Train2Game News: Danny looks back at his favourite interviews in his final day as Blog Editor

After over two years in the role of Train2Game Blog Editor, I’m leaving for pastures new after accepting a job at a major publisher based in London.

This role has allowed me to attend industry events including Develop Conference, Eurogamer and Gamescom as well as enabling me to interview some of the biggest names in game development.

With this being my final day with Train2Game, it’s a great time to revisit some of my personal favourite interviews from my time in the role of Blog Editor.

 26th August 2011 – RAGE Creative Director Tim Willits

Speaking to me at Gamescom, the i D Software boss talked about creating RAGE, his role as creative director and the huge benefits of modding to those looking to break into the games industry.

2nd September 2011 – Far Cry 3 Narrative Director Jason Vandenberghe

An interview recorded at Gamescom, in which Jason talks about game design in Far Cry 3, using motion capture technology and actors, improvements for Far Cry 3 and more.

27th September 2011 – Valve writer Chet Faliszek

Speaking to us Eurogamer Expo, Chet discusses development of CS: GO, beta testing and modding.

31st October 2011 – Deus Ex: Human Revolution writer James Swallow

In a huge interview, James Swallow talks writing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, game design, what makes a good games writer and more.

14th November 2011 – Brink Lead Writer Ed Stern

Splash Damage’s Ed Stern spoke to us in-depth about the design and art of Brink, narrative in games, what makes a good designer and breaking into the games industry.

24th November 2011 – Bioware co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka & Dr. Greg Zeschuk

Recorded before the BioWare Lecture at BAFTA, Muzyka and Zeschuk talked about games as art, the history of BioWare and how they transitioned from working in medicine to working in game development.

22nd February 2012 Remedy Head of Franchise Development Oskari Häkkinen

Oskari Häkkinen talks game design and development of Alan Wake, life at Remedy and digital distribution, among other things.

27th March 2012 – SoulCalibur V game director Daishi Odashima

Speaking to The Train2Game Blog at a SoulCalibur V tournament, Odashima discusses development of SoulCalibur V , the importance of community feedback and what makes a good game designer.

July 11th 2012 – QA Veteran and Cheat Mode Author Dan Jacobs

In what must be the longest Train2Game Blog interview, Dan Jacobs talks about his book, Cheat Mode, QA Testing, life in the industry and much more.

20th July 2012 – Ian Livingstone OBE

In my final piece for The Train2Game Blog, Ian Livingstone discusses Make Something Unreal Live, Fighting Fantasy, what makes a good game developer and more.

Thank you to everyone who has read The Train2Game Blog over the last two years, commented on here, or on the Train2Game forum. Be sure to keep reading The Train2Game Blog for more great insight into the industry once my successor takes over in the role of Editor.

Danny Palmer – Train2Game Blog Editor April 2010-July 2012

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum

Train2Game interview: SoulCalibur V game director Daishi Odashima

Train2Game recently sat down for a chat with SoulCalibur V game director Daishi Odashima. In this interview with The Train2Game Blog, Odashima discusses development of SoulCalibur V, ongoing plans for DLC, the importance of community feedback and more. He also reveals what he thinks makes a good game designer!

Read the interview right here on The Train2Game Blog.

Tell us about your role as game director.

I’m game director for SoulCalibur V and I’ve been in the team since SoulCalibur III. On SoulCalibur IV I was a game designer, in charge of character designing in game design. In SoulCalibur V I’m the director.

How do you go about designing SoulCalibur V so that all the characters are balanced?

Basically, we see how the players play, and if the players feel that some characters are too strong then we would tone them down. Of course, if they’re too weak vice versa. For SoulCalibur V, we have chances for players to play before the game is out, where there isn’t a full roster of characters, but we have them play and get their feedback. We use that to balance our characters.

So, testing is a huge part of development before the game is released?

It is an important thing but it isn’t the only thing. Like if we receive feedback over a certain character being too strong, we test it in our own development, we play against each other and sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree but the final decisions I make. So if I feel [a character] is too strong, then it’ll be balanced.

In the latest update, some characters have been tweaked following user feedback. How important is community feedback, and will that continue to be important for SoulCalibur V?

It’s really important because in our development we only have less than ten people balancing the character. On the other hand you have more than a million, maybe two or three million, playing and they upload their tournament videos, they write opinions on forums and of course we check all that sort of stuff and it’s really important. But it’s not just taking their opinions, we have to gather them up and we have to come up with the final decision, so it’s really important.

Tell us about the plans for SoulCalibur V DLC.

There’s lots of DLC to come for SoulCalibur V to use in the creation mode, which should be coming every four weeks and there are tonnes of parts to come.

Speaking of creation mode, SoulCalibur V players have uploaded many costumes and characters, can you see yourself taking a community created costume and adding it as official DLC?

We look at them and we think that they’re interesting, but we don’t simply take them, we look after it. Also, we have lots of costume designs that weren’t used for SoulCalibur V that can maybe be used for SoulCalibur VI, and basically these designs are determined by the designers who have the final say.

What was the the reason for focusing SoulCalibur V’s story on two characters, rather than the whole roster?

Our first plan on the storyboard was that we had every characters story, and actually we do have it in the studio, but time-wise, man power-wise we weren’t able to do it and only one fourth of what we planned to do is in the game.  Actually, some of the voice-overs are already taken but haven’t been used, so we want to make use of it somehow, but we don’t know how that’s going to be.

What are you most proud of about SoulCalibur V?

I feel that SoulCalibur V is the best fighting tool in this world. For online mode, the lobby system is really made well, also we truly believe that after the character balancing patch it’s going to be a lot better, and I’m pretty sure that any people who are really competitive, or if you’re just starting a fighting game,  can enjoy SoulCalibur V as a fighting tool.

A bit about you now, how did you get started in the games industry?

I was invited by a friend to a QA section at another game developer. From there another friend at Namco, who was originally a SoulCalibur competitive player, invited me to the SoulCalibur team for character balancing, and well, here I am now.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the industry?

Well, my case was really special because I was invited as a specialist of SoulCalibur and this is a rare case. But what I think is important in becoming a game designer being able to describe what is happening within the game: what is fun, the logic behind it and also the communication skills to be able to explain this to other people.  Those skills are really needed to become a game designer.

Thanks for your time. 

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum. Many more Train2Game interviews can be seen here. 

SoulCalibur V from Namco Bandai is out now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Train2Game news: SoulCalibur V story mode “one fourth” of planned size, each character was to have own story

SoulCalibur V’s story mode was originally planned to be four times bigger than it actually is, but time restraints meant it needed to be cut back.   That’s according to game director Daishi Odashima who was speaking in an interview with The Train2Game Blog.

He explained that Namco Bandai team didn’t have the staff or the time needed realise their full vision for Soul Calibur V’s story. The story of the released game mainly focuses on two characters, Patrokolos and his sister Pyrrha, opposed to each character on the roster having their own individual story as previous games in the series do.

“Our first plan on the storyboard was that we had every characters story, and actually we do have it in the studio, but time-wise, man power-wise we weren’t able to do it and only one fourth of what we planned to do is in the game.” Odashima told The Train2Game Blog.

He added that many of the other planned stories got full voice-overs during SoulCalibur V’s development, but there has been no decision on how to use them yet.

“Actually, some of the voice-overs are already taken but haven’t been used, so we want to make use of it somehow, but we don’t know how that’s going to be.” he said.

The Train2Game Blog interview with SoulCalibur V game director Daishi Odashima, featuring discussion of game development, the importance of community feedback, advice on becoming a good game designer and more, is here.

What are your thoughts on the amount of story mode that was cut from SoulCalibur V? What do you think it says about the pressure on game developers?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.