The 3rd Birthday Impressions and Interview

We chat to The 3rd Birthday developers and find out what our gun-toting heroine Aya has been up to in the past decade.

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It's been 10 years since we last saw Aya Brea, the New York City cop whose unique cells made her the star of Square Enix's action role-playing game titles Parasite Eve and Parasite Eve II on the PlayStation. While Aya retains her personal characteristics in The 3rd Birthday, a shift in focus to a third-person shooter on the PSP has helped her look and improved her fighting. We had a chance to see a gameplay demo of The 3rd Birthday in a behind-closed-doors session at Square Enix's E3 2010 booth, as well as speak to director Hajime Tabata and art director Isamu Kamikokuryo.

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While the end of Parasite Eve II wasn't exactly left open to a sequel, the Square Enix team felt it was time to reimagine the game on a new system, taking advantage of new technologies in game design and the growing popularity of gaming.

"We wanted to introduce Aya properly to players all around the world, not just in Japan," Tabata said. "We felt that with this franchise, we could really create a mature title that adults could enjoy."

Fans of the Parasite Eve games need not worry--Aya may look better, but she's still the same character, changed only by the events in the game's story (which are yet to be revealed). This passing of time is also the main reason why the development team dropped the "Parasite Eve" prefix from the game's title. The new title's significance is also yet to be revealed but will center around a certain event that will take place during the third game that will reveal what Aya's been doing all this time. Choosing to reveal Aya's past history through the game is something Tabata did to make it easier for newcomers to the franchise while still giving fans something to ponder.

Following the introduction, Tabata showed us a brief gameplay demo in which Aya fought a group of new enemies called the Twisted in a deserted city street. Because the motif of the games has always been Aya holding some sort of gun, Tabata and his team wanted to maintain this focus and give the gun a key function during battles. As mentioned before, the emphasis is now completely directed toward shooting combat. Tabata admitted that Square Enix isn't well known for its shooters, which is why they had to bring in several outside development teams to help nail the gameplay. There is no free aim in the game--players must use a lock-on function mapped to R1 on the PSP. Aya's movements are controlled by the analog stick, while the D pad can be used to change the camera view. The L1 button will call up a player's current weapon inventory, where he or she will be able to choose among four different weapons. The square will be used as the action button (shooting, interacting with objects, and the like), while the circle button will trigger a grenade. The X button will be used to reload weapons, and the triangle button will be used for a new system called Overdive (more on that later). It's important to note that these are the current Japanese controls and may change for the Western version of the title.

After Aya dispersed with the Twisted mutants (and they really are twisted: long limbs, indistinguishable features, squirmy, slimy, and bloody), she met up with her team of law enforcement officers. This is where Tabata showed us what Overdive will actually do: In battles where Aya is fighting alongside her team, she will be able to switch bodies with any member of that team as long as he or she is still alive. To do this, players must press the triangle button on the PSP, which will bring up an infrared screen showing the locations of all Aya's team members. You can then choose which member's body you'd like to switch with, and a small vortex will pop up to transport you to that location. Tabata didn't explain why Aya can do this, but our guess is that her mitochondria condition allows her to do cool stuff like that. Tabata told us the Overdive system is useful when players find themselves in a tight spot where they must overcome certain obstacles. It will also come in handy when Aya is losing life or running out of ammo. According to Tabata, playing the game to its full potential will require players to use the battle environment in such a way that will see them working together with Aya's team, rather than separately, and using the Overdive system effectively.

Like past Parasite Eve games, The 3rd Birthday will also include some RPG elements, albeit minor ones. Players will be able to perform some basic weapon customization using items they buy, although this time around merging two weapons together will not be an option. There is also a leveling-up system for weapons, but no other details on this were given.

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While we didn't see any boss battles, Tabata explained that these will take players out of the game's main environments and into fantastical locations. We can only guess what these might look like, but judging by how smooth and detailed the game's normal environments are, it's a safe bet they'll be just as good. Tabata also revealed that his team sought the help of the Final Fantasy XIII development team to work on The 3rd Birthday's visual design.

Finally, Tabata said his team chose the PSP as an exclusive platform for The 3rd Birthday because of its hardware capabilities.

"It was the most balanced platform for the game we wanted to make," he said. "It's also a globally available platform. Our team had high goals for this game. We designed the game as if for the PlayStation 3 console and poured it all into the PSP."

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chengstax

"poured it all into the psp" yay.... I hope the psp dies from loosing money to all the hackers! VIVA PS3!!!

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digitalgator

Its been 10years since Parasite Eve? I feel old. really can't wait, looks like a solid game.

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risingsunbronco

Oh man, I just can't wait for this! I'm such a huge fan of the original Parasite's Eve and PE II...I've been waiting for a next gen revamp for a long time and thank gawd I gots a PSP! :D

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Gammet25

The new screens for it loooks absolutely gorgeous. Looking forward to it.

Avatar image for iikefkaii
iikefkaii

Wow, I was super pumped about a new PE but my dreams were just annihilated when I realized it's only being released on the PSP. Please tell there's a different PE title in the works for other platforms!!!!!!

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j2zon2591

@Aentikraist: Japan release date is December this year. As for the US release, no one knows yet. As for news regarding the games development go check andriasang.com or go to gamespot forums and type in the search box for "The 3rd Birthday" under threads or something.

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Aentikraist

i cant wait for this 3rd game but any news when the release date is????? anyone guys u there?? know anything ???

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Leegamespot

I hope they don't mess this game up, I really enjoyed the first 2 PE games.

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Dyxnar

Do you think We need to play the original PEs to grasp the story correctly hmm?

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gryphyth

One to keep tabs on for sure, however, I hope they rework the shooting controls for the Western release. A purely lock-on system seems fairly limited. I trust square-enix team to present a highly polished end product and i can't imagine why it won't be a success.

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Petch1984

I'm glad there are a few interesting PSP on the horizon - despite being under supported it is still an amazing handheld console. I will just keep playing Peace Walker until this and Valkyria Chronicles 2 come out.

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Gammet25

Oh i do want to see this one come alive again by Square Enix.

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sephyradoom

I hope it's available on the psn store so you can play it on the ps3 too

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chaos269

i can't wait for this, and hopefully they show us a tech demo or something soon

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BoogieL0ve

Man, I love Parasite Eve... hopefully this is opening a door to seeing more of Aya!

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hughtrue

This game became the only reason i didnt sell my psp lol

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detectivepbert

I actually think PSP's game library is better then PS3's at this point.

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Tokinblckgie

@ Coolyfett Hurray for the generic hodge podge of vague "different types of things." Seriously though, after seeing it in action I'm pretty disappointed. Hopefully there's more variety action-wise in the full game. It just looks like an average 3rd person shooter right now, which may not be all too bad if done right. Hopefully it will feel as unique as the 1st game and even the 2nd.

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Coolyfett

This looks like something I may want to check out. Reminds me of a combination of different types of games.

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sirmilad

looks like it's perfect game for psp

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KoreanSchoolKid

@YankeeDan345 lol

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YankeeDan345

@malchijethro The creator said some nonsense about how the parasites made her appear younger aka the japs cannot embrace the concept of a milf.

Avatar image for malachijethro
malachijethro

Why the heck do Aya looks younger in this game than the second game?!? She looks like the Aya in PE1. In PE2 she looks older and don't looks like the Aya in PE1 and the one in The 3rd birthday.

Avatar image for malachijethro
malachijethro

This year's games are getting better and better.

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luuuuuuuuuuke

Never played either of the first two. But i am intrigued by this.

Avatar image for j2zon2591
j2zon2591

@ Coolyfett Well, it is highly possible that this is still Aya Brea from the Parasite Eve game series but this is a spin-off and not a sequel. Heck, they say she won't even be using Parasite Energy. No more Eve or mitochondria in this installment. Heard this is because they did not renew the contract or the license for Parasite Eve. Cutting down costs FTW! I hope this is not just a totally, completely "new" game with Aya Brea from PE, just slapped into it. Not exactly complaining. At least Aya is back and she's awesome!

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QtrArt

AmaZing

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SANDMAN201

I've never heard of this game either but it looks pretty good. And those graphics are awesome.

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SerenityBeee

Nice to see PSP getting some great titles.

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Coolyfett

If this is the first game on PSP vote me up, if it is not vote me down...I have not heard of this series yet. It seems very interesting. I like how they created the title. That was creative.

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malachijethro

I wish it's better than the 1st game. THE SECOND GAME is not as good as the first. And did someone notice she is like a female Vincent Valentine? Like Vincent is Chaos and Aya has a part of Eve? Also they never get old because the cells they have. And they both use guns. Agreed?

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clockworkengine

@franzkill *begin sarcasm YES brother!!! Seven games in six years is a vast library! I can't believe people don't see that! *end sarcasm Almost as many games as hardware revisions.

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Franzkill

*begin sarcasm 'Hello my name is Joe 'Douchebag' Bloggs and I would firmly like to state my opinion of how (even in 2010) the PSP still has NO GAMES. I mean Syphon Filer, Daxter, Crisis Core, MGS Peace Walker, MH Freedom Unite, GOW are just shovelware right!?'' *end sarcasm

Avatar image for Capra-Zahn
Capra-Zahn

I can't wait for this game to come out!! SE knows how to optimize the PSP experience as shown by Crisis Core and Dissidia and I hope this game proves to be just as good.

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Stormuser

I've been waiting for this, Stoked 'nuff said.

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auto_fan

this women is hot but miley cirec is hoter lol :) nice game^^

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Tormagh

i think 2011 will be even better but now Monster hunter freedom 3rd come on baby!

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Arcxe

sounds cool, but I really hope we can change the controls... -_-

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143C5

LOL I remember my older brother played Parasitic Eve 2 in his old PS1.

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Aentikraist

cool year for the psp Metal gear peace walker then God of war ghost of sparte then 3rth birthday and kingdom hearts we are just missing Resident eviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil where is that title u promised on 09 :( anyway cooooooooooooooooooooool games!!!!!

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detectivepbert

this looks like a kill bill style motif. . . i'm getting it.

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Jack_240

i think square enix will not do FFXIII's mistakes with any other game. people plz give them a chance with their big titles!

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DevilKazeya

This Game right here? is just PLAIN A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

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brandcharl

Is there any magic in this game like in parasite eve 1????

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wogboypaul

im gonna love this!! need to play parasite eve again.. shame ive only got the 2nd one hahah

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Rand401

The first two were definitely excellent games. Looking forward to this one now that I finally have a psp.

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vaheru

Ive been waiting so long for a 3rd installment of Parasite Eve i absolutely loved the first 2 games to bad its not for a console looks like ill have to buy a psp now with this game and few others coming to it that i really want

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ziummuiz

cool..

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blazblue152

i'm glad PSP is back in the game.

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luciferbelmont

Me wanna play

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