When people talk about their experience with a Fumito Ueda game, whether it's exploring hand-in-hand with Yorda in a lonely castle Ico, scaling beasts of unimaginable size in Shadow of the Colossus or watching a trailer for The Last Guardian and knowing the game's probably going to make you shed a tear by the end, it's consistently an experience laden with strong emotions. Ueda's games make people feel something. But what games does he react to?
"Half-Life 2," said Ueda during an interview at Tokyo Game Show last week.
Half-Life 2? I thought shooters weren't popular in Japan. But, again, he nodded. Why Half-Life 2?
(Keep in mind, these answers are delivered through a translator answering hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign language questions over the course of several days. Some of the answer is lost.)
"There was variation in terms locations," said Ueda, "and also the way of storytelling in the game. Usually, you have to incorporate storytelling with constraints, but the way they [Half-Life 2 developer Valve] implemented constraints was something different that I enjoyed, compared to other games."
Much of the storytelling in Valve's games takes place through non-traditional means. You aren't pulled away from the action to watch a scene play out in letterbox or forced to look in a direction. The cut-scenes unfold around you and you are the camera.
"Usually, when it comes to the cut-scenes, you can't really play -- [that] operation isn't really allowed," he said. "That kind of game is something that I don't want to see. If you're constrained already even before cut-scene, then you're in cut-scene, then that's fine. But you're in the middle of play, in the middle of the game, then all of a sudden you're in a cut-scene [and] you're not supposed to operate at all -- that's not the kind of game I want to do. If there is some other techniques that will not give them that kind of feeling, that's something I want to implement."
The Last Guardian, Shadow of the Colossus and Ico were all from similar third-person perspectives. Given his appreciation for Valve's brand of storytelling and appreciation of what's possible from that vantage point, does that mean he'd consider making a move into the first-person in the future?
"I have an interest in making first-person games," he said.
I'd play a Ueda-developed first-person game, wouldn't you?
For more with Ueda, make sure to check out my video interview with him from TGS.