Source: Weekly Famitsu issue 1484
Famitsu interview about Dynasty Warriors 9 on its first real information batch, with Producer Suzuki Akihiro and Director Miyauchi Atsushi.
A fusion between Dynasty Warriors series and Open World
Famitsu: The next information batch for DW9, which was announced at the end of last year, has finally been published. Since this is the first ever Open World in Dynasty Warriors series, I think there are many fans that had been waiting for the information.
Suzuki: Ever after the announcement at the livestream, we received a lot of voices asking how the Open World would be like in DW9. We also wanted to convey it soon, so we’re glad we could reveal the next information batch.
Famitsu: In the Famitsu.com article (TN: Read the previous interview here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/7515926 ), Suzuki-san said that “you thought making an Open World would be the most interesting as a new Dynasty Warriors”.
Suzuki: Yes. The Dynasty Warriors series have been boiling down (read: coming to a stale) for its numbered titles, so we thought to make it anew here. If we are to renew it, it ought to be an Open World indeed. With Open World, I think it should be acceptable by not only series fans, but also people who are playing it for the first time.
Famitsu: Until now you would choose a playable character and then fight in stages like Yellow Turban Rebellion and Battle of Hulao Gate. But by going Open World, how will the game flow be like?
Suzuki: For the major flow, it will be based on the Three Kingdoms history just like before. However, the battles are not split by stages. Various battles taking place at the [same] era will be always occurring at every places, and you can participate in them.
Miyauchi: For example if it’s at the Yellow Turban Rebellion era, a battle against the Yellow Turbans will occur at the place the guru Zhang Jiao resides in. Of course you can also go to Nanman & other places, and you can hear [the people there] gossiping about Zhang Jiao and his group. And once you beat Zhang Jiao, the era will move on to the Anti-Dong Zhuo Coalition era, and the happenings on the map will completely change to correspond with the new era.
Famitsu: So that means, there’s a battle that becomes the key, and by clearing that you can make the history progress.
Suzuki: Exactly. Playing while thinking how to make the history progress is the epitome here.
Famitsu: Is the story available for each character?
Suzuki: We plan to prepare it for each character, but there will be no branches that alter the history, so the major flow is the same. Furthermore, each character has different eras and periods where they were active in. If you start with Zhao Yun, you can play on the era he was active in. But if you choose Wang Yuanji, you will play on an era that’s later than Zhao Yun’s lifetime.
Famitsu: So you can experience a story that’s closer to history. Will you be able to freely switch the player character?
Miyauchi: For switching the player character, that is still currently under consideration. Even so speaking, if you were to switch from Zhao Yun to Wang Yuanji, the era would change drastically, so we would have to explain the era background again, wouldn’t we? Switching between characters in the same era like Zhao Yun and Guan Yu would be simple. But if the era moves drastically, we have to do some sort of a follow-up, so we’re still exploring for its solution.
Famitsu: There ought to be some hardships on especially bringing Open World to life. Wouldn’t there be very much hardships in presenting the whole lands of China?
Miyauchi: That’s right. When we actually tried to play on the map we have developed, the number of things required would go up. For example, when we tried to cross [large rivers like] Chang Jiang and Yellow River by swimming, since they are large it would take about 5 minutes to finish. In that case, it would be better if we could move instantly with a boat, so we ended up creating things like boat harbors.
Famitsu: It took you 5 minutes with swimming!? The largeness of the field gets conveyed to me.
Miyauchi: Even so, it is actually being deformed (laughs).
Suzuki: The main cities such as Luoyang are also made smaller than what they’re supposed to be in reality, but since 1 area is about 1 kilometer wide, when you [see it while] controlling a character, I think you should be able to feel a grandeur scale.
Famitsu: Other than Luoyang, Hulao Gate is also published. But do the famous cities get represented?
Miyauchi: We narrowed down the main cities to a certain degree, but even then there are still over 10 of them. Each of them are presented properly as different cities.
Suzuki: Other than the main cities, there are also generic cities and villages, so there will be many buildings.
Famitsu: I can also look forward to sightseeing, but what kinds of transportation methods are being prepared?
Miyauchi: For movement on ground, the horse will be the main [transportation method]. As we have talked about before, on large rivers we are preparing a regular boat service. Furthermore, we’re also planning to include a feature where you can instantly move to places you’ve already visited, or in other words the Fast Travel feature.
Famitsu: For items required to do Fast Travel, will you be able to obtain them from transactions in cities?
Miyauchi: The detailed parts are still under consideration, but we plan to include transaction features in cities. However, if everything could be bought with money it wouldn’t be interesting, so we’re thinking of a flow where some of the systems would get enhanced naturally as the story progresses.
The Visuals and Battle Systems also get greatly powered up!
Famitsu: In addition to the familiar characters such as Zhao Yun, Guan Yu and Xiahou Dun, a new character Cheng Pu is also announced. Fans of the Three Kingdoms should be deeply emotive now that Cheng Pu has finally become a unique character.
Suzuki: There are many other candidates for new characters, but Cheng Pu was a talented officer that worked as the Governor-General (Viceroy). He had many episodes where he was involved with Zhou Yu, so I think we could depict a new side of the Wu characters. Furthermore, Cheng Pu also had a long period of activity, so I thought he had a good compatibility with this game which is depicting history.
Famitsu: So it means it’s the perfect [timing] for him to be added. He looks cool, but is it because of the records that said he had an excellent appearance?
Suzuki: That’s right. We also included the point of him having long activity, and we made him into a “cool veteran general”.
Famitsu: In this game, the designs of Zhao Yun and the others are being changed, but please tell us what kind of concepts are you thinking of as the basis of the new costumes.
Suzuki: We renewed the costumes every time there’s a new numbered title. With the Open World this time, we want to represent the lands of China as realistic as we can. So we’re holding back on the flashiness, and aiming for a more realistic approach that’s suitable with the actual [Three Kingdoms] era.
Miyauchi: Since this title is a game for PlayStation 4, we also renewed the production process of the characters.
Famitsu: How did you change them?
Miyauchi: In Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, which was developed as a launch title for PlayStation 4, we converted the assets from PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4. However for this game, we made them for PlayStation 4 from the very beginning. We also did not create some of the assets from drawings like before, but we instead scanned them from camera portraits.
Famitsu: I feel that the Zhao Yun in this issue’s cover looks more like a human and done in a polished atmosphere. So this is also created in a brand-new way.
Miyauchi: This time we’d like to make [players] firmly feel the differences in faces, so we prepared graphics that could give close-ups on the faces. However, honestly I’m a bit worried that the fans might say ‘the image looks different’… (wry laugh).
Famitsu: No no, Zhao Yun’s image is perfect, He’s so cool!
Miyauchi: That’s a relief (laughs). We adjusted the details numerous times, such as changing the eyebrow angles, and we settled with this face.
Suzuki: However, we had continuous trials-and-errors until we settled with this face (wry laugh). The designers had to retake it tens of times and adjust it until the detailed parts in the modeling. And we also tried to make expressions that are much closer to human, but if we made it way too realistic, the taste would end up being too different from the past series. We also considered those parts during the modeling process.
Famitsu: I think the graphics have been done so that you can feel the evolution! Speaking about evolution, the action part is also enhanced, isn’t it?
Miyauchi: In this game, we implemented the new “State Combo”. Up until now the actions would change based on the buttons pressed like □→□→□→△. But we have made it so that the actions unleashed would change based on enemy situations, such as jumping to pursue enemies floating [in air].
Famitsu: So that is the State Combo.
Miyauchi: With the State Combo which changes actions based on enemy situations, it should also fit with the concept of this game which pursues realism, and I think the feel of touch should be different from before.
Famitsu: So in this game which has become an Open World, you are going to thoroughly pursue the realism.
Miyauchi: Pursuing the realism didn’t begin with this game. Suzuki had been fixated with realistic presentations since long ago, and he rejected [ideas of] weapons and actions for characters multiple times because they wouldn’t fit with the Three Kingdoms era (wry laugh).
Suzuki: Even so, Miyauchi and the others keep creating great weapons and actions though (laughs).
Famitsu: There were [unique] personalities such as Ma Chao having strong mounted attacks, but how will it be in this game?
Miyauchi: We’re still in the steps of considering the details, but we do want to unleash the characters’ personalities. However, we want horses to be useful in transportation. Furthermore, we’ve also prepared features such as bringing back the bow that lets you do long-range attacks and reducing enemy vision based on time and weather, so I hope you can get satisfied with battles that are possible because of Open World.
Suzuki: We’ve also included a variety of missions, such as hunting wild animals with the bow, and battling foreign tribes that have unique visuals.
Famitsu: We’re looking forward to the day we can play it, but at what kind of timeframe would it be released?
Suzuki: I apologize for making you wait, but there are many new features, so the development is still going to take some time. I think the release could be when it has gotten a bit colder. However, to compensate for making you wait, we will keep on releasing more information batches in the future. We are also preparing a lot of new features, so please kindly anticipate them.