Let me start off by saying I am a huge fan of the Berserk series, going so far as to have “GUTS” tattooed on my body. So it was a great honor for me to get to talk with Hisashi Koinuma, Producer at KOEI TECMO Games, about the upcoming Berserk Musou game for Sony platforms. In the interview, we talk playable characters, story arc, surprises, and much more.
PlayStation LifeStyle: How many playable characters do you expect at launch? Will there be any characters new to the series?
Hisashi Koinuma: We are planning to include a number of playable characters from the original story, but aren’t ready to reveal exactly how many just yet.
PSLS: After all these years, what helped make the decision to do a Berserk game and release it outside of Japan?
Hisashi: It started with an offer from the anime production committee asking if we could work together on Berserk since they were launching a new anime season. I personally have been a longtime reader of the Berserk manga, and there are readers of the manga among the game directors at Koei Tecmo, so having a degree of personal interest among the key staff led to the decision to give it a go.
With regards to releasing it overseas, our recent titles have been released worldwide, and since the anime is also being released worldwide we wanted fans of the original story to play and enjoy this game.
PSLS: Why did you decide to create a Musou–style game for Berserk over, say, an action game similar to Dark Souls?
Hisashi: In Japan, there were a lot of requests demanding a collaboration between Berserk and the Musou (Warriors) series. The anime production committee also preferred the game to be a Musou style title. We also believe Berserk and Musou are highly compatible with each other, so we felt it was a natural fit all around and are confident that fans of the original manga will enjoy the game.
PSLS: Will the story follow along with the Berserk Manga or Anime? Or will this be a new, standalone story?
Hisashi: The game itself covers a broad range of the series, including the Golden Age Arc from the original manga through the Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc.
PSLS: The “Slash/Smash” system will allow your attacks to become more powerful with more successful hits. How will you keep this from becoming overpowered?
Hisashi: This action represents the power of the main character Guts, and his iconic style of defeating enemies in a single blow is an excellent match for this game. Apostles, however, will stand in the way as powerful boss characters to balance the gameplay.
PSLS: Berserk is known for its extreme combination of violence and sexual content. Will we see changes to the North American version of the game from the Japanese version? If so, what will change?
Hisashi: In the case of violent content, we plan to unlock some things in the Western version that we have held back on to meet restrictions in Japan. As for the other elements, standards for ratings and regulations differ depending on the region so we are researching and proceeding carefully to not cross any boundaries while staying true to the source material.
PSLS: What will the boss battles be like? Will there be more depth and strategy than the normal hack-and-slash style of Musou titles?
Hisashi: The normal battles will be the “one versus many” Musou-style action, but when it comes to boss battles, the player will need to sidestep powerful attacks and look for opportunities to engage, which will challenge players in ways that are different from usual Musou combat.
PSLS: How will the game set itself apart from other Musou spin-offs?
Hisashi: The storyline is going to be aligned with the Berserk manga, so naturally some gameplay elements will differ to match the style and nature of that property. In general, the points where Guts changes in appearance and the way he attacks will be different, and while the enemies will mainly be humans at first, more creatures and Apostles appear as the story proceeds. Boss battles against the Apostles are also different from the other Musou games.
PSLS: Will North America see all three PlayStation versions of the game (PS4, PS3 and Vita)? Is there cross-save compatibility between versions?
Hisashi: We have not officially announced formats for the North American release yet, so right now there is nothing I can confirm.
PSLS: Without spoiling too much, of course, what sort of surprises should Berserk fans expect?
Hisashi: Right now we’re thinking that it might be nice to add a playable character that no one will expect. As for other surprises, you’ll just have to wait and see!
I would like to thank Hisashi Koinuma for taking the time to answer our questions. Berserk has no release date yet but is mentioned to be out this fall.