Astral Chain has been out for just over a week now on Nintendo Switch, easily becoming one of our favourite games of the year so far. If you're as invested in the game as we are, you might want to check out this recent blog post shared by story writer, Akiteru Naka.
Naka-san has worked as a game designer at PlatinumGames for eight years, with titles like Bayonetta 2, Star Fox Zero, Anarchy Reigns, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and more under his belt. For Astral Chain, he was called up by director Takahisa Taura to take charge of the game's story, which apparently came as a bit of a surprise. He says, "At first, I thought he just wanted me to take dictation as he worked out the story. Still, it was a chance to get in on the ground floor, so I accepted right away. Why not, right? In retrospect, I should have realized I was treading into waters both dangerous and deep…"
In the blog, Naka explores the development of the game's Legions from the narrative's point of view, explaining that originally, there wasn't going to be as strong a connection between them and the player.
"For most of development, there wasn’t much of a connection between the Legion and the player character, or at least not much of one beyond that between weapon and warrior. However, with the final setting, the Legions had become much more than simple tools. They’re based on the enemy chimeras themselves, after all. This turned them into essential but dangerous partners that could go rogue at any time – and you’re tethered right to them.
This story detail even dictates how the Legions should move! At first, the top priority for their actions and animations was just to look cool; however, once we settled on that bit of the story, we had to tweak the Legion animations to underscore the low-key but ever-present danger. The end result really makes the Legions stand out, even when standing at idle."
He also provides a little behind-the-scenes detail on how the story and key themes came about.
Early on, Taura, art director Hajime Kimura and I got together for a brainstorm session. With Nintendo helping guide the way, we combined three big-picture themes that we all liked: superheroes, police and a near-future setting. There’s a lot that might seem a bit off-kilter or appealingly teenage in the game – some of the side characters, for example, and how the player character poses and calls out when they summon their Legion – and a lot of that came from these early brainstorming sessions as well.
Have you been enjoying your time with the game? Are you still on the fence about picking it up? Either way, let us know down below.