Famitsu.com recently spoke to Deep Down executive producer Yoshinori Ono, who discussed the upcoming PlayStation 4 RPG’s setting, online significance, frames per second, and advantages of developing on Sony’s next-gen console.
Find the full interview translated below.
—What kind of game is Deep Down?
The setting is 2094 in New York, but when they hear ‘2094 in New York,’ everyone might be surprised.
—In the previous video, there was a man in armor fighting a monster…
Ravens, a group of people who posses a special ability, are the key. Other than being able to dive into the past, they are able to read the memories of objects and hear voices of the past. The Ravens in New York 2094 go to a certain time period, and use the information they scan there to try to clarify events of the past.
—Can you tell us a bit more about “memory reading?”
As Ravens, players will proceed through dungeons in the past and investigate. There is a theme of ‘emotion’ in this game; there are various dungeons in the past that correspond to the feelings of human emotions. When you read a stone statue and enter a dungeon, things full of past thoughts and grudges are scattered around. If they touch those thoughts, they can read memories of the past. We’re calling Deep Down a memory reading RPG, but these words also sum up the objectives of the game: ‘emotion reading’ or ‘knowing the reality of the past.’
—Deep Down is an online game, but what can players look forward to, specifically?
As you said, Deep Down is an online game at its core, and as such an online environment is required. As I said, the Ravens’ goal is to discover the truth of the past, but let’s put that aside for the moment. Because PlayStation 4 is a new platform with an inseparable online component, we want you to expect an online system with as little resistance as possible. So far, Capcom has released games like Monster Hunter and Dragon’s Dogma where you can hunt and journey online. We’re making Deep Down by aggregating the know-how of the ‘online’ segments we’ve cultivated so far. Even if you have only a small amount of time to play, we’re working hard to make sure to keep the tempo and enjoyability up.
—Will you be able to dive into dungeons together with other players?
Yes. You can play with your friends, and then exchange information like with each other—’Hey, this dungeon has such-and-such information.’ In this way you’ll begin to understand the mystery of Deep Down, why people of certain unique power came together and why you’re investigating the past.
—Is your connection to other players important?
For those players who feel that online gaming is awkward, Deep Down can also be enjoyed by oneself. First, try playing solo, then when you become accustomed to it, try challenging dungeons together with other Ravens.
—Will players who have their guards up about online gaming be able to enjoy Deep Down?
I can’t say anything concrete yet, but we do want to lower barriers to play as much as possible. If anyone reading this knows any of my other titles they may have thought, ‘Oh hey! When did this become an online game?’ This is the kinda of stage we wish to set with Deep Down.
—Speaking of online play, how will it be managed after release?
We will put management and continuation first. Because we want you to continue online play for a long time to come, we’re planning periodic version upgrades and large updates. Deep Down will be on exhibit at Tokyo Game Show 2013, and when players try it out for themselves, we think you’ll be able to feel that “This item or that structure is definitely going to multiply!” We have no intention of betraying this expectation. We will continue to develop and manage at fixed intervals.
—Has the beta testing schedule been decided?
We’d like to get things going soon after PlayStation 4 goes on sale. Keep your expectations up!
—How is it developing for the first time on PlayStation 4?
Even before we started development we were doing research, and right from the start we saw that play was easy and precise, and that the things we wanted to do could be implemented relatively quickly. Even in the trailer released at the February press conference, we could see that coming up with something of quality was quick to do. For example, producing something at 60 frames and moving it in real time was relatively simple. That’s when I got it, that with just a little more time how much more we would be able to do. PlayStation 4 is about more than just satisfaction, it’s about feeling the possibilities. I’ve got to hand it to the PlayStation 4 folks for creating a system that’s so easy to work with.
—I see. So could you tell us then what PlayStation 4 has done to make Deep Down a reality?
One of Deep Down‘s selling points are its self-generating dungeons, and how you’ll never enter the same dungeon twice. Well, I say ‘self-generating,’ but the system is not totally random. It’s a regulated random. It’s thanks to the ample memory and operating speed [of PlayStation 4] that this style of game is possible.
—These dungeons that are re-created down to the smallest details are a surprise indeed.
The visuals approach a level of photo-realism and even the player’s weapons and armor will deteriorate and become dirty. Because PlayStation 4’s operating speed is so fast, the rust and mold on your equipment aren’t simply rendered as textures, rather they are calculated reflections of your interaction with the world you’re in. We want you to pass through the television screen and taste the world of Deep Down.
—Is there a good way to use of the many features of the DualShock 4 with Deep Down?
The DualShock 4 has a touch pad and a little blinking light on the top, and if you listen carefully you can almost hear sounds emanating from within it. We plan to implement all of these things I’ve mentioned so you can experience them in real time as you play. For example, the light bar will express the game’s theme of emotion with color. You’ll be able to tell the color of the emotion of the dungeon you’re in by looking at it. Also, when the Ravens hear voices from the past, they won’t come from the TV, but rather from the controller. It’s in this way that we want the player to feel as if they were immersed in the world of Deep Down.
-Have you personally experienced the sounds produced by the DualShock 4’s internal speakers?
Yes. To tell the truth, I felt I wanted the sound to be a bit louder (laughs). But of all the controller’s features—shivering, shaking, touching, feeling, seeing, and finally hearing—the latter most is what really makes you feel like you’re coming into contact with something. For the sake of player immersion in the gameplay and story, the speakers are playing extremely important role.
—It looks like players are going to be completely plunged into the world of Deep Down!
I think so. We really want this to happen and so we’ve done as much as we can to create seamless gameplay, and the opportunity to shift naturally back and forth between both solo and multiplayer. Connecting to network is at the heart of the PlayStation 4’s hardware planning so making use of the online component has become very unconscious and easy to do.
—Speaking of PlayStation 4, it’s compatibility with PS Vita is quite a highlight. Will Deep Down make use of PS Vita’s remote play feature?
It’s a big plus to have PS Vita and PlayStation 4 working so much closer than PS Vita and PlayStation 3. We are planning let the player use PS Vita to relax and play. On top of that, we’re also looking at ways to use smartphones and tablets. Look forward to that!
—Asking might be a little hasty, but do you have any plans for future releases after Deep Down comes out?
Good question. I’m sure there are more than a few people who are wondering, ‘Why is Ono working with Deep Down?’ I want to follow those peoples’ expectations and release something else for PlayStation 4. Whether it’s next year or the year after, I don’t know, but I’d like to do it soon.
—Is it safe to think a future project might be Street Fighter V?
Well, it might wind up being Rival Schools 3 (laughs).
—What do you think of the PlayStation 4 hardware?
A lot of people are commenting about PlayStation 4 both inside and outside of the country, and while there are some who feel PlayStation 4 makes for quick development, others feel that because there is so much that is possible to work with, development will still take time. I think that both sides are correct. It’s definitely true that you can do a lot in relatively little time. But if you go all out, it does take time. The developers of the new [Panta Rhei] engine are saying, ‘Ono, if there’s time we can do even more!’ Depending on how much the staff are willing to work, PlayStation 4 will provide a new answer to gaming. Because there’s so much you can do, if you don’t keep track of what you plan to do, you could just continue working endlessly. This is my impression so far.
—Will the player be able to get a sense of PlayStation 4’s capabilities when playing?
I don’t think players will sit down and think, ‘These are the specs, these are the features, so it can do this!’ Rather they will just have natural fun with the contents. You won’t feel out of place using this system. I think it will permeate your entertainment life.