Okamoto on the Challenges of Genji PS3
We chat to Game Republic founder Yoshiki Okamoto about the difficult process of getting Genji: Days of the Blade out in time for the PS3 launch.
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The launch of a new console is an exciting time for developers. It's a time of renewal that gives them the chance to play with fresh hardware and, in some cases, to debut new series. But it's also a path riddled with very real obstacles, not least because there's still so much that has yet to be nailed down, as Game Republic founder and Street Fighter creator Yoshiki Okamoto told me recently.
"Launch games are more difficult because we cannot change the release date," Okamoto said. "There's always the difficulty that it's a new hardware and not knowing what the full capacity of the hardware is going to be."
For Genji: Days of the Blade, Okamoto's first game for the PlayStation 3, development began before the final specifics of Sony's new system had even been revealed. The sequel to the swords-'n'-sorcery historical action game picks up after the first game, with Yoshitsune having come of age. It was meant for the PlayStation 2, but the team decided later to bring it instead to the PlayStation 3.
It was, however, a game that needed to be made. "We really wanted to put out this game because we left the good parts and the interesting battles for the second instalment of Genji," Okamoto said.
|Just getting Genji out at launch was a success, says Okamoto|
Genji debuted at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in May 2006. Initial comments weren't kind, and a lot of them centred on the faraway view of the action. Okamoto and his team took the criticism to heart and pushed the camera right in, close enough to emphasise the details afforded by the PlayStation 3.
This introduced another problem. Some people commented that it was now difficult to see the battlefield. Okamoto admitted it was something the team was concerned with, but it was a necessary concession.
"We wanted to give people great graphics that would say, 'Yes, this is PlayStation 3,'" Okamoto said. "We had to give a little bit up from the gameplay. That was really difficult from the [perspective of] balance."