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Shinji Mikami Discusses Vanquish

Director reveals why game has no multiplayer and what you can do with the cigarettes.


Shinji Mikami's Vanquish is now set for Japanese release in October. At this week's E3 event in Los Angeles, publisher Sega gave the game its playable debut and also had Mikami appear for a group interview session for the Japanese press.

Here's what Mikami had to say about the game, based off an interview transcript from Famitsu.com.

The interview session first began with a live demo of the game by Mikami himself.

The director introduced the game's weapon change mechanic, where main character Sam equips three weapons which the player can switch off between on the fly using up, right and left on the d-pad.

Mikami also demonstrated AR Mode, which is Vanquish's take on bullet time. This mode is easily triggered, but you have to be careful about using it too much, as Sam's ARS suit will overheat and you'll be prevented from using your Boost for a time.

A couple of new gameplay systems came to light during the demo session.

Vanquish will have a growth element for your weapons. When your weapon is in a full ammo state, collecting additional ammo will gradually increase the weapon's rank.

The other new system involves the combatants who fight alongside you. When they're injured and about to die, they'll request your help. If you help them, they'll give you weapons in return.

Here's some of what transpired during the interview session.

On Vanquish's influences

Mikami was asked if he consulted any titles while creating Vanquish. Responded Mikami, "Of late, most of the games I personally like are foreign, so if asked what I referred to, it would be the Gears of War and Call of Duty series. Also, the "Neo Human Casshern" anime."

On the focus on single player

The gathered press wanted to know why Vanquish is exclusively single player. Responded Mikami, "In addition to our not having knowhow in multiplayer, we also cut online in order to make a game of higher quality. If we'd tried to do both, they both would have probably ended up being half-hearted."

On the possibility of multiplayer

Someone got a bit ahead of himself and asked if multiplayer would be a possibility for the next title. Mikami joked that this question should be asked of Platinum Games.

He also added here, "We're making something that's specialized in single player play, so making it into multiplayer might be extremely difficult. The character animation, hit detection, and other areas would all fail, to the point that if adding multiplayer it would probably be faster to start from scratch."

On the inorganic world

Mikami was asked about the game world and the prevalence of inorganic elements in all the segments we've seen so far. Will some stages have a more natural setting? Mikami joked that there is something resembling a forest. However, for the most part, most of what we'll see in the game has similar image to what's been shown thus far.

It's not the case that the stages will be completely inorganic, though. There are stages where you'll see the ocean, forests and other elements in the background.

On quick timer events

Someone noted that the boss battles have quick timer elements. In his response, Mikami referred to this as "QT System." The original plan, he revealed, called for having a large number of these sequences. In the end, they used the system sparingly. It's like a bonus, or actually a bonus for a bonus.

On positional damage

Enemies mid sized and up will allow for positional damage. Based off where you cause the damage, you can earn higher score. However, warned Mikami, most of the mid-sized enemies are dangerous, so if you pay too much attention to getting high score, you'll probably end up dying. "You won't have time to look at score while you play," he said.

He did mention that you can get a bonus by performing head shots.

On difficulty

Vanquish has easy, normal, hard and god hard difficulty modes. Easy mode gives you an aim assist known as "Easy Automa." While many shooters have an aiming assist feature, Famitsu noted in its writeup that Vanquish's implementation is very helpful, allowing you to simply shoot to continually take out the enemies in the area of your general sight.

It looks like the game will lean towards the difficult side. Mikami was asked if he's purposely trying to make the game on the whole difficult, to which he responded in the affirmative. "We felt that this game would be more suited to a more difficult setting rather than something that can be played easily."

They set the difficulty with consideration for people who play a lot of games, explained Mikami. However, midway through development, they came to realize that the difficulty was too high, so they decided to add the easy mode. They also made normal mode considerably easier than they'd originally planned at the start of the game's developments. Normal mode is at the level of difficulty where most people will be able to clear the game if they work at it.

On play time

Mikami said to expect a play time of around 7 hours. Adding in demo scenes and other non gameplay areas, and the game becomes a 10 hour experience.

On smoking

Sam can be made to smoke a cigarette during combat. You can make him smoke up to three cigarettes per stage. The cigarettes do have an effect on the game, as enemy robots will react to the flame when you toss the cigarette and will come at you in attack.

"When actually playing the game, I don't think you'll have time to smoke a cigarette," said Mikami.

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