The Yakuza series is talky, as much about the pauses for breath and whiskey before the next throw-down. Binary Domain, refreshingly, couldn't be more different.
A cover-shooter set in a post-apocalyptic Japan that's seen robots infiltrate human ranks, it's a mash-up of western influences from The Terminator to Battlestar Galactica. The opening hour sees you and your AI team-mate Bo (whom you give orders via voice command or button-presses) infiltrating the Japanese shoreline. It's less infiltration and more demolition, however, as wave after wave of metal menace comes charging forth.
The game features some good invention, so we sat down with producer Masayoshi Kikuchi to talk about the challenges facing the ex-Yakuza men...
Binary Domain seems geared towards the Western market more than your other games. Why?
The reason I entered into this industry, first and foremost is: I love games. These days Japanese animes and culture is more popular, but to a certain degree there's a language barrier with other media - certainly for movies and novels. Games, however, can overcome these barriers.
After all these years making only Japanese games I thought there's a challenge in meeting a worldwide audience - not just Japanese or western, but the audience as a whole. The challenges facing us making that decision is that you have to consider everyone. You can't lean to one audience or the other and you have to consider what different people relate to.
For Binary Domain a Japanese and UK writer collaborated on the story and all the little dialogues. Subtle differences were discussed so as not to alienate anyone despite where they're from.
This is your first shooter - was it a challenge to design?
The genre was chosen to have the biggest window of entry for as many gamers as possible. Yes it's the studio's first shooter and there's a lot of challenges. Within the studio there are so many who are total enthusiasts and who play a range of western titles.
I've looked at a lot of shooters for good references. But also there's a good point of comparison: identifying where the genre lacked and trying to bring something new to it. We wanted to contribute to the 'gap', and this is where having robotic enemies comes in. It ties heavily into the gameplay and with the very detailed procedural damage, giving you a different sense of feeling [to other shooters].
Existing titles were a great reference, though, taking what works, then figuring out what we can contribute to the genre.
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