Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Interview with Square Enix - Army Corps of Hell

Greetings everyone. I'd like to welcome Square Enix producer Yuichi Tanzawa, who has taken time to talk with us about the upcoming PlayStation Vita launch title, Army Corps of Hell. Many thanks to Mr. Tanzawa and the Square Enix NA team for helping to set this up.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about your hellish little Vita launch title.

First, could you give us a little bit of info about the gameplay features of Army Corps? We've seen that it looks like a real-time strategy title, a lot like Pikmin, but how does it vary?

Yuichi Tanzawa (Producer): We have been asked "is this a real-time strategy?" by people who have seen the screenshots of the game, but this isn't a strategy game, but an action game in which you use a multitude of goblins as weapons. I'm sure you'll understand once you watch the actual gameplay where you roll away to dodge enemy attacks, or strike the boss in his weak spot. I strongly recommend you to watch the gameplay footage.

Since you have to take hundreds of demons into combat, what kind of variety do these hellions offer? What are some of the different kinds of minions? Different strengths and weaknesses?

Tanzawa: There are three types of goblins: "Soldiers," "Spearmen," and "Magi." The Soldiers are standard fighters that attack close-range enemies. There's also an ability which deals massive damage called "Salvo Attack." The Spearmen run over to long-range enemies and attack them. They are powerful when they attack all at once in a battle formation, but they do run the risk of getting attacked while returning to their position, or run into a trap of Hell. With the Magi, the goblin itself doesn't attack, but they shoot balls of fire or lightning. Not only are they useful for fighting enemies cloaked in flames or lightning who are too dangerous to touch, but they can also attack multiple enemies at the same time, so they can be utilized when a bunch of enemies show up.

What about the multiplayer modes, we've seen that this supports up to four players? How does that work? Is only ad-hoc play or does it support Wi-Fi at all? Is there any support for 3G?

Tanzawa: In the multiplayer mode, 4 kings work together to beat the stage. Each player can have up to 50 goblins, so when 4 people play, it can get very busy as 200 goblins fill up the screen. Also, we say work together, but there are times when other players can steal your goblins while they're knocked out, and so you can enjoy a party-like gameplay that you won't find in any other action game. Multiplayer mode is only ad-hoc.

Early reports stated that Square Enix was working with Japanese developer Entersphere on this title, what role did each company play in this game's development?

Tanzawa: We had many discussions as we proceeded with development, and so it's hard to clearly define whose role was what, but I would say Square Enix handled the external portion, such as the music, worldview and marketing-related items, and Entersphere worked on the actual development of the game.

Where did the idea for this game originate? What were the influences?

Tanzawa: The idea was solidified after going through so many changes, so it's hard to clearly say "who thought of it when," but Mr. Shiba, the producer, had the idea of "let's make a game that handles a large group," and so Entersphere's Mr. Okamoto took the lead and helped us make this idea take shape into an actual game. Then Mr. Takamura, who handled the designs, and UNITED's Mr. Yokoyama joined forces and the edgy worldview was fleshed out. Finally, I (Tanzawa) worked on the parts needed to finish creating the game.

This seems like a very interesting pick for a Vita launch title. What about this title do you think is most likely to stand out among the rest of the launch games?

Tanzawa: It's a heavy and edgy worldview, unlike that of a typical Square Enix title, but at the same time we were able to make this into an exhilarating action game. It's a challenge for us to try something new like this, but I believe users who are tired of the same old games and are looking for something new, especially those gamers who would buy the PS Vita would enjoy this title.

Pocket Console is very appreciative of Mr. Tanzawa's time, as well as the Square Enix staff, in answering these questions about Army Corps of Hell. This title will be available at the PlayStation Vita launch on February 22, 2012. More details about Army Corps of Hell can be found on the game's official website.

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