TGS 06: Lunar Knights Q&A

We sit down with the producer of Lunar Knights for a fun interview about the upcoming vampire-hunting game.

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TOKYO--We last (and first) saw Lunar Knights, Kojima Productions' upcoming vampire-hunting Nintendo DS game, back at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May. If the good humor of Kensuke Yoshitomi, the producer of the game, is any indication, work on the title is coming along well. He started our interview off by bringing in a couple of young women dressed up as the game's two main playable characters, Aron and Lucius, who flanked him as he introduced himself. Unfortunately, when it was time to get down to business, we all realized that neither of them could really see out of their plastic masks, so they had to feel their way out of the meeting room by placing their hands on the wall and attempting to trace their steps back to the door. It was funnier than any introduction to an interview has any right to be, honestly.

Anyway, Yoshitomi's good cheer persisted as he explained what's new in the game since E3. Anyone who read our previous coverage will know that the game revolves around the adventures of the aforementioned vampire hunters, Aron and Lucien, who team up to destroy the vampires that have taken over their world and enslaved the population. The game's odd caveat is that it features a weather system and shifts from nighttime to daytime as you play, which lets you take advantage of each character's strengths and weaknesses, since Lucien is powered by the moonlight and Aron is powered by the sun. In addition, the character-switching will be important based on the range to the enemy, since Aron can fire a gun from long range, while Lucien is restricted to close-range sword attacks.

Also newly revealed was the game's leveling system. It doesn't sound like there's much in the way of incredible uniqueness here; as you kill monsters, you'll earn experience and gain more attribute points. There's also a bit of an inventory system, where you'll be able to find new armor, along with a variety of weapon parts to upgrade your weapons with.

The 3D space-shooting sections of the game have been refurbished in the last few months, as well. To destroy vampires permanently (they're only killable in sunlight and have completely blocked out the sun's rays from the surface of the planet), Lucien and Aron have to take off in their Casket Rocket, fly through the clouds that surround the planet, and approach the Purefix, a large satellite. There, they'll be able to drag the vampires to their doom on the Purefix, where they'll be vaporized by the concentrated power of the sun.

Anyway, the rough-looking space combat of the E3 build of the game is noticeably more polished now. While flying the Casket Rocket, you'll mostly be fighting against enemies approaching you from the middle of the screen. You're now able to drag your rocket around the screen to avoid their fire, while tapping on enemies will launch missiles at them. It seems like it should be an entertaining diversion from the main dungeon-crawl aspects of the game, and it'll be necessary to partake in these space missions, since the vampire opponents you defeat won't be killable on the planet's surface.

The multiplayer aspects of the game were also discussed in our chat. There will be multiplayer for up to four players over the DS's Wi-Fi Connection, either with one cartridge offering downloads or with one cartridge for each individual player. The battle royale mode, as it's being called, will play out similarly to the game's single-player combat, save for that players will be pitted against each other. In downloadable play, all players will be prevented from switching weapons, but if everyone involved has a cartridge, then each player will be able to bring in their upgraded weapons to the battle.

Last, but not least, we were shown a short anime cutscene clip from the game. Apparently, Studio 4 C, an anime studio that's worked on the Animatrix and a feature called Memories, is responsible for the cutscenes in the game, and we're told that there will be "quite a few" clips in the final version of the game.

Mr. Yoshitomi seems excited about the prospects of the game, which was shown to the Japanese audience for the first time at this TGS. American DS owners will have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on this action RPG, but if you stay tuned to GameSpot, we'll have as many details as we can get from Konami as they become available.

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