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LOS ANGELES — Keiji Inafune is best known as a game designer who created hit Japanese games such as Mega Man, Onimusha, and Dead Rising. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo this week, he showed off his newest titles, Mighty No. 9, an indie that fans backed on Kickstarter.
He also surprised everyone during the Microsoft press briefing by coming out to talk about ReCore, an exclusive coming next year for Microsoft’s Xbox One. In this game, Inafune’s Comcept USA and Aramture are collaborating to create a new world and intellectual property.
The demo video showed a female lead character, Jewel, on a desert landscape with a robot dog. Enemies attack, and the dog sacrifices itself to save Jewel. She saves the “core” of the dog, and the question becomes whether she can restore that faithful dog to another machine.
I had a translated conversation with Inafune as well as Mark Pacini, development director at Armature, which is building the game with Inafune. It’s expected to come out in 2016.
Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.
GamesBeat: Can you tell us what the game is about? How did this get started?
Keiji Inafune: Prior to forming Comcept, back in my Capcom days, we worked on a project with Armature. Even at that time, I knew there was something special about this relationship. We were very much in sync in terms of the ideas being there, being able to collaborate and exchange ideas. We weren’t able to fully realize that project, but since forming Comcept, we’ve been talking to Armature about what we can do next and how we can work out this partnership.
We came to Armature with the initial idea of what is today ReCore. At the same time, Armature was looking to work on some projects with Microsoft. We got together and presented the idea to Microsoft. There was a great reaction from the Microsoft team.
Typically we hear about the challenges that naturally come with eastern and western developers partnering. But in that sense we feel like we’ve already built a great trust and foundation from when we were working with them before Recore. It’s been a true collaborative process in the best possible way. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We know where to pick and choose which idea should work in this project. It’s a true collaboration between parties on this project.
GamesBeat: What’s the backstory for the game itself?
Inafune: At a very high level, the image or illustration of the story background—this main character, Jewel, as far as she’s concerned she finds out that she may be one of the last remaining survivors in this world. At the same time, it’s ruled by these robots. She doesn’t know why or how these things happened, but she quickly figures out that this dog, this robotic companion, is someone she can partner with.
Throughout the progression of the game, a lot of the mysteries of the world—If I’m the last remaining human survivor, how is this world going to continue to live on? What’s my purpose here? All that will be unraveled as you progress through the game.
GamesBeat: It’s interesting to see a woman as the main character. That seems like a big trend at E3 this year.
Mark Pacini: Jewel just fit the story we were trying to tell. There wasn’t anything more intentional than that. She fit in the world that we were trying to create and the story we wanted to tell, that struggle for humanity. It made sense for us very early in development to have a woman as the protagonist.
GamesBeat: Was there any particular inspiration that led you to pull this world together, or the character?