Hard Choices: Inafune Talks Soul Sacrifice

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Hard Choices: Inafune Talks Soul Sacrifice

Soul Sacrifice for PS Vita

In the world of video game development, Keiji Inafune is a giant among men. The illustrator and former global head of production at Capcom has played a key role in the development of an astounding array of games spanning a diverse lineup of genres, everything from Mega Man to Resident Evil to Lost Planet and many more.

With his new role at Comcept and Intercept, Inafune is expanding his influence to new projects, including the upcoming “dark fantasy” PS Vita title Soul Sacrifice. During Gamescom last week, we caught up with Inafune to learn more about his ambitious new game that forces players to make painful decisions.

Soul Sacrifice on PS VitaSoul Sacrifice on PS Vita

PlayStation.Blog: How do you take something painful — sacrifice — and make it fun in a gameplay setting?
Keiji Inafune: If you hear the word “sacrifice” it obviously sounds painful. But that’s because you think of sacrifice as sacrificing yourself. But when you’re playing together with your friends, it could be entertaining because it creates a new dialogue. If my character is dying, and my friend decides to sacrifice me, I might say “hey, what are you doing?! Don’t sacrifice me!”

So it creates a reason to come up with new ways to fight. It could lead to different kinds of heroism; you could save a bad situation by sacrificing yourself or a friend, or ask your friend to sacrifice himself for the good of the group. I don’t know that it’s always “fun,” but it’s a new kind of entertainment.

You’re forced to make choices in this game. Of course you could go through the game making smaller sacrifices – anything you find in nature you can use as offerings, rocks or a rat you find in a field – and you’ll get a smaller amount of power. The more you sacrifice, the more power you’ll gain. You’re the one to make that choice.

PSB: You recently revealed the backstory about one of the game’s monsters, the Griffon. When you don’t know someone’s motivations, it makes it easier to kill them. Do you want us to sympathize with these monsters?
KI: One of the things I want to illustrate is a feeling of guilt, a feeling of complexity. So there is sacrificing, but there is also saving. Those are the two extreme choices, the dilemma that you’ll face every time. I want you to make sacrifices, but I also want you to think about saving. Perhaps you’re fighting a powerful enemy but you learn that he has a sick daughter that he has to save back home by earning money in battle. When you hear this during the battle, the nice part of you might think about losing so he can save his daughter. But you want to win your battle, too!

So you’ll feel these complex feelings. I wanted to make this a big part of the game. Can you make these extreme choices given the situation?

Soul Sacrifice on PS Vita

PSB: Do you think moral ambiguity is something that’s missing from video games? Are too many game stories focused on black and white, good versus evil?
KI: I’ve watched the evolution of games and the games industry for the last 25 years; I’ve always had a front-row seat. In many modern action games, it’s about how realistic you can make the experience, how sensational the action is.

But the creators of the best games today have realized that they need to do something more than becoming more realistic, more sensational – it’s probably already hit the ceiling. They’re thinking about creating something new by including that emotional aspect. In thinking globally, in order to compete with the top game creators today, I’ve also had to think about including that emotional aspect. The games I work on will all include that as a big theme.

PSB: Is there an advantage to sacrificing versus saving? Does your character develop differently?
KI: You’ve probably heard that you can customize your character, and you’ll have a lot of choices and options. But the way you choose to fight will affect your appearance. So if you keep on saving, or keep on sacrificing, the visual effect will look different; you’ll look more angelic if you keep saving, more evil if you keep sacrificing.

If you go towards one extreme or the other, the time will come when it may be difficult to keep on going [in your chosen path]. If it’s easier to sacrifice a particular enemy, you might face a difficult decision if you you want to save him. But you can choose to stick with an extreme approach, and you’ll earn more power if you choose the hard way. That might come into effect when you’re playing with a party.

PSB: What more can you share about Soul Sacrifice’s multiplayer mode? How can the different players work together?
KI: Multiplayer mode is definitely a big part of Soul Sacrifice. It’s not just about four people getting together and fighting one monster, though. You have to be strategic in terms of creating your party and choosing your sorcery. One player might want to be aggressive and fight on the front line, while another might want to save more and heal more. Another player might stop time in order to help the others.

Every party you come up with will have a different strategy, different ways to attack and fight. That’s a big element of the game.

Soul Sacrifice on PS VitaSoul Sacrifice on PS Vita

PSB: Developers have taken many strategies in creating PS Vita titles, from bite-sized games to home console-style games. What do you think makes the best portable experience?
KI: I was very involved with the Monster Hunter series, one that pioneered multiplayer gaming in a portable device, and I think my experience there will be very valuable as I explore PS Vita’s opportunities. That said, though there are many ways to approach game design I think that real-time online multiplayer is the most fun and exciting, though it can be challenging to create.

In a portable gaming environment, you can’t have hours and hours of gameplay – 30 minutes is probably the comfort zone. I like to view it as playing chapter by chapter, as opposed to the whole book. At the end of each chapter, I like to see results. In Soul Sacrifice, for example, you fight the boss character and at the end of the battle you decide whether to save or sacrifice [and that provides a payoff]. At the end of the game, you’ll have a whole “book” of experiences. From my perspective, that approach makes a lot of sense for PS Vita design.

PSB: What more can you tell us about the universe of Soul Sacrifice? What inspirations did you draw from to develop the look and the lore?
KI: You begin Soul Sacrifice as a weak, hopeless human locked up in a mysterious cell waiting to be sacrificed. I wanted to create a dark fantasy world, but it’s not about just creating a story. If your character is placed in a hopeless situation, and you look through his eyes, anything would seem dark and depressing. “Dark fantasy” is a result of the situation you’re in.

PSB: You’ve mentioned that one reason you’re making this game is because you made sacrifices in your career. In your life, would you say you’ve saved more or sacrificed more?
KI: [laughs] I would say that up until now, I’ve probably sacrificed more. But I believe I’ve made those sacrifices in order to earn something back. I want to save people…I want to save a lot of things, moving forward.

Comments are closed.


6 Author Replies

  • Looks great. This is a major title for the Vuta. If priced right, it will take off. Looking forward to hearing more and seeing in game video. Keep up the good work.

    • Vuta! (^_^) Thanks for the kind words, I’m dying to play this. I got about 30 seconds of play time at E3 (it was in the VIP section) and it seemed very interesting.

  • Games like Soul Sacrifice and Tearaway make me very happy I bought a Vita.

  • I can’t wait to see some more gameplay videos from this game. I find the concept of choosing to save or sacrifice certain monsters to be very interesting. I wonder though is there any kind of benefit of having a good balance of sacrificing and saving, rather than leaning towards one or the other?

    • I think the game will be a bit easier if you’re willing to bend from your overall preference, but I think it may make it tougher, emotionally speaking.

  • Holy cow, the new screens look amazing. Look at the Escher-esque stuff happening in screen 3. Cannot freakin’ wait for this game.

  • If you want people to buy a PSVita or this game, release all games that can be played on PS3 (this game can be played on PS3) on PS3 and PSVita with Cross Buy, and you have a guaranteed million of million purchases. Or at least do it for all firsty party games, but if you get third party games as well, it will obviously be even more success.

  • Please, I’ve seen the multiplayer videos on youtube and the game is amazing. I need to know though, can you jump in the game. I need to know. Thanks

  • looks like an actual game is coming to the Vita. Better late than never i suppose.

  • @ iiGeTMoNeY23 I agree that most if not all games first party games that release on both vita and PS3 should have cross buy. However, I disagree that this and (all Vita games) need to be released also for the PS3. The Vita needs to have it’s own exclusives so that more people would want to buy it

  • The white parts in the third “Griffon” screenshot aren’t supposed to be white. It’s an issue with the .tif images supplied by SCEA PR.

    You can see that screenshot and plenty more as intended on the official Japanese site which is fully translated into English:


    I’d like to know more about the nitty-gritty combat mechanics and world structure, interviews keep going over the concept. Maybe it’s being saved for TGS but after Gravity Rush I’m concerned SCEA and SCEE don’t know what to expose about the game.

  • @8 BlueBl1zzard

    Both the PS3 and PSVita will have their own exclusives, their exclusives will be games that can only be played on on their respective consoles for logical reasons, for example, games that heavily use the touch screen or rear touch (there are more but just using those as examples) of PSVita can only be played on PSVita and literally can’t be played on PS3 (unless you use the PSvita as a controller, which is a actually an amazing idea), like Tearaway, can only be played on PSVita and literally can’t be played on PS3 because on PS3 you can’t do on that game what PSVita can do with the rear touch, just one example.

    Every game that can be played on PS3 and PSVita should be released on both with Cross Buy or at least all first party games, if third party as well it’s way better), as well as PSN games

    That will make everyone want to own both a PS3 and PSVita, PS3 only owners will want to buy a PSVita, PSVita only owners will want to buy a PS3, not only that, but more people will want to buy games so more purchases will be made of games

    Sony is the only one that can do this right now, if they do this it will literally be domination and PS will be the undisputed champion.

    We all win

  • I’d sacrifice a pinky toe or an ear to play this game soon.

  • I’ve been waiting for monster hunter to come to the ps3, but that won’t happen. Inafune wants to make a game better than that, which is good. But for the vita? Come on.

  • This is an AWESOME game, can’t wait to play play it.

    Sid could you please change the status of photos they’re set to private on flickr, I would like to download them and use them as backgrounds on my Vita.

    Thank you and I hope more games like this come to the Vita.

  • Assassisn Creed Liberation, Killzone Mercenary, Tearaway, Soul Sacrifice, Sly 4, PS All Stars, LBP…………VITA has some great upcoming games to be excited about. Thats not even including the solid launch games like Uncharted, Unit13, Gravity Rush and Wipeout 2048. Come on people, anyone who is still on the fence about picking up a VITA because “it has no games” needs to pay more attention. The cool tech specs and solid lineup of games makes the VITA’s price tag well worth it. Especially with the cross buy program and VITA bundle packs like Madden or AC3 Liberation where you buy a VITA and get the game for free.

  • @9 I’m sorry to say but that’s one extremely dumb idea you have there. the Cross buy and crossplay is a great idea. But there is a line and your idea would put vita to waste. I would NEVER have bought my PS Vita if I thought for a sec that was sony’s approach. Why? Because there is games better on the go and games better at home. Soul Sacrifice was made with PS Vita in mind. These games are reasons too buy PS Vita the other cross buy titles are to ensure that people buy the PS Vita because they already have titles to play on it. Plus if you notice all 3 announced are PlayStation icon titles. Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper & PlayStation All-Stars. You see those are the type of titles that PS Vita needs as well as PS3 since they are big names in sony and need to be put out there. But new titles like this, are known to be popular (style of game, monster slayer etc.) on PSP and would be on PS Vita. If titles like this was released on PS3, PS Vita would be completely useless because all the good games will be on ps3 also and other then what.. two or 3 games on vita where touch is important, it would have no exclusives by your logic.

  • Sony should create a bundle for this because I think it could convince a lot of people to buy a vita

  • @14 Teflon02

    Games where touch is important aren’t the only type of games that only PSVita can do and PS3 can’t. There are many other features that PSVita has that PS3 doesn’t, and that if those features are implemented in games, those games will only be released on PSVita, as well as games that can take advantage of the fact the PSVita is meant to be played outside home.

    What’s the point of wanting games only on PSVita that can also be on PS3 when if they were released on PS3 they would be better and it would be a better experience? And if the games were released on both platforms and you own both, you would buy it on PS3?.That’s why all games that can be played on both consoles should be released on both with Cross Buy, and games that can only be played on each console are released only for each respective console.

    I don’t understand why you think only a few games would be only playable on PSVita, there can be an unlimited amount of games, it all depends on how many studios are going to make games for it.

  • Out Now:
    Uncharted: Golden Abyss
    WipEout 2048 + HD/Fury
    Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
    Rayman Origins
    Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
    Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend
    Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention
    Gravity Rush
    Resistance: Burning Skies (IMO)
    Mutant Blobs
    Sound Shapes

    LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
    Ragnarok Odyssey
    Persona 4: Golden
    Assassins Creed III: Liberation
    Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
    Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault
    Jet Set Radio HD
    Oddworld Strangers wrath
    PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
    Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
    Need for Speed Most Wanted
    Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
    Monkey Ball Banana Split (I think)
    Soul Sacrifice

    and hopefully
    Ys IV
    Tales of Innocence R
    Lord of apocalypse (I’m aware of arcana but I’d prefer)
    Kingdom Hearts Collection
    And Pleaseeee Final Fantasy Type-0 for Vita. I’ve been waiting for it and now I’d prefer a Vita game since it would actually be a smaller size to do seeing the doubling of data for two seperate UMDs

  • Can’t wait for this game. It’s my most anticipated game on Vita. Too bad we have to wait til 2013.
    Supermoc10’s obvious tip:

    Bundle it with a Wi-Fi Vita and a Mem Stick and watch the Vita take-off in Japan just as it will probably take-off here thanks to the AC and CoD bundles.

  • This sounds like a great game. I can’t tell you how happy I am to get a handheld multiplayer game like this in the states. Now shut up and take my money!

  • @16
    did you read or skim my post? I’m curious because there is noo logic about it. Motion is in PS3, PSeye has voice for anything involving that. anything else has already been done on iPhones by now. And I said there would be NO exclusives not NO games. There would be no incentive behind it. It would be one giqnt gimmick. Cross buy/play and so on should be the way it is. multiplat releases and a few iconic titles not every possible game. thats like saying why wasn’t every PSP game on PS3 also. You do remember when PSP released they tried this and the PS2 games were not even worth getting and badly reviewed for multiple reasons they are made with the portable on mind example is Ratchet and Clank Size Matters. Even tho ps2 had better controls the PS2 was just not right for it because it’s not made with console intentions. You Need incentive and reasoning behind buying a system. Why buy a Vita as a portable ps3 at the same price if ps3 has all of it’s non gimmick games? Now Vita example, Gravity Rush is perfect of Vita but worked perfectly fine on ps3 yet it now uses every part of ps vita. Nothing but they changed from ps3 to vita. You cannot think like that or they might as well stop supporting it

  • Hey Sid, how far along in development is SS in?

    How does it take advantage of vita’s features?

    • I know touch and the like are taken advantage of, the UI is actually quite striking. I hope we’ll get a chance to show some of this off soon, maybe in a video!


  • i wonder that’s the hold up for not releasing any gameplay videos??

    i’ll wait for that :)

  • Please release a Collector’s Edition with an artbook and soundtrack!

    @23: there are gameplay videos. smh…

  • mmmm pretty games for my pretty portable.

  • Really looking forward to this. With Soul Sacrifice and Dragon’s Crown on the horizon, the Vita’s going to be even more of a powerhouse in 2013.

  • specail edition is a must for this game.

  • @Igetmoney bro just buy a Vita and stop Port Begging on the low.

  • This game needs to stay on the Vita and nowhere else. If it does not sale in troves at launch, maybe a while after it will and it will only be playable on Vita. Makes sense to me especially when you want people to buy your new product. PS3 has a bunch of games that I would love to see on Vita but they’re not so I have to buy a PS3 plain and simple. The Vita needs games u can only play on it.

  • @28: funny answer :-)

    He’s starting to spam that same comment in other blog post.


  • @Sonic, everyone has their own axe to grind. I’m saving my energy for a better protest movement. But good luck on that.

  • The game looks nice but why would you choose that name ? What or who are you Sacrificing your soul to ? From what I understand the concept is killing yourself for an ultimate attack but I guess that answers the question.

  • Thanks for responding
    There’s some things I’d like to know about this game when you get the chance to find out.

    Is 4 player co op the maximum number? Is it WiFi? Is there dodging? Melee combat?

    If you can ask these questions on your next chance that would be appreciative.

  • My curiosity is about in game voice for multiplayer. seems a lot of games arejust avoiding it. Unit 13 is the only one I know of. is it that hard for more people to have voice with games like these….or what?

  • Soul Sacrifice Will B My #1 Vita Game

    I’m Waiting On Footage Of FFX HD For The Vita, But N The Mean Time Releasing An English U.S. Version Of Lord Of Apocalypse Would Also B Beautiful 2

  • @35

    Co-op is 4P max. You can play in Ad-Hoc or Wi-Fi. Hopefully, we’ll be able to mix both. You can do combat rolls to dodge. Some spells give you a melee weapon (turning a branch into a plant sword, making your fists giant, ripping your spine out and using it as a sword,etc…).

  • This game looks amazing! looking foward for a release date and a trophy list!

  • This game looks pretty good.

    But i keep seeing the multiplayer aspect getting the majority of the hype.

    Will this game be playable from start to finish in a single player mode?

    I think this looks like my kind of game, but I have no friends with Vita to play this with, and ZERO interest in having to play with random online people.

    So is multiplayer simply well done so it gets the hype, or will trying to play as a single player be a big failure?

  • I still do not know why sony has not shined the spot light to this game on their conferences on E3 or gc. Either way this game looks amazing !! Sony, if you want sells, you gatta start hyping this badboy !

  • Guess I found this thread too late since it’s the weekend and the replies have dried up.

    Are there any fellow gamers then, that could let me know a source of reliable information on this game that would let me find out if it’s possible to play/enjoy the complete experience solo?

  • Heck, I have no idea what this game is about and I’m actually kind of excited about it. With psvita’s library of games I swear every night I hear nintend 3ds fanboys crying in their sleep.

  • This looks absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to get my hands on this! Hoping to see more games like this.

  • hey, quick question. will there be character creation in this game?

  • I cant wait for this delectable title!!

  • Amazing graphics!!! I love the theme of the story line and the title seems appropriate. Can’t wait!!!

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