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Since it's a worldwide audience, did that change your role from when you're working on a game chiefly targeted for Japan?
KH: It's been a completely different experience, yeah. Completely different. I'd like to think I know the Japanese market pretty well, because I live there and that's the environment I grew up in, but how is it in Europe and America? What are gamers like; what are they looking for; what do you have to do to get their attention and have them understand what kind of game you're trying to make? I really didn't understand, so I've been feeling my way through this process alongside Miyazaki and a few others. I've been learning from a great many people, and I want to continue with that process.
Did you learn a lot from Miyazaki?
KH: I've been doing nothing but learn from him. He's really an amazing person, I think. He thinks on an incredibly deep level on any word you give him; deep and wide. The way he thinks everything through in the midst of what should and shouldn't be included in the game is impressive in motion.
In a way it's a good thing, because we know we can rely on him and his team to do the right thing for the game in any given part of it; we don't feel obliged to meddle. The fact that they've produced this great product, and we can concentrate on spreading it around as much as possible, is really thanks to him.
At E3, you spoke about the tremendous amount of information that Miyazaki knows about the game world, too. I was wondering how that's communicated to the player.
KH: Well, obviously, the NPCs will be the key relating what kind of story, what kind of background is involved. But what we really want players to do is to be able to roleplay their own roles in the game, and as they roleplay they will be able to reveal their own story. And I think there's enough background hints coming from the NPCs to communicate, try to elaborate on what the world involves. But the story will be mainly driven by how the player roleplays.
I noticed that this time you're less hesitant to compare it to Demon's Souls.
KH: [laughs] So it sort of came from our past experience. In the past everybody asked, "As compared to Demon's Souls..." and so we got used to that a little bit, so we're comparing before we even get asked that.
In terms of the increased volume of content, is that a matter of the team having more staff working on it? Or is it a matter of a longer development cycle from the last game?
KH: In terms of the content volume, it's not the team size or the dev time, I think it's more the underlying concepts the team wanted to deliver for this game. We really wanted to emphasize the exploration and the RPG elements for this game, and for us to do that we really needed to expand the world -- to provide the seamlessly connected environments for the players.
In terms of the difficulty, we wanted to really elaborate, again, on the accomplishment and satisfaction for the game, and with that we needed to increase the difficulty. In order to overcome that difficulty, we just needed to increase the number of weapons, increase the number of items, and increase the number of options for players to be able to explore it. So it's not just the time and resources, but more the underlying concepts behind what we want to do, to make this game deep.