MoRe on NieR
Producer Yosuke Saito talks Replicant and Gestalt differences, themes of love, embarrassed art directors, and demos.
Earlier today, I posted a summary of a Famitsu Xbox 360 interview with Nier executive producer Yosuke Saito. Here's a bit more from that interview, touching upon demos, difficulty levels, the difference between Replicant and Gestalt, and just what you'll be able to do with the demon-possessed hermaphrodite Kaine.
In the original story, I wrote that PS3 and Xbox 360 owners outside of Japan would be getting Gestalt, which is the name for the Xbox 360 version of the game here. This is not specifically stated in the interview, but is heavily implied.
The magazine asked Saito, "Are there any differences between Gestalt and the overseas version of the game?" To this, Saito responded, "In the framework of the worldwide version, the 360 version is the exact same as what will be released overseas. This is something that will be decided from here on out, so I can't say for sure, but we're also thinking about keeping the difficulty that best fits overseas players."
Responding to a question on why Replicant and Gestalt ended up being two different products, Saito said that the changes were made with sales considerations. "Overseas, there are many players who think that a thin character can't wield a massive sword and engage in flashy combat, and regardless of how interesting the product is, they won't even pick it up." This is not something that game makers want, explained Saito, and thus the Nier characters ended up as they are.
Gestalt's form was decided by discussing with overseas staff what direction should be taken for overseas sales. Replicant's form was decided by Square Enix and Cavia discussing, as a Japanese publisher and Japanese developer, what character image and world setting would most fit Japan.
Differences between Replicant and Gestalt were only a small part of the interview. Saito shared a number of insights into the game's development and upcoming marketing plans.
Cavia previously worked with Square Enix on Drakengard, somewhat of a fan favorite amongst core gamers. Famitsu asked a few questions in comparison to that title.
The theme for Nier is "love," said Saito in response to a statement from Famitsu that Drakengard, had the theme of "despair." Like Drakengard, Nier will have multiple endings; those who clear the game multiple times will find a shocking finale. Nier won't have you riding a dragon for massive air battles like Drakengard, Saito confirmed, but in place of that, the development staff is putting their effort into ground-based combat.
While most of the screens and videos that we've seen have shown Nier as a third person action game, there are also areas where the camera seamlessly transitions to 2D mode, having players view the action from the side or from above. You can expect about 10% of the game to be in this form.
The Tokyo Game Show demo of Gestalt had English voices. Saito confirmed that the game's recording is being done by overseas voice actors. The Japanese version of the game will have English voices and Japanese subtitles. He said that while some players here will see this and feel that the game is a western game, upon playing it they will understand that it is a Japanese game.
Saito also touched upon the Kaine character, the hermaphrodite who's partially possessed by a demon. She (the interview puts a question mark after references to her gender) will join Nier midway through his travels. Apparently, the game's art director was somewhat embarrassed when doing some of the modeling for the character, and chose to do it late at night.
Kaine, because of her demon half, is strong from the start, said Saito. She also grows along side Nier. Saito stopped short of saying that you'd actually control Kaine, though. For the most part, you control Nier during combat, he said, but you can also, to a certain level, consciously make Kaine move.
As detailed in my earlier recap, Nier will not offer online co-op play. However, the team is looking into download contents. Saito says that they've come up with some interesting ideas.
Gestalt's Tokyo Game Show put players in a basic fight against a couple of giant beasts. Will Square Enix be offering the general public at large a chance to try the game in advance? Saito responded that he feels they can convey the game's air of action through video, but it's difficult to convey the enjoyment of play. Therefore, time permitting, they'd like to release a demo.
In closing, Saito said to expect Gestalt in 2010, but with early timing. The game is currently listed with a general 2010 release date, so perhaps this will be a Winter or Spring title rather than something later in the year.