Kazuma Kujo Reminds Us How Neat Disaster Report 4 Would Have Been
Cancelled PS3 project would have portrayed aftermath and social effects of disaster.
Disaster Report series creator Kazuma Kujo has been talking up the cancelled Disaster Report 4 project via Twitter.
Disaster Report 4 was scheduled to be the first HD entry in the acclaimed disaster series, which had previously seen two entries on PS2 and one entry on PSP. The game was cancelled in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters. Following the cancellation (although not because of it), Kujo left Irem to start work at a development startup, Granzella.
In a series of Tweets today (see the full batch here in Japanese), Kujo shared a few bits about the lost game, revealing what the game might have been had it seen release.
This latest entry in the series was being made with a different mindset from past Disaster Report games. The biggest change, says Kujo, is that past titles were about the first one to three days following a disaster. Players worked with a partner character to flee a city that was falling apart or flooding with water. DR4 was to be about living in a city for a week following a disaster. The main character was to meet with a variety of people along the way and partner with them -- another change from past titles, which put players with a fixed partner for the course of the game.
The city in DR4 was full of people. One map had sixty or so people in the vicinity of an intersection. The development staff was in the final phases of development, working on speeding up the code to handle the load, when the game was cancelled.
One result of being the city for so long is that you'd get to visit the same area multiple times. This is a feature that was announced just ahead of the game's cancellation (see this story). While not applying to all areas, the game would have allowed you to visit some areas two or three times, and you'd get to see the city begin to recover.
Kujo feels that this was to be the biggest feature of DR4, and the area he most wanted to portray. The game showed the aftermath of the disaster, from workers beginning to clear waste and cars from buildings and streets, to people taking shelter in evacuation areas at night. There were people returning to their destroyed homes to recover their family possessions, and a girl searching for her parents and brother. There was even an old man who'd started up a makeshift udon stand on road.
Outside of the physical effects of the disaster, the game was apparently going to tackle some of the social effects, with racism and age discrimination in the evacuation areas. There was also a mysterious group that targeted victims of the disaster.
With Disaster Report 4, Kujo had hoped to show that the real difficulty of a disaster lies after the disaster itself. He believed, and continues to believe, that it would be nice if such a game could be released.
Kujo blames the game's cancelation not on the March disasters, but on their inability to finish the game by its target release time frame (the game was delayed from its original release date of March 10, the day before the quake). He says that as a producer and game designer, he takes responsibility for this.
Closing off this series of Tweets, Kujo said that he hasn't given up and hopes to make and release a disaster themed game at some point.