Interview: What's Next From Tecmo?

Three creators. Three games. No mercy. Kikizo takes a flying tour of Tecmo's top developers to check out Again for DS, Undead Knights for PSP and Quantum Theory for PS3.

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What with the explosive departure last June of Tomonobu Itagaki, enfant terrible behind the Ninja Gaiden series, an amicable but unsuccessful takeover bid from Square Enix in August, and a merger - effective from next April - with Dynasty Warriors publisher Koei, Tecmo has been a highly watchable company of late. Despite this whirlwind of corporate politics, the publisher's output shows no sign of stalling. Three new IPs were unveiled last year: Again: Eye of Providence, a DS forensic adventure game, Undead Knights, a zombie mash-em-up on PSP, and Quantum Theory, a high-powered tactical shooter for the PS3.

So utterly stuffed is Tecmo's schedule, that when Kikizo stopped by for a closer look we had to run through all three games, with all three creators, in one go. Join us for a rapid-fire chat with Koichi Yamaguchi, Kohei Shibata and Keisuke Kikuchi (the only one we've met before) - producers for Again, Undead Knights and Quantum Theory respectively.

Koichi Yamaguchi, Tecmo producer for Again: Eye of Providence for DS

Kikizo: It's great to meet you all. So, Again: Eye of Providence. Go!

Yamaguchi: You're going to be playing Jay - an FBI agent. 18 years ago there were a series of murders and incidents that involved his family. He's the only known survivor of the family. Just recently another incident took place that left exactly the same clues behind as from the incident 18 years ago. And now Jay is connecting those two to see if the criminal's still out there, and solve the mystery of why his family has disappeared.

And he has these unique powers. He can see into the past, the place 18 years ago, and that has been reflected in the gameplay. You have your 'past vision' and your 'current vision'. Your past vision is going to be shown on the left-hand side of the screen. And what you basically want to do is pick up what's different between the one on the left and the one on the right, because that's what's going to open up clues, and move the dialogue forward. You can control it just with the D-pad.

The event sequences will be displayed in live action. Initially they were thinking of doing it with CGI cut scenes but these are much better to re-enact each [key] moment. This is just one side of the gameplay. The other side is being able to go out on the town collecting information from people, and then coming back to the past/current vision to see what other hints and clues you can find.

Kikizo: In Trace Memory you use the DS hardware in a lot of very original, creative ways - half-closing the lid to see a reflection onto the bottom screen, for instance. Are there any similar tricks in store with Again?

Yamaguchi: In addition to the past vision and the current vision, we have plans to implement some other ideas into the game. But that's not something we're going to discuss today. [laughs]

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