TGS '07: Infinite Undiscovery Q&A Session

We sat down with Infinite Undiscovery's Producer and Director to learn more about their enigmatic Xbox 360 RPG from Square Enix.

TOKYO--Earlier in the show, we brought you a preview of a cryptic but intriguing trailer for Infinite Undiscovery that contained more questions than answers. Fortunately, the very next day we got to sit down with the game's producer (Kojima-san) and its director (Ogawa-san), as well as several other journalists, to ask all the questions we could think of. The following is a mostly unedited transcript of the conversation that should fill in some of this upcoming RPG's considerable blanks, including information about the backstory, development team, and meaning of the enigmatic title, Infinite Undiscovery.

(Note: The interpreter's words are in plain text, and the assorted journalists' questions are in italics. Not all questions were asked by GameSpot staff.)

***Beginning of session***

It's for the next-generation hardware, the Xbox 360, and it's a project involving cooperation from tri-Ace and Square Enix.

The genre is of an action RPG, and they've brought up the action even more than the RPGs that tri-Ace has produced on the PS2 and other systems to date.

They built a new engine from the ground up which will enable them to express things that they've never been able to before.

First, what does Infinite Undiscovery mean? And second, [the trailer] mentions that the moon has stopped shining. Isn't that usually the sun's job?

Undiscovery is a word that we've created and it has its roots in obviously discovery and the fun of finding things. And one of the main things of the game are the things that are hidden in it and that you come to uncover as you go through. So, it's kind of a play on words that way.

And then for the second part--so, of course in this world there's also a similar--a light coming from the sun, but part of the world view in the game is that the moon has a special power that it gives to the people and he can't go too into depth without giving away too much of the story, but basically there's a villain who tries to harness that power away and therefore they lose both that power and the light of hope, so kind of a play there. So, I hope that answers your question.

I was at the press conference last week when this game was announced and maybe I misunderstood the way it was presented, but it sounds like something that Microsoft started working on and you guys came on board a little later. And I wonder if you could explain exactly how that worked. Was this something that you were actually working with them on from the beginning, or did they call you up and get you on board and if so, why was that needed?

So, from the beginning it was a Microsoft and tri-Ace project to make an RPG.

And as Microsoft is not too familiar with making RPGs, so when they were going about the process, they wanted someone with the know-how, so they called in Square Enix and asked them to assist.

The major split of responsibilities is that technological aspects of making most of the hardware fall on Microsoft. Getting the most out of the software falls on tri-Ace and getting the most out of the packaging and the presentation of the game falls on Square Enix.

Would you mind going into a little bit of how the combat in the game is going to work? Is it very much like Star Ocean 3, or is it a change?

The basic control function and style of battle, controlling in battle is similar to SO 3. They've also incorporated new battle and game system elements, so there are situation battles and real-time battles as well. And basically, you move between the situations and the battles and it moves seamlessly and it's kind of that kind of system, if that helps clear it up.

Unlike SO 3 where you have encounters with enemies based on contacting, and when making contact with them, the battlefields are seamless in Infinite Undiscovery. So you move straight from real world into battle.

And then in the field battle there are situational things that occur, like ogres attacking from the side or tsunamis occurring and things like that, in the middle of the battle. And therein it has a similar element to Star Ocean 3.

I was hoping you could give us a basic rundown of the story and the main characters. You mentioned the moon, but could the--player will be controlling the kind of like--yeah, how would all this sort of work out.

It's kind of like Ogawa-san was saying before, that the moon is very central to the plot and the moon gives power to people.

And also as I mentioned before, there's a villain, and what he does is, he actually enchains the moon to draw its power away and there's a hero in the world who attempts to free the world by cutting those chains. But that's not the main character. The main character, his name is Kapel [ph] and he has a face--he looks identical to the hero who's trying to do this, and that's how he gets wrapped up in the story.

Of course it's not only--the only thing special about him isn't just that he looks identical to the hero, there are secrets there, but we're going to leave those as secrets for the time being.

And the main female protagonist is named Aya and she's a heroine who fights alongside the previously mentioned hero, and she also mistakes Kapel for being the hero himself.

That's obviously--that's not going to wrap everything up but basically, so, in the long run they get tied in with the hero and end up fighting for the same cause.

From what we've seen of the gameplay, battles are taking place in real time but you're going to have a party. How are you handling party control and direction?

Primarily the player controls Kapel, the hero, and the four characters--so the other three characters are controlled by AI.

There is a way to direct the AI in battle and certain systems for how to control them but they're not revealing that at this time.

Because you control one character, but there are others, it seems like Infinite Undiscovery would be a good game to play cooperatively. Is that a possibility?

There is no multiplayer function currently.

So, basically, the idea is, even though there isn't actual multiplayer, the AI, the idea is, it's like an online MMO RPG, the AI would be advanced enough so that it felt like you were playing with other people.

Just going back to the story in this game and the characters. Kapel then looks like a hero, presumably he has a lot of special powers himself, he's not just a normal guy, otherwise this would be a pretty boring game. Can he do everything the hero that's trying to save the world can do? Are there things that he can't do? And what interaction is there between them, do they ever meet in the game?

He actually starts off as kind of like a wandering minstrel. But for some reason he has natural abilities with his sword and kind of, how he comes to discover it, and what abilities he does have, ties in deeply with the story and with the ending, so they can't go too into depth with that.

And the reason he is a hero is because there is something only he can do.

I believe recently, it was kind of mentioned that the world in the game will evolve over time. Is it kind of like, say, a game like Fable like that? How does that work in the game?

The major element is that as events happen around the field, the field itself changes. So he was mentioning that when there's a dragon present near the field, the way you battle the smaller enemies will change, and you know, having that dragon in the background will come to affect what's happening in the field. Things are changing like that.

And there are certain things that will change the field itself, permanently, I guess.

***End of session***

That's all for now, but when we learn more about Infinite Undiscovery, you'll be the first to know.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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66 comments
ng2006
ng2006

It seems that's NOT of my interest. :(

HICHTAKEN
HICHTAKEN

a nice break from all the shooters, looks and sounds good

ms_hijikata
ms_hijikata

Good to see more RPGs on the 360, hopefully it's lengthy, although co-op would make it a little more interesting.

jclipstone
jclipstone

sounds like it will be a good game. maybe a bit slow paced?

wudarbassist83
wudarbassist83

I hope this rpg is good. almost all the 360 rpgs i played so far were letdowns, also the lack of rpgs is a disappointment.

Vrygar777
Vrygar777

Looks good, and because Square-Enix is working on it, it is good :).

Gunface1011
Gunface1011

finally something epic to sink my teeth into!

Ed_The_Great
Ed_The_Great

This is a pleasant surprise...Didn't know anything about this game until today.Even has the official release date so I'm definitely waiting for this one.

LPH79
LPH79

This game sounds interesting...i think i will keep an eye out for this one.

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

Sounds interesting, I would say this should go to PS3 as well, but I believe Square-Enix is working on some new MMO exclusive to PS3 already. Not to mention FFXIII, Versus and Star Ocean 4 is PS3 only.(maybe SO4 will go to 360, I doubt it though) If I'm not too into Fable 2 and finished Mass Effect, maybe this would be worth looking into for my 360.

Ardiendo_1
Ardiendo_1

'And second, [the trailer] mentions that the moon has stopped shining. Isn't that usually the sun's job?' I have to admit that made me LOL a bit. This game looks pretty promising, I really liked Star Ocean 3's combat system and think the occurance of natural events like tsunamis occuring during battle sounds cool and a good way of varying things. I agree with you Freezeryder, RPGs should definately be over 50 hours but not just for the sake of it. I was amazed and disappointed to hear Mass Effect would only be 40 hours but having said that fighting through dungeon level after dungeon level in games like Dark Chronicle can get pretty tedious because there is no variation.

Freezeryder
Freezeryder

Great stuff, propably -- but please, oh please let this game have more than 30-40 hours of gameplay, as is common these days. It's the next gen, how come the RPG's - of all things - are getting shorter than ever? I find that quite strange. I'd like to own Eternal Sonata, but 25-30 hours? Get outta here! 50 hours should be the minimum if it's to call itself a real RPG that dudes like me can play aaaall night.

ronnet
ronnet

With Mass Effect and Fable 2 and all the multiplatform WRPG, the 360 already proofed the be the best console for WRPG. But with all these new announced exclusive JRPG it won't be long till 360 can be called the best console for RPG.

mekimaru99
mekimaru99

I think this is going to be a good rest from the FF's and still be as fun as them the ps3 has failed,no game should go to the system i say.

Spongeskeeter
Spongeskeeter

What can I say. The Xbox 360 is the lowest selling in Japan. It fails. I guess this is a game I'll never play, though it looks interesting.

bartonle
bartonle

Man, they should have made this game for PS3. I guess there might have been to much competition there with all of the big RPGs hitting the system in near future. Can't wait for Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy 13 Versus.

dark_raven_claw
dark_raven_claw

game looks awsome-hope its battle system was like Kingdom Heart's, fast-paced, while the story-line stays awsome too

hellpolice
hellpolice

Hope it turns out well, we'll see. Grabbing some of the elements from SO 3 sound interesting.

whaler06
whaler06

The battle system seems cool. The only thing i dont like is the combo hit count.

Sion_111
Sion_111

Stupid name, but sounds good.

lctpp2
lctpp2

this and lost odyssey.... MS is broadening horizons and is bringin in even more competition...

nobeaner
nobeaner

Nice interview, but it was like reading a bad translation that was not editted.

VenDaler
VenDaler

For some reason, I was thinking this was an mmo. Can the character be customized, and how well can you direct the AI (if not directly)? I dont know enough about this game yet to have much of an opinion of it. Just cause SE is in on it doesn't make me think it will be great... All three working together though can have some potential.

sony_is_sony
sony_is_sony

Microsoft is aiming for RPG is really a nice move ... though the PS3 is going to be better in RPGs !!! Star Ocean 4, FFXIII, FF VS XIII, and A White Knight Story are heading for the PS3 (exclusively) ... YET!

Azhar85
Azhar85

Not to forget FFXIII..but Sony just announced it PS3 only....maybe that will change in time...i'll hope so... :P

Azhar85
Azhar85

i'll think square want a fair competition for all console because every consoles had their unique RPG games published by square...PS3 has FFXIII, 360 has Infinite Discovery and Wii has FF Crystal Choronicle (something like that..i forget the FF series for Wii)....just my opinion..but if their port KH3 to 360...it will be great....i'll hope so...

Sydraff
Sydraff

I guess the whole JRPG bandwagon thing won't be too bad. As long as they don't start putting major FFs, KHs, and MTGs on Xbox, I'll be happy...

portujoel5
portujoel5

why is the text so messy and unorganized? other thant that, sounds like a good game

SkankForCrack
SkankForCrack

If they do Multi-Player I doubt it'll be online, if anything it'll play like Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube. It was real-time and had Multi-Player plus it was an awesome game. Ah well huzzah for exclusive RPG's. About time Microsoft.

nnn2004
nnn2004

great game..... i think.

sandroDX
sandroDX

sounds pretty cool, will keep two eyes on this one

StarFoxA
StarFoxA

It was hilarious when they were discussing the name on TGS Live. XD

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

this sounds pretty awesome. so it's like the final fantasy 11 or 12 in gamplay style that it's kindof real-time?

HOLYWOOD444
HOLYWOOD444

hope they add online multiplayer on live but i'll probably play it either way. sounds pretty cool

rbop
rbop

With MS staking and the obvious value added by SE this game sound like it could be a winner... just hope that it isn't hampered by endless delays like every other Square game seems to be these days.

mohammed888
mohammed888

Well this can only mean good news from here on out but still the Xbox 360 depends heavily on Lost Odyssey for there fight in Japan and I think that game is really shapping up to be a masterpiece in JRPG's and I do still say that the Microsoft advertisments should improve like Sagakushi said about them and if that happens well we will deffinitly see more exclusives for the 360 from SE that will replace the void made by FF in the 360, who noes maybee The last Remnant and Infineti Undescovery are those titles.

Knightmare_King
Knightmare_King

Wow....so microsoft asked Square enix for presentation and tri-ace for the game? that's kinda awesome considering I was thinking Square would never make an RPG for 360 so this is a good start to something i hope that by working on a engine from teh ground up it can give a good performance advantage for Square to MAYBE bring more JRPG's to the 360 via exclusively. maybe i'm asking for too much..LOL

wackyshaun
wackyshaun

@Neoyamaneko I was speaking mostly of the jews-only-hire-jews racist generalization. But re: japanese translation: translating on the fly is hard. I imagine probably doubly hard between two languages that share little grammatic similarities.

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

Whatever. I say we need more JRPG games like this hitting the next-gen consoles. Granted, the majority are your average Atelier Iris 5: Karateka Hot Nights crap but Tri-Ace knows their stuff. And the harder we push for more content like Vagrant Story, the sooner we'll get it. If we had nothing but native English developers, everything would be Haze.

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

@wackyshaun Just because someone isn't praising everything Japan is DOESN'T make them racist. That's just elitist anime fan thinking.

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

What the heck is up with this article being so wapanese? Kojima-san? Sticking Japanese honorifics in English sentences because it's the only Japanese you know just sounds retarded. Japanese people don't go konnichiwa Mr. Johnson! or Ogenki desu ka Mrs. Jones?

Holopaw
Holopaw

I feel as this is going to be a great game, kinda just stands out the way Mass Effect did when i heard about it two years ago.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

Definitely sounds interesting, but too early to decide how much to hype it. Hope to see some more info on this soon.

wackyshaun
wackyshaun

Ryker, Are your comments always so racist?

Dryker
Dryker

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

JLuke360
JLuke360

Infinitely undiscovering?

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

soudns promising like the new ps3 one announced

GCase1
GCase1

Yup, more SquareEnix games for the 360 would be hella cool. : D

XanderZane
XanderZane

Can't wait for this game to be released next year. It looks awesome. I'm glad they called SquareEnix in to assist. They need to make some deals with them so that SE releases more of their RPG's on the 360. The Last Remnant is a nice start, but more games like Star Ocean, Vagrant Story, Brave Fencer Musashi, Parasite Eve, Chrono Trigger, etc... would be nice.