Over the past few years Capcom hasn't been putting out some of their best stuff but all that could change with Dragon's Dogma, one of their most ambitious action RPGs (Role Playing Games) till date. We catch up with the game's director, Hideaki Itsuno, who explains the game's origins, its mantra and why it should be on your radar when it releases this May.

How was Dragon's Dogma born?

Since the 1980s I had wanted to make a game where one could travel through a real fantasy world. Back then, I enjoyed experiencing this fantasy world with gamebooks.

It was in 2002 that I began thinking about creating a network game where you do not need to think about how you interact with others. While one is able to communicate with a lot of people in MO and MMO games, you have to be concerned about the other players and it can get to a point where you are not really able to go out and adventure as you like. That was when I started to ask myself if I could make a game that feels as if you are always online (even though you are not always connected) and use elements from BBS and blogs.

Use your party wisely

Use your party wisely

Then in 2006, I started thinking about making a new kind of RPG with some of the best action elements. Since I had primarily made action games up until that point, I always found that the action elements in most RPGs were lacking something. At that time, I really wanted to focus on making an action game that really made good use of the party system.

Finally in 2008, we were in just the right situation to make all of these elements come together and we got the courage to begin working on this project.

Is this a completely open world game like Skyrim or is it more on the lines of the Fable/Mass Effect series with different hubs linking the game world together?

I still have not had a chance to properly play Skyrim yet (I haven’t had a vacation since November!), so I cannot tell you for sure. But from what I have heard, our open world is comprised in the same way as the one in Skyrim. It is the same as Oblivion (a game I have properly played through), where all the areas are connected so you do not have large load times between each block (area).

What would you classify the game as – RPG, Action or Action-RPG?

The definition of a genre is slightly different for each country, so I am not sure how Dragon’s Dogma should be classified. In America this is probably called an “RPG” and in Japan it is called an “action-RPG”. We sometimes call this game “open world action” as we hoped that this game is thought of as the action-RPG that Capcom, which excels at producing action games, can deliver to gamers across the world.

Real men hunt their own food

Real men hunt their own food

Will the game have staple RPG mechanics like crafting or gathering or has it been more streamlined for action gamers?

There are plenty of RPG elements (such as crafting and gathering) in the game and they are beautifully balanced in a way that does not get in the way of all the action. Think of this as an action game with the same amount of content of an RPG, with the high quality action you would expect from an action game. Also, the difficulty level of these action elements can vary depending on how the player decides to move forward with this game’s RPG elements.

How many classes are present in the game?

There are a total of nine vocations in the game, three of which Fighter, Strider, and Mage are available to select at the beginning of the game.  As players level up in these vocations, they will unlock the prestige version of these classes which are the Warrior, Ranger, and Sorcerer. Three hybrid classes are available exclusively for the player’s main character, not the Pawns. In addition to equipping abilities, every vocation can equip from over forty custom skills and a few dozen normal skills. So even if another character is the same vocation, the play style will be completely different.

How much customization will Dragon’s Dogma offer players?

Outside of the skills and vocations mentioned above, the way one customizes the way a character looks is directly connected to the player’s performance. You can freely customize the character’s face and other physical features any way you would like. There are several hundred outfits and equipment to choose from, and the combination of these is almost limitless. You can use the character edit in the downloadable demo, so please check it out there when it becomes available. (The character edit data you make in the demo can be used in the full game as well.)

How is the game's combat? Is it as fast paced as the Devil May Cry series?

The Devil May Cry games were 60FPS so the speed of the action in Dragon’s Dogma is not as fast as those, but we are pushing the barriers of speed within the limits of 30FPS.  Also, we have provided several ways to clear the game, so even those that are not so good at action games can enjoy Dragon’s Dogma as well.

A little help here?

A little help here?

How long can one play through go on for?

Whether you are rushing through the game or just playing through at a normal pace, I think it will take about over 50 hours to get to the credits if you follow just the main campaign, but a lot longer if you choose to complete all the side quests. As there is a lot of action in the game, I do not think you will get bored of the battles anytime soon. Just changing up the player’s vocation and the combination of your party members, makes the game feel completely different. So with that in mind, I believe it will take you a long time before you get bored of the game. There are also types of monsters later in the game where the strategies you used before will not be effective against them.

What kind of multiplayer does this game bring to the table?

I have said this when I went around the world and presented the game, but if you have not sat down and played the game yourself, I think it would be difficult for anyone to recognize that new multiplayer style Dragon’s Dogma has to offer. So, while it is effectively a single player game, you have the ability to share your main Pawn with others and rent the Pawns of your friends via PSN and Xbox Live. In fact, as your support pawns do not level up it will be necessary to rent other Pawns in order to tackle some of the quests later in the game. When hiring other Pawns you can search for specific criteria such as job class or experience in order to gain the advantage in certain quests.  If you do not have access to online connection then you can select one of the 1000s of Pawns that ship with the game.

What are you supposed to be anyway?

What are you supposed to be anyway?

How much of an influence was the Monster Hunter series while designing Dragon's Dogma?

There are many creators on the Dragon’s Dogma team who have experience working on the Monster Hunter series, but that has had no effect what so ever on this game’s design. Actually, in 2002 when Monster Hunter was created (back when the name “Monster Hunter” was still not even thought up yet), the game was made with the idea of creating a real fantasy world.  Monster Hunter went on to specialize in online co-op hunting, where as the RPG and adventure elements became an elevated part of the Dragon’s Dogma design.

Why is this game not being released for the PC?

This is the first time we're developing a game in this genre and this is a very large project, so there are several parts that we are not accustomed to just yet. For now, we are working on completing this game for the home consoles we are familiar with.

Thank you for your time.

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