When you have a chance to chat with eccentric D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die and Deadly Premonition designer Swery65, you could talk about video games. Or not.
We were talking over email because D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, previously an Xbox One exclusive, is coming to the PC… eventually. There’s no release date yet, and the Kinect functionality has been removed entirely, even though there’s a Kinect you can buy for the PC.
D4 isn’t the classic Deadly Premonition turned out to be, but it’s absolutely worth playing. For a long time, I wasn’t sure if Swery65 understood why Deadly Premonition was so enjoyable to play. It’s not a good game, in the traditional sense. It’s not “fun” to play. But, gosh, the world, characters, and everything else oozed a passion and sense of place I don’t often feel in games. D4 is even wilder and funnier than Deadly Premonition, which made me think he gets it.
In any case, enjoy my conversation, reproduced in full, with one of gaming’s most unique voices. One of these days, I’ll find a way to record a commentary track for Twin Peaks with this guy.
Kotaku: When Swery was a little boy, what did he want to do when he grew up?
Swery65: Preschool = Ikkyu-san (A famous Japanese monk)
Elementary School = Film Actor
Middle School = Farmer
High School = Gigolo
University = Someone who could fish a black bass
Kotaku: Do you prefer to spell video games as “video games” or “video games”? How come?
Swery65: I like them both. I like them both so much that I can’t choose. Sorry.
This has nothing to do with the question, but it just popped into my head. “VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR. But VIDEO GAME DIDN’T KILL ANYBODY. Right Zach?”
Kotaku: What’s the last thing you ate? Did you like it? Can you attach a picture of it?
Swery65: Beer, cashew nuts, and Red Bull. That was my dinner on 4/27.
Kotaku: How are you dealing with David Lynch possibly not being involved with the new season of Twin Peaks?
Swery65: I felt just like a child learning that Santa Claus isn’t real for the first time.
Kotaku: What if Showtime asked you to direct an episode of the next season of Twin Peaks? Would you say yes?
Swery65: I’d say: “Can I use the money to hire David Lynch?”
Kotaku: When you think of the word “video game,” what comes to mind? Describe what you see in your head.
Swery65: To me, video games aren’t something as necessary as food or sleep, but they’re just as important as delicious food, drinks, afternoon naps, walks, music, and sex (or masturbation). Not having them won’t kill you, but without them, your life would be so boring you might as well be dead.
Creating video games is an especially important act. To me, video games are something I both play and create, so they’re “special.” If I lost one half, the balance would crumble. I need to be able to both play and create games. Am I being too greedy?
Kotaku: When you play games like Grand Theft Auto, what kind of person are you? Do you shoot everyone?
Swery65: I like searching for the collision detection boundaries, finding invincibility glitches, and purposefully doing other stuff that normal players aren’t supposed to do. In order words, I’m a bug checker. I think that my interest as a creator always comes first, so I’m wondering things like “Just how free is this world?” and “Where are the boundaries?”
Kotaku: Why is beer so good?
Swery65: That can’t be explained in words. C’mon, Patrick! Let’s go drinKING!
Kotaku: You mentioned on Twitter that you weren’t credited for working on Tomba 2. How come?
Swery65: “Because you joined the development team of Tomba 2 after the halfway point,” is what the director at the time told me. Doesn’t make sense? I feel the same way.
I’m surprised you caught that tweet! Thanks for following me.
Kotaku: If someone told you tomorrow that you couldn’t make video games anymore, what would you do?
Swery65: This was the one question that I thought about for three days. At first, I could only see the word “despair,” but at around the second day, that word changed into “anger,” and then just now, it ended up as “How should I know?!”
Kotaku: What are you doing tonight? Are you excited?
Swery65: After I finish this interview, I’m going to drink about two more beers, read a book I just bought (Araki Hirohiko’s Manga Techniques), take a bubble bath with Sharapova, then, while watching Hannibal season 2, I’ll either go to sleep or try to beat Westerado: Double Barreled or something.
Kotaku: Can you guarantee fans there’s going to be another episode of D4? Are you working on it right now?
Swery65: There’s no such thing as an “absolute guarantee” in this world. But I can show you proof that I’m trying my best right now.
Well? Want to see more?
Sorry, but that’s all I can muster right now.
Kotaku: How come Microsoft isn’t involved with the PC version?
Swery65: The reason is very complicated. After lots of complicated meetings and emails, fun parties, and present exchanges, I think we all ended up at a point that we could all feel satisfied with.
The one thing I can say is I personally feel that there’s a big difference between the console market and the PC market. Compared to the console market, communities are more important to the PC market, along with communication with fans, the stances creators take toward what they’re making, and the personalities of development studios.
I think that in order to make sure D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die can really permeate in a market like that, we need to do as much footwork as possible and shorten the direct distance between us and the end users.
This is the first PC game Access Games has ever created, which also means it’s our first time selling one. We hope to use the PC version of D4 as a bridge to many other new experiences.
Kotaku: You said you weren’t happy with the marketing for D4. Can you talk about what happened?
Swery65: After D4 went on sale, a lot of fans, media people, and developers came up to me and said: “I’m a fan of you, SWERY! I’ll always keep cheering you on! By the way, what game did you make again? Aren’t you going to put out a new one?”
They asked me those questions over and over again. Even though D4 had already been released. I was absolutely flabbergasted.
But now, it’s time to forget the past and work on strengthening my PR. For the PC version of D4, I really want to do a lot of grassroots work and make sure that I can get the game out to as many people as possible.