Devil's Third, was announced as a Wii U exclusive at E3 this year. A bit of a surprise considering the game was originally slated for release on the PS3 and Xbox 360. So why the change in platforms? And what's the game about?
"It's because [Nintendo] loves games more than anybody. It's because they love play." developer Valhalla Game Studios head honcho Tomonobu Itagaki said when asked in an interview with Weekly Famitsu. "That's why [Valhalla Game Studios] went our own way in the first place — so that we could create in an environment where the first thing we could do whenever we decide anything is ask ourselves, 'what is a game?'"
In his interview, Itagaki expressed a great deal of satisfaction and honour at working with Nintendo. Itagaki has cultivated an image of loving blood and violence in his games, something seemingly contrary to Nintendo's "family friendly" image. Asked as to whether he had faced any barriers in developing for Nintendo hardware, Itagaki noted that the company has been nothing but supportive, even encouraging him to put as much of his individual flavour into his game as possible.
"I've been working with Mr. Hitoshi Yamakami of Nintendo, and at one point he said to me 'Why don't you bring out more of the Valhalla distinctiveness, the Japanese developer distinctiveness!?' I asked him, 'Is it really ok?' to which he went as far as to tell me, 'Of course it is! There's no reason for you to be working on the game otherwise!'" Itagaki recalled. "Nintendo isn't about being a certain way 'because it's Nintendo.' It's about 'What is a game? What is play?' and for the past few years, all we've discussed is what players are looking for."
According to Itagaki, the story of Devil's Third takes place in a parallel world where a rogue former Soviet force, rather than return to Russia or individual home countries, resorts to terrorism in order realise a worldwide revolution. The terrorist group has destroyed the world's satellites through the Kessler Syndrome, and has rendered electronic equipment useless due to EMP by detonating nuclear weapons high in the atmosphere, reducing combat to the old-fashioned low-tech way of grunts and ground forces. "It's a fictional parallel world, but it's not an impossible situation." Itagaki explained. "I'm a military fan, so I didn't want to make a world that seems fake or absurd."
While the latest promotional material looks quite different from what was first shown back when the game was announced, Itagaki stated that the core story remains the same. "The story has not changed at all. I've spent over 2 years building up the world setting and character background, so the method is a little different from my regular style of development."
While Devil's Third has all the staples of your standard hack-and-slash action game, Itagaki assures that there is much more. "The game isn't just a simple shooter." Itagaki explained. "This time, it takes place in North America and players partake in the North American campaign and try to survive. At first, you start from the position of a citizen, and all you have as weapons are metal pipes and normal guns. Insurgencies are happening everywhere, so you can try the road of the lone mercenary, or you can find allies and build up your own vigilante group or armed organisation — clans or guilds, you could call them. "
"So it's a massive shooter where tens of thousands of people play trying to control the North American land." The game will support up to 16 player versus modes. Itagaki also added that there will be casual game modes as well like chicken gathering or sporting activities.
Devil's Third is scheduled for release on the Wii U. The game currently does not yet have a specific release date, but hopefully it will be soon.