If you have even a passing interest in anime, you probably already have heard of Attack on Titan. Set in a world where the last survivors of humanity hide behind massive walls from man eating titans, the manga-turned-anime seemed to have taken the genres fandom by storm. A game with the same title was released in Japan in February to decent critical and financial success. This hit game is now being localised for Western release with a due date of August 26th in Australia. As a fan of the anime I was looking forward to playing this game so when PPN got a chance to field some questions the developers, I jumped at the opportunity.
Attack on Titan is a wildly popular anime franchise, with many die-hard fans. During the development of this game were you mindful of pleasing these fans? How did that affect your design philosophy?
Yes, we wanted to please the many fans of the anime so we felt that it was necessary to keep the anime’s cruel and catastrophic world. On top of that, we included graphics that only a game can depict, and aimed for a fusion of realistic and anime-like design.
In addition to the visuals, we included the Omni-Directional Manoeuver Gear movement and motion as seen in the anime so players can enjoy freely flying around in a 3D space.
Story wise, the game utilises key moments of the series as well as some new character moments. How did you go about adapting the long ongoing story of the series into the game’s story? How much creative freedom did you have for creating new story content specific to the game? Was there any involvement by the Mangaka, Hajime Isayama in the development of the game’s story?
First, we took the anime’s first season and divided it into major chapters, and within each chapter we focused on including memorable scenes and storylines into the game. The anime covers a lot so we struggled with choosing what to include.
On top of that, in order to prepare content that would surprise the anime fans, we implemented game-specific content such as playing from the Scout Regiment’s side when Titans attack Trost District, as well as including Titans that have not yet appeared in the anime. For these original episodes, we had detailed discussions about it in advance with Kodansha (the manga publisher), so we had some freedom in its creation.
We didn’t have the chance to have Isayama-sensei to oversee the story, but he did see a working build and provided a lot of feedback on it which greatly helped us in the development of the game.
The games will, of course, hold appeal for the fans of the franchise. But how about those who are not familiar with the franchise? Would you recommend the game to newcomers? What kind of appeal does this game hold for them?
Yes, we recommend this game to players not familiar with or fans of the franchise. The anime’s first season is presented in detail so it is easy to understand the story, characters, and world. I think we can say it is suitable as an introduction to Attack on Titan for newcomers.
In addition, players can experience a new kind of gameplay through the Omni-Directional Manoeuver Gear. We hope action game fans will also give this game a try.
One of the most iconic things about Attack on Titan is its villains, the titans. How did you go about capturing the titans for the game in appearance and AI behaviour? How do you make them as fearsome and terrible as they feel in the show and manga?
The presence of the titans bestows fear and despair to humanity (the player). Visually, we referenced the titan designs in the anime to create their disproportionate limbs, bodies and heads. We also added realistic textures for skin and dirt, to illustrate that even though titans are built like humans they are different and creepy creatures that are to be feared.
With regards to the titan battles, we illustrated the despair of the manga by making the titan attacks fatal. The player is highly mobile, but when caught by a titan it is instantly a life-or-death situation; this delicate balance allows the player to have the same thrilling experience as depicted in the manga. And, of course, we spent a lot of time adjusting the titan’s AI in order to counteract the highly mobile player.
The action in Attack on Titan centres around fast paced aerial combat made possible by the Survey Corps’ 3D manoeuvering gear. How did you go about recapturing this unique combat style in the game? How hard was it to capture this vertical nature in combat and movement?
In the early stages of development, we referenced many games including Batman and Spider-Man games. However, it was not enough to reach a level of quality of a manoeuvrable system that felt right. It took a long time to figure out how to come up with a way where players can move where they want while being visually pleasing and easy to operate. It then took numerous attempts of trial and error to make it better.
The Attack on Titan game is due out on August the 26th in Australia and Europe and 30th in the US and will be available on the PS4. Keep an eye out on the site for more in depth look at the game in the coming weeks.