshiki Okamoto: That's a very difficult question, and a very difficult answer! Well Yoshiki let me help you. GS gave it a 6.4 rating so it must suck BIG TIME. Seems that money should be spent on others PS3 games.