Owners of Sony’s PSP platform have been clamoring for original and engaging titles to play every since the system’s release. While these experiences have been few and far between, both Sony and developer Climax Entertainment have released in Kingdom of Paradise a game that many could find to be just what they are looking for. We had the opportunity to speak with the game’s Assistant Producer, Satoshi Ban regarding this exciting new action RPG for the PSP.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us regarding Kingdom of Paradise. What has your role been on this project, and how has working on this game been different from other games you’ve been involved with?
My name is Satoshi Ban and I am the Assistant Producer on Kingdom of Paradise. For this project, my role was to coordinate staff and direction of the title along with the Producer. The big difference with this game compared to other projects I’ve worked on in the past is that I really wanted to develop the first “Asian” title that goes beyond the borders of Japan. By joining forces with a broad level Asian staff, we were able to go beyond just a “Japanese” title and incorporate bits and pieces from all sorts of Asian cultures.
As an RPG with action elements, this game seems to share much in common with other entries in this genre hybrid. If you had to compare this RPG to another existing title, what would you say would offer a comparable experience to that of Kingdom of Paradise?
I don’t know if there are specific games that influenced us, but by breaking down the traditional action-RPG gaming mold, we believe Kingdom of Paradise offers a new action-RPG gaming style customized for the PSP. The key difference in this game is that it is almost more of an action game with RPG elements. Also Kingdom of Paradise is a completely original IP. We were inspired by epic adventure, classic samurai sword-fighting, and a mythical world based on the Orient. I would really like players to see how we’re trying to push the boundaries of traditional genres and game design with Kingdom of Paradise for the PSP. I want players to experience how deep and powerful the PSP hardware really is and I’m really looking forward to the future possibilities of PSP game development.
What is the general gameplay of Kingdom of Paradise like? Is this a fairly linear game, or is there an emphasis on exploration?
Kingdom of Paradise is definitely considered more of an action game that contains RPG elements. There are many RPG-like moments, such as event scenes and talking to people in town, but there are way more action elements to this game than the typical RPG. Similar to classic RPGs, players will level up their character by defeating enemies and earning experience points. Players will also need to talk to people along the way, gaining information and clues necessary to move the story forward. The game’s story is fairly linear, however players will be able to visit any clan region whenever they’d like. However, players will need to collect certain items and visit certain areas before moving on to others, and moving along the story. Depending on the skill level of the player, it should take around 15-20 hours to finish the game.
What we some of the challenges you and your team faced in bringing an RPG to a portable market?
This was the first time our production team has had a chance to create a game for the PSP. Developing action-RPG titles is a genre that our team has excelled in, so creating something in that vein for PSP was a challenge but we believe we were able to pull it off successfully. By utilizing our strengths in creating traditional action-RPG games, we were able to offer a new twist to the genre that fits well with the design of the PSP. The best example again is the ability to create your own Bugei Scrolls. This type of fighting mechanic lends itself well to the quick action that gamers will expect from a portable player. I look forward to the future possibilities of game development for the PSP and I would really like players to see how we’re trying to push the boundaries of traditional genres and game design with Kingdom of Paradise for the PSP.
The idea of being able to combine different techniques in order to create your own original combos sounds exciting, but complicated. How does this work, and, perhaps more importantly, how have you managed to implement this without bogging down the fast-paced action aspects of this RPG?
The combat system is very unique. The biggest feature we introduced is our concept of Kenpu and Bugei Scrolls. Players will receive Kenpu as they defeat enemies and proceed through events in the story. In the game, Kenpu is part of a scroll that focuses on specific sword technique and style. Basically, Kenpu is a specific fighting move. By aligning multiple Kenpu, players can create what is known as a Bugei Scroll, or, a set combination of Kenpu moves. By equipping various Bugei Scrolls, players can begin implementing fighting combos in their attacks. The Bugei Scroll is a A