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Yoshinori Kitase Discusses The 3rd Birthday

Producer shares thoughts on upcoming PSP title, possible HD sequel, and Twitter in Famitsu.com interview.


The 3rd Birthday producer Yoshinori Kitasei is in Germany for the Gamescom gaming event. He brought with him a first playable build of the upcoming PSP disintegrating jeans action title exclusively for attending press to sample.

Famitsu.com is one such attending media outlet, and the site delivered both impressions and an interview with Kitase.

The show demo offered a sampling of combat in the game's prologue, putting Aya and her NPC subordinates in a fight against the Twisted, set in a destroyed New York.

The game's control system looks like this:

  • Analogue Pad: Move Aya
  • D-Pad: Move viewpoint around
  • L Trigger + Face Button: Select weapons
  • R Trigger: Lock-on
  • Circle: Grenade
  • X: Evade
  • Square: Shoot
  • Triangle: Dive into another soldier

The dive feature is, of course, the key gameplay component here. Using the game's unique Overdive system, you can make Aya leap between soldiers positioned on the battle field. As previously revealed, as part of the game setting, Aya never actually enter's the battle field. She remains in a special room in CTI (Counter Twisted Investigation) headquarters throughout the battle.

You can freely select the soldier you want to dive into, or you can let the game make the choice for you. Tap triangle, and you'll automatically dive into the closest soldier. Hold triangle, and you'll be able to freely select your soldier.

Famitsu's test player stumbled upon some additional unannounced features of the game's combat system. It looks like both Aya and her targetable soldiers recover energy with time. Additionally, the writer said there are some additional secrets about the Overdive system, including super attacks.

The site's interview touched upon the reaction of overseas players to the game. Kitase said that overseas journalists quickly began using the game's Overdive system as soon as they started playing, something that made him happy. Famitsu.com replied that this is perhaps due to familiarity with the FPS and TPS (third person shooter) genres.

Overseas press also seemed to be interested in an unexpected area of The 3rd Birthday: the development team's promotional activities on Twitter. Famitsu asked Kitase about his feelings about the game's official Twitter, which is mostly updated by director Hijime Tabata and character designer Tetsuya Nomura. Kitase revealed that at an interview earlier in the day an overseas journalist had said to him regarding the Twitter feed, "Nomura is saying a lot of things, so we'd like you to also make some comments." Kitase joked that he hadn't been expecting Nomura and Tabata to post so much. He seems pleased to see that even overseas fans are paying attention to the Twitter, saying that user reactions increase the staff's motivation.

Continuing with the Twitter talk, the site brought up the recent discussion about an Aya shower scene for The 3rd Birthday. Recently, Tabata said via Twitter that the game would not see a return of Parasite Eve II's shower scene. In response to Famitsu's question about this, Kitase said, "There is a shower room on the map, used as a break room for the CTI soldiers. I'm not sure if it will or will not be used in the way that fans are hoping, though."

Kitase has been providing Gamescom updates on The 3rd Birthday via Twitter. Shown here, a demo session with the overseas media, Kitase's early morning work, and pamphlets.
The 3rd Birthday Twitter also occasionally provides sneak pics of the game. Tabata shared this image recently, showing Aya facing off against a Twisted creature.

The interview did delve into some gameplay details, including the game's Overdive system. Although this was revealed in past interviews, Kitase made a point of noting in the Famitsu interview that players can use Overdive even when the current soldier Aya is controlling is about to die. You can leap into another soldier while Aya is in her collapsing motion.

Some of the strategy of the Overdive system comes prior to the stage, as you can position troops in advance on the stage map. You can also change troop position during the stage by simply diving into a soldier, moving it, then diving back to your previous soldier.

Famitsu brought up the topic of the Overdive system's other elements aside from the position changes. Kitase said that he can't talk about these areas, but noted that there is still quite a bit going into the game as far as gameplay systems go. The staff is putting its full efforts to get the full specifications in place even though they're approaching the cut-off point due to the game's development having reached its "climax."

Among the systems being worked on right now is the game's growth system. Kitase described the growth simple as being "not simple." Instead, it has some devices that make it "quite interesting." This area of the game is undergoing tuning right now.

Aya executes a dive. Although graphic for both soldiers is that of Aya, the dive move is actually just mental. From the enemy perspective, the soldier does not look like Aya.

Closing off the interview, Kitase said, "There are a number of strong titles that will make Winter an extremely exciting period, but I believe The 3rd Birthday will not let down your expectations, so please look forward to it. Also, we want to make The 3rd Birthday into Aya's new series, and would like to connect it to the game that will follow. Personally, I'd like to keep HD game systems open for the next development."

The Gamescom showing for The 3rd Birthday was press-only. So when will the general public get a chance at the game? Famitsu asked Kitase if we can expect a playable build at September's Tokyo Game Show. "This has yet to be decided," responded Kitase, "but I believe Tokyo Game Show will be the last chance to let people sample the game before release, so we're aggressively looking into it."

Kitase's comment would seem to suggest that The 3rd Birthday will make it out before Shueisha's Jump Festa, an annual late December event where Square Enix often puts its top games on display. The game is currently set for a general Winter date.

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