Itagaki Explains Devil’s Third on Wii U
When Devil’s Third was (re)unveiled at E3, gamers weren’t terribly surprised that Tomonobu Itagaki’s next title would be a hyper-violent action game. What was surprising was the fact that the game would be coming exclusively to the Wii U, a console usually associated with family-friendly games. In an interview with Polygon, Itagaki explained why Devil’s Third is a Wii U exclusive, and revealed some new details about the game.
Set in a technology-free alternate future, Devil’s Third is a third-person action game that incorporates shooting, melee combat and wall-climbing elements in an attempt to bring a more purposeful and visceral close combat experience to shooters. It also features extreme violence, with severed heads and limbs and no shortage of blood. A game like this seems more at home on the Xbox 360 or PS3 than the Wii U, and that’s partially because it was originally planned for those consoles.
Valhalla Games has been at work on Devil’s Third since 2010, with the game originally set to be published by THQ. Following the publisher’s collapse, the game’s rights were returned to Itagaki. He then brought the game to Nintendo’s Danny Bilson, the former senior vice president of creative development for THQ who first worked with Valhalla on Devil’s Third. Bilson and Itagaki developed a friendship while working at THQ, leading to the partnership at Nintendo.
"When things ended the way they did at THQ everyone was very upset about it," Itagaki said. "But happily, we found a way to continue on with this project and that's what was more important to me.” Itagaki states that the move to the Wii U hasn’t changed the game much, but that Nintendo’s love of the project affected about 10 percent of the final product.
Itagaki isn’t worried about his blood-soaked game coming to the kid-friendly system, but instead sees it as an example of Nintendo broadening their horizons. "I think a lot of people might have been surprised that such a violent game was going to be released on a Nintendo platform," he said. "But I think that you can say, from a certain perspective, things are getting interesting for Nintendo as well, making these kinds of choices."
While Devil’s Third is still only in development, Itagaki states that the game’s ending is set up for a sequel, and that he enjoys envisioning projects in terms of trilogies. “I enjoy the freedom of having that arc to work with," he said. "So, that's simply the pattern that I enjoy most. I like being able to develop things that way." In addition to sequels, Itagaki sees potential for spin-offs and associated materials, like movies and manga, from Devil’s Third.
Talking about the game itself, Itagaki describes a fast-paced experience where swords hold just as much sway as guns. Ninja Gaiden is listed as an influence, and a control scheme that is “very easy to play for fans of the Ninja Gaiden series,” will be included as an option. Multiplayer matches will utilize fortresses that can be customized to make every match different.
At a glance, Devil’s Third’s exclusive presence on the Wii U may seem like a mismatch, but with the strong partnership between Itagaki and Bilson and a console in need of some adult content, it could end up being a strong pairing. We’ll find out when the game launches later this year.