I had the pleasure of briefly chatting with Mr. Hidetaka Suehiro, better known as SWERY, as he promoted the upcoming release of Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut for PS3 last week, and he gave me some nice hints about the projects that he wants to tackle next, as well as where he thinks the Japanese game industry is headed in the upcoming generation.
While he’s most famous for directing 2010’s Deadly Premonition, Swery has had a very long and colorful career in the games industry: he started out at SNK making arcade classics like Kizuna Encounter and The Last Blade (a personal favorite of mine,) and has since worked on everything from flight combat games (Ace Combat: Joint Assault,) to stealth-action games (the woefully underrated Spy Fiction.) When I asked Swery what genre he’d like to tackle next, he said that he thought episodic games a-la Telltale’s The Walking Dead would be an interesting challenge to take on. Swery believes that episodic games are unique in that every episode has to be great; he said that while boxed, retail games often have uninteresting levels spread out throughout their campaigns, episodic games have to make every single chapter perfect if they want players to buy further episodes of the game.
Deadly Premonition was one of the few open-world games to come out of Japan so far, but Swery believes that the genre is about to become very popular among Japanese developers. While Japanese gamers have traditionally been xenophobic in regards to Western developed games, open world titles like Assassin’s Creed and Skyrim (as well as Japan’s own Dragon’s Dogma,) have managed to become quite successful in Japan recently, and Swery thinks that most Japanese developers will finally start to embrace open worlds and non-linear design in the upcoming next generation of consoles.
While I’m still kicking myself for forgetting to bring my copies of Deadly Premonition and The Last Blade 2 for Swery to sign, I still really enjoyed hearing him discuss his game design philosophy on his predictions regarding the future of the industry. Swery’s been making games for a long time, and he obviously knows what he’s talking about. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for a continuation of Deadly Premonition, but regardless of what Swery’s next project is, I’m sure it’ll be something that’s unique and incredibly creative.