Dark Souls dev's Kinect exclusive Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is rock hard, Capcom warns

"Capcom and From Software? Seriously, what do you expect?"

Kinect exclusive Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is rock hard, Capcom has warned.

Heavy Armour is made by Japanese developer From Software, known for one of the hardest games around: Dark Souls. Capcom, which oversaw development, said it allowed From Software free reign to "go nuts". The result is a complex third-person mech game that drops players in at the deep end.

"Given From Software's stern craftsmanship, we didn't want to limit what they do, because that then gives us no advantage of working with From Software," producer Kenji Kataoka told Eurogamer. "If we don't let them do what they want to do, then we could have chosen any developer. But we had to use From Software. So we said, yes, go ahead and go all out. Go nuts. So they did."

In Steel Battalion you control a Vertical Tank in a near future war. The gamepad governs movement and weapons fire, but short, sharp arm movements must be used to change ammo, adjust viewpoint, change movement speed and even slap your AI-controlled crew into shape.

It's a hell of a lot to manage - particularly when the battlefield is busy. But during development Capcom had to ask From Software to tweak Steel Battalion to make it LESS hardcore.

"There were some parts we as Capcom decided would be a bit too hardcore and too niche," Kataoka explained.

"One of the things From Software wanted to do was give players dramatic decisions. You have two comrades lying in front of you. You have the capacity to help one. Who would you choose, and why? It was going to be so you play the game and there were all these decisions you had to make in turning points of the game, and that was how the story was moulded.

"But it became way too complicated. At the moment there's enough to do with your hands. If there were more decisions to make it would have just confused the players. But that was something that was in the plan initially that had to be cut out.

"But all in all, most of it is as they wanted to create this."

While Capcom admits Steel Battalion is hard, it insists it's not as hard as Dark Souls - or, as Kataoka puts it, it's milder than the superb action RPG. He also believes players think it's harder than it actually is because of the steep learning enforced by having to master Kinect controls as well as the punishing gameplay.

"In terms of the difficulty as a game, we didn't want to compromise. Capcom and From Software? Seriously, what do you expect?" he said.

"But in terms of the perceived difficulty, we feel people think it's more difficult than it really is because a couple of different factors overlap at the same time. When you've never played the game before there's obviously some learning to do for the Kinect portion, and there's the game adaptation. Most people only have to do game adaptation because they're used to controllers. But because this is a new input they have to learn two different things at the same time. So perhaps the learning curve is slightly steeper than normal games.

"But if you're an experienced Kinect gamer, or if you're a quick learner with coordinates and gestures, then that difficulty quickly slims down and it becomes just the game difficulty itself.

"It still is difficult, sure, but when they're combined together people think it's more difficult than it really is."

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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