The original Lost Planet has sold somewhere in the range of two million copies, so a sequel certainly comes as no surprise. What did surprise us, however, was the way in which the game was announced. Instead of holding a conference or even using its own blog, Capcom revealed the game on Xbox Live Marketplace and then went dark.
Today GamesRadar, along with Official Xbox Magazine (which should be landing on subscriber’s doorsteps right about now), can reveal a bit more about the game via an interview with the game’s producer and director, and tomorrow with a hands-on report.
The gist: it’s a grander vision of the original game, focusing on multiplayer and co-op instead of a main character’s personal quest. The bosses are bigger, the mechanized Vital Suits are more elaborate and the whole package (at this stage) feels like it’ll one-up everything the first game touted. Release is still about a year off (keeping with Capcom’s “let’s put big games out in the first quarter” mantra), so there’ll undoubtedly be further tweaks and info down the line.
Above: Part one of the video interview (go here for the full screen version)
Jun Takeuchi – Producer, Lost Planet 2
Kenji Oguro – Director, Lost Planet 2
GamesRadar: Why announce Lost Planet 2 via Xbox Live Marketplace? Why not on Capcom’s own site, on PSN or another outlet?
Jun Takeuchi: We wanted to show the game first and foremost to fans of the original Lost Planet. We talked to Microsoft about doing it this way and they were interested in it as well. Also, I think it was a unique and memorable way to announce the game.
GR: What does that say about a PS3 version?
JT: We’re still thinking about it and haven’t announced a PS3 version, so we can’t say more about it just yet.
GR: Does this announcement speak to the 360’s perception in Japan? Is it in better shape now, moved to a point where this announcement isn’t such a shock as it would have been a year or two ago?
JT: 360 users and fans, whether in Japan or elsewhere, are very passionate about their games. The attach rate in Japan is very high for 360, so I don’t think it’s a matter of numbers in relation to Japan, I think it’s about how passionate the people are.
GR: You’ve said that you listened to specific feedback about the first game. Was there something that you read and thought, “Oh we’re definitely going to address that in the sequel?”
JT: The one call from the fans we had to respond to was the inclusion of co-op, and that’s why we have four-player co-op in this game.
GR: One of the office complaints about the first game was the canned, stumbling animations that slowed the action. Were those addressed at all?
Kenji Oguro: They’re certainly something we’re trying to improve and make into something that, if it bothered you before, it’s not going to bother you as much. A lot of that is important for balancing the multiplayer modes, so it’s not something we’re able to change hugely.
GR: What facilitated the change from a character-driven story to a “be your own character” co-op experience? Was it a reaction to fans or was it part of the idea from the start?
KO: I guess it comes from the first game’s multiplayer, where you’re one member of a group of Snow Pirates, choosing your own character and way to do things. We took that system and put it into the single-player of Lost Planet 2. By changing the system, we also had to change the focus from one character to a much larger scale, focusing on a group and not an individual.
Above: Wayne’s personal story is done – LP2 focuses instead on groups of competing Snow Pirates
GR: Do you see RPG elements, like those in Call of Duty 4 and World at War, finding their way into Lost Planet 2’s multiplayer?
KO: We’re thinking of something similar-but-different, but can’t really talk about it at this stage.
GR: There were echoes of Gears of War and Killzone 2 in the trailer and in the hands-on time we had with the game. Were these specific inspirations? Did you look outside Capcom to see what everyone else was doing in the development scene?
JT: If you look back at the first Lost Planet, it had a lot of inspirations from Halo. So, as a sequel, those inspirations carry on. But really most of the ideas and elements in the game come from us looking at the first game and how we wanted to improve it. Rather than say we took inspiration from other modern titles, it mostly comes from us looking at the first game.
GR: LP2 was something of a surprise announcement – it was revealed with a trailer containing gameplay footage, and a few days later we were playing it. How long has Lost Planet 2 been in development, and how hectic has this schedule been, given that the game’s already this far along?
JT: Altogether, it’s probably been in development for about 16 months. As to how hectic it’s been, the world of development is always hectic. Sixteen months, 32 months, there’s never enough time. (laughs)
Next page – development difficulties, expanding the idea of a sequel and part two of our video interview