Over the past few years Capcom hasn't been putting out some of their best stuff but all that could change with Dragon's Dogma, one of their most ambitious action RPGs (Role Playing Games) till date. We catch up with the game's director, Hideaki Itsuno, who explains the game's origins, its mantra and why it should be on your radar when it releases this May.
How was Dragon's Dogma born?
Since the 1980s I had wanted to make a game where one could travel through a real fantasy world. Back then, I enjoyed experiencing this fantasy world with gamebooks.
It was in 2002 that I began thinking about creating a network game where you do not need to think about how you interact with others. While one is able to communicate with a lot of people in MO and MMO games, you have to be concerned about the other players and it can get to a point where you are not really able to go out and adventure as you like. That was when I started to ask myself if I could make a game that feels as if you are always online (even though you are not always connected) and use elements from BBS and blogs.
Use your party wisely
Then in 2006, I started thinking about making a new kind of RPG with some of the best action elements. Since I had primarily made action games up until that point, I always found that the action elements in most RPGs were lacking something. At that time, I really wanted to focus on making an action game that really made good use of the party system.
Finally in 2008, we were in just the right situation to make all of these elements come together and we got the courage to begin working on this project.
Is this a completely open world game like Skyrim or is it more on the lines of the Fable/Mass Effect series with different hubs linking the game world together?
I still have not had a chance to properly play Skyrim yet (I haven’t had a vacation since November!), so I cannot tell you for sure. But from what I have heard, our open world is comprised in the same way as the one in Skyrim. It is the same as Oblivion (a game I have properly played through), where all the areas are connected so you do not have large load times between each block (area).
What would you classify the game as - RPG, Action or Action-RPG?
The definition of a genre is slightly different for each country, so I am not sure how Dragon’s Dogma should be classified. In America this is probably called an “RPG” and in Japan it is called an “action-RPG”. We sometimes call this game “open world action” as we hoped that this game is thought of as the action-RPG that Capcom, which excels at producing action games, can deliver to gamers across the world.
Real men hunt their own food
Will the game have staple RPG mechanics like crafting or gathering or has it been more streamlined for action gamers?
There are plenty of RPG elements (such as crafting and gathering) in the game and they are beautifully balanced in a way that does not get in the way of all the action. Think of this as an action game with the same amount of content of an RPG, with the high quality action you would expect from an action game. Also, the difficulty level of these action elements can vary depending on how the player decides to move forward with this game’s RPG elements.
How many classes are present in the game?
There are a total of nine vocations in the game, three of which Fighter, Strider, and Mage are available to select at the beginning of the game. As players level up in these vocations, they will unlock the prestige version of these classes which are the Warrior, Ranger, and Sorcerer. Three hybrid classes are available exclusively for the player’s main character, not the Pawns. In addition to equipping abilities, every vocation can equip from over forty custom skills and a few dozen normal skills. So even if another character is the same vocation, the play style will be completely different.