Legacy Interview

Tuesday, February 10, 2004.
Breakdown Box artBreakdown - Hirofumi Kami (Kami-san)

We sit down with Hirofumi Kami (Kami-san), producer of Breakdown, Namco Limited about their upcoming title called Breakdown!

Q: So, can you tell us about the storyline for Breakdown?

A: The game script is a key feature of any successful and fun game, however I would prefer not to talk about it in detail. I can tell you about some of the main points in the opening sequence of the game. Derrick Cole (the player) wakes up in a laboratory, suffering from amnesia. He does not understand the situation he is in, but it appears that he is involved in some kind of experiment. Two conflicting forces are trying to take control of the laboratory. One group is a military group; the other group consists of mysterious looking beings known as T’lan Warriors (possibly non-human), who will attack any human in sight. Without knowing why, Derrick is attacked by both groups. A mysterious woman named Alex, who seems to know what is going on in the laboratory, helps him. Alex is the first character Derrick meets, and nothing much is known about her, other than the fact that she is on Derrick’s side. Derrick seems to have promised her something important in the past, but he does not remember. Alex knows who the T’lan are, but why she knows these facts remains a mystery. As Derrick and Alex work their way through the laboratory, the player will begin to understand the mysteries surrounding the laboratory, the T’lan warriors and the military forces. The special powers that Derrick contains within him gradually become more apparent. This is one of biggest mysteries for the player in the early stages of the game.

Q: How many different means of attack at our disposal in Breakdown? It's not just all weapons from what I understand.

A: There are more than 4 different weapons. You can keep all of them, so you don’t have to discard any of them. Other than weapons, you can punch and kick. There are more than 10 different single attacks such as punch and kick, and there are more than 30 different various attacks. There are also other various actions. (jumping, hanging, backflip, etc.)

Q: Breakdown is starting to look like an intense game. How is the hand to hand combat handled in the first person mode?

A: Basically we utilized the captured motion and the motion from other fighting games with the first person view and adjusted those movements. Some of them couldn’t be used for one reason or another, so we re-worked them from scratch. Movements were checked and re-checked in the game to make sure they were useful and compelling. The visual effect is important, but the dynamic sound for those movements is also very important. We were able to make good and powerful fighting scenes combining these movements.

Q: What made you decide to make this game exclusive to the Xbox?

A: Xbox is great hardware and we love challenging the hardware with new ideas.

Q: Will Breakdown incorporate Xbox Live?

A: I am afraid not.

Q: Does this game have multiplayer capabilities? If so, will Breakdown then have system link?

A: Unfortunately no. But we believe the single-player story mode provides a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable game.

Q: What band is featured on the sound track? It was indicated that your soundtrack is exclusive.

A: “Take It All” by Trust company is part of the Breakdown soundtrack. Other tracks included in the game are custom designed by our staff, and we believe they add a great sense of excitement and action to the game. They match each scene very well just like you might expect to see from a movie soundtrack.

Q: How does Breakdown utilize surround sound to enhance game play?

A: By using 5.1 ch Digital sound, the position of enemies and their breath can be heard clearly. Also if you run, you can hear the sound of wind and your own breathing. You can hear the natural sound like you are actually there.

Q: Will you have support for high definition resolutions of 720p or 1080i and will it feature 16x9 widescreen format?

A: It is compatible with D2. (US version)

Q: Has the development team behind Breakdown worked on any other Xbox game by Namco?

A: No. It was everyone’s first experience on Xbox.

Q: How are the controls laid out to inter-mix hand to hand combat and weapons at the same time?

A: Basically when you attack with either a gun or hands, you use trigger. For left hand (leg) and right hand (leg), left and right trigger are applied for intuitive control. To switch between hand and weapon, you need to use a button. You can switch back to hands the same way.

Q: In what ways will this game bring something new to the first person perspective action genre? Are you confident that Breakdown can compete with a large market of first person games for the Xbox?

A: I am sure you’ll feel that Breakdown offers something new in its gameplay and I am hoping that BREAKDOWN can make a difference for other FPS games because BREAKDOWN has fighting with the first person perspective, realistic hand movement, and the unique world and scenario.

Q: Tell us about the combat experience in this game. How cunning will the enemies be? Will they be smart and use tactics, or any sort of artificial intelligence?

A: Enemy intelligence is different in characters, but basically the T’lan soldiers whom you are going to fight are not human. So we didn’t make them as smart as humans. On the other hand, we made them something that doesn’t fear of death, doesn’t know of death, thinks only to kill enemies and has strength without emotion.

Q: Will vehicles be able to be used / driven in this game?

A: I can only tell you for now that you can drive a Jeep, and you will be driving it in the first person perspective.

Q: Did you find the Xbox to be a good platform to create a game that is as ambitious as Breakdown?

A: Xbox is a great platform to develop for.

Q: How long was the production time for Breakdown, from start to finish?

A: From the very first prototype, it has been close to 3 years.

Q: Do you feel that you where able to accomplish everything you wanted to make in a game with Breakdown? Did you have to make any compromises?

A: There were so many things I wanted to do, I don’t think I could get all of them accomplished. However, we put enough great elements into the game to be very proud of BREAKDOWN. I am sure gamers who play Breakdown will enjoy this.

Q: Where would you place the difficulty level at in Breakdown? Will players of all skill levels be able to pick up the game and enjoy it?

A: I believe this has suitable difficulty. With normal level, the average players should be able to finish it with a bit of effort. And I believe with expert level, even the skillful player could have a hard time.

On behalf of the staff of Xboxaddict.com and Xbox addicts everywhere, I'd like to thank the people at Namco-Hometek for taking time to answer some questions about their forthcoming game: Breakdown.

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