Nintendo has published an interview with Takahisa Taura, the director of Astral Chain.
The first question was the following: „You’ve worked on many different games as a game designer in the past such as NieR: Automata and Anarchy Reigns. How is directing different from designing a game?” „I started as a game designer, but what you need to do as a director is different. As a director, before you start making a game, you need an original idea to take around to a lot of different people… and then get them to understand the kind of game you want to make. Finishing a game can also be a struggle. But, with that said, seeing the finished product is a completely different feeling [than what you would have as a designer.] The sense of fulfilment is different,” Taura responded.
The second question was about how the team came up with the combat system. „Was it difficult to make it accessible to the new fans while still making it challenging for experienced fans of PlatinumGames?” Taura’s answer follows: „Astral Chain has you controlling two characters at once, so people who are used to action games will be able to experience something that they may not have played before. Enlisting the help of five different Legions will also be new and challenging to players of all levels. Since Legions are a separate entity, players can send the Legion to do the fighting until they get the hang of things. There are also different difficulty modes the player can choose from according to their skill, with one special mode called “Unchained Mode,” which is designed for action game beginners and casual players who want to enjoy the story and world.”
The third question is in regards to the game’s genre: „Some players will be surprised this isn’t just an action game and also involves solving cases as a police officer. Can you tell us more about what the team hoped to create?” „We wanted to create gameplay where, playing as a police officer, you’d run to the site of an accident or problem and then you’d investigate by talking to the people around the area. But there are other things to do along the way. We thought that this would be a natural way for the game to flow for the player. We’re mindful of the fact that, as PlatinumGames, we make a lot of games where action becomes the focus and the player goes through a lot of action sequences, one after another. So, we wanted to make it stand out as something different by putting in different elements into this world.”
Question four was about the inspirations behind the sci-fi world and the story of Astral Chain. „When we first started making the game, we envisioned it as something where it would be set in a fantasy world where you’d be using magic to fight, but there are lots of different games that are like that. So, to make sure our game wasn’t lost among the ranks, we decided to make it different. It was a lot of trial and error, but what we arrived at was an action game that’s in a near-futuristic world. Throughout the process, I turned to Japanese science fiction anime that inspires me. You may notice that the characters look like anime characters, but the backgrounds behind the characters look more realistic. We wanted it to seem like something you’d see in an anime,” Taura replied.
Which one is Taura’s favourite Legion? „I like them all, and you should learn how to use them all… but I’ve become a little attached to the Beast Legion. This is a bit personal, but from the time I was young, we always had a dog in the house. So, when I was making the game, I started becoming attached to the Beast Legion. If you use the action button while you’re standing next to the Beast Legion in the game, you can pet him,” Taura responded.
Astral Chain is out on August 30, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.