Who wants to live forever? Not wise-cracking demon hunter Bryce, that's for sure. After 500 years on this mortal coil, he's royally bored of Abba tributes and Only Fools and Horses repeats. And there's only so many times you can listen to people whining about The Phantom Menace before you want to rip off your own head.
In fact that could be what happened to Bryce. Discovering he could roll his own head around the floor, while still alive, he also realised he could bite the ankles off anyone he chose. Practical and fun. That's not the real backstory, of course, but while NeverDead lead designer Shinta Nojiri continues to keep tight-lipped about what's really going on we might as well speculate.
All we know for now is that Bryce is mightily pissed with the Demon King. A spot of handbags five centuries ago resulted in his unwelcome immortality. With his powers weakened, this "zombie demon" scratches out a living fighting off weaker demons with Arcadia, a female government agent he doesn't get on with.
"Bryce doesn't care what happens to himself, so he'll just always kid around," Nojiri-san reveals. "He's very cynical and miserable, basically, but we add comic relief through his personality. We kind of imagine how you would be if you'd lived for 500 years, and how you would end up."
From the tiny snippet of gameplay shown off to us, the answer appears to be like a crusty Max Payne. But although you're playing as a diving, rolling, twin-pistol toting dude in a flowing leather coat, the comparisons stop there.
"The key feature is the immortality of the player," says Nojiri. "He will be dismembered when he gets attacked in some critical situation, and it causes some dismemberment, but he will remain alive.
"For example, he has a gun in both hands, but when he gets damaged or loses his left arm, his dismembered arm will lie on the floor and still can shoot. It can hinder the aim, and his attack power will be halved, but it has other uses for gameplay strategy."
Bryce can also remove his own arm, Nojiri says, and throw it at enemies. "You can't control the detached arm but you can shoot with it," he explains with a gleeful grin.
And it gets better, gore fiends: "Bryce can also dismember his own head in order to reach higher or narrower areas the player cannot access with their body."
That's right, you'll be battling it out with your own head spinning merrily while the remains of your undead body lay scattered about the place. "To put your body back together you have to roll into the body parts," Nojiri tells us - something the rather elegant gamescom trailer comically illustrates.
Dismembered limbs aside, NeverDead features a pretty standard arsenal of weapons. "As well as the twin pistols, Bryce will also have machine guns, shotguns, and a grenade launcher, as well as a melee attack with a sword," says Nojiri. He's not ready to discuss the melee system just yet, but promises it will be "very different from ordinary titles." When asked if this is because it will involve slicing yourself up, Nojiri simply responds with a sheepish grin.
Multiplayer is going to feature prominently in the game, so expect all manner of sadistic possibilities for slicing and dicing in both a co-operative and competitive sense. What is it with Konami and slicing people up at the moment? Weirdos. Precious little else is being revealed yet, with the project somewhere around the 50 per cent completion mark.
However, Nojiri is happy to talk about the rather unusual working arrangements for the project. With a focus on appeasing Western tastes, the former Kojima Productions team member has left his native Tokyo and shacked up with Rebellion's Oxford team to work on NeverDead.
"It's so different [working with a British team]. I learned everything from my ex-boss [Hideo Kojima] and I learned the Japanese way," Nojiri says. "I have worked with internal teams at Japanese companies, but we are so different from Western studios. I think Western teams like discussion, but in Japan, I only ordered.
"I had to think of everything, every feature in the game, and I'm not sure it's the ordinary way. In Japan, for example in Metal Gear, [Kojima] told us everything - 'Do it like this, there's no room for discussion' - but it's very different in the UK. I'm responsible for everything, but it's not so popular this way. I don't know if it's good or not.
"But I think to make my title so unique, I need to do this. I am the only one who knows everything about it, and the only one who can see the future of this title, because there are so many strange, unique systems."
Nojiri admits that his Rebellion colleagues "didn't understand the rolling head system at first", cheerfully laughing off the culture clash. "It was OK for me even if they didn't understand, because if they constructed it as I said, I knew what we'd get. Before the project, I had to think of everything."
Describing his vision as "necessary for the whole structure" he admits, "It's so technical, but I learned from [Hideo Kojima], and he's the king.
"Sometimes we didn't understand what he meant, but finally we understood - 'Ahhhh, I get the point!' Sometimes he was crazy, and we'd think, 'What is he talking about?', but we didn't mention it! But then we'd finally understand."
Seeing as Nojiri has learned from the master, there's a good chance NeverDead will end up being a game we'd give our right arms for.
"What we want to do fully utilise dismemberment as much as possible, and design all the levels so that it incorporates it, like the throwing of the head to go into small passages," he says. "We hope people have fun trying things out."
NeverDead is in development for PS3 and Xbox 360 and is out next year.