Hideki Kamiya is best known as being the designer behind the one action-RPG to challenge Zelda's throne in the past several years - Okami. He also is very notable for creating the Devil May Cry series, which remains a major success for Capcom even through Kamiya's departure from the publisher.
Here, he discusses the creative impetus behind his latest game,
PlatinumGames' Bayonetta, which seeks
to challenge Devil May Cry for the action-gaming throne.
Saying that action games are stagnant and that they're going to take it to the next level is a very big claim. Can you justify it for me?
Hideki Kamiya: Devil May Cry came out seven years ago, and in those seven years, there really hasn't been a lot of change, just a lot of copycats. Even in the last seven years, with all the games that have come out, the genre itself really hasn't changed all that much.
I'm hoping to use my own personal experience in looking at all the different games I've done, and all the things I've done well or haven't done well, and really base off of that and do something totally different. My personal experiences over the last seven years - just basing it off of that. So absolutely, I can create something different.
Why do you feel that this is something that needs to be done?
HK: Seven years ago, when I created Devil May Cry, at the time, I did everything I could to create something really new and unique. It was obviously very successful.
Seven years later, when I look at the kinds of games that are there now, I think that action games shouldn't be like this. There should be something more to it. That's what I want to do.
I want to do, again, at this level of development and my level of experience...I want to put everything in there that I possibly can. One of the producers at PlatinumGames, Hashimoto-san, also said... he was one of the effect designers for Devil May Cry, and he said lately, "I want to see something. I want to see if you can do it again." That was something that struck a chord with me.
Also, I looked at other people saying, "I want to see a new Kamiya-san game. I want to see a new action game." It really strikes a chord with me, and I want to create something that will appeal to the users and heed that call.
Do you have any resentment for the current crop of action games? Do you feel that they've squandered the advances that you've made?
HK: With the Devil May Cry series, I laid the foundation. Obviously, a lot of what was created during and afterwards were the things that were intended to appeal to the fans. Within that, there were limitations on what could be done afterwards.
With a game like Bayonetta, it's totally new, there's nothing that it's based off of, and so I could do something new and unique. But even within that context, I want to do something that will totally floor the fans and appeal to them and give them the kind of action that they want to play.
It seems to me that a lot of sequels of action games or other action games that come out are very focused on, "We have this new feature, that's why it's better than the last one!" But what really makes a better action game is more like the feeling - the exhilaration. How do you bring that forward in your game design?
HK: In order to implement that sort of sensory experience... one of the most important things I think that a lot of other games aren't doing that I'm really trying to get across is that the game responds the way you expect it to.
For example, if you try to dodge left, she dodges left. If you input, it dodges left. It's not a big series of complex pulling-off of moves. If it's responding the way you intended it to - it's all very fluid. It's got fluidity. I'm really trying to implement that. But a big part of that, too, is to have a fundamental balanced style of gameplay as well.
You mean more intuitive controls that make sense to the player, right?
HK: Yes, that's the intention.