“Shoot Down Everything!”: An EDF 2025 Interview
With the release of Earth Defense Force 2025 just a few weeks away, we thought it would be a good time to interview some of the awesome people at Sandlot about the series, EDF 2017 on Vita.
For people who don’t know, could you give a general overview of what EDF is, and why you feel the game has developed such a strong cult following since the PlayStation 2?
Miki Takahashi, D3PA Associate Producer: In Earth Defense Force (EDF), you’re the last line of earth defense. You play as a soldier of the elite squad, and fight fierce battles against the vile alien race, Ravagers.
The Earth Defense Force series is a third-person shooter, which first appeared in Japan on PlayStation 2, June of 2003. The EDF series is highly rated by users, and is still being played over a very long period of time. EDF’s biggest draw is its one-of-a-kind gameplay. As soon as you start the game, you’ll be surrounded by hordes of giant insects. Our goal is very simple. SHOOT DOWN EVERYTHING! After 10 minutes into the game, I’m sure you’ll find yourself just blazing away for your life, and you’re already hooked into the EDF world. While the main gameplay is simple and anyone can start the game pretty easily, it’ll take unlimited hours to unlock all the weapons in the game. The more difficult levels you play, the stronger weapons you can obtain. Since you can bring only 2 weapons into the mission, you have to be very careful to select them. As such, much strategy is involved on how you clear more difficult levels.
The last EDF console release was Insect Armageddon, which was helmed by an American team, what was the decision to change back to the Japanese team (Sandlot), and what changes have occurred because of the transition?
Miki Takahashi: Originally, Earth Defense Force franchise was developed by Sandlot. Insect Armageddon (IA) was more of a spin-off title. Though both share the same concept of defending earth, IA had a different story and it takes place in different environments. While IA was developed by Vicious Cycle in US, EDF2025 is developed by Sandlot in Japan. In EDF2025, the story continues after EDF2017.
Regarding enemy types, we’ve seen giant robots, insects, and some horrifyingly large spiders, has there been any though into new enemy types would work within EDF?
Nobuyuki Okajima, D3PJ Producer: The enemies in EDF franchise need to be gigantic. This has been one of the requirements throughout the series. Human soldiers defeat those gigantic enemies by making full use of their weapons and equipment. That’s the identity of the game. Second requirement has been a swarm of gigantic enemies coming toward you to attack. In terms of insects in the game, the insect types we could consider are almost unlimited, but we wouldn’t want to use any insect that causes a gut feeling of fear or gross to the players to the level of turning them off. We think those types of enemies are not suitable for video game entertainment so we have never used enemies like cockroaches in any EDF. I myself would just shut down my monitor and run away from the game at least 5 meters if I see cockroaches in the game.
After working with the Vita, are there any plans to continue support of the platform? Did EDF 2017 portable perform well on the handheld platform?
Miki Takahashi: Earth Defense Force 2017 performed very well on handheld. In addition to its obvious success in Japan, EDF 2017 was the #1 PS Vita game for January on the PlayStation store when it released as a downloadable exclusive earlier this year in North America.
If you look at D3PA’s current lineup, we do not have any Vita titles announced for North America at this time, but we continue to be a publisher that supports games on all platforms and works diligently to explore bringing our games to as many fans as possible.
As far as new gameplay hooks, what can we expect for 2025? Is there any plans to keep the class system from Insect Armageddon?
Miki Takahashi: In every sense, EDF2025 is the largest title in the series. There are 4 classes, more than 700 weapons, more than 80 missions, and online multiplayer with up to 4 players, which gives you almost-unlimited number combinations to clear each mission. By discovering your own unique way of using weapons and fighting with the enemies, you’ll have more “WOW” moments as well as “What-the-heck” moments. (After playing the game, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean by this.)
Also, one of the biggest enhancements made to EDF2025 is the co-op play. For example, one of Air Raider’s characteristic weapons is Laser Guide Kit. This weapon itself has no ability to attack, but while he is irradiating the target with a laser, the abilities of guidance-type weapon (the lock-on speed and distance) are drastically improved. Fencer has a weapons that are so powerful, but cannot even use them unless Air Raider is target-painting. To use such a weapon, both players need to exactly match the timing of attack, and it might take more time to do so, but once it works, it’s so powerful, and you’ll get addicted to the sense of achievement. Please find an innovative way of playing the EDF2025 with your friends, and we look forward to hearing from you about it.
After each game, does it become harder to think of new gameplay mechanics?
Nobuyuki Okajima, D3PJ Producer: I don’t think so. We have brilliant creators devoting themselves to the game development with a variety of ideas. We are carefully choosing the ideas which are the most suitable for the gameplay we would like to provide. Of course we can’t implement all of the great ideas, so we have to get rid of some of those. Actually it’s more difficult for us to let those great ideas go.