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PSU Interview: Heavenly Sword Producer Kyle Shubel

Ever since the first showing at E3 '05, gamers have oohed and aahed at the magnificence of Ninja Theory's next generation title, Heavenly Sword.

Today PSU brings new details on this AAA PS3 title in an interview with SCEA's Santa Monica Studios producer, Kyle Shubel.

PSU: Many people have related Heavenly Sword to games like God of War or Dynasty Warriors due to the combat and massive armies of men. How does Heavenly Sword set itself apart from such games?

Kyle Shubel: While it is quite an honor to be compared to both God of War and Dynasty Warriors, I think that Heavenly Sword will 'cut its own niche' with our robust combat system, amazing environments, and narrative experience. The 'in game cinematics' were all motion captured and recorded at the cutting edge WETA facilities in New Zealand using technology more advanced, in more detail, with more cameras, than "Lord of the Rings" and "King Kong" which were also filmed at WETA. I think that we are truly entering the "Next Generation".

PSU: How extensive is your arsenal of moves and weapons?

Shubel: Nariko begins our story with just a normal sword, this is before she makes the decision to wield the Heavenly Sword. Once she unsheathes that sword, why would she want to wield anything else? :) As far as makeshift weapons, the player can use just about anything in the environment as a weapon, picking up chairs, tables, enemy weapons and armor, even fruit, and throwing it at enemies. There are also a few occasions where the player gets access to a bazooka and cannons.

Combat moves is a whole other story. Heavenly Sword employs a stance based system where the player can chose from speed, ranged, and power stance, each of which have a number of moves which the player can pull off.

Coupled with the ability to dynamically change stances mid-combo, the player can string together an impressive list of moves.

PSU: Will there be any type of online mode for Heavenly Sword? If not multiplayer, do you have plans for PlayStation Home? Items, features, ect?

Shubel: Heavenly Sword does not have an online multiplayer mode - this is a single player game. We are in discussions to support HOME with Heavenly Sword content. Hopefully there will be more to announce in the near future....

What have you found best about working with the PlayStation 3 hardware?

Shubel: The cell processor and RSX have added a level of flexibility that really has freed the creatives, both design and art, to go a little crazy. From environmental vistas to huge armies, AI group combos to motion blended animations, and Nariko's hair, all of this is possible due to the PS3.

PSU: There has been word of a possible Heavenly Sword demo releasing before the retail game. Is this true and if so when can we expect it?

Shubel: There is a Heavenly Sword demo planned, will keep you posted on the availability.

PSU: What is the planned max resolution and framerate for Heavenly Sword?

Shubel: Right now were working at 720P, 30fps....

PSU: What kind of enemies will the players run into? Humans, monsters, ect? Who/what is your favorite?

Shubel: The majority of the enemies will be human, however there are some surprises, again... will keep you posted. As for my favorite, that is a tough one, there is a boss fight later in the game which I do not want to go into too much detail, but there is a gladiator style arena fight that
just rocks.

PSU: What kind of environments should we expect to see? Snowy areas, jungle, castles, ect? And how much freedom will players have to roam about?

Shubel: There are some very fantastical environments where Heavenly Sword really pushes the envelope. You will see snowy hills, riverbeds, barren desert, shrines nestled in the mountains and a castle city amongst waterfalls.

This being a narrative, story based adventure, we try and keep you on track throughout the game, so there isn't much along the lines of roaming about.

PSU: What is the planned length of the game? Will there be unlockables to add to the replay value?

Shubel: That's hard to say... depends on the player. There's a good chance there may be some unlockables, perhaps some bonus features, and more... so there should be some good replay value.

PSU: What is the expected release date for Heavenly Sword?

Fall '07

PSU.com would like to thank Kyle for his participation in the interview.

Keep an eye out for more news on Heavenly Sword as fall rolls around here at PlayStation Universe. This is definitely a game where are dying to get our hands on.