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Interview with rain Associate Producer Dais Kawaguchi

April 4, 2013 Written by Dan Oravasaari

While at GDC 2013 I got a chance to speak with SCEA Associate Producer Dais Kawaguchi about their upcoming project, rain, and was lucky enough to get him to answer a few questions about this mysterious title.

What is the story behind the child being a ghost?

As the game progresses, we want the player to find out what happened. The story begins with a boy, on one Sunday morning, the boy sees an invisible girl running away, and she is being chased by a monster. A ghostly like creature, as he follows her to save her, he enters this mysterious world of rain and he learns that he too has become invisible.

So he doesn’t know he’s invisible until he sees the girl?

When he enters the world of rain, yes.

Are there other people in the world, that are not invisible?

No, there is just him and the girl.

Are there any platforming aspects, or is the game strictly puzzle based?

It’s more of a puzzle element. Story driven, the most important part of this game is revealing the story, understanding why this happened, and why he is here.

What was the influence behind the game?

This game originated from PlayStation Camp. Which is a division of Japan Studio, of SCEJ, and PlayStation Camp is an audition where people have unique ideas. So a lot of people submit there ideas and a group of those people who won in the past came up with the idea. They wanted to first create a game, an action adventure game with an invisible character, and that is what started off the project. The rain and all of the environment came after.

So the concept of an invisible character started the whole project all together? Was there any sort of personal meaning as to why they wanted to use an invisible character?

He’s [Creative Director] been to Europe and he really likes the architecture of Europe, and that is what inspired him. He also wanted to express the uncertainty of the game, and what he means by that is that as a child he had been lost, as everyone has been lost at least once in their life. He remembers the fear of being lost, and not knowing where he is, but also the excitement of exploring a new world – something that we tend to forget as an adult, so he wanted to express that feeling through rain.

Since the main character is a child is a “ghost” or invisible, can he die?

He doesn’t necessarily die, but if he is attacked or captured by the ghostly creatures, he just goes back to the closest starting point.

So the premise behind of having the player avoid wanting to do die, is only the fear of having to redo a segment of the game. Are there any restriction on the number of tries, or lives the player gets?

There is no limit on the number of restarts the player gets.

Is there a health bar or any form of HUD that will be implemented in the final build?

We intentionally took out everything. We want people to feel that they are the main character, and experience it almost like an interactive theater, or movie. We do not want anything to be a barrier between the player and the character.

What is it that you guys are most proud of regarding the development of rain so far?

So we are extremely proud of the atmosphere we were able to create, the mixture of fantasy and reality. So people can get the sensation that it is really dark and that it is raining. It creates this mysterious fantasy, and gives people the sense of nostalgia, it feels like it is real, but there is no specific time or location. We are also proud of the mechanics of being able to make the character invisible and appear.

What were the difficulties of making an invisible character?

It was extremely hard.

Did it start out as a concept before even starting the project?

We immediately came out with the idea of rain to be able to show the silhouette only. It didn’t actually take that long to develop the concept, it only took about a month. What they did was create a prototype area with rain and without rain. They were just testing it by walking around to make sure it functioned correctly, and just by walking around they thought it was unique.

Are there any collectables, or incentives to replay the game?

There aren’t actual places that you will be able to go on the second round, but players will understand the entire story in detail.

So there are aspects of the story that will make more sense to players as they go around the second time, something that they would have missed on their first playthrough?

Exactly.

How long has it been in development?

It has been in development for two years.

Have you guys figured out the length of the game, or if it will have platinum trophies?

There will not be a platinum trophy, but there are trophies. We are still finalizing the story, and still making edits, so that will determine the length.

When is it scheduled for release?

This year – We are still finalizing on the story, when its done, we don’t really know…and depending on what we do with the story.

Have you guys set a price yet?

We haven’t announced anything yet.

Will this will be a world wide launch?

Yes.

Anything else you want to add?

This is a PS3 game and will only be available for download, but that doesn’t mean it will be a short game. There is so much depth to the story, there is so much gameplay, so expect more.