Lost Planet - Interview with Jun Takeuchi
October 2006

Jun Takeuchi

English version
Pour la version française, cliquez ici.

Jun Takeuchi from Capcom was kind enough to answer some of our questions concerning their upcoming Xbox 360 game : Lost Planet Extreme Conditions.

Xbox Gazette : What is your name and position in Capcom?
Jun Takeuchi : Hi, my name is Jun Takeuchi and I am the Producer of Lost Planet as well as being Head of R&D Strategic Planning Department.

Xbox Gazette : Can you give us some details about your previous games and your first steps in the industry of Videogames?
Jun Takeuchi : In the past I have worked on the following Capcom titles in different roles - Onimusha 3, Genma Onimusha, Onimusha Warlords, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil, Super Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II.

Xbox Gazette : How long has Lost Planet Extreme Condition been in development, and where are you in development now ? When will the game be available ?
Jun Takeuchi : The game has been in development around 2 years and is due for release this coming January. Right now, the team is busy adjusting the online mode.

Xbox Gazette : How many people are working on Lost Planet and could you let us know the names of some of the key team members along with their roles?
Jun Takeuchi : The number of developers is always changing, though the average would be between 40 and 50. I can't tell you about every important person, but most of them are those who have been involved with Devil May Cry 3 and Onimusha 3.
For instance, the Director is Kenji Oguro, who also worked for Onimusha 3; Takahiro Kawano, a main art designer, has worked on the design of Onimusha titles. He is involved in Lost Planet as an art director and works for overall consistency of the game world. With regard to game design, this is Kenji Oguro's main focus. Matsushita Masakazu, a main programmer was also involved in Devil May Cry 3. In Lost Planet, Capcom is using completely new engine framework that was created by Capcom. There are other 10 people working on the development of this engine. They are not only involved with Lost Planet but also Capcom's other next-gen titles. For example, Dead Rising, DMC4 and maybe Resident Evil 5 will be using the same engine. There are several other main planners working too.

Xbox Gazette : Can you describe the principles of Lost Planet, and what kind of game it is?
Jun Takeuchi : Lost Planet is a 3rd person action shooter set on a icy and hostile planet. When we began thinking about the game, we knew we wanted to create a title that would appeal to gamers across the world, not just in Japan. So when you play Lost Planet, you will see elements that appeal to western gamers and others that appeal more to the Japanese taste. However, when you look at Lost Planet as a whole I feel we are also delivering a brand new experience, as I don't think that any other title in this genre has used such hostile conditions as an important gameplay factor before.

Xbox Gazette : What were your sources of inspiration for this game?
Jun Takeuchi : As for specific inspiration well certainly Starship Troopers, I'm not only a big fan of the film, but also its Director Paul Verhoeven. Other influences include the Japanese anime 'Soukou Kihei VOTOMS' and also the Japanese Mecha designer Kow Yokoyama.

Xbox Gazette : What is the story of Lost Planet ? Where does the action take place?
Jun Takeuchi : You take on the role of Wayne who is awoken after being frozen in the ice for 30 years. All he can remember is how to fight and that he must avenge his father's death - he was killed by an Akrid, the planet's indigenous creatures. During the course of the game, Wayne uncovers a sinister plot that threatens to destroy all life on the planet and it is up to him to stop it.

Xbox Gazette : Why did you decide to model the hero on Lee Byung-Hun, the South-Korean actor?
Jun Takeuchi : Essentially we felt that Lee Byung-Hun was the right person for this role, and we are very pleased to have secured his talents for the game.

Lee Byung-Hun Wayne
Lee Byung-Hun & Wayne

Xbox Gazette : Why did you choose a third person view instead of a first person one?
Jun Takeuchi : Lost Planet's genre is not "Shooter" but "Action Shooting" and we intentionally use this because Lost Planet has stronger action aspect than other third person shooters. We found that first person view was not suitable for this game. For example, using the grapple wire action and jumping would be difficult in first person view because it is very hard to judge your position in relation to other objects. It is always in our mind that the best view comes after the best game idea. We never create games to make them suitable for the view - for example, Resident Evil 4's camera is set just behind and above the player. Lost Planet began as with a First Person view, but we soon realised that this title should move to the 3rd person to better fit the action aspect of the game.

Xbox Gazette : How will the weather in Lost Planet affect the gameplay?
Jun Takeuchi : The extreme conditions the player encounters in Lost Planet play a very important part in the gameplay. The only way that the player can survive the freezing temperatures is thanks to an energy source found on the planet called Thermal Energy. The TE bar falls continually during play and the only way to refill it is to defeat enemies and collect the TE deposit they leave behind. In addition, the colder the temperature the quicker the TE will fall.
If the player decides to use a Vital Suit, big exoskeletons found throughout the game, then they will be able to cover the distance to their objective quicker and will have much more fire power at their disposal. However, the VSs use TE at a very quick rate so this adds a strategic element to the gameplay.

Xbox Gazette : Can you describe the multiplayer game, the number of players and the possibilities on Xbox Live and split screen?
Jun Takeuchi : We realize that the multiplayer element is a very important part of games such as Lost Planet so we are working very hard on this part.
"Elimination" is the death match mode and consists of 2 game types; one is team play and the other is individual match where everyone is an enemy.
In "Fugitive Hunt", one player proposes to be a "Fugitive". The other players chase the fugitive like hunters. The reason for the player to come forward would be that he/she can show off his/her skill. The others challenge that.
Lost Planet will support up to 16 players via Xbox Live, but there will be no split screen option.

Xbox Gazette : Can you talk about the weapons, and particularly the grenades that we will find in the game?
Jun Takeuchi : The player will be able to carry two guns at a time and switch between them on the fly plus he will be able to hold one type of grenade. This means that 3 weapons in total can be carried.
The guns include machine gun, rifle (with sniper mode), energy gun and rocket launcher and there are a number of different grenades from the basic to ones that look like frisbees and can be thrown a long way. The special aspects of the grenades are that the physical calculations are very accurate, so you can throw a grenade and then shoot that by yourself to explode that. I do not think that this is possible in many other FPS' and provides an extra layer of strategy. Of course you can also shoot the grenades thrown by others.
In addition the player can also use Vital Suits and then make use of their high powered weapons such as a gatling gun or super shotgun. Players can also use VS' weapon while he/she is not on VS. Be careful, VS' weapon is huge and this makes the player's speed slower and he/she must stop to use the weapons.

Xbox Gazette : The demo was released in May 2006 on the Xbox Live Marketplace. It made us a strong and good impression. Has the demo been downloaded a lot? Why did you choose to release a demo 7 or 8 months before the game, and how were you able to do it so soon? Which differences (graphics, gameplay, difficulty, …) can we expect in the final version?
Jun Takeuchi : We chose to release the demo at E3 this year as we wanted to see the reaction of gamers from across the globe to what we had achieved at that time. So far the demo has been downloaded by over 500,000 people and received a lot of useful feedback, a lot of which we will be implementing into the final version. For instance, many players asked for a close-quarter melee attack and this has now been included. Obviously things such as the difficulty will also be adjusted between now and the game's release in January.
Microsoft's MarketPlace has provided the team with the ability to let so many people experience the game and we are really pleased to have had this opportunity.

Xbox Gazette : What will the music be like ? Who is the composer ?
Jun Takeuchi : We asked Soundelux to create the sound. Soundelux is a well-known studio in Hollywood and we were very pleased to have had a chance of working with such talented people. From the start, when we asked them to work on this title, they were highly motivated. They told us that they were very interested in our project and wanted to work with us. We're very happy with the end result and I believe that the players will be able to appreciate their work as well. So all the credit for the music and sound effects should go to Soundelux. One thing I want to point out though, is that our sound effect staff worked very closely with them and it was very important for the project.

Xbox Gazette : Can you talk a little bit about the engine you use for the game ? Is it the same one used in Dead Rising and do you plan to reutilize it in other games, like Resident Evil 5 ?
Jun Takeuchi : Yes, we are using the same engine that was created for Dead Rising and we are very pleased with what we have achieved given that these are our first two titles for the Xbox 360. As for Resident Evil 5, we do plan to use the same engine, but will be making a number of changes - you could say we will be tuning it to run like a GT car.

Xbox Gazette : The Xbox 360 is not very popular in Japan, but you, a Japanese company, decided to develop a new ambitious game on 360. Can you explain why?
Jun Takeuchi : Whist Capcom was considering how to start development on next-gen hardware, we were sent 360's development kit in the early stages. And we thought that the power of the hardware would be perfect for this game. So as a company, Capcom decided to develop on the 360 because the timing and the power of the hardware were both right.

Xbox Gazette : Will Lost Planet (and Dead Rising) stay an exclusive Xbox 360 title, or will it be ported to other platforms?
Jun Takeuchi : Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is a 360 exclusive. I am afraid I cannot comment on Dead Rising as I did not work on this project.

Xbox Gazette : How do you see the next gen consoles, and especially the Xbox 360? What kind of new possibilities does they give to you developers?
Jun Takeuchi : I think you feel that every time new hardware appears, its performance gets higher. It is a kind of mission for the developer to best use this new high performance. It was a big change for us to create an actual thing from our idea that had been just dream. Again, it is our mission to use these chances effectively.
With regards to franchises, as you know, Capcom has a lot of these titles. I do not think that as a company we can just rely on them in the future and I hope that Capcom continues its pioneer sprit to create new titles when new consoles arrive.

Xbox Gazette : Can we expect more downloadable content for the game on the Marketplace before or after the release of the game?
Jun Takeuchi : Yes, we will definitely be supporting the game with downloadable content after release and also hope to offer the fans something special in the coming months - we are considering a new demo just before the release date.

Xbox Gazette : Are we going to see a sequel if the game sells well?
Jun Takeuchi : While we have not made any definite plans we certainly hope that Lost Planet will become a successful franchise for Capcom.

Xbox Gazette : Any closing comments for our readers?
Jun Takeuchi : Well, if they have already played the demo and found it interesting, I hope that you would look forward to the release date as it is coming soon. If they haven't played it I would urge them to do so as I think they will like it.

Xbox Gazette : Many thanks for your time !

Related links :

- Lost Planet videos

- Lost Planet official site

- Other Xbox 360 interviews

Max73, Xbox Gazette, October 23rd 2006

Thanks to : Jun Takeuchi, Christine Frey, Capcom, ABC Software