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The 3rd Birthday Developers Interviewed by Famitsu
07.02.2010

BECKY CUNNINGHAM
NEWS REPORTER
CHLOE KUNG
TRANSLATOR


The 3rd Birthday

On June 25, several members of The 3rd Birthday's development team were interviewed in Famitsu. Here is a translation providing some of the highlights of that interview. Please note that for reasons of length and comprehensibility, some sections of the interview have been rearranged or are heavily paraphrased.

Interviewees:

  • Yoshinori Kitase - Main producer. Also involved in several Final Fantasy titles.
  • Hajime Tabata - Director. Is also the director of FFXIII Agito.
  • Motomu Toriyama - Scenario Writer. Was the director of FFXIII.
  • Isamu Kamikokuryo - Art Director. Was the art director for FF12 and FF13.

    What was the motive for shifting The 3rd Birthday from mobile phones to the PSP?

    Kitase: We wanted to release the game on a mainstream gaming device. We want to portray Aya Brea perfectly in a new production. To achieve this, we felt that the game would be better received on the PSP than on mobile devices.
    Tabata: I wanted 3rd Birthday to be like a North American drama and I felt that the PSP would be better capable of portraying this.

    Is this game a Third Person Shooter?

    Tabata: This is an action rpg. You fight with guns, you look for monsters but to battle them the player needs to do a 'Lock-on Action'. The use of 'Overdrive' is an important element in this RPG.

    What is 'Overdrive'?

    Tabata: Overdrive is a skill where Aya manipulates the consciousness of others. This will be a useful skill in the game as it gives the player total control over the battlefield. In Overdrive, Aya will become ghostly in appearance (hence her nudity in screenshots). When Overdrive is evoked, time is slowed down. It isn't unlimited. Aya can get exhausted, which ends her link with the surrounding NPCs. If the character Aya is controlling dies, her morale will drop.
    Toriyama: Overdrive can be considered Aya's trump card against the Twisted (the monsters).

    In Overdrive, what is the correlation between a NPC's LIFE and Aya's LIFE?

    Tabata: It is the foundation of Overdrive. Aya's LIFE will grow as she progresses in the game and this will in turn grow the LIFE of the soldiers.

    What about the soldier's LIFE decreasing (as seen in a trailer)?

    Tabata: The amount of LIFE is dependent on the soldier's rank. Soldiers are vulnerable to the Twisted. To avoid death, the player needs to 'tune' their Overdrive. Overdrive tuning will be of great importance in the harder modes of the game. Even I have trouble with tuning Overdrive for Hard Mode.

    Is the arrangement of soldiers important in Overdrive?

    Tabata: Yes, it will help capture the advantage in battle. The player can arrange the soldiers so that they attack from the back, or attack the enemy simultaneously.

    There seems to be a strong element of strategy in this game. Will real time strategy be an element in this game?

    Kitase: There is not a rich strategy element. The focus is on the action's tempo, but there is also a taste of strategy.

    Overdrive is possible when soldiers are around, but what happens if the player is alone on the battlefield?

    Tabata: There will always be 3-4 people in each area.

    Aya is able to use the weapons that the soldiers use. What types of weapons are available?

    Tabata: Certain weapons are better against certain enemies. Shotguns are better when enemies are near, while sniper rifles are better when enemies are far away. The weapons follow the same rules as if they were used in reality. In Overdrive, Aya will be using the weapons the soldiers are using. However, they can be customized to be stronger. There will also be an abundance of ammunition in Overdrive.

    Tell us more about the customization and growth elements in the game.

    Tabata: I can't give details at the moment, but customization will be important in this game. In the Parasite Eve series, special abilities have always been an important element. In this game there will be new skills and they will be used differently then in previous titles.

    Will there be multiplayer?

    Tabata: I cannot say for certain at the moment, but it's primarily a single player game.

    As mentioned in a previous interview, Aya is fighting to regain her past. Could you say more about this?

    Toriyama: The keyword is "lost past". Aya is fighting for her friends, but as part of the FBI she is also fighting for herself.

    In regards to Aya's past, will characters from the previous games reappear?

    Toriyama: The stories of the previous games are perfect as they are. So, in this game there will MOSTLY be original characters.

    What kind of person is Aya this time around?

    Toriyama: She is a very private/secretive in personality. Something happened to Aya which caused her to close her heart. This will become Aya's weakness as a character.

    Could you explain Aya's design?

    Kamikokuryo: She is ladylike with adult taste. Many people in the office often ask about the infamous shower scene.

    Will there be a shower scene?!

    Tabata: There seems to be great anticipation for one.

    What is the point of having clothes getting ripped off mid-battle?

    Tabata: Clothes are torn off when Aya receives a lot of damage. The more Aya avoids damage, the less exposed Aya will be.

    How did you come up with the system of clothes being torn off when Aya receives a lot of damage?

    Tabata: It was originally for experimental purposes. Nomura supports this feature as it makes the game more interesting.

    Why is Aya nude in the Overdrive scene in the trailer?

    Toriyama: During overdrive Aya is a "ghostly entity", which makes her appear to be nude.

    Could you tell us more about the Twisted?

    Toriyama: They are figures who time traveled from the future. The FBI is investigating them.
    Kitase: They are 'twisted.' (smiles)
    Kamikokuryo: The intention of the Twisted's design is to strike fear, with their appearance and the way they move.
    Tabata: We wanted to keep the game environment as real as possible, while the Twisted are the fantasy element. Our intention is to bring the element of surprise into a realistic environment.

    In regards to the visuals, there is a screenshot where Aya is in front of an unnatural building. Does this have any relation to the Twisted?

    Toriyama: That is Babel, the Twisted's hive.

    Babel has a cool color, what is the concept behind it?

    Kamikokuryo: It represents Christmas. Although all the seasons are represented, winter seems to provide more contrast and tension in the game.

    Will Manhattan be the primary location the game?

    Kamikokuryo: The game is based on locations in the region. For example, there is ground level and underground New York.

    Is the game's development complete?

    Tabata: The game is complete. We are currently doing the 7th quality cut. There were a lot of changes made after the 5th cut.
    Kitase: I think this will be a very interesting game, and I have high hopes for the Overdrive system.
    Tabata: Mr. Kitase put the 'soul' of Dirge of Cerberus into this game. It's a similar gun-game, but we've made improvements on the formula.

    You have a wonderful staff lineup for this game.

    Toriyama: After FF13 was finished, many of the staff moved on to work on The 3rd Birthday's team.
    Tabata: The FF13 staff has a lot of know-how in regards to HD. That is an element which they brought into this game.

    Do you have any more comments on the game?

    Kitase: Although Aya is from the Parasite Eve series, we want players to see this game as a new series.
    Toriyama: This game will be one of the strongest releases on PSP.
    Kamikokuryo: The mix of a fantasy world and a reality world creates the ultimate reality. The portrayal of disaster in the game is strong no matter who views it.



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