We check in with Tomonobu Itagaki and Team Ninja as development on the Xbox 360 fighter continues.
Hot on the heels of our look at Dead or Alive 4 at this year's Tokyo Game Show, we had the chance to check in with Team Ninja's head ninja, Tomonobu Itagaki, for an update on the promising Xbox 360 fighter. Besides shedding light on the changes going into the upcoming game, the veteran developer shared some thoughts on Team Ninja's future projects as well. Best of all, he let us get the first high-definition direct feed of the game, which you won't find anywhere else in the world.
GameSpot: So let's dive right in and talk about some of the new stuff we saw. The most striking is the new screen blur and shake when you're staggered. What can you tell us about this?
TI: It's, ah, it's in testing right now. What I'm trying to accomplish here is, you know, by using the movement of the air and so forth, to try to express the feeling inside you after you get punched.
GS: So it's in testing. Do you think you'll keep it?
TI: I'll keep it only if it goes well. Traditionally speaking, we're not into special effects. But with DOA4, we're going to change our tradition a little bit, and we'll be implementing more and more special effects. In the past we've always expressed the feeling of pain from just the [fighting] moves and their movement. But that's a very, you know, stoic type of thing, and we realize that DOA4 is going to be positioned to a broader audience. So we decided to implement more special effects.
GS: Tell us about the changes made to the game's speed and attack systems. Is it just that the combo system changed? Or is it harder to do counters because it's much faster? Or did the timing change, too?
TI: We redesigned all the motion. So, as a result, the timing was changed. The motion data is changed, but the combo system is basically the same. It's been improved upon, but it's basically the same. Making a sequel, or a series, you know, is like adding a new room to your house. And so, you know, you keep some of the things the same. We're even changing, like, basic things, like, Kasumi's high kick.
GS: Why do you feel now is a good time to do that?
TI: Of course, most developers will try to avoid a huge challenge like that in a launch title, but, of course, we had to do it kind of our way, you know? So everyone called me crazy, not just for what you're talking about, but because we're doing something with online that a typical launch game wouldn't even attempt.
GS: How's it been managing all that?
TI: I haven't cleared all those challenges yet, but, you know, I just can't live with doing the same thing [as in past games].
GS: Team Ninja seems to be dealing with 360 development quite well, given the circumstances. Why do you think the team is able to do so well its first time on the platform?
TI: [laughs] I think that's actually a misunderstanding, because I think, you know, we have had a number of problems. For example, Gaidan Black, in order to complete the game, we had to solve about 15,000 bugs. It's nothing more than determination on our part. If we keep on running away from it, we'll never get better. So we just stick with it and get to the end.
I think one of the strengths we have is that we can see things differently from most other people, because we can look at, say, the 360 development kit and say, "It's just a computer." And by doing that, when we face problems, we can solve them easier and better than most, because it's just a computer. So, we have that background, and even when there are very high-level problems with software, such as the API, we still look at it as just another problem. So I'm sure we'll figure it out. And that's what makes us different.
GS: So, let's go back to the fighting system. Last time I was here, you showed me you can kick someone on the ground after they've fallen. Is there a way to counter that or to block it if you're on the ground getting kicked?
TI: Certain characters will have their own special moves. For example, Kasumi and Hayabusa can use ninjitsu, but you know Mariposa can't. But she has another way of dealing with a situation like that.
GS: As far as the online stuff goes, can you tell me a little bit more about [its features], like the shop and the things that you can buy? The last time we talked you mentioned the different TVs. What else can you buy?
TI: Well, you can purchase those TVs, and you can even upgrade them, with three different variations. But only one at a time. We're also looking at creating a banner that has a player's motto on it so you can hang it on the wall.
GS: Your gamertag motto?
TI: Yeah, and then the same message will be on billboards in the city.
- Player Reviews: 823
- Game Universe:
- Dead or Alive 2 (DC, ARC, PS2),
- Dead or Alive (PS, SAT, ARC),
- Dead or Alive 5 (PS3, X360, VITA),
- Dead or Alive Online (PC),
- Dead or Alive Code: Cronus (X360),
- Dead or Alive: Dimensions (3DS),
- Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (X360),
- Dead or Alive 4 (X360),
- Dead or Alive Ultimate (XBOX),
- Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (XBOX)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
16 Players Online