Interviews// Folklore: Yoshiki Okamoto

Posted 4 Oct 2007 15:19 by
Yoshiki Okamoto has every right to be laid back. Having a very long history in videogames, he has become one of the bright developing stars behind many recent Capcom classics such as Devil May Cry, Onimusha and Resident Evil to name but a few. Now a head of his own studio, Game Republic, he has a new project close to his heart called Folklore.

Soon to be released on the PlayStation 3, Folklore is something that is largely being tagged as an "adults' fairy tale". Drawing heavily on Western folk tales and using strikingly dark themes, the game looks to be an entertaining mix of fantasy and adventure action. SPOnG spoke to Okamoto-san recently to learn more about the development process behind the game.

SPOnG: Could we have a brief introduction for our readers? How did you get into the games business and what was it about gaming that made you feel you wanted to be a part of it?

Yoshiki Okamoto: I?m Yoshiki Okamoto, and I?m the CEO of Game Republic. Before that I was the COO of Capcom and before that I worked at Konami as a game designer. If I tell you the truth of how I got into this industry, it might not be that interesting!

? But OK! The truth is my wife at the time had something to do with it. I got a job after graduating from school, and the place where I had to work was far away from where my she lived. She told me that it was too far away and that we should break it all off. I didn?t want to do this, so I looked for another job close to where she was living, and it just happened to be a game company.

SPOnG: Can we ask, are you still with her?

Yoshiki Okamoto: Well, we got a divorce shortly after! (Laughs)

SPOnG: You say you were inspired by fairy tales to develop Folklore. Which particular ones inspired you the most?

Yoshiki Okamoto: The basic mythology that I got my ideas from was the Irish ffolklore, which became a basis for a lot of the fantasy stories that are out there already. The Roman or Greek mythologies are very famous as well, but there is a lot of stuff that is based off of Irish folklore. We didn?t want people to look at it and say ?Oh yeah, so it?s like Lord of the Rings? or anything like that, so we decided to go back to the very beginning of where Irish fairy tales originated instead to give a more original design.

SPOnG: How have you used your past experience in projects such as Onimusha and Devil May Cry to make the gameplay in Folklore more enjoyable, particularly in the battle system?

Yoshiki Okamoto: Yes, I?ve worked on games with fighting systems in them such as Devil May Cry. That game in particular is very battle-oriented, and there is a lot of battle in Folklore too. In those terms, I have taken some experience from working on past games to make the battling in Folklore unique. But in Folklore, the ultimate goal is simply to reach the end; it?s not so heavily battle-centric. A smaller goal is to use the Folks to defeat the enemies, but such a system has to feel good when playing ? it has to feel like it is a part of the game rather than tacked on, so to speak.

So, a lot of the battling in Folklore is done using the SIXAXIS in many different ways, in order to make the experience feel like it matches the game. In this way it is much different to that in something like Devil May Cry, and although I have used past experience to draw on making features in new games better, there is no one particular game or aspect that I have directly been influenced by with regards to anything in Folklore.
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