Drakengard producer Yasuhito Watanabe and assistant producer Takamasa Shiba recently sat down for an interview regarding their upcoming PlayStation 2 title, and the two shared a few insightful details.
According to Shiba, Drakengard 's story was inspired by Celtic mythology, and they took the liberty of mixing in a little Japanese culture as well. Even the music of Drakengard is Celtic-influenced, as the composer tried to use instruments much like the Celts would have. Unlike other "lighthearted" European-influenced titles, such as Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, Shiba says that Drakengard is somber and "darker-toned."
The story of Drakengard begins in a world where there are two major forces: the Empire and the Allies. Seemingly out of the blue, the Empire became aggressive and invaded the Allies' lands. The Allies were guarding a special seal, and the Empire managed to break it, thus opening a Pandora's box of sorts. Monsters flowed into the land, overrunning everything and creating chaos. The Empire also took a young woman named Furiae, who was the guardian of the seal. Her brother, Kaimu, is the prince of a small kingdom, and naturally, he must set out to rescue her. In order to attain the power to defeat the Empire, Kaimu struck a deal with the most powerful of all creatures: the dragon. By sacrificing his ability to speak (and receiving a special mark on his tongue to commemorate the event), Kaimu and the dragon became allies. Shiba hinted that the world will eventually "collapse," and that this widespread destruction will reshape the world by creating craters, volcanoes, and other formations. In addition, the game will have multiple endings that depend on which paths have been taken by the player.
Some of the gameplay involves flying on the back of the dragon and engaging in aerial combat. While some believe that Drakengard was inspired by the Panzer Dragoon games, Shiba claims that the games did not have any influence on Drakengard at all. Instead, the game's production team is from Namco's Ace Combat titles, hence the fast-paced, high-flying aerial combat segments. In addition, Shiba points out that a major difference between Drakengard and the Panzer Dragoon games is that in Drakengard, the player can move 360 degrees over expansive lands, as opposed to the limited directions in Panzer Dragoon.
There will be a variety of story-based missions accompanied by cinemas, and three modes of gameplay will be available: Dogfight, Strafe, and Melee. At certain times, players will be able to fight and move through dialogue at the same time. According to Watanabe, this is just one way they tried to make the game "unique." Another unusual feature is that the characters, weapons, and the dragon will level up "independently," and players can return to previously cleared sections for bonuses. Shiba emphasized that there will be eight weapons, with each one having eight versions available through upgrades, and there will also be plenty of magic spells. The dragon itself will also change in form as it gains levels.
Near the end of the interview, Shiba mentioned that currently there are no plans to make Drakengard into a series, but he also noted that anything is possible in the future.
Drakengard will most likely soar into North America next spring.