Planet - Interview with Jun Takeuchi
Takeuchi from Capcom was kind enough to answer some of our questions concerning
their upcoming Xbox 360 game : Lost Planet Extreme Conditions.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Gazette : What were your sources of inspiration for this game?
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
Xbox Gazette : What
is the story of Lost Planet ? Where does the action take place?
: 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.
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
Gazette : Why did you choose a third person view instead of a first person
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.
Gazette : How will the weather in Lost Planet affect the gameplay?
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
Gazette : What will the music be like ? Who is the composer ?
: 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.
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?
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.
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?
: 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.
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.
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.
Gazette : Many thanks for your time !
Planet official site
Xbox 360 interviews
Max73, Xbox Gazette,
October 23rd 2006
Thanks to : Jun Takeuchi, Christine
Frey, Capcom, ABC Software