Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut – Revisiting a cult horror classic

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On 19th April, Rising Star Games are all set to unleash Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut on PlayStation 3 – the first time the game has appeared on the platform.

For the uninitiated, it’s an extended version of the wildly divisive 2010 horror title, which tells the story of the mysterious Agent York as he explores strange goings-on in the not-entirely-normal town of Greenvale.

While its off-the-wall sense of humour and eccentric narrative certainly isn’t for everyone, it’s a true original and a game that thoroughly deserves its loyal, noisy cult following. We caught up with its enigmatic creator – who goes by the name of Swery – when he was in London recently, to find out more about the new version and what he has up his sleeve next…

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What can players expect from this new version of Deadly Premonition?

Swery: There are three major things that PlayStation gamers can expect from the Director’s Cut. Firstly is the additional scenario – it’s not a side quest, but an extra bit of story for the main campaign. It’s nothing straightforward – it’s actually rather complex – but I’m hoping this extra scenario makes it easier for the player to understand where the game is coming from.

Secondly, the original version had some space for improvements, and these improvements have been made for the Director’s Cut. This includes both the graphics and the controls. With regard to control, there were some reviews that said the controls were difficult to use. Improvements have been made, so players will be able to complete the game more easily than before.

The third major aspect of this version is the DLC. We’ve added the option for players to purchase a house, a car or a new costume.

Why did you decide to return to the game so long after its original release?

Swery: After the original release, every time [producer] Tomio Kanazawa and I met together for a drink, we always talked about doing something for the PlayStation platform. We wanted to do this for PlayStation gamers.

Was it a fun experience revisiting the characters? How has your impression of them changed with time?

Swery: After so many years it was great to work on the characters and the new dialogue. It was enjoyable and also nostalgic. The last two years has given me lots of new experiences, and those things changed me. I hope that’s reflected in the characters in Director’s Cut.

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When the original version came out it split critics right down the middle – some adored it, some loathed it. Why do you think it is so divisive?

Swery: I was originally asked by Tomio the producer to make something completely unique. And maybe that edginess was a bit too much for some gamers. It was too edgy – it was a love or hate game.

It must have been tough seeing some of the negative reviews come in…

Swery: We’d been developing the game for six years or so. We released it in the USA and the first review we received was 20 points out of 100! We were so shocked! I didn’t want to go into the office that day.

It had really low ratings to start with, but then afterwards it got near-perfect scores from some reviewers. The gap between the lowest and highest scores is actually now recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

What is it about the game that has garnered it such a loyal fanbase?

Swery: The overall uniqueness of the game, I think. You don’t find games with a similar feeling on the market. If you’re playing a shooting game you have many other choices if you want to play something similar next. But that’s not the case with Deadly Premonition – there’s nothing like it

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Do you have plans for where to take Deadly Premonition’s characters next?

Swery: I’m in discussion with Tomio about the future of Deadly Premontion. It may not be Deadly Premonition 2 but it’s definitely going to be something. At the moment we’re talking about how it might be interesting to set the game in Europe.

In London?

Tomio Kanazawa: No, the countryside. Hitchin, for example. I’ve lived in Hitchin for many years as I’ve been working with Rising Star Games. When I first started living there, there was no entertainment – I could find nothing. But I have come to love it over time – so I recommended it to Swery!

Deadly Premonition seems to have taken up your life for the past few years. Aren’t you tempted to try something completely new?

Swery: Putting Deadly Premonition aside, I’m most interested in creating something episodic, like a TV series, where each instalment is unique and interesting and makes you want to play the next one. It could be affordable for players, but would make them want to play more. Something like that.

It sounds like you might have been playing The Walking Dead recently…

Swery: Yes. I liked it because it gave players choices – often ethical choices. I like that aspect in games.

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