After over a decade, Capcom is finally bringing back Dragon's Dogma with its sequel, Dragon's Dogma 2.
At Tokyo Game Show, not only did I get the chance to play the game extensively (and you can read my hands-on preview and watch a lot of gameplay), but I also interviewed director Hideaki Itsuno and producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, who had some interesting details to share.
Itsuno-san talked about the pawns, mentioning that they have been improved in several ways. While their ability to lead the player toward an objective existed in the first Dragon's Dogma, the developers wanted them to feel almost like a friend who knows the game and gives you hints on how to progress without spoiling it too much.
The new pawns can have four different kinds of personalities, which change their priorities when acting, the way they speak (and their voices), and other elements that haven't been announced yet. These elements are designed to add more personality and character to each pawn.
They're also intended to provide hints about what kind of person created them, and this was the original idea for pawns in the first game, to connect players indirectly. The developers endeavored to enhance this effect in Dragon's Dogma 2 even further.
While the term "pawn" may sound like they're expendable, they're actually a critical part of the game and the player needs them. This is also one of the reasons why they have been given more personality, so that they won't feel like inorganic beings and will instead feel more like full-fledged and indispensable characters.
We also hear that the world is meant to be roughly four times bigger than that of original game. However, this isn't just about the dimensions of the map, but more about the density of experiences and content included in the world. There is much more to do within the map of Dragon's Dogma 2.
The verticality of the terrain is another element that has definitely been emphasized, making sure that players get tangible advantages and disadvantages depending on where they're standing on the vertical plane. On top of that, the vertical aspect adds more blind spots, which can lead to more surprises.
I shared with Itsuno-san my impression that the cities looked very realistic, wondering what kind of research had been done to achieve that. He was quite happy to hear that as the development of the game overlapped with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the team couldn't travel outside Japan.
However, they still could rely on a lot of experience and documentation they had accumulated not only for the original Dragon's Dogma but also for Resident Evil and Devil May Cry. On top of that, they did a lot of research by looking at various documents and videos to make sure that the locations would look authentic. A lot of effort went into that mission.
Interestingly, the game has monsters that have behavioral patterns and roaming areas. For instance, there is a griffon that will fly from its nest in search of prey and will swoop down and attack if it finds it. The team wanted this to feel organic, and natural and having seen it happen in the demo I tried, it can be a lot of fun.
The original game sparked a lively modding community when Dark Arisen was released on PC, but this time around the game is launching on PC at the same time as consoles, so I asked Hirabayashi-san whether there is any plan for official mod support.
While he had nothing to announce on this front, he mentioned that the team understands that mods are a huge part of the culture of PC gaming. On top of that, the development team is making sure to optimize the game so that PC games can enjoy the build that will be released to its fullest.
The original Dragon's Dogma aimed to look quite photorealistic, and this also extended to the combat animations. Itsuno-san explained that he aimed to enhance that effect with Dragon's Dogma 2. To this end, the team applied the experience acquired while making the jump from Devil May Cry 4 to Devil May Cry 5 in order to achieve battle movements which feel more natural and realistic without losing responsiveness.
Itsuno-san talked about the feedback received so far about Dragon's Dogma 2, and a lot of it involves the fact that it feels "surprisingly Dragon's Dogma."
While, of course, the development team aims to make the graphics feel on par with current generation expectations, these comments feel very comforting and give them confidence that the direction they have picked for the game is the correct one. Indeed, that impression matches the developer's intention, so Itsuno-san hopes we'll look forward to that.
Hirabayashi-san added a message for those who are not familiar with the original game, mentioning that if they're looking for an adventure that comes with good action and a great density of content, he's confident they will find something they will enjoy in Dragon's Dogma 2.
Dragon's Dogma 2 is coming for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. If you want to read more, you can also check out what Itsuno-san told us about the possibility of bringing back the Rival School series.