Continuing our extensive coverage of upcoming action adventure 3D Dot Game Heroes, we decided to catch up with Rob Burman over at SouthPeak Games to talk a little more about the game and to see what players can expect from this very unique title.
Xero: First questions first, who are you and what do you do?
Rob Burman: My name is Rob Burman and I’m the European PR Manager at SouthPeak Games and we’re publishing 3D Dot Game Heroes in Europe.
X: Probably the most important question we ask each person we interview here at Midlife Gamer, what is your favourite beverage and biscuit?
RB: Well, beverage is easy, it’s Yorkshire Tea or potentially Yorkshire Gold if it’s a special occasion (birthdays, Christmas, etc). Now, the biscuit… that’s a tricky one. I’m a fan of a good bourbon (biting one side of biscuit off to expose the chocolate centre inside) but I think my favourite is probably a double chocolate Maryland Cookie. I never dunk though, I think that’s an absolute sin. I’m answering this one in great detail to make up for any slack answers later on.
X: 3D Dot Game Heroes is out soon, can you tell us a little more about the title, when gamers can get their hands on it, and why they should be getting excited for it?
RB: Well, gamers can get their hands on it from May 14 in Europe – which is only three days after the North America release, which makes a nice change. The game is an explosion of retro goodness inspired by classic games from the 8-bit era and a few modern references thrown in for good measure. Before we even signed the game for Europe, I was really excited by the game because I grew up playing games throughout the 80s, so I just loved the style, which looks so unique. But there are a lot of reasons for people to get excited about it, firstly it’s great fun to play and there’s a real satisfaction the first time you swing your massive sword and hit a rabbit, which explodes into tiny pixels. Then you’ve got a fantastic character creator, which lets you make any kind of weird and wonderful character for you to play as during the game. Hang on, I’m not going to bore you with any more reasons to get excited because this is already longer than my biscuit and beverage question… just rest assured that anyone who loves retro gaming or action adventure games will find something to love in 3D Dot Game Heroes.
X: The title is exceptionally light in tone, whereas previous FromSoftware game Demon’s Souls was very dark and tense. Is this the team cutting loose, the executive team wanting a change, or was it thought that a game like this would have wider appeal than a super-hardcore RPG?
RB: Erm… so this is going to be one of my slack answers. The game was actually developed by Silicon Studio and FromSoftware published the game in Japan. Obviously FromSoftware had a lot of involvement in development (that’s why there are plenty of Demon’s Souls references in the game) but I don’t really think it was their decision to “cut loose”.
X: This game is exceptionally referential to not just the Legend of Zelda franchise, from which it clearly draws inspiration, but from other ‘classics’ and even some later titles. What are the legal ramifications when it comes to satire, has anything been removed from the title because it was too close to the bone or to the original source? In addition have Nintendo themselves raised any concerns?
RB: Well, the game’s been available since November in Japan so there’s been plenty of time to raise any concerns. I think it’s pretty clear that this isn’t a rip off, it’s a love letter to a bygone era that pays a lot of respects to the games it references.
X: Do you feel that there is a danger that younger gamers may not ‘get’ a lot of the content, whether that be simply a few visual gags or some of the complexities of how titles ‘back-in-the-day’ played on a purely mechanical level?
RB: Yeah, I guess there was a slight worry about this but we recently took the game on the road and showed it at a few events where we had a lot of kids playing it and they appeared to have great fun. They probably see it on a very different level to those older gamers who do understand all the little in-jokes and references. They just enjoy running about and bashing stuff with a big sword. For those in their teens, I guess the fact that 3D Dot Game Heroes plays in a similar style to Zelda titles, means they’ll have a reference to cling onto. Of course, there is the fact that it’s actually just great fun to play, even if you don’t ‘get’ any of the nudges and winks.
X: Is 3D Dot Game Heroes a one-off or do you feel there is ‘sequel potential’ in its future?
RB: This isn’t really up to me. Personally, I think there’s a lot you can do with 3D Dot Game Heroes and I would – once again I stress personally – love to see a sequel.
X: After 3D Dot Game Heroes sees release, what’s next from you guys, what should we be looking for in the future?
RB: Well, from SouthPeak Games we’ve got quite a bit. But you should mainly keep an eye on Dementium II for Nintendo DS and Two Worlds II for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Check back with Midlife Gamer on April 19th when we’ll have our full review.