Soul Sacrifice: Inafune on Building the Ultimate PS Vita Action Game

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Soul Sacrifice: Inafune on Building the Ultimate PS Vita Action Game

Make no mistake, the Japanese know how to queue. In the bowels of the PlayStation stand at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, countless orderly lines of patient gamers snake neatly through a maze of white chain-link barriers, intersecting each other like the world’s most organised spaghetti junction. At the start of each queue stands an official with a whiteboard and a marker pen, methodically updating the estimated waiting time for each game. Of all the games on show at PlayStation’s booth, which boasted the longest line? PS Vita action title Soul Sacrifice, with show-goers having to wait well over an hour for a chance to try it out.

Soul Sacrifice: Inafune on Building the Ultimate PS Vita Action Game

It should perhaps come as no surprise that it’s the center of attention. After a series of intriguing trailers, TGS presented the first opportunity to actually go hands-on with Mega Man creator and former Capcom R&D chief Keiji Inafune’s dark fantasy action title.

Those first few teasers hinted at a gritty blend of Dark Souls’ ruthless, bleak aesthetic, and the multiplayer-focused beast battling of Monster Hunter. In reality, that’s not far off the mark. You play as a member of a four-person squad (controlled either by other players or the computer) tasked with progressing through various environments in search of a huge boss character to dispatch.

The twist is that when a squad member falls, the survivors have the option to either sacrifice them in return for a huge power-up, or revive the player and allow them back into the fray. The same mechanic also applies to fallen enemies – sacrifice them and your offensive attributes receive a boost, spare them and your defensive stats ramp up.

It’s a compelling set-up and the brief 15 minute segment I played through offered some pleasingly physical combat, run through with complex, strategic decision-making and delightfully gruesome enemy design. In search of a little more insight into how the full game will play out, I grabbed 10 minutes with Inafune-san backstage. Check out the brand new gameplay trailer below, then read on for more from the man himself.

Soul Sacrifice on PS VitaSoul Sacrifice on PS Vita

PlayStation.Blog: Why do you see the PS Vita as such a good fit for a deep, dark action title like Soul Sacrifice?
Keiji Inafune, Creator, Soul Sacrifice: The idea is to have a game that Western audiences will find appealing, while also making sure that it will also sell well here in Japan. The Western audience must feel willing to play this game. PS Vita is not going to benefit if you just have a lot of otaku games on it – you need something like this. It needs dark and deep titles like Soul Sacrifice.

PSB: How have you approached the game’s multiplayer component?
Inafune: Soul Sacrifice is intended for the player to really sit down and engage with it, and actually have other people in front of you for the multiplayer with ad hoc as the base. If you can’t gather people physically, you can play online of course, but I think it’s most interesting when you play with your closest friends as you really know about them and it might prove harder to sometimes sacrifice them.

I think the most fun in the game comes from playing on both your real and virtual relationships. For example, if you have a friend that’s always hounding you and makes you feel bad the whole time you’ll surely feel like you’re going to sacrifice them! That type of play is what the game is all about.

Soul Sacrifice on PS Vita

PSB: If you could step into a time machine and show Soul Sacrifice to the young Keiji Inafune making Mega Man back in 1986, what do you think he would he make of it?
Inafune: 25 years ago, I don’t think I would have appreciated how interesting this type of game could be. I probably would have thought that it was grotesque because I wasn’t really aware of Western games. Back then I was really only thinking about myself and trying to make things that I personally thought were interesting. That consumed me 25 years ago.

So, if I was to be exposed to a game of the future 25 years ago I think I would’ve started earlier at trying to be aware of Western audiences. If that were true I think I would have been even more successful and have a lot more money!

PSB: You’ve announced a number of big projects since you stepped down from Capcom back in 2010. What inspires you to keep on creating at this stage in your career?
Inafune: First and foremost, it’s fun. I’m having fun. Other than that, that potential was always there when I was at Capcom but because it was a huge organization there were limitations and constraints that pulled me back. I had energy – this bulging creative impulse – but I was unable to realise that as much as I wanted to. Now, because I am free and independent, I just think I should try and get everything out there that I want to get out there.

So, yes, I am busy but I’m also having fun and enjoying it. I have more energy than I did when I was at Capcom. I’ve already announced many things, but I hope to continue to announce many more things in the future, so I hope you’ll be taken by surprise.

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  • Awesome game

  • The game looks alright for Vita. Need to demo it though.

  • Most anticipated Vita title. Also the trailer says, “Spring 2013”. I notice that this is the TGS trailer with English Words. So is it Spring 2013 for NA as well as Japan?

  • Hey Sony…after spending $40 on dumpster fodder such as army corps of hell or Lego batman 2? I believe as a consumer I have the right to trade in such crap games and purchase less crappy games, used if possible. Why screw over you’re customers by having them buy online passes after already bending them over once and shoveling crappy vita titles up their (I won’t say such area in which you shovel them). This is unfair to Sony gamers and stores such as GS that only help the growth of you’re products and this horrible injustice should be aborted. At least make online passes free for plus members (wink wink) CUT THE CRAP SONY!!

  • Btw this game looks awesome

  • It looks like a fast paced version of monster hunter with the atmosphere of the souls series. Looking great, I may pick up a vita for this (also been meaning to get to WipEout and Stardust).

    A new Patapon announcement and remote play for most 1st party ps3 games would seal the deal for me though.

  • @4: What the hell are you talking about? It was your choice to buy the games. Sony didn’t put a gun to your head and force you to buy it and play it. You bought it. Deal with it.

    You sound like a baby.

  • This is my most anticipated Vita game along with ACL. It looks so fun and I love the spare/sacrifice aspect of it.
    Can’t wait to sacrifice my friends!

  • @4: Those two games you listed weren’t even made by Sony. If you want some good Vita games, try Gravity Rush, LBP Vita, y’know, stuff Sony actually developed and published. Oh, and this! =D

  • Is this an RPG? Please answer. :)

  • @4
    Buying used games DOES NOT help grow any company other than GS.
    GS buys used games for 1/3 of the price and then resells them for 10% less than new copies.
    To developers it’s *like* getting a pirated version of the game. Online pass is just meant to counter this.
    Now, I’m not saying I haven’t made careless purchases myself, pinball arcade (aka direct port of ipod version), which I wish I could return, but now I always wait until after the reviews before buying.
    If you’re looking for a great FPS- I say you wait until Killzone, which is being published by Sony and developed by Sony. CoD is basically going to be a reskinned Resistance with a $10 markup.
    So far the only “crap” game SONY has released for the vita is ModNation.

  • “what will do you…” haha

    Seriously though, game looks awesome! Can’t wait to try it out.

  • @4

    This is why you research a game online before buying, such as quick game play videos and reviews. Gives you a good idea if you will like it or not! I didn’t mind either of these games :)

    By the way, Wipeout 2048 is one of my favorite games on the PlayStation Vita, along with Plants Vs Zombies!

    ~ Beetlegossip

  • I really wish this game wasn’t pushed back even though it made sense, why. Keiji Inafune is as good as they get when it comes to creating great games. This trend of great games sure looks to be continuing with Soul Sacrifice. Souls Sacrifice and Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z are my most anticipated Titles for 2013. Thanks for the great work Inafune-san. And great job Sony for bringing him on board for a fantastic looking title. Beers for all!

  • Looking good! Please tell me there is an actual fighting mechanic outside of all the magic use though. I love Dark souls/Demons souls for the “hand to hand” aspect, I.E., swords, axes, bows, etc.. Not a huge fan of magic, to flashy for me. Shoot for the stars Inafune, but remember how you got there.

  • @15 – Your comment makes no sense since Keiji Inafune had nothing to do with Demons/Dark Souls, but I’m willing to bet melee is part of the game as well, since it wouldn’t make sense for it not to be.

  • Finally a game that will convince me to get a VIta

  • looks good, but Inafune being an ass once again.

    will look forward to the gameplay videos, and oh make it more detail and show us the systems of the game :P

  • I thought Demon’s/Dark Souls + Monster Hunter before seeing the comparison in this blog post too. Please keep new IP’s coming to the Vita. I really love Gravity Rush, and Soul Sacrifice looks like something I will love too. It’s these new IP’s that make the Vita a must have.

  • day one for me! I will support every PSV game that its made with passion and even more when they are exclusive!
    All PSV user should do the same so the system may grow and eat the world. :)

  • I’m giddy with excitement.

  • “Keiji Inafune, Creator, Soul Sacrifice: The idea is to have a game that Western audiences will find appealing, while also making sure that it will also sell well here in Japan. The Western audience must feel willing to play this game. PS Vita is not going to benefit if you just have a lot of otaku games on it – you need something like this. It needs dark and deep titles like Soul Sacrifice.”

    No inafune. Japan is more important. And insulting your nation is not only horrible but nobody is going to buy your game

    It seems like a generic version of things weve played already

  • “So, if I was to be exposed to a game of the future 25 years ago I think I would’ve started earlier at trying to be aware of Western audiences. If that were true I think I would have been even more successful and have a lot more money!

    oh so the idea is to sell out then? no megaman, no anything? no onimush?>

  • “. PS Vita is not going to benefit if you just have a lot of otaku games on it –”

    if you mean japanese games, thats exactly what vita needs

    more of them, like disgea 3 vita, persona 4 golden, or ys IV

  • And this is why even though we don’t have Monster Hunter coming to Ps Vita.After reading about & seeing the trailers for Soul Sacrifice will gamers care about Monster hunter being absent on Ps vita i think not.

  • 2 words….System Seller….No wait, 3 words….THAT was AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

  • idont get u dumb people 1st its japanese games r so played out and they dont know what american gamers want and then you guys blast the asian developer who try to fix this problem and try to make a game that relates to us with japanese influences. non intellectual people get me mad and you guys r just confusing i dont think you guys know what you want or you guys just love to be negative and criticize all the time. i think this game is the best all around ps vita game coming out for the system besides killzone mercenary. i really lookin forward to an beautifully graphical megaman game for the ps3, almost like vanquish but a megaman version that would be awesome 1080 clean cut megaman with customization and his blaster coming out like a beautiful cgi kamehameha. i would fall in love with a megaman like that!!!

  • If a developer is truly an artist, they will create not what they think others want, but what they themselves want. It’s the difference between a video game being created as an interactive art form, or just a product that is prescribed to a certain demographic. When a classic game is released it breaks ground. It’s usually out of that inventive creative passion that comes with being inspired by newer technology, or just having a unique vision. These are the games that people will always love. The problem is the game market is volatile and companies drop left and right due to poor sales. So developers are forced to “prescribe” what they think the winning elements of a classic game’s formula are, because gambling on new ideas can lead to financial disaster. I personally don’t think Inafune is “selling out”, or else he’s still be at Capcom. Soul Sacrifice looks awesome.

  • @27: Wut. I don’t why some people always lump in different people with different opinions together for their ‘argument’.

    Some people say one thing. Some other people say something else. They are rarely the same.

  • What i really like about Vita is new IPs from Japan like Gravity Rush and Soul Sacrifice and like Inafune-san told – they are not just for otaku, but for anyone who likes to play, like in good old days of NES, SNES and PS1 =). Inafune-san 頑張ってください、楽しみにしていますよ。=)))))

  • what Inafune says make sense but I don’t think that you would be able to give your best at something if you’re not interested on it at a personal level. When I play games like Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid or Ratchet & Clank I can literally feel how much these devs care about their games just by playing them. They have certain something that makes then shine more than the others…. Just compare Mega Man X-X4 to the other half-assed attempts from Mega Man X5 all through Mega Man X8. They are not only bad games but you can feel that after MMX4 Capcom’s devs simply stopped caring about the franchise and killed it by making one bad game after the other and then they dare to blame the fans for the disappearance of Mega Man. =/

  • So far everything I’ve read and seen about Soul Sacrifice feels right. It would be cool if you guys did a collector’s edition.

  • Looking real good, getting this for sure.

  • Looks crappy to me i would rather have that warriors lair they announced

  • 2013 is so far away…. if this come out the same day as Ascension…my head will look like that monster in the video that looked like a dragon/human

  • I see bright future from the darkness of Soul Sacrifice. I love Monster Hunter from Capcom. Since they are not bringing any Monster Hunter for PSVita anytime soon, I put all my faith to Soul Sacrifice. Inafune-san, gambarree~~!!!

  • @AteOff_Hitlure- dude chill its your fault you buy those games you believe are crappy. you should study them read about them watch youtube videos and stuff dont just go out and buy whatever.

  • I can’t wait to try this on my vita. Didn’t realize until now that Keiji Inafune is the creator of this. Now I really wish I bought the Keiji jacket off Capcoms online store before it went out of stock. :'(

  • I admire Keiji Inafune for making a Western – Japanese inspired game not many creators can pull this off successfully but after watching all the videos available for this game I think he can. The graphics are so amazing for this game that I forgot for a moment that they were designed for the PS Vita instead of the PS3. Who knows maybe he would consider releasing it on PS3 or a next generation console. I’d buy both based on the game’s concept alone. Besides I always wanted to sacrifice my friends who really bugged me :)

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