Jakob Nützler, am 03.05.2011, Seite 2 von 2
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Planet3DS.de: Hello from Germany! Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. You currently work on Konami's 3DS title "Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights". On which projects did your team previously work and how does the development for 3DS differ from previous handheld-systems?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: I, the producer is in charge of the story and the game design. In the past, I have worked on "METAL GEAR SOLID PORTABLE OPS" and "Z.O.E". Well, creating a game for the 3DS is not very much different from creating games for other portable consoles, but making the game support the stereoscopic view was of course my first experience, so there were many bewilderments.
Planet3DS.de: Your 3DS game is set in a 19th century Paris. The City of Love seems to be a popular choice for movies and video games alike, as seen with for example "Broken Sword" or "Tomb Raider III". What is the charm of this setting and what kind of adventures will Doctor Lautrec experience here?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: I think the fact that the beautiful streets of Paris from the 19th Century still remains up until now, makes Paris such a charming city. Even I, who was born in Kyoto, which is a city in Japan that has a deep historical background, feel how Paris values its historical landscapes is amazing and impressing. Paris in real life is a city in which it has many underground caves and is a very mysterious city and Doctor Lautrec challenges those mysteries of Paris.
Planet3DS.de: The numerous characters, like the little monkey Kiki or the headstrong student Sophie, are very eye-catching. In what way do these characters freshen up the game world?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: I've focused on making the characters so to make the overall feel of the game very unified, rather than making a single storyline.Other than the main story line, there's sub episodes of each characters, so you can enjoy your favorite character's episodes.
Action game or a puzzle game, it's only a matter of how to tell the story inside the game.
Planet3DS.de: There are obvious parallels between your game and the Professor Layton franchise by Level-5, for example the hand-drawn backgrounds or Lautrec's top hat. In what way did the Professor Layton games inspire you during development?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: The Layton series is a game that I truly respect and it's true that I am inspired by it. It might sound like an excuse to people who feel this game is inspired by the Layton series, but I did not intend to make the game look like the Layton series. As for the hat, I just thought it would be awkward for a gentleman of the 19th century to be not wearing one.
Planet3DS.de: According to the first press releases Doctor Lautrec is also quite talented at solving puzzles. How are these puzzle parts embed into the game's flow?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: When exploring the caves, there are puzzle doors placed at pivotal places, and only when those puzzles are solved, you can progress onto the next place. In this game, it is much harder to find a place where it's not puzzle related. How each rooms of the cave are made, how to walk the streets of Paris with the treasure map in your hands, how to battle the enemies are all "puzzle" related.
Planet3DS.de: Aside from solving puzzles you will also have to fight in Paris' underground. How exactly does combat work in this game?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: The main characters go exploring in order to search for "the treasure", but in this world, all treasures have guardians dwelling on them. If you try possessing the treasure without the formal procedures, you will get cursed.In order to fight the guardians called the "Treasure Animatus", you need a "Treasure Animatus" for yourself. In placing your own "Treasure Animatus" around the magic square like base, you can attack the enemy "Treasure Animatus" and weaken them and make them your own possession. The "Treasure Animatus" that you acquire will be yours to keep, so the key is to try not to kill it but to weaken it. Where you can place the "Treasure Animatus" on the magic squares differs according to each treasure. Attribute compatibility and relationships of the placement affects the advantage and disadvantage of the battle, therefore players need to use their heads alot in order to captivate them alive.
Planet3DS.de: Adventure game, puzzle game, role-playing game... What is actually the focus of your game? Or rather: Which genre do you think describes "The Forgotten Knights" the most?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: If we have to say "it belongs to a certain genre" out of the existing genres of games, it's a "puzzle adventure game". However, I’ve made this game so that it will be a "Story-telling game that makes you use your head throughout the whole game". I think I've been making games that are "story-telling games" in my career for a long time…like Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops or Z.O.E. Action game or a puzzle game, it's only a matter of how to tell the story inside the game.
Planet3DS.de: This mixture of genres could indicate a lot of content. How much time do experiences players need in order to finish the game once? And did you also include help or clue features for novice players?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: Yes, this is a game that uses your head so tremendous amounts of elements are included in the game. I'm guessing the average play time of the game is around 20 hours at the shortest. But if you play all the sum episodes, it will take around 30 to 50 hours. The help/clue features for novice players are pretty rich in content. I myself like puzzle games but when I can't solve them, I just quit playing. In order to keep the players playing the game, I've made it so all the users can solve the puzzles. Even users who dislike puzzles, they can enjoy this game as a "story-telling game".
The average play time of the game is around 20 hours at the shortest. But if you play all the sum episodes, it will take around 30 to 50 hours.
Planet3DS.de: Of course the 3DS' 3D effect will be used in your game as well. Can you explain in what way the effect will enhance the experience? Which other features of the system did you use?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: Stereoscopic view is of course supported throughout the whole game. Even the animations and the screens of the 2D characters talking scenes are in 3D. The background is in hand written style, but it's made so that it looks like it has depth.
But I have no intention in stressing out that the game is in 3D, since 3DS is a hardware that lets you play games in 3D, that's the point and that's normal for all 3DS games. I wanted the users to feel how the 3D is put into the game really naturally.
Planet3DS.de: Which other features of the system did you use?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: Well, there are gyro sensors and street pass features for the 3DS, but we did not make the game to support them. I decided that they were not necessary for a brain teaser, story-telling game. I did not want to put in features that would not mean much to this game, just so that we can describe it as a feature.
Planet3DS.de: Lastly, let's take a look into the future: Are the adventures of Doctor Lautrec and his assistants open for other consoles or sequels? Or how about a fighting game in cooperation with Level-5: Doctor Lautrec vs. Professor Layton?
Noriaki Okamura, Konami: I would love to challenge other consoles in the sequels. Most importantly, we need the users to enjoy playing this game and I would be delighted if more and more users will think they would like to play a sequel of this game. Layton vs....well, what do you think? I personally respect the company, Level 5 very much, so it would be an honor for me. At first, I would like all the users to enjoy this game so that there would be plenty of opportunities ahead.
Planet3DS.de: Thank you and Konami very much for this interview and good luck with your games!
The interview was held by Jakob Nützler [Miroque] for Planet3DS.de.