The intriguing, innovative RPG Dragon's Dogma will finally arrive on PC on January 15, but what does the game's sudden re-emergence mean for the series? And how will the PC edition differ from the original console release? We put a few questions to DDDA producer, Minae Matsukawa, director Kento Kinoshita, and PC producer Jon Airhart.
PC Gamer: Between this release and Dragon’s Dogma Online, it seems like the series still means a lot to Capcom—where is Capcom at in terms of considering a sequel?
Matsukawa: Thanks for your interest in the series! The Dragon’s Dogma development team members often talk about the possibility of a sequel. We’d love to hear the opinions and feedback from players of the upcoming PC port of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, as that will increase the chances that we can look into the possibility of continuing the series.
PC Gamer: Is the team that made the original game still together?
Matsukawa: Of course! The team from DDDA worked together in 2015 on Dragon’s Dogma Online, which was released for the Japanese market.
PC Gamer: For those who don’t know, what was the origin of Dragon’s Dogma’s development? What was the idea that drove development to begin with?
Kinoshita: It all started with an idea by the Hideaki Itsuno, the director of the original Dragon’s Dogma. He wanted to create a game with an online system that you could use asynchronously, like an internet forum rather than a live chat. His initial ‘pawn’ system concept was the starting point, and from there the open world of Dragon’s Dogma was fleshed out, and its fluid and flexible combat system.
PC Gamer: I remember people wondering if the pawn system would successfully replace a co-op partner at the time of release, but people really embraced it—why do you think that idea was so popular?
Kinoshita: Probably a big reason for the popularity of pawns is that we really wanted to design them so that they were always making the player’s game experience more enjoyable, whether they were lost in a dungeon, battling enemies or exploring towns. Giving pawns different voices and personalities was the way we made them feel special and unique.
PC Gamer: The creature design always felt a little different to other fantasy games to me - what were the team’s influences in creating creatures for the game?
Kinoshita: We based the creature designs on the real-world legends and fairytales that most people are familiar with. Rather than taking that basis and making the creatures even more fantastical in order to make them impressive, we felt there was more value in giving players the feeling that these were real, living, breathing beasts. So, one of our key concepts was to give players around the world the chance to feel like they had genuinely encountered and taken on these mythical beasts that we all have in our collective consciousness. Our art directors and designers tried not to stray too far from the imagery found in ancient legends and iconography. In this direction, we were influenced by other works which take the same approach, such as Kento Miura’s Berserk, and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.
PC Gamer: What was behind the decision to bring Dragon’s Dogma to PC now? Has something changed with the PC market since release that makes this the right time?
Jon: A PC version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is something we had been planning for some time. We know it’s been a long wait, but we’ve brought the right team together to create the version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen that our PC fans deserve.
PC Gamer: It’s interesting, because recent Capcom remasters like Resident Evil made it to consoles, too—but this is PC-only. Why is PC such a good match for Dragon’s Dogma?
Jon: This is a game that already looks great on Xbox 360 and PS3, but increased draw distances and uncompressed textures on a powerful PC makes it look absolutely beautiful. It’s also a game that includes many elements inspired by classic RPGs released on the PC. Those reasons plus the requests from our fans make this a perfect fit for a PC release.