When is a game not a game? Apparently, when it’s Asura’s Wrath—or not. That’s the kind of circular talk that attendees of Capcom’s pre-TGS event last night had to deal with as the company revealed this new game to the press for the first time. “What we’re bringing to this game is a brand-new style that will actually have you question whether you’re playing the game—while you’re playing it,” said the game’s director, Seiji Shimoda. And did he care to elaborate?
“Just talking about how it’s this great new style is cheesy without details,” Shimoda said. Nodding heads all around the audience. “But rest assured that even those of us making the game are confused as to whether we are making a traditional game, so it really is fresh and new.”
Here’s what we know, and what we might know, after last night’s tantalizing reveal. Asura’s Wrath is a brand-new concept from the development house CyberConnect2—unlike the other two announcements from Capcom last night, this isn’t a sequel or a spin-off from an existing series. The game appears to center around large-scale melee combat between demigods, and the aesthetic draws heavily from Eastern tradition.
In the trailer, a scarred, mutilated superman stares down a demon and his imp army as they shower him with spears. Dude takes a deep breath, shakes off the huge, terrifying pointy sticks, and closes in to take on the demon mano-a-mano. It all sounds pretty epic, but everything up to this point has been child’s play. Because then the scene gets truly ridiculous: the demon summons his pal, an ancient Japanese warrior as big as the earth, who literally sticks his finger in things.
The only real indication that any of this is a game—rather than an insane 3-D cartoon coming to a theater near you—is the appearance of quick-time events at a couple points in the footage. A short sequence with the controller’s trigger buttons and analog sticks make the mysterious superman hunker down for a fight with the serene, determined rage of a sumo wrestler.
According to the development team, the overriding theme is “wrath” (naturally), and they’re guided by two key concepts. The first is the concept of “serialized drama,” and the other is the idea of “experiencing the game rather than playing it.” Like a lot of what was said during the Asura’s Wrath presentation, those statements could cut either way—it could be a revolutionary new type of game, or it could be a cutscene-heavy snoozefest.
Capcom R&D head Keiji Inafune wants us to believe it’ll be the former. “It’s very rare for games to give me goosebumps. When I first got my hands on this concept, it really did give me goosebumps.”
And he left it there. Just about the only concrete information we got about Asura’s Wrath last night were the platforms—it’s being developed for 360 and PS3—and this vague release-date forecast: “We still have a long way to go.”