Tenchu: Fatal Shadows Q&A

We talk to chief planner Masanori Kuwasashi about the upcoming stealth action sequel.


Over the past few weeks, we've been running a series on some of the stealth kills you'll be performing in Tenchu: Fatal Shadows, the upcoming game from Sega and developer K2. For our final look at the stealth kills in the game, we took the opportunity to talk to K2 chief planner Masanori Kuwasashi about the stylish and deadly moves used by the game's heroines.

GameSpot: The Tenchu series has been around for several years. How do you keep the stealth kills looking fresh?

Each character has a number of different stealth kill animations at their disposal.
Each character has a number of different stealth kill animations at their disposal.

Masanori Kuwasashi: It is always difficult to keep them looking fresh, but for Fatal Shadows, we kept a similar combat system but added a number of dramatic stealth kills for each character. We think they are fun to watch and exciting to execute. We also changed the camera system to make the stealth kills look more dramatic.

GS: Could you walk us through the process you go through for making a stealth kill? How do you go from coming up with an idea to implementing it in the game?

MK: It varies, but mainly we start by asking the motion designers to create the core ideas for each stealth kill. After numerous planning meetings, we decide on the broad direction for each core concept. Then, the designers create tentative motions for the planners to evaluate. After this phase, the designers start creating the final motions for the stealth kills that are actually used in the game.

GS: How do you decide which ideas for a kill are cut? Do you completely cut ones that don't work, or do you keep them around for later use?

MK: Basically, we cut the stealth kills that don't fit the image of the characters, along with those that do not fit our system. While most of the concepts that are not taken at the initial meeting are completely killed, we do keep some of them so that motion designers can independently evaluate the idea for future use or adaptation.

GS: Where do you look for inspiration for the look and presentation for the kills?

MK: Basically, the motion capture is inspired by experience or something cool the designers have seen at some point. Usually this is a special sequence from a movie or an anime.

GS: What's the biggest challenge in creating them?

No matter how many times you do them, stealth kills are always satisfying.
No matter how many times you do them, stealth kills are always satisfying.

MK: We were extremely challenged by creating cool-looking stealth kills that the user will not get tired of seeing again and again. We had the option of not using stealth-kill cutscenes for Fatal Shadows, but we really wanted to create an impactful moment--one that users will enjoy each time they succeed in a stealth kill.

GS: What are you proudest of about the way the kills have worked out in Fatal Shadows?

MK: The motion designers put their heart into creating the stealth kills and integrating them into all motions in the game. We are proud of the heart and soul these designers have added to the Tenchu franchise. I'm also proud that the stealth kills have amounted to such a fun reward--they're a small break from sneaking around the map.

GS: Thanks for your time.

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