This article has been archived and may have some errors due to a previous design of MGL. None of the content has been altered however. Welcome to MGL Feature Friday, this week we have a very exciting exclusive for you featuring the upcoming Murdered: Soul Suspect from Square Enix, developed by Airtight Games. Detective Ronan O’Connor, or rather his Ghost is the protagonist in a story that sees himself investigate his own murder from the spirit realm. This allows him certain ghostly abilities but also causes serious problems and… he’s not the only ghost out there!
Unlike our usual email based inteviews this was via Skype so the article below is an illustration of a Skype conversation between myself and Executive Producer Naoto Sugiyama, enjoy!
Just how deep does this story go…
I’m trying to avoid the scary looking picture of myself in the corner of the screen as I appear on Skype with Naoto Sugiyama, wondering if there is anything as scary as that in the game. Firstly I ask how its all going, “This is the most international project we have worked on so it’s very intense for me but also very rewarding and interesting.” he replies as we start to look at what exactly people are in store for in Murdered: Soul Suspect.
“I’m not giving away any spoilers” replies Sugiyama with a smile as I ask about how deep the narrative of the game goes “but there are a lot of things to find out. There are other victims of this killer, not just the one of main character. You have a lot to find out as you explore the game.”
For those of you who have missed it, the Bell Killer trailer is below. This is the man who kills O’Connor by throwing him from a window and finishing him off in brutal fashion leaves a trail of dead bodies. This person is more than just your killer, The Bell Killer is a monster and the only way to find him is to investigate not only your own murder but those of other victims as well.
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But how much of this is down to the player, are there things that are optional or can you make choices that affect the story arc? “There are lots of things to find to expand on the story, yes. The game is one story arc with many side missions and optional pieces of information to gather to make the narrative richer. We thought it was important to focus on one story which has been in development for a long time now.”
Following this, one of my worries for the game makes me think just how long is it so I asked just how long is it to complete the game for the average gamer. “We did a lot of play testing and the results were so varied it was hard to say what the average gamer here was. Some people got though it quick and missed a lot, others took a long time trying to get everything they could.” So basically, this game is very much going to be as long as the player wants to make it.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost… or am I?
The main angle to this game, playing as someone who’s been killed, has us here at My Games Lounge intrigued and the fact the developers are trying something a bit different here really should be something to take notice of. I wanted to know about the perks of being a Ghost.
“Looking into the Girls locker room!” we all had a good laugh and Sugiyama explained “During the brainstorming the number one thing was everyone wanted to go into the girls locker room and take a look. It got brought up a lot… but didn’t make it into the game!” Personally… I don’t think they should rule it out entirely but the PEGI rating may need changing! Maybe a DLC package…
“Being a Ghost gives you the chance to see some private conversations you simply couldn’t as a person of course, and look at things without people knowing you’re there. But the best one, you can interview the victim”. It was such an obvious thing but it flicked a switch in my head, of course, what cop would not want to be able to talk to the dead person about what happened to them? One very good perk.
“But how are you going to get this evidence across to the living people?” he says as I look at my next question on the limitations to being a Ghost. I ask if this is one of them “Yes, how can you tell people anything you find if you are a Ghost? That is the challenge.” a great question and one we are going to have to play the game for the answer too. But there are other limitations of course as well.
“There are rules to being a Ghost too, you can’t fly and there are other Ghosts and Demons that will block you and try and attack you. You have to figure out the best path to get to where you need to go which can be challenging.” I ask about the demons and if you can take them on, “Yes, you can fight them but they are insane and very powerful. Often it’s best to avoid them.”
The Last Story Driven Action Game Was…
As we move on I drop a bit of Rossco cheek into the questioning, saying that the last action game so heavily narrative driven was The Last of Us So no pressure! It drop into the room like a grenade but thankfully we have a good laugh and decide that The Last of Us was only average anyway (not really!) and we carry on.
“The Last of Us is an amazing game but it’s more action driven, get behind something and shoot kind of game. With Murdered: Soul Suspect you will be getting a more Heavy Rain experience, perhaps LA Noire in places, like a Telltale: Walking Dead episode at times too.” Some fantastic games dropped in there certainly had me smiling and from what I have seen so far of the title they are about right. The movement is more fluid than Heavy Rain but the overall feel of the game is similar to an LA Noir type experience from our test at EGX Rezzed.
So I ask what Sugiyama thinks the future of narrative driven games are going to be as games progress and if gaming will go more story driven overall. “They will become much richer and deeper of course but think there is a lot to give from both gameplay driven and narrative games. The market will have an equal share but they will all get richer and deeper as we become capable of doing more with the technology.” A very fair answer I thought.
What? You think we wouldn’t ask this as it’s a Executive Producer? Don’t be crazy, we of course asked! Adam from Square was also in the room and he was first to answer our If you could be any Video Game Character, who would you be question following a lot of giggles and general feelings of being put on the spot! It’s what we love to do guys!
“OK I would be Link from Zelda, it might be a bit obvious and easy but that feeling of being a kid has me in love with that character” A great answer and not one to be embarrassed about at all Adam.
Eventually, after a lot of serious thought, Sugiyama decides on… well almost a character “I loved RPG’s, Japanese ones and the fact you played as a kid but you saved the world was just amazing to me so I would want to be someone who did that. Growing up I wanted to be the boy who saved the world so that would be what I would pick.” We decided on some form of Final Fantasy Character although he couldn’t have Cloud as he’s mine! Maybe, Squall Leonhart?
It was really cool to talk to Naoto Sugiyama and Adam about this game that releases June 6th in Europe (June 3 in the US). A few things were clear, they want to make something unique that gamers will remember for a while when they finish playing it. A game that really tells a strong and powerful story you are at the centre of but in a completely different way.
The angle of playing a ghost, if done right could well make this into something a bit special. My concerns still revolve around just how long the game is to play though and then what is there to keep you coming back if there is only one story arc with no alternate endings. But then again there films, TV series, books and of course games all have story-lines that follow a path and so long as the journey is enjoyable and the narrative is well written, it makes you happy to have seen it and keeps you coming back for more.
We’ll have more on Murdered: Soul Suspect as we build up to the release and a review for you as soon as we can so keep yourself on MGL for updates, gameplay and details.