News Article

Devil's Third Developer Discusses Its Unique Approach, and Learning From Nintendo

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"I had this opportunity to learn about Nintendo culture"

Devil's Third was a major surprise at E3; the Valhalla project formerly in the works for PS3 and Xbox 360 was announced as a Wii U exclusive. Its absence from the the Nintendo Digital Event was hardly a surprise considering its tone and genre, but it did raise eyebrows and will stand as one of the few online-focused FPS action titles on the system.

Tomonobu Itagaki, best known for franchises such as Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden, seems like an unlikely collaborator with Nintendo, yet he speaks positively about working with the company. When speaking to Polygon he's emphasized that, despite some disagreements, he has been given a fresh perspective on development when working with Nintendo's Hitoshi Yamagami and Yusuke Nakano.

There are also cultural differences between the way that I've worked and the way Nintendo works, which is when it comes down to the basic grammar of games, the method of game creation. And so we certainly fought some, but I think that I saw the value in a lot of the ways that they do things and learned a great amount.

Now this is close to a trade secret so I can't say too much, but I feel like I learned the most fundamental meaning of what it means to push a button. When you tell someone, 'Push the A button,' there's a wealth of information there. And I feel like all of us who have worked on this project, as a result, have grown a bit.

Of course, the project had been in development for a sustained period before THQ, the original publisher, had financial difficulties and withdrew. It's natural, then, to question how much influence Nintendo has had as publisher. Itagaki-san addresses this — suggesting a 90% / 10% split in influence — and the perception that the gory shooter / action brawler is an odd fit for the Wii U.

I think a lot of people might have been surprised that such a violent game was going to be released on a Nintendo platform. But I think that you can say, from a certain perspective, things are getting interesting for Nintendo as well, making these kinds of choices.

That other 10 percent I think really has been flavored by this cooperation with Nintendo. Now, as I'm sure you're aware, Japan is a small country in terms of landmass, but it still has an amazing concentration of lots of different cultures within it, and I think that Nintendo culture is one of those, and I had this opportunity to learn about Nintendo culture through the years working with them.

Much of this interview ultimately focuses on the gameplay experience that Valhalla is trying to achieve, combining elements of the FPS genre with action combat; the setting of a world fallen into World War and chaos with technology crumbling certainly fits the guns and sword-driven gameplay. The online aspect is key, especially as players will be able to customise fortresses, essentially opening the title up to exceptional diversity in its maps.

Danny Bilson, former senior vice president of creative development at THQ and friend of Itagaki-san, is now involved in the project — he explains how the development team is aiming for a unique experience..

That's always really important to me, that we stand out and we're our own game. I think when you play this game you'll find that it's absolutely its own game. It's not Ninja Gaiden, it's not Call of Duty. It's not anything like you've played before, and I think that the goal is always to deliver a new experience.

The multiplayer is really fully featured with the kinds of combat that I haven't played in multiplayer before. I've never really scurried up a building, saw my friend running down before I jumped down with a sword and lopped his head off. It's all of this grand, over-the-top, cinematic violence that becomes, in action, hilarious.

We certainly recommend reading the full feature for a detailed history of Devil's Third's development history. Meanwhile, let us know whether you're excited about this one coming to Wii U.

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User Comments (80)



MrCanzine said:

Hopefully it does well. It may not seem like a fit with what Nintendo usually has available but that's a bit of the point. Nintendo isn't just for children, and developers can realize this, and Nintendo is also diving into these types of games showing they don't just work with non violent stuff. What Nintendo has been doing recently being involved with games like this and bayonetta reminds me a bit of when Disney started going into more risky territory as well. Back when pirates of the Caribbean came out it seemed a bit violent for a Disney movie, but now Disney does plenty of action and violence. This can hopefully start to be Nintendo's Disney turnaround time where they start shedding the "just for kids" reputation so many people avoid Nintendo for.



SamirMalik said:

You forgot to mention that there is also a Ninja Gaiden control option is simply titled "Ninja". Basically allows you to play it like Ninja Gaiden.



MrGawain said:

I understand Bayonetta 2 coming to Nintendo because there is that OTT humour, colour, and fantasy that runs through Nintendo games, but this... just seems out of place on the Wii U...

...Like Assassin's Creed and COD but even less memorable.

But then maybe it's just not for me!



Dave24 said:

Development hell game with not-so-good looking graphics. But it still looks better than what they did to NG3.



Tsurii said:

I'm really interested to see how this turns out. Don't want anyone to think, that I'm one of those people, who outright love games as violent as it gets, but in this case I'm really thinking the same exact thing as Bilson: it's SO violent, that it becomes kinda hilarious and in a way..kinda fits Nintendo like that. I'd compare it to stuff like No More Heroes (Watanabe wasn't the director/creator of that one, right?) or Madworld. Nintendo already went there (with 3rd party devs), so it's nothing too special in my eyes.

I just hope, that the visuals in the trailer are from an earlier build, because I think this DOES look promissing and if they polish it more up, it could be a really good game overall. The ideas are definitely awesome and the MP footage, I've seen looks fun (throwing giant watermelons into even bigger blenders is probably the best idea for a shooter, I've ever seen xD)



smikey said:

I'm looking forward to it & at least it adds something different to the wii u library.
I have a feeling it won't do that well though it's like the 3rd party games so many moan & complain about not getting a game (or type of game) then when they get one they don't buy it or buy it second hand then moan some more about not getting another game.

I'll be buying it day 1 I don't really play these types of games much & the only fps game I ever really liked was perfect dark but i'm more than willing to give it ago.



WashioYuji said:

I wasn't too impressed when I saw the single player, It looked like a standard third-person shooter but multiplayer certainly does look fun. I think i'll enjoy building a base and then infiltrating the enemies.



Blast said:

Day one buy for me. I totally support these guys and that Nintendo saved the game.



Ryno said:

This game sounds ridiculous and I love that! I will keep an eye on this one.



Zyph said:

It's like even if the game bombed he won't have any regrets! I like it!
The graphics are cool for me and also the style of combat. It was going to be developed originally for the PS360 afterall. And with all those publisher changes I wouldn't be surprised by the changes up to this point. We still got a year so they can still improve on it visually.



MrMeaCulpa said:

I think this will be a sneaky-good hardcore action game for the platform. Always been a fan of Itagaki's approach to gameplay and responsive, challenging action mechanics. To all who are complaining about graphics - it's using the Darksiders 2 engine, it's not done yet, and rendering realistic graphics is always tougher than the bright pastels of the Mushroom Kingdom. It looks suitably good all factors considered.



DiscoGentleman said:

I'll probably buy this; if it appeals to you, you should consider buying it, too. Voting with our money is the best way to show support for a genre on a Nintendo platform. I'm glad they're releasing games like this. It's very important.

And hopefully they touch up the graphics. They look a little rough in some spots- not an issue of power or hardware, but programming.



Buduski said:

I have seen people complain in diferent comments sections about the games graphics from the E3 trailers and gameplay, but in all honesty all I want from this is great gameplay mechanics, especially for the online modes, I dont mind the game looking a bit ruff around the edges just as long as it's still fun to play.



ICHIkatakuri said:

I couldn't care less about wether or not a game is violent or not before I decide to buy it, but I do care about online action or shooters. I like to kick back with a bit of an online action game when the kids and the Mrs have long gone to sleep. I don't get that on wii u regularly without playing cod, so more choice is welcome.



SecondServing said:

The game looks really rough when it comes to graphics and gameplay. I can't see it getting any higher than a 7/10. But I'm eager to see if the years of waiting has payed off. Hopefully it does well, but I'm not so sure it will.



timtimdaunholy said:

i need to see more but ill probably be on board and help support a Wii U exclusive... as long as it doesn't suck. But Ninja Gaiden was alot of fun when it came out



eLarkos said:

This is far more of a third-person game, so I don't understand why it was repeatedly referred to as a FPS.

Im going to keep it in my radar. At this stage I really think it could go either way.



Farmboy74 said:

I don't think we're going to see many games like this on the Wii U. Hopefully it's not too over the top like Madworld as I couldn't get on with that game due to the stylised black & white graphics which I struggled to see what was going off on screen.
Reminds me of Duke Nukem the more I watch the trailers, one to watch



sub12 said:

The graphics look kinda early-mid 7th gen, but with that being said, it looks outrageous in all of the right ways, I'm not expecting rave reviews, but I am expecting an entertaining (if not rightfully dumb) story and lots of solid action.

Day one purchase for me. A refreshing title in the Nintendo published library.



ULTRA-64 said:

Looks great to me, just what the Wii u needs. I understand why people would find this strange on a Nintendo platform but if it can't win the marketing/graphics war then the Wii u must imo, try to have the most diverse gameplay options to win people over. I love the selection already available but you need games 'like' this to get the playground hype. The fact that it's exclusive makes this an important one in the library.



Leu10antFalcon said:

@MrMeaCulpa Devil's Third WAS using the Darksiders II engine that was supposed to be for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, that's no longer the case. According to Epic Games, both Valhalla Game Studios and Nintendo SPD (Software Planning & Development) in Kyoto, Japan are using the Unreal Engine in DT instead. And according to creator Itagaki, 90% remains untouched... but the 10% will be adding some additional touches from SPD.



TwilightOniAngel said:

This looks crazy day one purchase for me, but it looks like it needs a lot of polish in single player and multiplayer. Cause i do not want to see this game to get destroyed by reviews.



Jazzer94 said:

It could be great but every time I see it the first thing that I think is that this game needs polish though I'll wait and see I'm definitely interested.



Mega719 said:

Ninja Gaiden 3 and Bayonetta 1&2 are gory and somewhat shooters published by Nintendo on Wii U this doesn't look as violent as those. But yeah the personality of this game is the unlikely of things to be published by Nintendo



timp29 said:

Nintendo seems to be saving these half developed games and bringing them to wiiu. Shorter development turnaround, greater games library, but these will never be 10/10 games. And Nintendo needs more 10/10 games.

HD Mario galaxy would be 10/10



okamiki said:

I will shred my pad into pieces with this game. Really excited for it, but even better if I can only use guns when I want.



marck13 said:

AWESOME!! I'm very much looking forward to this Game. It reminds me of Duke Nukem times and I did always ask for more "mature" games so I am here to support and enjoy.
..I'll Save it a space on the shelf next to Pikmin 3. The Wii U library is looking better and better.



Donutman said:

I think I'll pop in red steel 2 for a play through. I can't wait for this either.



JaxonH said:


Oh I think this will be FAR more memorable than Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty. The delicate mix of first person shooting and high-octane, skill-based beat-em-up action alone is more than enough to make Devil's Third stand out from the pack.

For me, this game is targeting my tastes> I play both Nintendo AND 3rd party AAA titles. But I think that even for the purists of the fanbase, a little change every now and then is appealing. Ya know?

Like, even for those who usually only play Nintendo games and steer clear of anything with realism and an M rating, even they will want a little variety in their library. Even if just a game or two here and there. Which is why I think Bayonetta 2 and Devil's Third are such great fits. They're exclusive, so fans don't feel like they're getting hand me downs, and they're different than your average Cod/AC game. Little more wild and crazy, a little more "fun"-ish.

Even FPS fans will probably buy a racer once a year or so. Even RPG fans will probably buy a platformer once in a while. And even purist Nintendo fans, I think, want a little mature content from time to time- in small doses at least. Take or leave the multiplats, but I really hope fans all across the board support these games. After all, they're being made just for us!



JaxonH said:


Well, Nintendo doesn't make these kinds of games. So they can't release more of something they never had to release in the first place. That's why they contract 3rd parties to make or bring exclusives to the system every now and then, to fill in genres that aren't their strong suit.



Sean_Aaron said:

I normally don't care about online in these games, but the insane customisation, wacky modes and persistent online turf wars aspects have me really interested to see how it turns out. I can see how this would be a lot more interesting than playing the same CoD maps over and over to earn some achievement.



TheJebou said:

I'm really looking forward to how this game will turn out, hopefully they will polish it up a bit (if the difference is even half as big as the hyrule warriors trailers had between the reveal and E3, I'm more than happy). And that random drumming in the trailer was hilarious, not badass



arnoldlayne83 said:

I still wonder why some nintendo fans feel the urge to justify such games on his consoles like they are some weird sins... God bless diversity.... I hope this game will sell well and be amazing online
(by a convicted cod player on wiiu)



yuwarite said:

I want another online game to play on Wii U, so if the online is good, I may get it.



FubumblR said:

Maybe it's a result of watching on my phone, but could someone please point out what exactly looks rough graphically in this game? Tbh, if someone said this game was coming out next week as it looks now, I don't see why not!



Lobster said:

I'm not at all interested in this. I just don't like violent shooters.

That said it looks pretty decent and I'm glad it's coming to the Wii U's library. I hope it gets the reception it deserves and it's great to see Nintendo stepping up and releasing some games with balls.



Psyclone said:

all of a sudden the majority of people seem to care about graphics more than gameplay, the graphics don't even look that bad, did anybody see it at the treehouse? it looks beast overall and obviously it is still being worked on



audiobrainiac said:

He makes the multiplayer sound like Kill Bill. That, I'd be in to. Sure this game seems out of place on Wii U, when compared to everything else. I sincerely hope it stands out, like The Conduit did.



WanderingPB said:

@audiobrainiac "makes multiplayer sound like Kill Bill"…i dont think i couldve worded it better my friend!!!

This game overall sounds very fresh and interesting. its like a melting pot of the best concepts of all these violent games that were getting old and bringing back to life…im honestly impressed by the multiplayer and watchin them play it on the Treehouse Live at E3 well im very interested in this game and cant wait to see the final product!!



noctowl said:

If games like mad world and wonderful 101 don't selI sadly don't have much hope for this.



brandonbwii said:

I don't know, they've published some pretty bad second party, even pseudo-3rd party stuff before (including NG3 unfortunately. Note I haven't played it myself, but from looking at Metacritic summaries and other reviews). Although I guess their track record is pretty solid aside from that. I really loved LCU.

Mostly because of the whole ADS thing. From what I've seen there hasn't been much running a gunning. Mostly stopping and popping.



brandonbwii said:

The sad thing is, the Conduit franchise was going in it's own outlandish-in-a-T-rated-sorta-way direction. It's a shame we won't see more of it as it fits just comfortably on a Nintendo platform as Overkill/No More Heroes/Madworld IMO.



Noelemahc said:

MadWorld and No More Heroes clearly demonstrated that hyperviolent games have a place on the Wii. If Devil's Third can do the same for WiiU, that would be wonderful. I don't want to have to own seven consoles to be able to play something that lets me rip heads off one day and something I can co-op with my girlfriend on the other.



Noelemahc said:

MadWorld and No More Heroes clearly demonstrated that hyperviolent games have a place on the Wii. If Devil's Third can do the same for WiiU, that would be wonderful. I don't want to have to own seven consoles to be able to play something that lets me rip heads off one day and something I can co-op with my girlfriend on the other.



erv said:

This game looks really interesting, I hope it'll be as good as it seems to be. I'm probably already sold on it, unless it turns out to be a letdown.



Genesaur said:

This game looks so much more awesome than I initially gave it credit for. I'm bothered that everyone still acts like it's so weird for a gory action title to be on Wii U. I, meanwhile, will be happy to have this alongside Bayonetta 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3. The more the merrier, and this further balances things out.

The online is especially of interest. You guys can claim inky turf with Splatoon; I'll probably be playing Devil's Third online, instead (though I guess that's dependent on their respective release dates, if that's even an appropriate comparison to make, but I think you get the idea).



the_beaver said:

I bet this game won't be released until the second half of the next year (not to compete with Splatoon). So they will have plenty of time to polish it.
It's not my kind of game definitely, but if it finish turning out good, I may consider getting it, depending on which other titles are being released in the same period of time.



Alucard83 said:

Not my cup of tea. However it's a good thing that WII U gets more games for adults!



AJWolfTill said:

Not going to lie, I don't have a very high opinion of Itagaki's work but this game did look interesting in the tree house. One thing I will say, the multiplayer looked like the nearest thing to Timesplitters the world will ever see again; Crazy fruit orientated game-modes, dressing up as cats and cardboard box robots? Oh man I miss Timesplitters.



Shambo said:

I wasn't too surprised by a violent game on Wii U. Wii had its fair share of exclusive ultra-violence, some of those games are still among my favourite games ever. Wii U had a full-violent port of Ninja Gaiden 3, published by Nintendo themselves. It's these kind of daring third party (developed) exclusives -along with the promise of inevitable first party masterpieces- that always made me think other platforms can keep their shared third party triple-A titles, I'm perfectly fine with Nintendo.



KingofSaiyans said:

Mulitplayer actually looks pretty fun. I'm hoping more titles like this make their way to Wii U to diversify the library a bit. Day one buy for me



TTGlider said:

This looks awesome. It's a total day one buy for me. I like not only the premise but the idea of Nintendo doing more collaborations (or bailouts…whatever) outside of their usual style of games. Unfortunately I think there's a chance this won't be out even next year, but it will be fun when it finally does get here.



Marshi said:

@smikey Hey Smikey,hows mario kart? Yeah I totally agree. I find it kinda ridiculous that people constantly complain there are nothing but "nintendo games" for the wiiu,yet when something diferent turns up people complain that the game "isnt nintendo'y enough!". It happened with killer 7, it happened with madworld and I guarantee it will happen with devils third and the game will sell poorly resulting in less support for the wii u. And we only have ourselves to blame



Sean_Aaron said:

@brandonbwii I enjoy Ninja Gaiden 3. The story gets lame when they attempt to inject some emotional turmoil into our hero following on from some ludicrous game events, but the action sequences are quite satisfying, even if the skill tree and extra moves are largely a waste of time.



Mega719 said:

@vamkar I'm with you I never really cared about a game's graphics especially on Wii U as I always play off tv looks fine to play and may get it



Sir_Deadly said:

Its not that it seems out of place or non-nintendo for me, its just doesn't look like a good game.



hYdeks said:

This was actually a huge shock for me at E3 this year, and it got me very hyped up!!! If Nintendo would make more decisions like this to get more mature games for the adult Nintendo fans, I would definitely consider buying (and keeping this time around) my Wii U. I absolutely love Nintendo, but I can't live on kiddie type games all the time, so if their gonna let some games like this happen on their system, I would definitely consider going back to Nintendo



Varoennauraa said:

Looks amazingly fun, especially the multiplayer.

But the autosnap aim is ridiculous and I'd like it to be removed and instead use gyro aiming or Wiimote. I'd like to play my games my self, thank you.

Wiimote would also be fun for melee.



Meaty-cheeky said:

This game looks like an early Xbox 360 game.

I'm going to need to see more Thongs if they wish to keep my attention for this game haha



coolaggro said:

Seems like people have forgotten that Resident Evil 4 was a GameCube exclusive first and for quite a while. GAMECUBE! Something that was only known in the public for pikmin, Mario sunshine, and a cartoon Zelda. And a system that didn't sell well to boot.
I'm not surprised by this but definitely happy nintendo picked this amazing creator up. I hope to see more!!



KillScottKill said:

Afraid this one will be a clunker. I'll wait for the reviews. If it's even decently received, I'm in.



MeloMan said:

Take a chance, right promotion, even 3rd parties can achieve good result. Nintendo may be the hardware manufacturer that has to lead the installed Wii U base, but that's no excuse for 3rd parties to not "help" it. Scared money doesn't make money, and I hope this does well.

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