It’s been 10 years since Drakengard (Called Drag On Dragoon in Japan) was released for the PlayStation 2, and eight years since the release of its sequel, Drakengard 2. Now, Drakengard 3 is on the way, and according to producer Takamasa Shiba, it’s the perfect time for it.
“Everyone says the Japanese game market, particularly the console game market, is shrinking. When I hear that, I just think ‘Huh?'” Shiba explained in an interview with Japanese gaming Magazine, Weekly Famitsu. “The thing is, the divide between what sells and what doesn’t is strongly defined and I agree that games geared for your average user have been on the decline. So I can say without fear of misinterpretation that the number of game users is increasing, and I feel that it’s only the light users who occasionally play games who are decreasing in number.” Apparently it was with this in mind that Shiba approached creative director Taro Yoko with the idea to make a Drakengard sequel.
Originally, shortly after Drakengard 2 was released when the PlayStation 3 was coming out, it was Yoko who approached Shiba with the original Drakengard 3 concept, but was turned down at the time. “Mr. Shiba told me ‘I’m not interested in making a console game right now.'” Yoko recalled. “That conceptual idea got tossed around a bit and eventually became the game, NieR. So for me, NieR is Drakengard 3.” (Apparently there was even an idea to call Drakengard 3, Drakengard 4.)
Numerically, Drakengard 3 is a sequel. But, as is the tendency for third games in a series, the story will apparently take place in a time before the first Drakengard. New features have been added to the game, including the ability to not only ride a dragon but to battle on foot with your dragon as a battle companion.
The developers promise not to disappoint fans of the original games, though admittedly, their motives may not be entirely pure. When asked what the selling point of Drakengard 3 was, the following conversation happened:
Yoko "The selling point is the business of sequels."
Shiba "Umm. In producer speak what we mean is, the fact that come users are familiar with a title is a big advantage. With new IP, people need to be introduced to a title. But with a sequel, we can focus on meeting expectations set with previous games while betraying expectations in a good way. That's what's fun about releasing a sequel. Mr. Yoko is good at betraying expectations in a good way and that's what he meant by the business of sequels."
Yoko "Why do you have to make it sound nice like that? I was hoping for a more juicy talk about how you can expect a certain number in sales..."
Shiba "Both! I meant both (laughing). But we're developing the game with questions of how users familiar with Drakengard will feel about it, or just what makes a game a Drakengard game in mind. He hope that people can look forward to how we're going to deal with those questions and just what is Drakengard-ish now, 10 years after [the original]."
Yoko "I think if you look forward to something, you'll get your expectations betrayed, so I hope people will wait without looking forward."
I think, for a moment there, we got a down-to-earth, honest answer from a game designer.
Drakengard 3 is set for release in 2013 release for the PlayStation 3 in Japan. No news on an international release date has been released at this time. In the mean time, take a look at some pretty pictures:
結果的に新情報満載 『ドラッグ オン ドラグーン3』開発者インタビュー [ファミ通.com]