Hello, everyone, this is Takashi Satsukawa, the director of Time Crisis 4.
Today, I would like to discuss our development process in creating Time Crisis 4 and the Guncon 3 controller. Four years have passed since I first came up with the framework of Time Crisis 4. In the autumn of 2003, after the completion of the PS2 version of Time Crisis 3, our development team started to examine what our next big step for the series should be. After kicking around some ideas, we decided to work on a new concept in which the player has full control over their on-screen actions, moving independently through the stage and shooting at enemies with an entirely new Guncon.
In most traditional arcade shooting games such as the previous installments of Time Crisis, players don’t have full control over their movement. Instead, the camera movements are directed precisely by the developer, while enemies show up quickly on the screen. This allows the player to focus on one specific action – shooting. As the basic premise for this type of game has broad appeal and is instantly engaging, we’ll continue to make these games in the future, but wanted to investigate a new path for Time Crisis 4.
The Time Crisis team has been eager to implement a solution for moving and shooting to the series for years now – our development tools allow us to do this in early builds of games – but it was too difficult to implement this feature into a full game using only the Guncon 2 controller. With our next title planned for the PLAYSTATION 3 system, we began work on our next iteration of the Guncon hardware to bring new functionality to the series and allow us to implement our goals for a free-roaming Time Crisis experience. We asked our designer to come up with a few illustrations showing a Guncon with one analog stick. After getting the results, we realized that this was going to be a more intimidating project than we had planned!
Putting our hardware demands on the back-burner for a while, we turned to the software side to try and put together a compelling demonstration for our concept. We worked for a month to create a prototype based on the Time Crisis 3 engine in which two players can move freely around a small square environment and try to shoot each other. We decided to go with a Vs. type game because we didn’t have an appropriate AI solution in place and needed to test it out as quickly as possible. Even though this early prototype only allowed for horizontal aiming, we felt confident enough in the design to move forward with the full game.
As we understood that we would have to implement vertical aiming in our game, we decided to revise our Guncon hardware designs to meet this goal. That was the real jumping-off point for Time Crisis 4, which I will cover in-depth soon in my next entry!