If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Heavenly Sword

Ninja Theory on the PS3's next big thing.
Eurogamer We last saw the game at the Tokyo Game Show in 2006. How far has it come since then? What improvements have been made and which areas have been refined?
Tameem Antoniades

90 per cent of the game is pretty much done now, bar polishing, balancing, and bug-fixing. It has been fleshed out fully and there have been improvements in too many areas to mention.

I'd rather not try and hype it up anymore than it is now. It's an enjoyable game with lots of eye-popping moments, and if it entertains and sells, then I, and many of our team members who have invested years into it, will sleep easy.

That's it, Nariko, use the flashy spinny one.
Eurogamer Our biggest concerns when we played the game in Tokyo were the camera positioning and the potential lack of variety. How do you ensure that the the experience stays fresh throughout?
Tameem Antoniades

I got so much flak from the team for your comments about the camera!

I was aware that in shows around 10-50 people stand and watch each person play. So I thought we should get the camera nice and close to Nariko to help introduce her and make her look cool. But the camera is actually further out for normal gameplay, and we've added a look-around feature you can use by tilting the sixaxis or pressing the shoulder buttons. The idea is that you can peek left and right while fighting, just like you would in real life.

As for variety, well, I'm not surprised you found a lack of it, as you only got to play in a single room! But Heavenly Sword actually has a fair bit; I'd say more than most games in this genre. Hopefully you'll see that the combat system requires some brains as well as reflexes, so it should be fun and challenging throughout.

Eurogamer What sort of different areas and situations can we expect from the full package?
Tameem Antoniades

There's quite a few weapons that we've created gameplay sections around, like the cannon and the bazooka. In combat we go right up from tricky one-on-one boss battles to group fights against coordinated enemies, even up as far as epic encounters against thousands of enemies.

We've thrown in some skill-based puzzles for good measure, too, plus a few surprises we're holding close to our chests for now. Also the pace of the story and scenarios is quite intense - I guess we've inherited that from Kung Fu Chaos as well.

Eurogamer How would you differentiate the combat, controls, and general gameplay of Heavenly Sword against titles like Ninja Gaiden, God of War, and Devil May Cry?
Tameem Antoniades

Heavenly Sword is a game that aims to create the feeling you are in a blockbuster movie, and that cinematic ethos is carried through to the combat.

In terms of mechanics and controls, it's the unique free-form multi-stance combat engine, use of objects and weapons, and the scale of the encounters that sets this game apart. I would say the fighting is unlike any of the games you mentioned, although it's in the same genre. It's a sizeable evolution, I believe.

Eurogamer Multiplayer is obviously a big part of any next-gen game, but we haven't heard a great deal about how you're approaching this side of things. Can you reveal any more, and explain the decision for taking this approach?
Tameem Antoniades

There's no multiplayer mode in Heavenly Sword because our plan was always to create an intense and personal experience - it would have been too damn complex to deal with that as well.

We did, however, develop the combat system using multiplayer test levels, as it's a great way of soak testing and balancing it. So who knows? Maybe we will decide to go down that route sometime soon. And when we do, it won't just be slapped-on to please marketing tick-boxes. You can be assured that we have our sights on multiplayer.

Eurogamer Heavenly Sword is fantastic looking game, no question. How much of the PlayStation 3's capabilities do you think you've used? Is it the first game to really tap into the true potential of the console?
Tameem Antoniades

We are pushing it bloody hard - that's for sure! But this is our first-generation engine for PS3, so there's certainly a lot more in the machine to give. And, more importantly, there's more in us to give it.

Eurogamer Does having the potential to make your game larger by using the extra storage capacity of Blu-ray make a difference to you? And does the fact each player will have a hard drive as standard yield any particular benefits?
Tameem Antoniades

We have stuffed the Blu-ray disc with data. It's full up, and we actually struggled to get it all in! If we had more room then we would have filled that up too! It's the law of game development that you can never have too much.

The hard drive really helps with caching and streaming data, letting us minimize load times as much as humanly possible, which is crucial with all this hi-definition data.

Eurogamer Do you have plans to expand on Heavenly Sword with a sequel, expansion packs, or downloadable content?
Tameem Antoniades

If the game sells and Sony is up for it, then anything is possible! I'd love to do all of the things you mentioned.

Dreamy "Wuxia", by the looks of things.
Eurogamer Have you signed up to do more games for Sony?
Tameem Antoniades

We've got no long-term deal with Sony. We are an independent company so we're free to work on any game or platform we want - although we'd love to continue working on the PS3.

Eurogamer Will we see Heavenly Sword on the PSP in some form in the future?
Tameem Antoniades

If you do, we would take care to ensure we made the best use of the PSP platform. Heavenly Sword was always designed to push high-end next-gen technology, so we would probably create something based in the same world to complement the PS3 experience.

Eurogamer When can we expect a demo of Heavenly Sword in Europe?
Tameem Antoniades

I really don't know about that, but I can at least confirm there will be one.

A big thank you to Tameem for answering our questions. Heavenly Sword is due out on PS3 in September.

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Tagged With

About the Author

Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


More Interviews

Latest Articles

Supporters Only

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer.net Merch