Red Steel 2 Interview

Creative director Jason VandenBerghe talks Project Natal, Sony’s wand, mature gaming on the Wii and cutting the grass in Zelda.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, February 22, 2010

VGD: Looking at the last clutch of NPD figures, I think the DS is a pretty long way from a gimmick.

VandenBerghe: Right, it’s something that can really progress and be a source of inspiration for a long long long time. I don’t see a reason to get rid of it.

The visuals are rather stunning. Check out that depth of field.

The visuals are rather stunning. Check out that depth of field.

VGD: How do you think motion control gaming will change now that the other platformer holders are involved?

VandenBerghe: The sheer fact that there is now competition is going to change everything, and hopefully for the better. It’s going to challenge us, it’s going to challenge the hardware manufacturers to continue to look for new ways to differentiate from each other – great, it means new features for us.

And it’s going to challenge game developers to find newer and better ways to take advantage of the technology. We’re the only first-person swordfighting game in the market. I’m not going to be able to say that for very much longer! I’m sure of that, absolutely confident.

So I look forward to the day when I’m competing with my fellow game developers on features and quality in first-person swordfighting. I welcome it. Bring it. Bring it! I would love to play your games, and I hope you can do better than I can, because that means I’ll have a great game to play. The Ubisoft guy in me hopes that I kick your ass, but -

VGD: You work on two levels, perhaps.

VandenBerghe: Exactly, it’s always the paradox.

VGD: Playing Red Steel 2 today, I’m reminded a little of MadWorld in terms of the city-under-siege premise and artwork, and also of Afro Samurai on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3…

VandenBerghe: Yes indeed, there are some interesting correlations there.

VGD: Did you take anything from any particular game in designing this one, Red Steel 1 aside?

VandenBerghe: No, no. I’m fortunate enough to work with a team of creators who don’t suffer from a lack of ideas. We don’t really have the need to go and mine other people’s stuff for good stuff. It’s really a pleasure to work for this team. In fact the character designs that you see all came from this guy Joe who is just – he’s the guy who did the speed drawing, if you saw that on the web – he is astounding, he’s just an amazing talent. But he is his own inspiration. And my art director’s English language is really really strong.

We were inspired by Akira Kurusawa and Sergio Leone in terms of feeling and setting and themes and those sorts of things. In terms of gameplay, I borrowed more from Zelda than other swordfighting games because I couldn’t find anything – what works in third person does not work in first person. My big lesson from Red Steel 2 is that you can’t just lift a third-person mechanic and carry it over, it doesn’t work.

Afro Samurai was a great game, but it’s much more in the third-person action warrior style, with big action sequences and stuff. That’s great, but it doesn’t translate well to first-person. It’s completely confusing. It’s much more about ‘let them come to me’ and stuff.

Fighting with sword and gun in concert is agreeably challenging.

Fighting with sword and gun in concert is agreeably challenging.

VGD: There was a first-person mode in Bushido Blade back on the PS1, but it was rather a flawed feature.

VandenBerghe: Right. In terms of my desire to make a swordfighting experience, I wanted that feeling that you had in Bushido Blade of when you pulled it off, you thought ‘god damn I’m a badass’. That was sort of my inspiration as well, to sort of drive the emotional core.

One Response to “Red Steel 2 Interview”

  1. I’ve heard that even if its title is “Red Steel 2″, it is not actually a direct sequel. The game has its own new hero, Wild West universe and story. I would probably wait for more reviews when it’s released on March before purchasing. :)


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