SWERY interview/ Famitsu.com
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SWERY was posted on the Famitsu.com!
D4 PC release confirmed! An interview with SWERY, a creator who seeks to create sensory replication with nothing but a mouse.
Hidetaka Suehiro, the game creator otherwise known as SWERY, has managed to gather hardcore fans from all around the world. And now, he’s decided to take his newest title, D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, a game where the Kinect device was utilized to create sensory replication and empathy in a really fun way, and bring it out on the PC. Will the same sensory replication and empathy be possible with another device? What led him to decide to release the game on PC? In this interview, we tried to ask SWERY about everything we could…
Interview/Writing by Koyama Taisuke
Interview by Furuya Youichi
●Will sensory replication be possible with the mouse?
Hidetaka Suehiro, the game creator otherwise known as SWERY, has managed to gather hardcore fans from all around the world. And now, he’s decided to take his newest title, D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, a game where the Kinect device was utilized to create sensory replication and empathy in a really fun way, and bring it out on the PC.
This version was initially revealed in March 2015 at GDC 2015 in San Francisco, where it was used as a reference for his session. It was also put on display in a booth. Will sensory replication and empathy be possible with a device other than Kinect? What led him to release the game on PC? In this interview, we tried to ask SWERY about everything we could…
●What are the differences from the Xbox One version?
──We heard that the PC version of D4 that you took to GDC and PAX EAST is now going to go on sale. What led you to this decision?
SWERY: I originally started making the PC version as a reference that I could use in order to prove that sensory replication and empathy is possible without Kinect, which was the subject of my GDC session. I designed this version so that the mouse was the only thing the player needed to use. Also, there were a lot of players who wanted to play D4 but didn’t have an Xbox One, so when I revealed it at GDC, it made a bit of a buzz on social networks, and a lot of people said that they really wanted to see a PC version go on sale.
──That must have been great to hear.
SWERY: That sort of lit the flame on something that had been smoldering inside me for a while, and that’s what pushed me to actually release it. It may seem a bit cunning, but even though I had only made the original version as an experiment, I still wanted to show it to people see what their reactions were like.
──And so everything went according to plan. (LOL)
SWERY: I’m really glad things worked out. (LOL)
──How much of it was finished when you took it to GDC and PAX EAST?
SWERY: At those events, the beginning of the prologue where Amanda appears was playable. From that point on, I began tuning the later scenes. Since Kinect can’t be used in this version, I had to replace the gestures with new commands, so we have to create all of those for the rest of the game. The UI that was shown at GDC was also a temporary one, which we’re now remaking that into something that can be understood much easier with mouse controls.
──So you’re currently working on it now?
SWERY: The staff members at Access Games are working day and night to make sure the game is completed by the end of April. We’d like to do bug checking in May.
──So there have been no changes made to the contents of the game?
SWERY: As far as Season 1 is concerned, it’s no different. Details-wise, we’ve changed up the placement of certain items and tuned the game to make it easier to play. We’ve also made the DLC that was released for the Xbox One version into items that can actually be acquired inside the game itself, as rewards for side quests and so on.
──So you changed the rote process of downloading DLC into something fun.
SWERY: This game was already released over half a year ago, so instead of making everyone download things piece by piece, I decided to put them in the game so that people could just enjoy collecting them there.
──That’s an exciting change. How have the controls actually changed? How much of the comfort of the controls have you been able to maintain now that you’ve switched over from Kinect to the mouse?
SWERY: When we were switching things over to mouse controls, there were parts that became much better, and parts that were done away with altogether. The voice controls that were only possible thanks to Kinect’s voice recognition technology are not present in this version. You also can’t make poses to do certain gestures anymore, but we’ve fixed it all so that you can play the entire game using only the mouse.
──Can you give us more details on that?
SWERY: For example, when you swing a baseball bat, you need to grab the back of the character’s hand and drag it to his shoulder. There is now sensory replication with the mouse that’s a bit different from how it was with Kinect.。
──In the end, how difficult are the controls now?
SWERY: From my experience, it’s easy to maintain a fixed point with the mouse, so I think the controls are easier now. Kinect looks more fun, so it can get a wider range of people interested in trying the game, but it takes a lot of stamina to keep your hand frozen at a fixed point in space.
──It does seem like it’d be hard to play it over a long period of time (with Kinect).
SWERY: When you’re pushing things with the mouse, you can push things exactly where you want to push them, but with Kinect, you really need to aim. Because of that difference, there were a lot of situations unique to D4, such as seeing an observation icon during a cutscene and suddenly raising your hand only to barely miss it. In those scenes, players will now be able to quickly respond with the mouse.
──That does sound like it would happen a lot. (LOL) With Kinect, it seems like allowing the players to synchronize themselves with the controls and action happening on screen really adds to the immersion. Do you think some of that gets lost with the mouse?
SWERY: I think people will actually get spoiled by how similar it is. But like I said at GDC regarding my theory of symbolization, as far as the action symbolization goes, it’s like this. The act of a player aiming their hand with Kinect in order to open a door in the game is just as different from actually opening a door as clicking the mouse is. But through doing it over and over again, that action will gradually start to overlap with the action of opening a door, and in the end, the sensation will be replicated. That’s what this experience helped me to understand.
──So the mouse is fully capable of achieving that level of synchronization. What about the QTEs?
SWERY: I think D4’s QTEs are much more fun than the usual fare. But playing the QTEs with Kinect is on a whole other level. Honestly, that really made me wish we had Kinect compatibility.
──Kinect for Windows exists, so will there be compatibility eventually?
SWERY: If a lot of people are gracious enough to purchase the PC version of D4, then a compatibility update may be possible. But I need to think about this from both a business and a technology standpoint, so it also depends on how popular Kinect for Windows becomes.
──So the possibility isn’t zero?
SWERY: The great thing about the PC version is that we can update it. As of now, player communities are really important in the game industry, so we aren’t trying to “promote things and make a buzz in order to sell things.” Instead, we first need to have the players enjoy the content, then let them share it sideways to other players so that the content can grow.
──That makes sense.
SWERY: I think communities like that are stronger on the PC than they are in the console world. I think the PC is the platform best suited to really releasing something FOR the community. The test version I brought to GDC garnered a response, so that’s one of the reasons I decided to officially release a PC version. D4 is episodic, so I really have to look at feedback as I continue to create it, moreso than I’ve ever done before. “What are people expecting from this point onwards?” “What will they think of this?” and so on.
──Will content continue to be released on the Xbox One alongside PC content?
SWERY: All I can say is: “We’re doing our best to create new content, so get excited.” (LOL)
●The Future of D4
──I’m curious about who the publisher and distributor will be for the PC version.
SWERY: I can’t tell you anything for sure about that yet, but I intend to take the game with me to the Tokyo Indie Fest that’s happening from May 8 to May 10 in Akihabara, and I hope to reveal information on the publisher there.
──Is it going there as an indie title? Microsoft isn’t the distributor?
SWERY: I want to make a title that will resonate with the people who attend the Indie Fest, so I intend to select the best distributor and distribution method for that purpose.
──Have you ever thought of publishing through your own company (Access Games)?
SWERY: That’s certainly an option, of course. I’m just searching for the best option.
──Seeing as how you have so many passionate fans overseas, it seems like the PC field is an even better match for you than consoles.
SWERY: I don’t have any grasp on what phases the people who’ve passionately played my games are in, but I do think that there are more PC users who really like to get impassioned about what they like. Those kinds of people treasure communities, and incorporate games, the internet, and SNS communities into their lives indiscriminately. I think those connections are truly deep ones, and at the very least, you can’t call them casual gamers.
──It really does seem like the indie field will give you the chance to show off your full potential. Although, there still is the Xbox One…
SWERY: The way I work is I just create something, then get yelled at, then fix it. (LOL) And I don’t think that’s going to change. I’m always going to try to push out as much as I can.
──So it might be easier to just go crazy on the PC, then adjust things for consoles? (LOL)
SWERY: That’s an interesting question. (LOL) It’s best when creators can really think big with what they’re creating, so I’m basically looking for that kind of publisher. (LOL)
D4 Official Site