TGS Interview: Tomonobu Itagaki talks about notably absent Devils Third

It’s been a tough few years for fans of Tomonobu Itagaki. The controversial figure quit (and later sued) his former employer Tecmo right before they shipped his action-packed sequel to the incredibly hardcore Ninja Gaiden. Since then he’s been building a studio all his own and had been working on his new game, Devil's Third for US publisher THQ. Shown in a brief teaser at E3 2010 (and not once since), Itagaki had said the title would be shown at Tokyo Game Show this year, but apparently plans change, as it was noticeably absent again.

Still, even with the game missing, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little chat with the creator. Itagaki has a reputation as a candid interviewee and in our brief time with him he was quick with answers about that mysterious game. Though we feel only the slightest bit more informed about the title after talking with Itagaki.

GamesRadar: How’s the development of Devil’s Third been going?

Tomonobu Itagaki: It’s going very smoothly. There are many characters in this game and we have finished modeling the characters and are working on animating them. And we’ve almost completed the design of the levels. We’re developing the guns, melee weapons, and martial arts as well.

We’re also working on the multiplayer feature of this game. The minimum will be 16, and we are targeting 32. So as you can see the development is going very smoothly.

GR: Are you aiming for Devil’s Third to have a similar high difficulty compared to your previous games?

TI: Yes, there will be some difficulty for players, however it will be a game that can be enjoyed by lighter users as well as hardcore game players.

GR: Do you think that on average today’s games are too easy?

TI: Hmm. No. For example Modern Warfare 2 has the proper difficulty level.

GR: Would you define Devil’s Third’s gameplay as more focused on shooting or close combat?

TI: It depends on where the battle occurs and what weapons you have. For example, you need to at least have a handgun to do the shooting, and hold at minimum a knife, and you also need to be able to punch at any time, so there’s no situation where you don’t have those weapons. But it depends more on what you have on hand. Perhaps you have a better weapon for melee, then you’ll be more of a melee gamer.

GR: What’s it like working with an American publisher?

TI: It’s a great experience working with THQ, because, number one, THQ is a very creative company. They refined the script and background we created with a Hollywood touch and their creativity. Also THQ allows us to do whatever we like as a developer.

GR: So you feel there’s a bit more freedom than when you were working with a Japanese publisher?

TI: No, that’s not what I’m saying. But often I am asked the question are you really a Japanese person, because my mind set is closer to being American, so far as reasoning and thinking goes. That’s why I get along with THQ very well. When it comes to judgment and decision-making, I can get along very well with the Americans, because when it comes to judgment, their way of thinking is different from Americans. Of course, I can work with Japanese people, but sometimes it can get very cumbersome.

[We’re instructed there’s only time for one more question.]

GR: Does the fighting game genre still interest you as a developer?

TI: No, because I have done all I can do with the genre already. However, some fans say to me, “please do not say that yet,” so there might be a time I’ll make something for those fans.

GR: Thanks for your time.

Sep 26, 2011

Henry Gilbert

Henry Gilbert is a former GamesRadar+ Editor, having spent seven years at the site helping to navigate our readers through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation. Henry is now following another passion of his besides video games, working as the producer and podcast cohost of the popular Talking Simpsons and What a Cartoon podcasts.