Huge community Q&A with Jason Vandenberghe.

#1 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

Man, this guy is worse than Jade Raymond with putting his face on the game. D: 
 
Anyway, lots of questions with lots of refreshingly honest, non-PR answers. Lots of information about the gameplay mechanics, and of course Motion Plus.
 


Is the player supposed to rely on his own reactions and instinct during the fighting? [dragonlord777]


From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director

quote:
That’s sort of the whole point, yep.

Honestly, this topic has come up again and again as we have been developing the game. Many times, we asked ourselves (and were asked by others) if the game wouldn’t be stronger if we went a lot more lock-and-key in the combat… a lot more “pattern-response”.

You see the kind of mechanic I’m talking about with the Heavy – that big Jackal with the hammer. He, clearly, wants you to attack him from behind… and not for very long, because he gets mad and SMASH!

That’s cool, and it works pretty well… but (to me, anyway) that’s not really the heart of melee combat. Melee fights are dirty, fast, unpredictable, and often are decided by who attacks first, instead of who picks the perfect attack.

Also, everyone has a different way of fighting. Some people (me) prefer to run in and smash everything. Other people (Roman) like to play super-stylish, unleashing the best moves for each moment. Other people like to play defensively, keeping their guard up and moving until they see a moment to attack, and then leaping in.

Our guiding philosophy has been that all of these should work against basic enemies. More advanced enemies may require you to adjust your tactics, but even then there should still be choices.

So the answer to your question is yes. I believe that choices make combat interesting. And when you have only a split second to choose, your instincts will probably be running the show. And that’s how Red Steel 2 is played.



Does Wii MotionPlus know the difference between you trying to turn with the pointer and you trying to slash/strike a enemy, box, etc.? And how? [disBjeFFixD]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
It does, but it’s actually not so much the Wii MotionPlus that does this. We designed our way out of this problem through the use of the lock system.

Out of combat, you are free to turn, explore, and navigate. In this mode, moving the Wii MotionPlus means turning.

In-combat, you are locked on to your current enemy. Thus, you no longer need to turn, and we are free to use the Wii MotionPlus exclusively for swinging the sword. You can still strafe around the enemy, dash, advance, retreat, whatever you like… in fact, you can unlock if you want (by holding [Z]) and go into navigation mode even in combat.

But, to be fair to the Wii MotionPlus, it actually does go a bit further than that.

You can slash with the sword during navigation. By measuring the speed of your motion, the length of the movement, and a few other things, we can make a pretty reasonable guess about what you are trying to do. In this case, there’s sometimes a little hitch in the camera as the system changes its mind about what you mean, but then the slash takes over, and everything’s okay. But, with the lock running, it’s smooth sailing.




[Update December 18, 2009] MOVES part 7

Could you tell us more about the Nunchuk's motion function? [Penguyen]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:


We actually aren’t using the Nunchuk motion detection for very much. We wanted to keep the focus on the hand holding the Wii MotionPlus, and we’ve done that.

That said, one of the powers you unlock in the game is a kind of “super-block”, and that move is triggered by shaking the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk at the same time… just before an enemy strikes. (FYI, this move bounces bullets back at your enemies, if you do it right.)



How often will you be able to use the special moves (lift, shockwave, etc.)? Will you be able to use it as long as you charge your sword or will there be other drawbacks that we're not aware of? [Penguyen]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:


Use ‘em whenever you like. We don’t fear your smarmy sword powers! BRING IT!



(Following the Payne combat video) What exactly is the move "sideshot" and how do you do it? [SMBX2J, Sayajin4us, Penguyen, Fender0]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:


LOL Caught that, did ya?

That move is one of the combos you can purchase. It is triggered simply by dashing (remember: stick+[A]) and then immediately shooting. It boosts your accuracy and damage – and goes all slow-mo and FX-y, which makes me feel like a badass, personally (see above for team not caring details).

One of the things I love about that move is that it applies to all of your guns, not just the pistol. I believe it wouldn’t be assumptive of me to say that sideshot with a shotgun is quite satisfying. BOOM.




[Update December 10, 2009] MOVES part 6

Is the shockwave move aimed like the Wii Sports Resort frisbee? [XxLanexX]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
It is, in fact.

We goofed around with a few different ways of aiming that move, but that one was the most interesting, fun, and gives a nice feeling of skill and satisfaction when you land a hit… so we went with it!



Are enemies reacting to hit zones? For instance, do headshots count or not? [Fender0, driveby012]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Oh, they count. In fact, you can buff up your combat score with headshots. Quite satisfying, that – I prefer to hold the Wiimote hip-shooter style, take careful aim, and BLAM!

[ASIDE: Usually, when I do this in meetings, I shout about how much of a badass I am. “Didja SEE THAT? Didja SEE THAT? Bad ***.” The team usually just nods and smiles… although I’m getting the impression that after several months of this they might be getting tired of my antics. Pity them.]

We also have leg shots – shooting an enemy in the leg is a great way to drive him to his knees… and thus set him up for a finish move…




[Update December 3, 2009] MOVES part 5

Can you twist, tilt and turn the gun just like the sword? [Fender0]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yup.

In practice, the motion is a little bit more limited because in general you want to keep the business end of a gun pointed at the bad guys, but the same technology that animates the sword in the hands of our hero animates the guns.



Can you hit with the sword handle? [Paradoja-Man]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yup.

Well, actually, let me answer that as “sort of”. I think what you mean is “can I turn the Wii MotionPlus around and bash someone in the face with it?” The answer to that question at the moment is no – we haven’t found a good way to integrate that move into our current movement system that is satisfying. Sigh.

However! We do have a combo move that is a handle-bash to the face… which is the next best thing, IMHO.




[Update November 27, 2009] MOVES part 4

Personal note:
quote:
We’ve been a little intermittent with our responses to your questions recently! This is entirely due to me being a flake – no, wait. What I mean is, it’s due to the challenges of finalizing the game. We’ve been cranking around the clock here of late to make the game great, and we lose track of time. Thanks for being patient!

Since we’re back on task, I wanted to also take a minute and thank all you folks for the interest, feedback, and general support you’ve given the Red Steel 2 team. Making games isn’t always easy, and getting such a positive response makes it easy to believe that what you are doing matters. We really appreciate it.

You guys rule, is what I’m saying. Thanks for being cool fan peeps.


Was the "Jump Attack" designed for some specific purpose or is it simply a flashy technique with aesthetic appeal? [Penguyen]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Well, first off, I’m glad you like it.

Of course, it’s not simply there for aesthetics. Our combo system is based around the idea of driving enemies into different states (kneeling, prone, stunned), and a jump attack is an excellent way to drive an enemy to their knees. It also is a great way to trigger a finish move against a prone enemy…

…and that’s actually a lot of information about how our combo system works, right there.  More on that later, I suppose!



Will different abilities be tied to different weapons? Each sword could have a signature move. [RumbleThunder]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
While that is clearly an awesome idea, Red Steel 2 focuses around a single, very important katana. The most powerful moves that the player has are connected to this particular katana – it can do things other swords can’t do… um…

Ah, to hell with it, I’ll just tell you guys. There are, in fact, fourteen of these swords in our world – they’re called sora katanas, and they each have special and unique abilities. The story of Red Steel 2 focuses on one of these swords (the one belonging to clan Kusagari). This sword can (as you may have seen in the videos) generate and project a huge amount of kinetic force, and it is the primary sword that the hero uses in the game.

So, the real answer to your question is, technically, “yes, each sora katana has signature move(s)… but you use just one of these swords in Red Steel 2.”

…that said, there is at least one other sora katana that makes an appearance in the game.




[Update September 24, 2009] MOVES part 3

Can you run and jump then slash an enemy from the air like in the trailer? [Fender0]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
But of course. Observe:

Run (hold forward on stick) and jump (double-tap the A button) then slash (slash with the WiiMote) from the air.

Bonus note: if you do this when they are knocked down, you can execute a finish move from the air!



The lock-on ability during sword/gun fights seems to work similar to the Z-targeting in the Zelda series. Was this done on purpose? [orravan85]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Well, of course we looked at everything in the known universe for inspiration (Metroid Prime, Zone of the Enders, etc, etc), but hell yeah, Zelda is a great example of how to make locking in melee work, and I’m very much of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thought when it comes to interface. I prefer to take a hard look at what has already worked in the past, start there, and then evolve. Which is pretty much what we did.

Just so that you know, we have two selectable lock systems in the game – the default “auto-lock” system (that will do most of the work for you), and a “manual” system (that gives you full control over when and on whom you lock).

With auto-lock, the idea was that you can just jump into the fray and start swinging, without having to think too much about where you were looking. This is my favorite mode, FYI – my fighting style is berserker (for sure), and I love it when the game does its best to put targets in front of me.

Roman (my lead designer) feels differently – he’s much more a “style” player, and prefers to have exact control over his enemy selection. He’s always cautiously strafing around, getting behind people, dodging, looking for chances to take out more than one at a time… thus, he prefers the manual lock.

We’re continuing to make refinements to both systems even now. We will not rest until it’s frackin’ perfect!



Do any special moves hit multiple enemies at once? [SMBX2J]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
That would be a “yes”. The 360° attack will hit anyone standing next to you… in fact, your normal slashes will hit multiple enemies if they are close enough together (three with one hit is quite fun). The shockwave ability explodes when it hits, and will knock back multiple enemies… there are a few other powers we haven’t shown you yet that target multiple enemies as well…

Yeah. Most of them, I think. If not “most”, then “many”.




[Update September 17, 2009] MOVES part 3

Is there a "run" button? Not like dash, just running? [Fender0]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Well, actually, our hero just always runs by default.

We spent a lot of time looking at the movement speed of the character, and decided that with this game, the number of times that the player wants to actually walk are few-and-far-between enough that it was much better to just set the movement speed nice and high (a-la Metroid).

I think that when you get your hands on the stick, you’ll find that you’re moving plenty fast. J



Will there be movements like running, strafing, crouching? [paxchen from wiiinsider]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yes, yes, and no.

Running and strafing are part of our primary movement set. (See above for running.) Left and right will always strafe – circle-strafe when you are locked on, and normal strafe when you are in “aiming” mode.

Crouching didn’t make the cut this time – it being more a hiding / taking cover kind of move, we didn’t feel it was an essential part of the player’s move set in this game. Red Steel 2 is more of a first person brawler (FPB?), and it turns out you need moves like dashing forward and backward to evade attacks, jumping, and dodging more than you need cover or hiding.

That said, there’s some neat stuff possible with a crouch move in melee, I think. Maybe next time.



Is Red Steel 2 going to allow you to mark and kill to take out multiple enemies like in Red Steel 1? [disBjeFFixD]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Wouldn’t that be cool..?




[Update September 13, 2009] MOVES

If two enemies are in front of you and slash at the same time, can you block both at once? [SMBX2J]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Hell yes. You’ll need to be careful, though, if one of them is coming in with a directional attack – if one of them breaks your guard open, the second guy can land his hit! So make sure to hold the WiiMote in the correct orientation if you see a big red glow!!



How exactly does the blocking / deflecting bullets move work? [SMBX2J, Fender0]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
We believe that the ability to block bullets with your sword is the sacred, God-given, inherent right of every katana-wielding cowboy samurai badass.

To that end, you simply hold the (A) button to block – swords or bullets, same/same.

Now, this won’t grant you 100% protection against (say) a machine gun or burst-fire – but it does help, for sure.

Further, there’s a feature in our counter system that lets you send bullets back at the shooter – if you manage an “active” block (we’ll probably talk about this later) with the right timing, you can kill ‘em with their own bullets.

Which, you know, saves ammo and stuff. Oh, and it kills them, too.



How many special moves will there be in the final game? [Faith-Warrior]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Well, the final number is still a guess – we intend to keep adding moves as long as we can, and our polish window recently got a little bit longer. Lots! Lots and lots! I dunno – ask me again in a few months.




[Update September 3, 2009] MOVES

How do you actually unlock moves? Are they given to you automatically at certain points, do you have to go out of your way to find them, maybe buy them with the gold you find? [SMBX2J]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yes, you buy them.

Throughout the game there are these “safehouses” – places where your allies have set up shop to set about the business of taking their home back from the villains who have turned it into a warzone. There are four types, each one related to a specific character and a specific kind of player ability.

One of these safehouses is controlled by your old teacher. However, he’s not 100% sure that you can be counted on – and you and he didn’t exactly get along before you left the last time, so he’s a tad reluctant to just hand over his entire stash of ancient Kusagari wisdom. That said, for a fee (using the gold you ‘recover’ from your enemies ), he’ll teach you new moves and unlock new abilities.



Does RS2 have a sort of style/reward system to encourage mixing up your move set? [Brandonbwii from Nintendolife]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
The answer is yes, of course.

What? You want to know how it works or something? Should have asked that instead!



Is there a special move acquired at some point that allows you to spin around and swing your sword in a complete circle like in the trailer? [SMBX2J]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
We call it the 360° attack.

To execute it, you tap the Z button and then immediately slash in the direction you want to turn. You can see the attack being used in the latest walkthrough video! My personal record is five hits in one spin. I tell this to everyone I meet. Which is sort of sad, I suppose, but it was an awesome moment.




[Update August 12, 2009] WII MOTIONPLUS & CONTROLS

Will the controls be the same than Red Steel 1? [supermarioM from Nintendo Master]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Well… as the core gameplay has changed pretty dramatically from a shooting-focus to a sword-focus, this has of course had a big effect on the control scheme. So, no, not even close.

Our controls are built around movement and melee combat. For navigation, you use the left stick for motion and point the Wii MotionPlus at the screen for turning, and during combat, you slash with your katana by swinging the Wii MotionPlus (not waggling! Swing! ), pressing the B button (the trigger) to shoot, and pressing A to block. Really, that’s the core – there are more controls available, but that’s the stuff you’ll need to master to play.

A key detail: there is no “weapon switching” between the sword and the gun. At any time, you can swing the Wii Remote, or press B to shoot, and the result is instantaneous. In Red Steel 2, you fight with your sword and your gun at the same time.

We’ve also spent a huge amount of time working on refining our pointing, turning, strafing, and aiming mechanics – those were a common complaint from the first game. We feel that there isn’t any room for compromise this time – the FPS controls for Red Steel 2 have to be great, period, and we think we’ve done that. You’ll have to tell us if you agree when you play it.



Is the Wii MotionPlus fully exploited in Red Steel 2? [Faloux from Nintendo Master, Dr.Coxy from Aussie-Nintendo]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
I’m not 100% sure what this question means… but I think I get the general idea. I’m going to assume for my answer that you are asking whether or not there are features of the Wii Motion Plus that we aren’t using, and how much effort we have made to take advantage of the new hardware… if that isn’t it, go ahead and re-send a more specific question and we’ll answer that one in the next Q&A.

Under the hood, the Wii MotionPlus is basically a gyroscope. It tells us (to a pretty remarkable amount of accuracy) precisely what angle the Wii Remote is pointing in space at all times. We’ve constructed our entire gameplay combat input system around having this information. The basic “first-person slash” mechanic doesn’t function without the Wii MotionPlus. The Wii MotionPlus is so core to our experience that we made the (controversial!) decision to require it for play.

So, I’m comfortable saying that from a design and gameplay standpoint, we’ve absolutely fully exploited the Wii Motion Plus. Hell yes, in fact.

So, then what about development effort?

We knew from the moment we got our hands on the hardware that this would be a key feature for us. So, from the start we’ve had a core group of programmers, designers, animators (and, at need, anyone that team needs), dedicated purely to adding, iterating, and polishing Wii MotionPlus input and replication features. This group of super-wizards is adding and refining MotionPlus attack, defense, and basic interaction features pretty much every day of their working lives, and have been for well over a year now. So, again, hell yes.

Let’s say it this way: there are likely very few teams on the planet who have had a greater opportunity than the Red Steel team to learn, use, and exploit the features of the Wii MotionPlus hardware. In many ways, it’s what we do.



What major difficulties have you met integrating the Wii MotionPlus to the project? [supermarioM from Nintendo master]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Let’s see.

Well, to start with, we had to redesign the entire gameplay system. Since there were very few examples of this kind of first-person fighting out there (and nothing that used motion controls… except for Red Steel 1), we had to invent it, pretty much from scratch.

When we realized that we had something cool, we realized we needed to redesign the gameplay setting, all the enemies, the hero himself, the story, and make the (again) controversial decision to not use the same characters and setting as the first game.

Integrating the Wii Motion Plus meant that we had to redesign the entire game, basically.  But, I don’t think that’s quite what you mean: maybe you are asking about more technical integration issues?

It turns out that, really, the hardest part about using the Wii Motion Plus is deciding what to do
with all the data. Getting the data is straightforward (in programming terms, anyway), but then what?

The short version is that we do an extensive amount of analysis and filtering of that data to try and predict what you (the player) are trying to do with your sword (the Wii Remote). Everyone moves the weapon a little bit differently, and we have to have a system that works for everyone. That’s complicated. As an example , when you « swing » your weapon, do you « whip » it ? Meaning, do you pull it backwards in the opposite direction briefly before you swing ? Like, a little wind-up ? Turns out that about half of players do… and half don’t . So, we have to handle that sort of thing in the code… and that’s not simple.

But, making games isn’t simple. That’s why we love it.



It seems that Wii MotionPlus requires regular recalibration? How did you overcome this issue with Red Steel 2? [Teox from Nintendo Master, rom_maniac from Aussie-Nintendo]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
The short answer: we have awesome programmers.

The long answer: a lot of fuss has been made of the recalibration requirements for the Wii Motion Plus – it turns out that the issues sound much worse than they turn out to be. The libraries that Nintendo provides us do a pretty damn good job of keeping the data stable, and with a few (very clever) programmer tricks on our end, we have eliminated most of the problems that can arise around desynchronization.

Just so we’re all clear on exactly what we’re talking about, the problems generally center around the fact that “wild” motions with the Wii MotionPlus gyroscope add a little bit of error to the data… which accumulates over time. “Recalibration” in this case means getting the Wii MotionPlus to “correct” this error by telling it what direction it is currently pointing, instead of asking it. The easiest way to do this is to wait until the player points at the screen, and then use the sensor bar as an “anchor”… but this isn’t the only way to correct the accumulated “error”. And, fortunately for us, we have super-nerds on our team who’s favorite hobby is finding clever ways to correct for error.



Is there any way to alter the Wii MotionPlus sensitivity manually in the game? [pigu9874, Bhaskar24 from Aussie-Nintendo]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
See next answer



Will the player be able to configure the controls for his individual needs? [Lorol from Wiiinsider, Meet7heSniper]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yep. Our controls are fully customizable. We’ve got a complete controller customization system that gives you total control over your sensitivity settings. The game will come with three levels of presets, but if you want to tweak all the settings, you can.

Currently, you can tweak the following:
o Pointer sensitivity
o Pointer acceleration
o Inner bounding box (dead zone)
o Outer bounding box
o Rotation acceleration curves
o Rotation speed
o WM+ off screen rotation on / off
o WM+ off screen rotation speed
o WM+ sensitivity

We may add more as we focus test and polish.



Is the Nunchuk motion detection used for anything in RS2? [chema64, supermarioM from Nintendo Master]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Maybe…



Is RS2 going to be playable with both handsets for left-handed players? [blackbeltbap]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
We’ve been looking very closely at this issue, and focus-testing around it. The core issue for us centers around the visual representation of the weapon matching the player’s hand position – the inputs are actually identical regardless of which hand you use. That said, it is very strange for some players to hold the Wii Remote in their left hand and see the sword being held on-screen in their right…

So, we’re currently looking at the best ways of tackling the problem from a technical standpoint. Stay tuned on this.



Is it possible to swing the sword in any angle? And does this have different impact on the target? [Fender0, Penguyen, BlackMage from wiiinsider]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yes, of course. This is core to the experience – we measure the angle of your slice, and represent that exactly on-screen. The angle of your impact determines the enemies’ hit reaction and direction of movement – they will move in the direction you hit them. We’ve invested a lot of time and energy (and memory and CPU) into making this work well – since it’s sort of the whole point.

Also, your enemies will take defensive stances (in the same way the player can) that guard against horizontal or vertical attacks. To penetrate such a defense, you’ll need to attack in the appropriate direction.

As a side note, it’s surprising how effective a simple mechanic like this can be in practice. We’ve experimented with giving the player a higher bar to meet for their attacks (such as high or low attacks, or attacks requiring a more exact angle), and we’ve found that at the end, while this is more “accurate”, it’s much less fun. At least, as we’ve defined ‘fun’ for this game.



When you control the sword, does it recognize the depth of the moves in order to, for example, thrust the sword forward? [PARADOJA-MAN, chema64]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Oh yes. Yes indeed. Look for more info on this kind of attack soon.



How do I turn in the game? Do I have to turn my back to the TV? [by Stickman1978]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
You turn by simply pointing the Wii Remote towards the edge of the screen, like in most Wii first-person games.

I think I understand your confusion, though: it may not be clear how I can attack with the Wii Remote by swinging it if I also have to use it to turn! The trick is that when I am in combat, I am locked onto my enemy. When I’m locked, I can use my sword to attack, and the left stick gives me all the movement I need. When I’m not locked, I can then use my Wii Remote to navigate normally.

This might sound tricky, but in practice we’ve found that it feels pretty natural to players.



What will happen if the sword runs against some resistance like the sword of an opponent - the player will of course not stop his movement? How will this be synchronized? [Zauberzunge from Wiiinsider]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yeah, this is a tricky issue. Wouldn’t it be cool if the Wii Remote had force-feedback so that we could stop you in mid-air? Sigh. I suppose we’ll have to wait until anti-gravity is invented or something before we get that experience. When it happens, believe me: the Red Steel team will be there.

So, the answer to your question is this: we build those kinds of “rebound” interactions with strong on-screen feedback for the player, so that even though the physical sensation of being stopped isn’t there, the gameplay sensation is (FX, audio, animation, actions, etc). Gamers have been getting by on that kind of feedback for a long time now – turns out it still works.



With the previous game, when swinging the sword or doing melee, the action of swinging the Wii Remote past the sensor bar moved the camera unintentionally, has this issue been addressed? [liamrudel]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Yes! The lock system (discussed briefly above) resolves this issue nicely. If you are locked to an enemy, you will automatically face him, so you don’t have to worry about keeping the camera pointed at him… and the need to turn is eliminated. You are then free to use the Wii Remote to slash without confusing the system. (Players will also have the choice between using our auto lock system and using a more precise manual lock system, but more on that later!)

As a side note, when the player is not locked to an enemy or an object, we have found that (through clever programmer intervention) we can also, with a great deal of precision, detect the difference between the player slashing and trying to turn. So far, in playtest we are finding that players generally don’t unintentionally move the camera while navigating.




[Update July 2, 2009] POST-E3 QUESTIONS

Why did you not continue the game where the Red Steel ended? [from Yamiyannik1993]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Well, it was certainly a tough call. The fans and the team had a lot of affection for the setting and characters of the first Red Steel, and it was certainly tempting to pick up where the first game left off.

However, as we developed our gameplay and art style for Red Steel 2, it became clear that what we were doing would work much better in a new setting: a setting that was built around this new type of combat we had built, and a setting that better fit what we wanted to do with the game visually.

So, we took a good hard look at what was really cool about the first Red Steel (guided by a mix of our own gaming tastes and our quite passionate feedback from the fanbase). From this, it became clear that the strong Asian-style setting and the mix of modern action gun combat plus katana-based sword fighting is something that resonates with a lot of people, us included, but that there was room to take the franchise in a new direction while still keeping that “Red Steel” core.

So, we started there. Then, we began to build what would become an entirely new world, story, characters, and visual style around those core concepts. What you see is the result.



Why keeping the name Red Steel, since the game seems totally different from the first? [from Nintendo Master]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
The answer to the first question (above) deals with some of the reasons for this, but let me add a little bit more detail here.

We want this game to be great. Towards that end, we spent a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears, really digging down into what worked and what didn’t in the first game. This is often a difficult process for game developers: examining your own work is challenging, but it’s really necessary to make the best possible title.

So, we felt that, at its heart, “Red Steel” was all about two main ideas: physically-immersive first-person combat with a sword and a gun, and a modern “East crashes into West” style of setting. We figured that if the new setting and characters were cool enough, while still retaining the core ideas, players would embrace them.



Is Red Steel exclusively a Wii brand, or do you consider releasing it on other platform in case of big commercial success? [from Nintendo Master]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Red Steel 2 is Wii exclusive, and Wii MotionPlus exclusive. The core gameplay of intense, 1st-person swordplay simply doesn’t function the way we want it to without the Wii Remote.



Are you intenting to make the Red Steel franchise as big as Rayman, Splinter Cell or Assassin’s Creed? [from Nintendo Master]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
We intend to make the Red Steel franchise bigger than Pokémon.

Just kidding.



But not really.

Honestly, I would love nothing more than if everyone with a Wii bought and played our game, and then went out and convinced all their friends who didn’t have Wiis yet to buy one and do the same thing.

The team and the company, of course, are determined to give players something great. At the end of the day, though, the fact is that how big the Red Steel franchise becomes really depends on how much you guys like the game when you finally get your hands on it. We’re going to do everything we can to make that be “a lot”.



Does RS2 use the quantum3 engine for graphics? [from Bigburito]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
Red Steel 2 uses an in-house engine called Lyn. It suits our gameplay and our development style very well, and lets us take advantage of the efforts made (and being made) by other teams inside Ubisoft that are using the same tech. Quantum3 does look like a pretty cool engine, though.



What is more important to the dev team: smoother controls or better graphics/art style? [from Bigburito]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director
quote:
This is less a question of what is more important to the team than it is a question of what is important to the game. A first-person game with quick, exciting melee-attacks and precise shooting gameplay simply must run at 60fps, and that’s what we have. Thus, every decision we make is colored by the requirement to keep the gameplay smooth and responsive.

But, of course, we all also want the game to look spectacular. Paradoxically, by having agreement about the 60fps principle from the beginning has liberated the art team: it has allowed them to focus 100% of their effort on getting the absolute most they can out of that 1/60th of a second, instead of looking for other compromises. As a result, Stephane Bachelet and his team have developed a look that is exciting, suits our gameplay, runs very well on the Wii.

So, to the team, both are important. But we all know that for a first-person action title, gameplay comes first.



Where did you get the inspiration for the art style from? [from Bigburito]

From Stephane Bachelet, Artistic Director
quote:
Our look is what we think of as a “game look” – it looks like a game. We’re not trying to make a movie game, or a simulation, or anything like that. We want every piece of what we give the player to be focused on having fun fighting with a sword and a gun. Of course, the limited resources on the Wii were a factor for us, but our main focus was finding a look that fit our game feel and setting, that really excites us (and then, hopefully, our players).

Additionally, we wanted our look to give our designers the best tools to make the game really fun – and for melee combat that means strong feedback, big effects... we didn’t want the look and the gameplay to fight with each other. We wanted a look that made the game design better, and a design that made the look better.

We think we’ve found what we were looking for with what we’re currently calling a “graphic novel” approach. Our references are very diverse (Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz for Elektra Assassin, Akira, Gunm...). We’ve pulled out some of the details from the world, but left it a grungy, dirty place: a look with strong contrasts but with a good dose of reality underneath. We don’t want to over-spend on details that don’t make the game better, but we still want the world to seem real.

It’s a difficult balance to strike, and we will no doubt be working on it until the day we ship, but we’re pretty excited about it.



What is a hard decision to change the artistic direction for RS2? [from supermarioM, from Nintendo master]

From Stephane Bachelet, Artistic Director
quote:
We started with our gameplay: the sword and the gun. Everything comes from that, really. We asked ourselves, with these weapons, where do we want to be?

The katana itself made the first part of our answer simple: Asia will always be one pillar of any Red Steel experience. So, we asked ourselves: if the “natural home” of our sword is the Far East, what is the “natural home” of our gun?

We could have gotten into a chicken-and-egg problem here - because, of course, we can choose what gun the player uses. But, for us, the classic .45 caliber revolver is such a great weapon that this part was easy, too. What’s the “natural home” of the revolver? The Far West – specifically places like what you find in the films of Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, etc…). So, our setting: Far East meets Far West, in a modern time. The more we worked with these ideas, the cooler we felt it was… and here we are.



How does RS2 handle loading? (The first one had lengthy loadings) [from Objection_Blaster, from Nintendolife]

From Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director

One of the advantages of using the Lyn engine is that there is support in there for a certain amount of data streaming. We are using this to our advantage to create much larger spaces than the Wii could normally support. We still load from time to time for specific transitions (and these load times are quite manageable), but we intend for the majority of the experience to be largely load-free.


 
From the ubi forums.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.