Designing a Next-Gen Killing Machine
During Mizuguchi's GDC session about next-gen character design, he explained how a game's characters can allow a player to experience the storyline from different perspectives.
"With world events, we can see each country has a different point of view," he says.
That's one of the keys to N3, a game with multiple playable characters, where you start off playing as human heroes against the goblin enemy, but also get a flip side — playing a young goblin warrior out for revenge after his family is killed by one of those human heroes.
"Movies only reward good deeds but games can go beyond this. You can experience both sides," he says. "When I play as Inphyy (one of the human characters), she's cute. But when I'm a goblin, I want to kill humans and I enjoy it. It's a strange feeling," he says.
A joint development between Mizuguchi's Q Entertainment and Korean studio Phantagram, the game is designed to appeal to both Western and Eastern audiences.
"It took six months to get the first two characters designed," says Phantagram director SangYoun Lee. "We had to balance the realism with their deformation or animation style. The result is what we call half-realism."
One important issue in this respect is for the playable characters to stand out from the hundreds of other on-screen warriors. Another was to ensure each of the seven playable characters had their own personality. Eyes and lips were a particular focus.
"Their gaze must have emotional appeal," says Lee.
As for the gameplay, expect big combos, powerful orb attacks that can take out 500 enemies at once and huge orb sparks that wipe out everything on screen.
But despite the seeming distance from Mizuguchi's previous games such as Rez and Lumines, he reckons there are parallels between these more peaceful experiences and his first war game.
"We want to create a spiral where it feels good to make some moves so you'll want to do them again and again." he says "And in N3, killing a lot of enemies feel good."