BAFTA Bizznizz – Sakaguchi In Da House

Last night I was lucky enough to have an evening listening to  Hironobu Sakaguchi talk about his upcoming game The last story. Of course the conversation wasn’t just about the new game. Click on to see what else came up when this legendary games designer came to town.

To start with, the main aim of the talk was to give us all an insight into the new game that’ll be out on the 24th. The Last Story is an action RPG that is set in some medieval looking town, where you battle monsters, kings and queens are involved, army generals probably get up to some nasty business, so on and so forth. This all sounds very familiar. Luckily, the game plays unlike any other RPG you’ve played before. Kind of.

You control one party member. This party member can dish out orders and also attract the rage of the enemies, allowing your other party members to cast all manner of magics and stuff. There’s no waggling going on though. This is a Wii exclusive, though there’s little to no motion controls being used. The demonstration was given by someone using the classic controller. I would have liked to ask Mr Sakaguchi if he felt that motion controllers were just a gimmick, hence why he avoided using them, but I never got the chance (more on that later).

The town, as medieval as it was, looked nice and full of character. Sakaguchi mentioned that he focused on keeping the game world small and detailed, with such simple little touches as your character banging their head on hanging signs. It’s tough to tell from a 15 minute play-through, but it looks like a place that gamers will be happy to spend 30+ hours in. A town is no good without it being full of characters though, luckily, the place was brimming with activity.

The characters are pretty traditional JRPG fare. Spikey hair, scratching the back of the head, leather chaps. You know. Standard stuff. The localised version we’ll be receiving here in Europe (still no US release confirmed) will all be fully voiced. Which is nice, but I found the accents a little distracting. They seem to be a but OTT. Heavy cockney accents, thick Irish brogues, unintelligible Scottish voices (not true, they’re understandable).

After the demo, a Q+A session was held. Some of the questions were terrible (“Do you still play games?” THE FUCK?) but an interesting bit of info that was confirmed is that Sakaguchi is working on 3 iOS games. They’re going to be small scale, just for fun projects. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with the interface anyway. When pressed further on why iOS, Sakaguchi simply explained that he was “an Apple fan”. Fair enough. None of the other questions stuck in my mind, something about Final Fantasy, something about ‘are you sick of being asked about Final fantasy’. Something about who he’s inspired by. Just a whole bunch of missed opportunities.

All in all, it was great to be in the company of Mr Sakaguchi who has made some very important games in his time and it was nice to see The Last Story. Not that I needed more convincing, it’s already on pre-order and paid for.

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