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.