In an interview with Eurogamer at the Tokyo Games Show, Fumihiko Yasuda, Director of the upcoming samurai Action-RPG Nioh, has revealed details of just what will be changing based on feedback from the game’s recent closed beta. Yasuda also shared their rather interesting take on balancing fan feedback against artistic direction. You can read the full interview via the link above, and we’ve pulled out the most relevant facts for our take below.
For anyone who experienced Nioh in both it’s Alpha and Beta demos, you’ll know that a lot was changed between the two builds. Core mechanics like weapon degradation or the vulnerable state related to stamina loss were axed entirely. You may be wondering, then, whether the feedback from the beta demo will see more changes come to the already long in development title. The following comments from Fumihiko Yasuda definitely go some way toward answering those questions.
When asked what the main changes between the Beta build and the final build would be, Nioh‘s director had this to say:
The change from beta version to final will not be as drastic as we’ve seen from alpha to beta. That part is for certain. There won’t be major changes, like the fact that we got rid of durability for equipment. Nothing too major like that. One big negative feedback we’ve seen is about the camera. When you’re surrounded by multiple enemies, the camera has its limits as of right now. We as a team definitely agree with that and we might reduce the fact that you encounter too many enemies in the same area. We may just get rid of the lesser enemies during a boss fight.
This seems to confirm that the build we saw in the Beta demo should be a fairly accurate representation of the final gameplay, with a few tweaks to improve the ‘user experience’.
When asked if Team Ninja would ever ignore fan feedback if they felt it was best for the game, Yasuda replied:
Of course there are instances like that where we decide not to listen to our fans. We’re not servants, we’re game creators! Regardless, whatever we decide, we will sincerely heed those words from our fans first. But then again, it all eventually comes down to that the game should not lose its spirit, it’s essence. For example, the stamina exhaustion was often criticized to be too quick. That there’s not enough stamina to play comfortably. But that’s just how the game should be, in our minds. So we’ll just have to say ‘sorry for that.
This is not the only area where Team Ninja have decided to forge ahead with their own vision for the game. Nioh will not feature separate difficulty levels as, to quote Yasuda, “a different difficulty would lead to different feelings. A different level of satisfaction.” This is particularly interesting as it seems the Japanese audience is less satisfied with the high difficulty than Western fans.
It works both ways, though; while there will be no ‘easy mode’, the base difficulty of the game won’t be only for the hardcore. Yasuda says that they will be looking to satisfy players who are focused on getting the most challenging experience by having some “really, really tough missions and side-quests.”
He then went further, giving some insight into boss and mission design and how it is balanced through testing:
One that I can definitely tell you is that we’ll basically fight a boss unarmored. And if the tester can beat the boss, then it’s fair. And with some of the toughest stages, if somebody can beat it, then it’s beatable. Because it’s meant to be tough.
Another interesting tidbit to come from the interview was that the historical and fantasy elements of Nioh, and how this relates to genuine history and Japanese folklore, will be tied more deeply to the gameplay than simple encyclopedia or journal entries would. For example: “you gradually gather that information through your actions. So if you fight a character then you’ll attain their information.” It remains to be seen if this means any combat advantages or similar will be gained this way. Or, if this just refers to keeping the historical elements interesting.
Nioh is developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo and is due to release for PS4 in February 2017. You can read our preview of the game here.
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