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Heavenly Sword

Interview: CVG speaks to the chief development "ninja"

As PS3 and its game-hungry owners approach Christmas, everyone's crossing their fingers in the hope Heavenly Sword turns out to be a must-have title.

Ninja Theory's self-titled chief development 'ninja', Nina Kristensen, seemed pleased with the result of four years development when we sat down to talk shop at Games Convention last week. So pleased in fact, that she even spoke to us about a possible (and blatently obvious) sequel. Read on for more...

How important is Heavenly Sword to the success of PS3?

Nina Kristensen: I think Sony would certainly say this is really important game for the platform, which is wonderful for us. They've been incredibly supportive.

Zoom

We heard the soundtrack was 10GB on the disc...

Kristensen: Yes, that's the audio allocation.

So would you say you couldn't have done this game on the normal DVD format?

Kristensen: No way. We have jam-packed the [Blu-Ray] disc absolutely full.

Is that without compression?

Kristensen: Yes, we used compression all over the place. We had to be really judicious at the end with what was going on the disc and what wasn't.

I think it's one of those things - if you give us the space we're going to fill it with stuff. It means the audio can be of a higher quality and stuff like that. It all adds to the quality of the package.

What type of influences have you taken from other games? God of War is a frequent comparison?

Kristensen: God of War is an excellent game, but I think the biggest influences for us came from film.

This includes films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Hero - really big, epic martial arts films with absolutely gorgeous choreography and dramatic martial arts. We also looked at Lord of the Rings for its big story and huge landscapes.

You've used SixAxis controls as one of the more innovative mechanics in the game. How much potential do you see that part of the controller?

Kristensen: I really like the SixAxis. My favourite use of it in Heavenly Sword is what we call 'after touch'.

So anything you can pick up and throw - which is just about anything in the game, including corpses - or any projectiles that your fire like bazookas, can continue to be controlled with the SixAxis.

It feels quite natural, and I like that. I think that's how SixAxis should be employed - in a way that feels natural.

How have you reacted to reviews and feedback so far?

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Kristensen: I have had a sneak peak at a couple of reviews and I'm really chuffed so far. But they're not all out yet.

Have you got any plans for download content?

Kristensen: No we don't have anything like that announced at the moment. We're very interested in supporting Home. And there is an online component to Heavenly Sword, but when we do online we'll go all-in.

How much further do you think this type of action game can be taken?

Kristensen: I think we've made some really nice strides, but I think there's always a lot more that you can do. Controls always need to be intuitive. The more intuitive they are the more enjoyment for the player.

I'm not a believer of having to remember long button combinations. I think players should always do what he or she intends.

I only want to see it used in ways that feel natural. As soon as you start having to shake it about when it bares no correlation to what's happening on screen, it makes no sense. As long as it matches what you're doing as a character I think it works really nicely.

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