Binary Domain - Developer Interview

Life, the Universe and Everything . . . with Masayoshi Kikuchi

Two months before the launch of the new third-person shooter, Binary Domain (available on both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3), SEGA invited us to get an early hands-on with the game and meet Masayoshi Kikuchi, Head of Studio and Senior Developer, from the Yakusa Studio team.Binary domain Interview  Xbox 360 and Playstation 3

Interview with Kikuchi-san, translated by Jun Yoshino (Producer for SEGA of Europe and SEGA of America).

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what your role is on Binary Domain?

Previously he worked as a game designer on Jet Set Radio and from there he went on to work on the Yakuza series of games as a producer and now he working on Binary Domain as well as a number of other projects.

He involved right from the beginning of the project, setting up the project, concepts, art stages, pre-production stages. He very much involved in deciding what the direction of the game is. He also takes charge of building the dev team, also planning the whole project, as well as managing the team and the project and also looking over the financials. In Japan he also very much involved with working with marketing and promotions within Japan. And lastly (well that not everything laughs) he also one of the key staff who is always in touch with our Western offices as well because we all collaborate especially on this project. So, you could say he does everything! (laughs)

It's always good to see a new IP - where did the idea for Binary Domain come from?

Theye still working on the Yakuza series of games, that one of the main franchises they work on. But that purely created domestically, it really has the Japanese gamer as the primary audience. But this time an opportunity arose in the company for the same team to create something for the worldwide audience. That was where the whole project started they had the opportunity to do a very high-budget title and also an opportunity to create a new IP that was not Yakusa and create something that appeals to people not only in Japan, but also the rest of the world.

One of my colleagues wants me to ask how you personally feel about working on something so different to the Yakusa series.

The project has been by tough but it's very exciting and he feels very fortunate to have a project like is where there's an opportunity to create something new that's one of the reason why he wanted to join this project because he likes creating new things and this is totally different to what they've done before, something totally fresh, so there's been a lot of hurdles to get over but it feels exciting and he wants to keep on making new things and games that embrace his new ideas and new challenges for the team is also a good thing. He always welcomes new projects with open arms.

I've seen the voice commands working really well today. Is this the first time you've used voice commands in a game and has it been a challenge getting it right?

Technically it's always challenging to do something that hasn't really been done a lot before. Having this voice recognition comes with its own challenges, but the team's main goal is to portray human drama and interactions that people can have as a human being, so by having this voice recognition feature we just want people to really experience interacting with the in-game characters as if they were other human beings - actual team members. You can truly call them your team mates and that's the kind of experience we've set as a main objective of this project.

The ways the voice recognition has allowed us to do that is basically very natural. You can play with the button controls with the displayed list of words, but it might take away from some of the immersive news of the game, but having the voice without having the cue to 'say something now' and naturally interacting with the characters, we feel that makes it easier for the player to feel like the other AI NPC is an actual team mate.

I read that Binary Domain has 'deep human drama and the theme of life' - can you tell us more about this?

With Binary Domain you've got this running theme of life and this is one of the reasons you've got a lot of robots existing with people and the futuristic setting we have in the game. As the story unfolds we want people to start thinking about life in a way that how would the audience feel living with robots where do you draw the line between machine and man. So that is the deep running theme right from the start of the game.

The reason why they dev team have set this goal a storyline with a good sense of drama, a good sense of human emotions and interactions. They've set it in this third-person shooter genre as a big window for people to get in to as a very popular genre of game. However, looking at a lot of games out there, the story lines prepare for this game where it's just a series of crazy, huge event that trigger and you're taken on a rollercoaster ride through them so you're huffing and puffing at the end of it. And once that was great, it was great, you know because there's big scale things happening, but then when you look back at it we felt that there was something lacing in terms of the emotion.

So with this game, yes, crazy things and big things do happen, but within that we want people to be thinking about what would these bunch of human beings do, how do their actions change, how do their emotions change throughout the story. This was something we felt was lacking and that we could bring to this genre. This is why we're always talking about the main theme of life and human drama within this game.

The game has been created by Yakuza Studio. What would you say are the trademarks of the studio - and can we see them in this game?

It's the same Yakuza Studios dev team that making the game and it's the same for all the Yakuza series of games that have gone on before but the main theme is about human beings and what their emotions are like. What would people do, how would they feel and how would they go about doing things given a certain situation or environment. Really kind of exploring human emotions in a very accessible fun game. It's a very understandable, simple story, but within that you can delve deeper into things, exploring what people are all about and that's the trademark of this team and all their games.

SKU: Features-160270
Release Date: 05/01/2012