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James Vance Talks Strider

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We had so much amazing content for our recent Strider feature that we couldn’t fit it all in the magazine. Here then is the unabridged interview with Capcom producer James Vance. Strider is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360. It’s a great reboot that you can read all about in our review.

James VanceHow have you found working with Double Helix on the new Strider?
The team at Double Helix have been great to work with. From Strider Hiryu’s idle animations to massive boss battles, Double Helix have pulled out all of the stops to deliver the quintessential, action-packed Strider experience.

It’s not always easy to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western work philosophies, particularly when the teams are emotionally invested in the project. Although Capcom and Double Helix’s vision for the game was a shared one, we did not always see eye-to-eye on every single detail.  The best intentions, though, were usually the cause of disagreements. Often times it only took a change of perspective to find an ideal solution that ultimately resulted in a better game.

How hard has it been updating him for a new generation of gamers?
While the previous game, Strider 2, released 15 years ago, Strider Hiryu has remained a relevant, and iconic character thanks to several appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom games, as well as other cameos. When developing the character for this latest Strider game, both the recent Marvel vs. Capcom and classic arcade iterations were analysed, and those characteristics which best served the gameplay and visual presentation of the character implemented.

From a visual perspective, the character has been updated to match the artistic design and HD fidelity of current and next-generation systems, but maintains the silhouette, colour scheme and key poses and animations of the Marvel vs. Capcom series, resulting in a fresh yet instantly recognizable design. The core gameplay rests upon a refined iteration of Strider 1 & 2’s bedrock of running, sliding, jumping and climbing, and is infused with actions from the Marvel vs. Capcom series as well as an array of completely new abilities.

strider wrongWhat’s it been like updating classic bosses?
With their scale and outlandish and even eccentric designs, Strider features several of gaming’s most iconic bosses. Modern technology and an expansive game design have provided the opportunity to update, and polish classic boss game mechanics, battle length and pacing. Solo, the cyborg bounty hunter, for example, has always looked very cool and threatening, but had a limited set up actions and was quickly defeated. In this latest Strider, however, he realises his full potential with an arsenal of powerful attacks that will surely test players’ skills in an extensive battle. It’s been a challenge to update classic bosses, but seeing them do all of these things that you only fantasized about as a child has been very rewarding, not to mention very cool.

What does the new Metroidvania style setting offer over past Strider games?
Strider shares some traits with the Metroidvania style of game design, such as a large, interconnected world map, but as an action game is much more fast-paced and frenetic than most games of the genre. The large game world provides a playground of traversal and combat challenges that are much more expansive, diverse and immersive than the linear arcade structure of previous games in the series.  Traversal and combat are also complimented by a variety of items, weapons and power-ups players find through exploration, or by defeating certain enemies. The action-centric heart and soul of Strider remain, but is given more room to breathe thanks to the increased depth of breadth of the entire experience.

Strider-bossesWhy are Strider and Strider 2 only being packaged with the PS3 version?
The Strider and Strider 2 bundle will only be available in Japan as a packaged product as Europe’s release is digital only. In Japan this was something we worked on with Sony and their Japanese Game Archives program.

Why do you think fans love Strider Hiryu so much?
From the way he moves to the way he talks, he’s the embodiment of cool, but it’s a coolness born from the original design of the character that isn’t necessarily good or evil, and certainly isn’t topical or trendy. He’s the timeless badass that everyone wishes they could be — That is why it feels so empowering to pick up the controller and become Strider Hiryu.

You can read our full Strider feature in issue 126. Get it from GreatDigitalMags and Imagineshop.

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