Tackling a Titan – Attack on Titan 2 Hands-On and Interview With Producer Hisashi Koinuma

It’s been a long while since I last went hands on with the Omnidirectional Movement System that is so incredibly unique to Attack on Titan. I loved the first game when I reviewed it, but it’s been more than a year since I last cut down a titan, so my skills were understandably rusty. Nevertheless, I picked up the controller at a Koei Tecmo event last week and attempted to fell them once more in Attack on Titan 2. At the same time, I was able to talk with Producer Hisashi Koinuma, who is also the President and COO for Koei Tecmo Games, about his vision for the sequel.

“We tried to expand on the areas that were expanded in the comics and animation in Attack on Titan 2,” Koinuma said, referring to the expanded story, cast, and suite of titans that we’ll face in the sequel. It certainly showed. In my short demonstration I noted a number of new titans, in addition to new and returning characters that make up the enormous cast. It was hard to get a feel for where the story was going, but the couple of missions I played definitely took things beyond the first season of the Attack on Titan series.

More Attacks on More Titans

Before risking my neck in the face of certain death, I was placed in a large camp filled with various things to do and characters to talk to. This camp acted as a kind of central hub. It’s similar to an area from the first game, but felt much larger and more detailed this time around. Koinuma talked a little bit about this expanded hub. “[Players] gave us some comments and feedback. For example, they wanted to increase the playable characters, and also wanted to have a community for the characters that would be enjoyable only in the games,” he said. “There were some people who said that they wanted more actions, and to be able to attack on titans in various ways, so we increased the actions of the characters,” Koinuma continued, talking about the expanded abilities that characters have in movement and combat.

When playing for myself, it quickly became apparent that I had a lot more at my disposal than the standard movement and attacks of the first game. It was hard to get a grasp on the full set of abilities on offer in such a short period, but it was immediately clear that Attack on Titan 2 is much more than simply getting the hang of the movement system. The titans are far more aggressive now and, along with a new set of moves for player characters, the job of cutting them down is far more difficult than it was in the first game.

Attack on Titan 2 preview

“There’s more power and abilities for players, but if the player becomes stronger and the titans remain the same, it becomes too easy,” Koinuma said when I asked him about the increased aggression. “The players can do all those really powerful things, but at the same time, titans become more aggressive and more powerful too, so it will be more challenging. Titans are more powerful and interesting to play against.” According to Koinuma, some people said that the first game became too easy after learning the movement system, so they want to increase the challenge for the sequel.

New players don’t need to worry though. “We made some adjustments. We introduced some different levels of difficulty. We want to make sure that animation fans can play until the end and enjoy the game thoroughly,” Koinuma reassures me. “Those who are not used to playing games can still enjoy easier or entry level difficulty. Those who want to play more difficult and challenging games can choose a more difficult version.” They tried to make the game accessible to both casual fans of the Attack on Titan animation and hardcore gamers alike.

One of the first game’s biggest challenges came in grinding out long hours to get all of the materials for the different items (and consequently, the Platinum trophy). Attack on Titan 2 features the crafting system again, allowing players to gain different materials from various titans and missions across the game. When I asked him about the long grind, Koinuma apologized. “I apologize for it being really challenging to get all of those trophies and the Platinum.” Despite his apologies, he reveals that there will still be some challenging things to obtain in Attack on Titan 2, but that because it’s an enjoyable game, he doesn’t see any issues with that. “System-wise, I think we created a very enjoyable game, so I believe that all the players will be having fun. Having said that, to get the [Platinum] trophy, it is still challenging.”

Get Moving

Finally, we moved on to one of the main features that makes Attack on Titan so unique. The Omnidirectional Movement System is something that I thought would be impossible to replicate from the shows. Either it would be too difficult to control, or it wouldn’t properly convey the sense of speed and skill present in the Attack on Titan animation. Somehow they managed to capture it wonderfully in the first game, both with a relative ease in player control, as well as a feeling of being an elite titan killer. Attack on Titan 2 improves on the physics of zooming around the environment even further, and after taking a moment to refamiliarize myself with the controls, I took to the skies again to kill some titans.

“What we aimed for was to have something complimentary to the animation that could be expressed in the game,” Koinuma mused. “It has to be the same feeling for gamers that are playing as when you are watching the animation.” It doesn’t seem like it was easy to land on a system that worked either. “We tried various things in this space. There are some crafty things, it was trial and error,” he revealed. “For example, it’s too difficult for a wire to be placed in a specific place by human hands, so we introduced autonomous [wires] like a self driving car.” This ultimately brought us to the system we have today, which automatically selects points for the wires to grapple to, as long as those points are available. The player is then free to move about the world more easily, but still feel like they are playing the Attack on Titan animation.

Attack on Titan 2 preview

When asked if Koinuma had anything he wanted to say to the fans, he thanked players. “I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the players of [Attack on Titan]. We received a lot of feedback. They enjoyed the game and we appreciate that. Additionally, the people who loved the original comics or animations, they can enjoy [Attack on Titan 2] as well. The tutorial is based on the original first stories. Those who haven’t played can still enjoy the game by going through the tutorial. We want to make sure they have fun,” Koinuma said. He’s certain that new and returning players alike will love what they’ve been making with Attack on Titan 2.

Koinuma concludes the interview with one final plea. “Please have fun playing this game!” On that note, I picked up the DualShock 4 to continue my hands-on with Attack and Titan 2, and I was not disappointed.

Attack on Titan 2 will be launching in North America on March 20.

Attack on Titan 2 preview impressions and interview conducted at an event held by Koei Tecmo. Travel and accommodations were provided.