Tecmo Interview: Keisuke Kikuchi
Our chat with one of Tecmo's most striking game creators about his latest projects, Trapt and Fatal Frame III.
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While one certain outspoken game creator is undeniably the face of the Team Ninja side of development at Tokyo-based Tecmo Ltd, it's also no secret that the company produces a wealth of other gaming treats. The man responsible for the bulk of it is Keisuke Kikuchi, a talented game creator with successes such as the Fatal Frame and Deception series already under his belt.
As the General Manager of Tecmo's Product Development Division, Kikuchi-san has a busy schedule that has recently seen him wrapping up his two newest titles on PlayStation 2, Trapt (known as Kagero II in Japan) and Fatal Frame III: The Tormented, for their anticipated western releases.
We met with Kikuchi recently to find out more...
Kikizo: Thanks for your time today to discuss Trapt and Fatal Frame III. The Deception franchise has been around in one form or another for some time now, but for those unfamiliar with it, please can you give an overview of this latest installment, Trapt?
Kikuchi: So in Trapt, the main character doesn't use any weapons. She uses various kinds of traps. In fact, we are calling this a 'trap action game'. There are three different types of traps you can use to attack enemies. Firstly, there are hand-carried trap for ceilings, walls, and floors - each activated by the action buttons.
The second type of trap is the objects to be found in a room, such as a chandelier. You find a switch for the chandelier, so that it falls down on the enemy! Thirdly, we have huge devices, known as Dark Illusion, such as a large clock as seen in the trailer, for example. The Dark Illusion has a puzzle-style element; in order to activate Dark Illusion devices, you have to find out how to activate them; they'll activate only when you fulfill certain conditions.
Kikizo: Cool. There seems to be quite a storyline here, and themes like jealousy, justice and betrayal are mentioned. How does the storyline fit with the gameplay?
Kikuchi: The heroine's name is Alllura, the princess of the kingdom. Her mother-in-law 'trapped' her when the king was assassinated, blaming her for the murder - and so she had to escape the castle. She escaped into a mansion, and obtained the evil powers required to use these traps.
Kikizo: What else does the player need to consider apart from the trapping techniques?
Kikuchi: In terms of difficulty, this game is not that difficult for players. But the player can try things differently; there are a lot of combinations of traps. This is the major feature; you can try everything, you can use various types of traps and devices pre-installed in each room. You can try every combination!
Kikizo: The game seems pretty unique. There's action, but it also seems somewhat turns-based because you have to set traps in advance and then see the effect...
Kikuchi: Yes, this is a very unique game - there is nothing to compare it to really. However, the game does proceed on a real-time basis; once you beat one enemy, a new enemy comes into the mansion.
Kikizo: Cool. So, please tell us about what's new with Fatal Frame III: The Tormented...?
Kikuchi: As this is the third title in the series, I wanted to make it the scariest yet. The characters come and go between the world of reality and the world of nightmares. There are three playable characters available, and each of them has specific abilities.
Kikizo: We see a sinister looking pattern on the girl's shoulder in the trailer, what exactly is that?
Kikuchi: Yes, it's kind of sinister! There's this mystery in the game, the Curse of the Tattoo. The ghosts that appear in the world of nightmares wear tattoos on their bodies. It spreads over the body, and once it fully covers the body, you can't come back from the world of nightmares to realiuty. The player has to find out the secret and mystery of the Curse of the Tattoo, and try to stop it spreading.
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Fatal Frame 3
Extended gameplay footage (Tecmo)
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Extended gameplay footage (Tecmo)
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