[Featurama] Jodie Foster, Squirrels, and More: A Casual Conversation with SWERY 65
Last week I went off to get a look at Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut. If you read my preview it’s shaping up to be great. Like…really, really great. So you can only imagine my excitement when I got out and met the man behind one of my favorite games this side of the console generation. This isn’t an interview per se, but an informal back and forth at the event, and then later over some drinks. What did I find out? I don’t really know exactly but hit the jump for little bits and pieces I got out of the man.
Now I don’t know if any of this has been mentioned already on the internet but apparently York was originally planned as a female protagonist. That’s right, SWERY had originally envisioned a tough female detective modeled after Jodie Foster (the game’s producer wanted the character to be based on Natalie Portman). Yeah, well the studio (aka “the man”) couldn’t handle a female protagonist. Well I added the political edge but I thought it was a neat little tidbit. I wonder if there’s a gender-bent York drawing lying around the internet somewhere?
Of course, as a Japanese developer, they knew their domestic market and they knew that their game would have a very difficult time getting the recognition it deserved at home. This why Access Game’s goal from the get-go was to release the game in the West. This made a lot of sense and it seems that it was a decision that ended up paying off.
When I asked whether or not the divisive reviews (the negatives pointing to technical problems while the positive ones focused on story) illustrated to the developer a divide between gamers who focus more on graphics and such and those that focus on narrative. He had mentioned earlier that the fans who enjoyed the original Deadly Premonition had great “sense”, the ability to see the subtleties of what he was accomplishing, to like the game. I can definitely see where he’s coming from and will be the first to say that the game isn’t for everyone. Still he acknowledged the technical drawbacks as it was a budget title and wished to remedy it with the upcoming Director’s Cut.
As for some of his influences? Well those would be the usual suspects, movies, manga, television. He didn’t list any specifics but you could probably guess at least one of them. However a lot of key influences actually from real-life. That scene where York sits across Polly at that ridiculously long dinner table? Real-life in that it was a scene straight from something he saw during his travels. How about Thomas’ odd fascination with squirrel’s? This comes from SWERY’s own curiosity with the furry critters. Apparently squirrels are incredibly rare in Japan so when he got weird glances from Americans for eagerly taking pictures of squirrel’s in the states, he figured this would make for an interesting character quirk.
Oh, apparently his favorite scenario in the game is when York goes fishing. Yeah, I actually hated that part only because I was stuck fishing for at least ten minutes. Apparently the idea of “fishing for evidence” tickled his fancy.
So it was just a fun conversation with some neat facts about the game. Did it answer any serious questions? Probably not, but that’s what my preview was for.