Heavenly Sword Prequel: Episode IV – The Divine Birth

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With the launch of Episode IV of the Heavenly Sword Animation Series on the PSN, we wanted to provide a nugget to those asking about the production of the series. Let us know your questions and we’ll return with answers from Ben Hibon, the Creative Director of the series.

Also, check out the *early* storyboards from this weeks episode and see how it evolved from paper to video. As you can tell by the details of the storyboard, lots of changes are made during the process (which is nothing new)…episode III is now episode IV…story modifications…new scenes…narration edits….

MILD SPOILER ALERT…watch the video first

Heavenly Sword Prequel Storyboard Part1Heavenly Sword Prequel Storyboard Part2 Heavenly Sword Prequel StoryboardPart3
Heavenly Sword Prequel Storyboard Part4Heavenly Sword Prequel Storyboard Part5Heavenly Sword Prequel Storyboard Part6

Also see:
Heavenly Sword Prequel
Heavenly Sword Prequel: Part 2 – Guardians of the Sword

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  • I wish I could draw.

    Also, just realized what these videos look like, that one cartoon that used to come out on Cartoon Network…Samurai Jack!!

  • More games need to get this treatment. It really helps fill out the stories of these big games. Great job to all who worked on these.

  • This has already been asked and I think said to be in consideration but has there been anymore talks about releasing these videos with the game or separately on disc anytime soon? WITHOUT causing a delay on the game release.. no need for that.. =)

    I do agree that this is a great way to help promote the game and flesh out the stories! Great stuff.. been enjoying this series.. the making of series has been good too.. I always like seeing that stuff..

  • this anime series is very cool.. at some point, would be a good idea to release the series all in one trailer on the PSN.. considering each episode is relatively short, wouldnt be so difficult to do or such a large download.. but it’s a beautifully draw/animated series.. keep up the great work..

  • I’m downloading it now. My laptop is Full HD (Sony AR series) while my TV is SD but I still want to watch it on the big(ger) screen.

  • I actually really liked this episode, and I also like the fact that the gender of the heroine of the game is used as such. Hopefully the story of the game can delve further into the ideas of overcoming gender barriers.

  • the hero is…..
    NARIKO!!!! right? or is it that bad guy? anyway AWESOME update. my olines out so imgoing next door and downloading the 3 demos.

  • Sick looking game…

  • Dont wanna [DELETED] but they could have at least added this to the european store today…..

    Anyway moving on….i love these prequals,they may not be the most original thing,but its telling a great story and the art is fantastic.

  • http://ps3.ign.com/articles/817/817117p1.html

    Look at this [DELETED]. Lair a 7.5 graphics which is less than Resistance’s score, but the graphics are obviously better. WTF even the Blue Dragon graphics rating was higher. Can someone just shoot that reviewer in the [DELETED] skull?

  • This is coo but i dont understand is there a prequel coming out? or does the game dont explaing where or when the sword comes from? and we need this so understand more? Sorry i really like the videos are really cool and i’m buying the game but i never seen anybody do prequels before the game comes out thats why i’m asking

  • @Darkendless: that review is totally bs.

    from that review: “Although there are levels where wide-open environments and spread-out objectives trick you into thinking the Sixaxis stuff isn’t that bad, whenever a handful of enemies are on screen, your flight space becomes limited or you need to be precise, this game falls apart.”

    from the preview: “Lair is surprisingly easy to pick up and play, and piloting your dragon in the heat of a battle – with swarms of enemies bombarding you from every angle – becomes simple with practice. They’re responsive too, and moves such as the quick 180-degree turn, executed by jolting the pad up, means that dogfighting soon becomes second nature.”

    you can read the full preview here: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/801/801928p1.html

  • I love those animated shorts man… I have one question for the developers… how do you animate them? Flash, After Effects, Maya…?

  • btw which company did they outsourced this animation to?

  • I’ve given up on IGN. I seriously cant take the bad PS3 reviews any more. All these hyped AAA titles, i have waited for 2 years get shot down to a horrible rating.
    Heavenly Sword was suppose to be one of Sony’s top 2007 titles. Well look at the rating IGN gave it a 7.0 . Come on. Sony please delay the game and fix the repetitive gameplay and any toher issues. PLEASE.

    Also just in LAIR one of my most awaited games just got a 4.9, wow i thought it was going to get a mid 9. I cant beleive IGN, ive seen gameplay videos and demonstrations, it doesnt look like a 4.9 game.

    Either IGN editors are biaist xbox 360 bastards or Sony is rushing their top AAA games. Focusing on graphics not gameplay.

    I love Sony but come on what going on guys. If IGN is acually rating games bad on purpose or whatever, you guys got to talk to them somethings going on here. It very bad news and press for the ps3. really bad!

  • I do like these animations, and i will buy warhawk and heavenly sword, i dont know if i can trust the ign review for lair. Im still on the edge of the fence for lair, acually im falling off the fence. That IGN rating was BS, and look at bioshock it all of a sudden gets a 9.7 come on, i played it it has no multiplayer and no replay value.

    I really did think these three games (warhawk, Lair and HS) would help the PS3 in sales especially with the xbox 360 releases of Bioshock and HAlo 3.

  • Lp47, the IGN review is pretty well wrong. I have the game, and I have played past 5 missions already. The game is great, and deserves the 8 that GameInformer gave it. Don’t let IGN discourage you. GI also gave HS a 9 and 8.75… so yeah, I don’t trust IGN in both cases here.

  • About the Lair poor review….THAT´S why DEMOS are SO important…so we can judge games for ourselves. If i can´t have a LAIR DEMO then i have to stick to the reviews, which in this case are telling me not to buy this game….sad.

  • jacsro, or you could, you know, rent it for a few dollars first.

  • @jacsro

    If you can’t get a demo for any game you want to check out then rent the game! don’t rely on reviews.. ever.. how you feel about a game could be completely different from any review you read.. sometimes demos aren’t even reliable for showing you what the full finished game is like.. so if you can’t get a demo for certain games that are finished and in stores then try renting.. thats what I do..


  • Thanks Cagalli, You made me feel much better about these games. I will only go to IGN for news now untill someone either than Greg Miller Reviews a game.

  • Lp47, no problem. I’ve found that if you really take the time to get to know the game, you’ll have a blast.

  • @Cagalli and nobody666

    I understand your point of view and it might actually be a solution, but not for everybody. USA is not the only country with PS3 users and there´s many places in the world with no videogame rental stores. And even if there were, rentals are only available when games have already been released, and bad reviews like these are coming out before the release dates.

    So let´s face it, these reviews discourages people from buying the game, kills the hype and makes us doubt a lot. Sony should protect their fans from these bad reviews by letting us preview the game with a demo. They are still in time to release Lair´s Demo before the game comes out and let us judge ourselves…

  • I agree with Jacsro, in Australia and UK some games are delayed for up to a month. Warhawk is an example, its due in sep. 20 for the Blu-ray disc (online version is out).

    and there are heaps others that has been delayed which makes their sales vulnerable for bad reviews.

  • @jascro

    Well that could be true about lack of rental places in other countries as I wouldn’t know but nobody should ever rely on reviews of anything really but especially on any type of media such as games, movies, music, ect..

    it is sad that so many people do rely so heavily on these reviews.. even worse now that we are in a rough period for gaming where there are 3 very different consoles out there and alot of these reviewers can be very biased or just stubborn and unwilling to learn something new like in this case the SixAxis motion controls.. I know that nobody can get this through the mass public but my advice? never trust a review good or bad for a game.. find a way to try it first.. rent, borrow, find a demo, something.. but do NOT let any review determine whether you will like a game or not.. don’t do it.. there is really nothing Sony or anybody else can do to control the press.. nothing.. they can release their own info like they do here on this blog but again that is their view and not your own..

    You could also ask around in forums and try to find somebody that seems to know what they are talking about but that can be risky too.. though should be safe here on PS stuff if you are careful.. I’ve seen alot of doom and gloom comments from some here that just aren’t ever happy no matter what..

    and unless I’m wrong here I think Lair is out now? I would trust what Cagalli said there but I still plan to rent Lair first unless a demo comes along before I can get a rental copy..

  • That was good. Thanks for these animation episodes.

  • Great series! Im guessing these will also be in the game as cutscenes/plotoutine?

    About the screenshots, im getting this error, just me?:

    This photo is private.
    Oops! You don’t have permission to view this photo

  • @LP47

    I have a PS3 and a 360 and love both but DONT drag Bioshock down amongst Lair and HS. Lets all face facts, SONY have dropped the ball yet again with a coupkle of average at best titles. lets move on and hope the new year brings some AAA content.

  • ^ eh no!! HS,Warhawk and Lair seems all to be awesome. And that’s only the beginning. Later this year they’ll launch R&C:future,Uncharted,Haze,UT3 and Folklore. 07 will rock for PS3 owners.

  • Anyone else having trouble viewing the storyboards? When I click on them I go to a flickr page and it says I don’t have permission to view the picture.

  • I dunno…i’m gonna have to rent all my games from now on…HS looks really good…but i have my doubts, along with Lair…i heard that people arent as impressed with it as they had hoped. I don’t think it was hyped but meh…I just can’t decide on buying any games with them being more expensive. I’m not willing to drop 60 dollars on a game thats not good.

  • I love the style of these videos. Keep posting them!

  • I love these video series. I hope Killzone has the same thing to explain the back story to those of us who never played the original game

  • I bought Lair. I’d like my money back now, please.

  • Nice movie. I love it very much, but has part II been posted on this blog yet?

  • I going to pick this one up for sure…Great video series….

  • i have Lair, and while it certainly isn’t a 10/10, or a 9/10, i think it’s a 7/10, and i’m enjoying the game immensely, despite some frustrating missions where trial and error will get you through them.

    the graphics are, naturally gorgeous (i’m playing it on my Samsung 40″ 720p LCD), and the flight controls take a bit to get used to, but they aren’t broken.

    i think the option to use analog sticks would have immensely helped the game, and reviews of the game.

    it’s always possible that Factor 5 could issue an update via the PSN to address this issue.

    what’s really interesting, is if you have a PC game pad (like a Logitech), and you plug it into the PS3, you can play Lair, and *WITH the analog sticks. it’s certainly more precise, but you lose out on the motion controls, which are *VITAL to beating certain objectives and enemies (there are these large, almost AT-AT type creatures that you have to rope, then jerk the controller forward to pull them down to earth; lol, very battle of Hoth like).

    in either case, Lair is a solid rental, but i bought it anyway. i don’t regret it. it’s a fun game, but far from perfect, at least to *ME. personal preference *WILL vary.

    don’t base your buying decisions off of *OTHER PEOPLE’S opinions. that just…well, that makes no damn sense to me at all, really.

    i *YOU want it, get it.

    i was looking forward to Lair, so i picked it up, and i’m enjoying myself, damn what the reviews say.

  • Already have my $65 saved to get Heavenly Sword!

    Possibly the best action/adventure game this year! Can’t wait!

    These episodes are so beautiful…….
    love this treatment

  • last night I gave the Heavenly Sword Demo another go… this time I read the instructions all the way through again.

    I was trying to play it like Tekken, DOA or even Ninja Gaiden, but the game play is totally different.

    It plays more like the Rogue in WoW!

    Basically the combo buttons square and triangle need to be pressed as they need to occur, not in succession and then wait for the combo to play out.

    Pressing square is like Sinister Strike.

    When you pull off combos you will hear a ding as you get a combo point like in WoW, now you can perform a finishing move by pressing circle, this is like the eviscerate, the more combo points you add before doing the finishing move, the more powerful the finishing move.

    When you see a bad guy get the blue or gold outline you need to wait for the block to happen, just let go if it is blue, or hold the power modifier R1 if it is gold, and after the block you can basically riposte by hitting triangle.

    Playing like this I had time to pick up swords off dead guys and throw them, and the shields can be frisbee’d for miles into the distance. There’s a heap of moves and based on where the guys are around you, you might need to do the light but wide range attack by holding L1 or if you have time you can really hit someone hard by holding R1, the power modifier.

    I really enjoyed it playing this way and was now standing waiting with a barrell when the doors open at the end and the demo finishes instead of caught unaware mid fight.

    At certain points you can use the Sixaxis to make Nariko then perform a combo mid air, I haven’t mastered this yet, but some of the moves are pretty spectacular, also if you get knocked into the air you can use the Sixaxis to recover and land back on your feet.

    Whilst you are listening for the dings of the combo points you start to notice all the comments the guys make and all the other sounds, they complain about having to get the sword off you and say you look possesed and all sorts of stuff, I really enjoyed it last night, more than Ninja Gaiden, and figure I will definately be getting it now.

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