I recently got the chance to have a short chat with Hideyuki Shin, known for his previous work on Silent Hill 4 and Killer is Dead. He is the current game director at GungHo Online Entertainment and responsible for the recently released free-to-play brawler – Let It Die – for the PlayStation 4. He presents us with a peek behind the development and a rundown of the game. Enjoy.
CM: First off, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with me today! Let’s start off with some of the basics; Can you tell us what your role in the game is?
Hideyuki Shin: I am LET IT DIE’s game director. I am leading the game development at Grasshopper Manufacture.
CM: You’re based in Tokyo, correct? How would you describe the company, and has your location influenced your games in any way?
HS: Grasshopper Manufacture is a small to mid-sized developer studio located nearby Tokyo Station, which is one of the busiest areas in Tokyo where people have easy access to all types of stores and shops. I think this fact may have influenced the lifestyle of our staff and our game development in some ways.
CM: LET IT DIE has been called: “Suda51 meets Dark Souls”, which paints an image of some very over the top and stylized game play. Can you tell us a little more about the title?
HS: When people play LET IT DIE, they should be able to easily distinguish our game from Dark Souls, which is one of the greatest action titles. LET IT DIE has a unique world setting, visual style, game system, and game cycle that sets it apart from other games.
CM: You’ve previously worked on everything from “Killer is Dead” to “Silent Hill 4: The Room”; have any of your experiences from these titles ‘bled over’ into LET IT DIE?
HS: I did not take any game design elements from past titles I had worked on into LET IT DIE. However, I can say that my judgement and senses on understanding users’ emotions and needs in each action were trained through my previous game developing experiences. My past achievements and failures definitely helped me have a strong heart and mind to challenge through any kinds of difficulties.
CM: What are some of your favorite features or moments in the game? And is there anything that you had to leave out that you wish had made the final release?
HS: My favorite feature in the game is the survival element, where fighters eat animals and mushrooms to survive. We wanted to make the survival element more direct and realistic since this is one of the important elements in this game system. There are some features that had been left out from current contents, however we will be releasing those in future updates, so please stay tuned.
CM: This is your first project ‘exclusively’ on the PlayStation 4, correct? What were some of the difficulties and/or benefits of working with this new hardware?
HS: By limiting the hardware selection, we could focus more on the game design and development.
CM: The PlayStation 4 has some very unique features, such as the DS4’s touch pad, light bar and gyroscopic sensor; did you support any of these hardware features? If so, what purpose do they serve?
HS: In LET IT DIE, the touch pad is used to select, throw, or eat items or beasts.
CM: LET IT DIE is a free to play title. What were some of the major reasons this format was chosen? What would you say to a player who avoids free-to-play, as some of these titles become more of a “Pay to win” format?
HS: GungHo and Grasshopper wanted a challenge in a new genre to create a new way of enjoying a console game. The end result of our personal challenge was to create a free-to-play console game. We had planned game design and a game cycle very carefully, with a lot of effort to ensure LET IT DIE was not a pay-to-win game. I am sure that players who are not fan of free-to-play games will have an enjoyable experience with LET IT DIE.
CM: Other than the obvious “Suda style”, has the team drawn inspirations from any other sources? Film, books, etc.
HS: It has an influence from the Japanese TV show called “I am Boken Shonen/ an Adventure Boy” where the main objective is to survive and escape from an uninhabited island with a single knife.
CM: What does the future hold for yourself and Grasshopper in general?
HS: There is so much more coming to LET IT DIE, with future updates to expand the world and keep entertaining players. We want as much feedback as possible from fans to improve the game and energize the LET IT DIE community.
CM: Speaking of other games, what are some of the current favourites for you and team?
HS: Our favorite game is Titanfall 2. Their game design and art direction are top notch, and should attract attention from all types of game fans.
I’d like to thank Hideyuki Shin for taking the time to talk with me. I myself am a huge fan of Let It Die, and I can’t seem to stop playing it. Without a doubt, it is the first free-to-play game that has kept me interested without bleeding me for money. Well done.
Let It Die is available now for free on the PlayStation Store.