Bladestorm: Hundred Years War Interview (PS3)

Strategy Informer: Firstly could you introduce yourself to our readers and let us know your role within Koei Ltd?

Akihiro Suzuki: My name is Akihiro Suzuki, and I’m the producer of BLADESTORM: The Hundred Years’ War. I am also an Executive Officer on Koei’s Board of Directors. My past credits include serving as the Director for the games in the Dynasty Warriors series (up until Dynasty Warriors 4) and after that I served as the Producer on both Dynasty Warriors 4 Empires and the two iterations of Dynasty Warriors for the PSP.

Strategy Informer: When did the idea of creating BLADESTORM come about?

Akihiro Suzuki: It was when Sony Computer Entertainment first started talking about the specs for the PS3 that we really started thinking about the potential that the next generation machines held. I had this idea in mind for a game that would go beyond anything that was possible on the current-gen machines. At the same time, we were thinking about settings that would have a global appeal. The medieval European motif is often used in fantasy products, and the rich history of the Hundred Years’ War era provided what we felt was a setting that would hold global appeal. The era is also interesting because we saw for the first time a number of cultures clashing, most notably as the Mongols marauded across the steppes all the way to the doorstep of Europe. We felt that the relative ease with which the era is associated with fantasy and fiction would allow us to explore some of the “what ifs” of different civilizations meeting for the first time and allow us to take creative liberties and create our own history, so to speak. To that end, we’ve been able to, among other things, integrate a number of ethnic groups that are not native to the Europe of the time.

Strategy Informer: We’ve read about some of the features of BLADESTORM, are there any which you’ve yet to announce or speak about?

Akihiro Suzuki: Although we’ve discussed some aspects of the game, to be honest we haven’t really revealed a whole lot just yet. So in that respect, yes, there is still a lot of information to come.  

Strategy Informer: What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?

Akihiro Suzuki: We are currently putting a lot of effort into the lighting, especially on elements such as light scattering and blooming. Nailing these factors will help recreate the unique atmosphere, the unique “feel” of France in an ultra-realistic way that hasn’t been possible before. Physics will really come into play in determining, for example, how individual soldiers will react when two units crash into each other at full speed on the battlefield, or in the precise velocity at which long-distance weapons will fly through the air and their impact, or calculating exactly what sort of force it will take to topple a building. The physics capabilities of the next-gen machines will ensure that we can depict everything realistically.

Strategy Informer: There are many games which take advantage of the Xbox 360 live feature by allowing people to download and pay for extra content, is this something we’ll see happening for BLADESTORM?

Akihiro Suzuki: We will have more to announce regarding the online features for BLADESTORM in the upcoming months.

Strategy Informer: Can you give us an assessment of the health and long-term viability for BLADESTORM?

Akihiro Suzuki: BLADESTORM is currently 80% complete. As for its long-term viability, BLADESTORM will have a number of extra incentives to keep players interested, such as character building and item collecting.

The character building aspects will be particularly important as it will affect what troop types you are able to command on the battlefield and will also open up new missions that were previously unavailable. There are over 40 troop types in the game, and their attack and defense formations, the number of men you can lead, as well as their individual attack patterns are all dependant on the extent to which you have completed the character building parameters.

The collecting elements will task players with finding and using over 400 historically-accurate weapons, armour, and other items that will come into play on the battlefield.Finally, we’ll be providing the players with deep and engaging story elements that we hope they will enjoy and want to play through. We’ll of course be presenting the primary campaigns from both French and English perspectives, and in addition we’ll have a large number of side stories included to keep players interested.

Strategy Informer: We’ve had some details on the single player side to BLADESTORM, do you plan on creating a multiplayer option and if so what will it contain?

Akihiro Suzuki: We are concentrating on providing an extensive and (most importantly) fun single-player experience. To that end, we are not planning on implementing multiplayer modes into BLADESTORM.

Strategy Informer: Could you tell us a bit about the weapons that we’ll get to use in BLADESTORM?

Akihiro Suzuki: Players will get their hands on a variety of swords, spears, heavy weapons like axes and war hammers, and projectiles such as bows and crossbows. Of course, there are numerous variations on each of these, and the final number of distinct weapons will top out at about 100.

Strategy Informer: As a gamer, what's your favorite part of BLADESTORM, what makes you proud to have helped create it and why is it a game people will want?

Akihiro Suzuki: Permeating the entire game experience is the sense of actually being on the field of battle, experiencing the fury and the sheer chaos of being involved in clashes of massive scale, and the exhilarating adrenalin rush you get from leading scores of men charging against equally strong foes. The result is a game akin to an epic historical war movie from Hollywood, with all the drama, excitement, and the edge-of-your seat adrenalin.

Strategy Informer: What's the currently release date and is it possible we may see some changes in the future?

Akihiro Suzuki: We’re looking at a worldwide March 2007 release for this game on both the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360 platforms.

Strategy Informer: The team has been hard at work on BLADESTORM for awhile now, what has been the hardest challenge for them, development wise?

Akihiro Suzuki: The most difficult part was attuning ourselves to the new hardware. As we’re in the transition period and this is the first time for our team to develop for the new platforms, there have been a lot of trial-and-error processes that we’ve gone through as we figure out the best way to utilize the power at our disposal.

Strategy Informer: Do you plan on releasing a demo so fans can try out the game before it’s released or is this something you’ll leave until after it’s released?

Akihiro Suzuki: We are still undecided on whether to release a demo. There are a number of issues related to making a demo that need to be considered, especially with regards to how to limit the scale of any demo. We’re considering the feasibility of doing a demo, whether we can convey the gameplay experience of Bladestorm in such a limited setting.

Strategy Informer: We've come to our last question, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans of BLADESTORM: Hundred Years War which are eagerly awaiting the release of this title?

Akihiro Suzuki: BLADESTORM will provide an experience that is only attainable on the next-generation consoles. It will be an entirely new gaming experience, it is a groundbreaking title that will take the action game genre in all-new directions. The exhilaration you got from playing an action game as a single character will now be multiplied as you take control of entire units. I’m confident that our fans can look forward to enjoying this title when it comes out in March.


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