We thought we’d take a look at an interview with one of our favourite developers today – BlazBlue director Toshimichi Mori. Recently, Dengeki interviewed Toshimichi Mori after the big PlayStation 4 announcement, though not many people picked up on this…
We’ve taken some time out this afternoon to translate the interviews most interesting points for you below.
What are your first impressions?
This is going to be an impressive machine – but I’m concerned that it will cost a lot to develop for. The specs were what I was expecting – but I’m surprised they went ahead with the share button. It’s a good idea though, as it will work well with fighting games to upload replays and share them.
I’m concerned that the machine is made with the assumption that you’re connected to the internet. That means you need to have the infastructure in place – which only really exists in countries like US and Japan.
Mobile phones expect you to be connected – can you ask that much from consoles? Nintendo usually go for the younger crowd – Sony and MS are going for an older target. It won’t be a console that parents buy for kids – rather what parents will buy for themselves.
From the looks of it, it will be quite high spec…
Yes I’m really happy the memory has gone up. The PS3 was always going to limited by the memory – with the fighting games we make, 2D and anime figuting – it uses up a lot of memory. For example for BlazBlue we can only put one character against the other – now with the extra memory, we could have two characters.
It’s got a very good CPU, so I’m excited about what I can do with that – but I think it will cost a lot!
Most demos played at the event were big titles from big developers…
At the moment, at Arc’s size – it’s not so much an inviting environment us – where smaller developers can easily make things.
There are small games like social casual games – and then you have these big AAA titles – there’s not much room for the titles in between.
I like Vita. It works well with other games – and you can do all sorts of interesting things on it. Development is relatively easy – almost PS2 level in difficulty.
Do you think we’re heading towards a world where some devs make big titles and then the other guys that make smaller games? With nothing in between?
Yes – there’s no real middle ground. Either you have titles where you think – ‘how much money did they spend making this?!’ Or you have the other smaller more casual games.
I’m thinking of making more of these ‘middle’ games for Sony’s cloud service. Maybe this will be a good environment for these ‘middle-ground’ games.
Either way it’s important it sells well…
Yes, you’re right. I wonder how many they’ll sell with the population of light gamers going down – will the PS4 sell as well as the PS2 did?
What do you think is key for the PS4 to do well in Japan?
It has to be the third party software – no matter how high the specs are, you need something to make players want it. The only things that make you want a console are the games. I have a strong impression for the first PS, it became more popular after FFVII. It’s the games that’s important, after that, the price.
The price is important…
One thing they could do is charge a subscription for the console – like a rental. That might be a new way to get a younger audience – if it’s too expensive younger players can’t afford it. I think that could be an interesting payment system.
The PS4 is going to be PC based so I have the impression that development will be easier – what do you think?
I don’t think it’s difficult at the moment either – but making it easier? That’s a good thing. Working on networks on Playstation is not that hard, so I’d just be grateful if Sony prepare plenty of tools for us to use.
Moving from the PS3 onto PS4 – how much do you think games will evolve. Will it be about the graphics again?
Yes, it will be about the graphic architecture. I thought the water effects on PS4 were very impressive – but compared to PS3, it’s not a huge leap forward. So I question if the public will be that impressed with the graphical leap forward…
So in regards to the evolution of graphics the speed of evolution has slowed down?
Yes.I feel that on PS3 I’m already showing what I want to show. For PS4, in terms of game evolution, I can’t say, because I don’t much information about it yet. I can’t see what the full potential is.
What are your thoughts on all the other specs?
The specs have reached a level where you start to wonder if you can call it a games console! My first impression was… ‘this is a PC!’ If you have a PC that’s built for games you can play and do anything on it, so because a PC can do anything now, the social network side of things will be very important to the PlayStation 4 for it to succeed.
You mentioned social as a keyword – and the PS4 will have compatabilty with social networking – this is the first console that really supports social network rather than just the software.
It’s amazing you can upload your videos to Youtube and Facebook. I do worry that Facebook isn’t that popular in Japan. I reckon it’s a Japanese thing – but we prefer being anonymous – but facebook users have their real name, and when you upload your video, and it receives criticism, people are likely to stop doing it. At the same time because of the way it works, I don’t think you’ll be able to do anything anonymously.
Based on those points, do you feel it’s being made for the US market?
Yes, I think definitely. When I first heard about it – it looked like a design for the US. But I understand that the Japanese market is unique – so I feel this is inevitable. Because of the popularity of smart phones and social games, I think 100, 000 sales on a console is considered a hit.
America is moving toward a network focused market – is this different in Japan?
It might just be a difference in culture – I think it’s important that the values that Japanese and US gamers have, should come closer together. That gaps needs to close. I wish we could do something about it.
Changing the topic a bit – they also announced the cloud service? What are your impressions on this?
If the service is up well, then it will provide a good environment for bringing your game ideas to life. If you put an item in the market place you can check how it’s selling though your mobile phone. I like the idea of brining the game world and real life closer together.
But there is the possibility that you’d need to be connected to the internet all the time…
Yes, you’re right – and this is one feature that I wouldn’t like. Being connected to the network means that whatever you’re doing is announced to everyone in real time. If you’re playing solo and someone can interfere with your game. I don’t think it’s good that everything you do is sent to your friends – how will I be able to play games in the office when I’m supposed to be working!
For PS3, you can just not sign in. For PS4, I hope they have a simple on/off function! I don’t like the idea of having less privacy. It would be nice if there’s a system where you can chose what you do and don’t want to share.
It would be nice if we could use lots of accounts.
Yes – i like to have different account for different things. I want them to continue with the free network of multiplayer.
They also mentioned that you could synch PS4 to smartphones and tablets…
It will be good to do more things like that – but they should try to unify the operating systems because it’s a lot of work to make different things for each one.
In the press release sent out – it says you’re included as one of the developers?
Yes, we still can’t give you a title name – but we are working on it. We’re a fighting game maker – so we’re thinking of doing a fighting game. I want to make a new title to follow Guilty Gear and BlazBlue – a third title. Guilty Gear was made for Dreamcast originally, BlazBlue was meant for PS3 soon after it launched – so now that PS4 is coming out we’d like to make a completely new title for it. Making something at these turning points is what Arc System Works is all about.
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