In an interview with Shane Bettenhausen from Ignition Entertainment Siliconera asked the possibility of a Deadly Premonition sequel:
Let’s talk about another game, one that’s close to your heart, Deadly Premonition.
Shane Bettenhausen, New Business Development Director:Deadly Premonition was a game that nobody wanted us to bring out. I asked about the game because we have a relationship with Marvelous, a year and a half ago. I’m like whatever happened to “X game,” you know it’s old name, and they were like, “that game?” Rainy Woods is like you’re not supposed to talk about that, but it was Rainy Woods five years ago. I asked about it and they were like, “Oh, you’re interested in that? It’s in development hell,” basically. And I was like “Of course, I’m interested in that!”
I played Spy Fiction and I’m a fan of things Deadly Premonition is inspired by. As soon as I got a copy, I was like this game has to come out for all of the reasons – the writing, the creativity, the fact that it’s like Shenmue, you know it’s so ambitious. It isn’t the best game ever made. It has a lot of technical problems. That’s why we felt the price point that we chose was right. For sixty bucks the game might have been killed at retail, but at a more palatable price it became a success. And it is one of the most successful games we ever published.
Because it was so successful, would Ignition publish a sequel to Deadly Premonition or a spiritual sequel without Marvelous?
I would say the IP rights and kind of like the content rights of Deadly Premonition in general make it difficult to imagine a full, real sequel ever happening. I would love for that to happen, but I don’t think that will happen. However, Swery and Access Games, I would love to work with them again.
This makes me really sad, I would love, love, LOVE to see a DP sequel!!
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Some bad news, my portable HD decided to stop working and unfortunately it has all my DP run through videos, GV map and screens on it! Needless to say until I can get this data recovered I won’t be able to continue working on my 100% competition guide. (BTW I was up to the Lumbermill). I’ve shot some an email to Toshiba tech support and have made an email inquiry about data recovery at a local computer place. Hopefully even if the drive is dead I’ll be able to get my data back soon. I’ll keep you guys updated!
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So when I posted last I said that I thought I could complete this guide in two weeks? Well that isn’t happening, its become a lot more complex than I thought it would be! But rest assured I am working every day on it and I am making good headway! Right now I’m still on Day 01 and in the middle of Chapter 04 and I still haven’t met the first witnesses at the crime scene but I have…
Completed 10 Side Missions and in the middle of one other
Collected 29 trading cards
Met and talked several times to everyone possible so far and have had lunch with the Department.
Collected $6270 in Red Agent Honor scattered around Greenvale
Obtained a fast Travel device, a Special melee weapon and a bag that allows me to carry more weapons
Completed two races and two Other World Replays
So as you can see even though I’m only in chapter 4 in the main story a whole lot of side stuff has been completed by this point
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Deadly Premonition director Swery and localization head Tad Horie pay a visit to the HotSpot studios to talk at length about last year’s survival horror standout. What was left on the cutting room floor due to ratings concerns? What does he think of the state of Japanese game development? Will Deadly Premonition be ported to 3DS and NGP? What does he want to experiment with next?
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I’ve also been working on my walk though, it’s slowly but surely coming together I finally finished to the end of chapter 2. LOL I know if doesn’t seem like much but A LOT of work has gone into the guide up to that point. Here’s a little image to show you what I mean
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In 2010, Deadly Premonition was a surprise hit among players searching for a deep narrative single player game, and went on to win over a dozen end of the year awards from a variety of media outlets (including Gamasutra). At GDC 2011, Deadly Premonition director Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro, revealed his seven tactics for creating a memorably story that will inspire a strong fan reaction.
Point 1: Make gamers think about your game when they aren’t playing it.
Relate actions in the game to actions players take in real life. “Gamers who smoke have said this a lot – when they see York smoke in the game, they want to light up in their living room,” said Suehiro. “Sleeping, Hunger, and Shaving, wanting to stay clean. Though these things seem unnecessary at first glance, they help with the cause and effect.” The goal is to link memories of Deadly Premonition with the player’s actions real world.
Suehiro says he likes to put daily human needs in the game, because they help affect the player outside the screen. “Playful elements” like predictions in the coffee, discussing movies lead to players identifying with the characters. “They’ve also told us they’ve rented one of the movies York talked about in the car,” he said. These things linger in your mind.
(My Notes: I have to say even after a year I still try and find FK in my coffee and I even checked out Xanadu )
Point 2: Make gamers actively “want” to play through your meticulously scripted story.
Being forced to play through a tightly-bound storyline is a chore. “Those rails make the player feel like they’re being forced to do something. How do we alleviate that?” he asks. “How do you make them want to play through it?”
There are two pre-existing methods; multiple endings, and side quests. DP used a third method – freedom of timing – allowing for a “change of heart” from the player. They can stop whatever quest they’re on at any time, and take another path. It creates the illusion of freedom. “Once they’re comfortable, they’re more willing to get involved in the story,” he says.
In other games, including his previous game Spy Fiction, you get scolded for failure. In Deadly Premonition they wanted the main character, York, to go along with the player when he changes his mind. “That’s exactly what I was thinking,” is the feeling York gives the player when he or she goes off the rails of the story to pursue their own path. In fact, an important character within the story itself tells the player that timing is what’s important, not speed.
The goal is to earn the player’s cooperation with the story and suspension of disbelief. To do this, you’ve got to allow for a retry at any time, support the player’s actions 100%, and modify the story to allow for a player’s change of heart. Player feels empowered due to decision being allowed.
(My Notes:What’s funny is when I first played Deadly Premonition I tried my best not to be late for anything, but I found when I stuck to the game schedule I missed out on a lot of side missions. When I realized I could make my own schedule and basically tell George and Emily….well George mainly to fuck off I had a lot more fun! )
Point 3: Creating a storyline for a free-roaming open world game.
“We need to make a universe and characters in our game that are unique,” he says. Vague characters never stick in anyone’s mind.
When creating a storyline, it’s not uncommon that you’d figure out the map of the game world, and character details after the script for the main plot is complete. In DP they created the high level synopsis, then the map and character details, then made a 24 hour action table for each character’s daily life. Only then did they finalize the plot.
“The universe, the environment, and the characters are just as important as the storyline,” he says, especially for a free roaming open world game. “When we started making this game many years ago, there weren’t many games with free-roaming storylines that we could refer to,” said Suehiro, and this was the solution they came up with.
(My Notes: All the characters in Deadly Premonition are pretty memorable. I also like how each have their routine. Even if you are done with the game it’s fun to stalk a character and see what they do in 24 hours. One of my friends followed Michael and Mr. Stewart around with some hilarious results )
(watch until the end, I promise it’s worth it!)
Point 4: Prevent players from quitting the game at the result screen.
Any game that prioritizes getting the player to finish the game over getting the player to want to learn more of the story is already dead. Every pause in a game, such as a results screen or chapter end, is a place a player might choose to quit.
“We inserted a glimpse of the next challenge before the results screen, making them want to know what happens next,” Suehiro said, though he did not address the idea of making a game where results screens and stages aren’t necessary, such as in larger open world games like the Fallout series.
Point 5: Make appealing characters.
“If you can’t remember any of the names of the characters, then that game is crappy,” said Suehiro. Note down everything you can possibly think of about a character, to really develop them so that they’ll stick in players’ minds. “You need to spend a lot of time to make deep characters,” he says. “It really helps to generate a resume for every character you make.”
He creates a mind map for each character, including habits, hobbies, the character’s first love, and so forth. Signature phrases and poses are also important, he says, because they’re easy for fans to recall. “It’s important that your fans can copy the poses and use the phrases,” he says. “You want your characters to have these elements that are copyable and mimic-able.”
“It could be a lot more natural though,” he said, acknowledging that his own poses and phrases for his main characters were a little extreme. The most important point is that the characters have good and bad points. “They say every rose has its thorn,” he says. York, for instance, is a good looking agent, but he’s an otaku and inconsiderate. Each character has a main overlying good quality, but some weaknesses built in.
“It takes courage as a game designer to add a bad side to your character,” he says. “Of course you want everyone to love your characters.” But putting flaws in them makes players actually identify with them more.
My notes: I definitely agree with this, York would not be so memorable if he wasn’t such a smug bastard who constantly talked to himself 😉
Point 6: Direct voice recording sessions.
Characters should speak in a memorable way. How did he voice direct without knowing English? He referred to music and thematic ideas when dealing with the actors. Agent York’s manner of speech is inspired by the Liverpool sound and the British Invasion. “I ocused on the how of the lines being spoken,” he said, focusing on rhythm and “musically, how they work in the scene. You need to make sure you have your own set of rules when you go to a voice recording.”
Point 7: Use your ideas whenever and wherever you can.
“What’s most important are your ideas,” he says. You should use all your ideas while you can use them! Even if you feel people may not see everything you’ve put into the game, unnoticed ideas explode when they do get noticed, he says. “You should use your ideas when you can. Don’t hold on to them until a rainy day.” As an example, he showed the fact that the town of Greenvale where the game takes place, is actually an outline of the Dalmatian in the game.
My notes: Yeah when people realized the map was shaped like Willie it was a big omg moment. But you know it’s probably because most people never really saw the map because they could never zoom out that far…
In the end, Suehiro closed with the thought that that, “If I get the chance, I’d like to make another game that makes larger leaps for a world-wide audience.”
I found pictures of some of the slides he used during the presentation over on Famitsu I also found some clearer images on the Access Game site. (Also the guy looking into his coffee for FK is totally me now!)
Here are all the questions and answers from the Live Destructoid sit down with SWERY65 on February 28, 2011. I’ve transcribed the questions and answers to the best of my knowledge, it was sometimes hard to hear!