The man who left Capcom and went on to drop some truth bombs is back with a project that could resurrect interest in the PlayStation Vita. I’m of course referring to Keiji Inafune, who since leaving Capcom in 2010 has stayed low while he continued to critique the Japanese development community and doing some small projects via Intercept and Comcept - his new studios.
Earlier this year at GDC Keiji teased of an imminent project for the PlayStation Vita and now such a thing has been announced in a rather surprising fashion. Instead of producing a game through Comcept, Keiji is lending his services in the multi-studio project that is Soul Sacrifice, a twisted 3rd person action game that’s one part Monster Hunter and one part Clive Barker horror story.
Unlike other recent games on the Vita or titles produced in Japan, Soul Sacrifice is somewhat one of those “dream team” scenarios which could be awesome if all the ingredients mix well. Developed by Marvelous with planning/design work by Keiji Inafune, Soul Sacrifice also includes the production services of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, which as you may know can be capable of producing sheer gold when they’re not taking five years to make a game. So in a rather cool occurrence Keiji has the full services of Marvelous and SCE Japan at his disposal while he can focus on providing interesting game mechanics – some of which may involve characters ripping their body parts off.
When Soul Sacrifice was first teased it was thought the game would be yet another Monster Hunter clone as that’s all the rage to do in Japan. Yes, Soul Sacrifice will feature some rather large and extremely terrifying looking enemies, but unlike Monster Hunter the game is strictly a single-player adventure filled with a rather intense tone.
Set in a fantasy world in which magic and mythical creatures are common place, Soul Sacrifice revolves around a slave who enters a mythical book, through the power of magic of course, that recounts fights his master partook in. So far the game may sound like a slightly edgy take on something we may have seen ages ago, but here’s where stuff gets real in Soul Sacrifice: the main character will rip off parts of his body to perform magic. It may sound a bit unorthodox and potentially painful upon seeing a guy rip off his manhood to do +6 damage on an enemy, but it may be the hook that manages to make Soul Sacrifice stand out amongst other titles on the Vita.
The combat leanings of Soul Sacrifice haven’t been fleshed out so it’s unknown if the game will have an RPG influence or offer more standard real-time action one would expect in a 3rd person action game. Whatever Soul Sacrifice dishes up I’m likely going to be there day one since the game looks awesome. The art is gruesome but in a tasteful way and the in-game screens also look impressive as a 3rd party Vita game that likely doesn’t have a mega budget behind it. Not borrowing too heavily for Demon Souls/Dark Souls or even Monster Hunter, Soul Sacrifice has some outright beautiful enemy designs that may seem odd at first but at least they’re unique compared to being derived from something that’s either dull or played out.
Soul Sacrifice may sound like an odd game or one that may not warrant much excitement due to its platform of choice, but having a game with scenarios designed by Keiji Inafune is enough to get my attention. Keiji may have been out of the game for a while since he left Capcom, but after hearing him talk at GDC this year I’m convinced he still has the passion to make a good game. I guess in the end Soul Sacrifice could be a big test not only for Keiji as a game designer but for the PlayStation Vita as well since the console continues to struggle in Japan.
A North American release date wasn’t given for Soul Sacrifice, but the game will be available in Japan later this year.