Earth Defense Force is coming back to the western markets with a one-two punch. In December, we’re finally going to be able to enjoy Earth Defense Force 5, while next year we’re getting Earth Defense Force Iron Rain.
Recently, DualShockers spoke with Producer Nobuyuki Okajima to ask him a few questions about the upcoming titles, which will allow North American and European players to slaughter over-the-top alien creatures to their hearts’ content.
Okajima-san explained that Earth Defense Force 5 took quite a while to be released in the west due to the English voice-overs. The process took longer than initially predicted. Asked whether simply releasing the game in Japanese with subtitles was considered as an option, he mentioned that D3 Publisher really wanted to include the English voices to provide western players with the full experience in their own language.
Speaking of Iron Rain, we heard that the upcoming title has been specifically created to cater to a western audience. It has more advanced graphics and while the story has been written to be interesting for everyone, it has no strong connection with numbered EDF games.
Numbered EDF games are mostly set in Japan, and they include key points that Japanese fans are used to, and should not be changed. Iron Rain is a good opportunity to explore beyond those points that the development team can’t alter in the main series.
For instance, the game is set in western countries, with locations familiar to western users like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Gameplay is also designed to be more familiar to players used to western third-person shooters. This familiarity, combined with elements from the traditional EDF experience, should result in a game suitable for both long-time fans and completely new ones that are jumping into the series for the first time.
Both games have been announced only for PS4, but Okajima-san mentioned that a possibility to expand to other platforms exists, even if for the moment there is no specific plan for that.
D3 Publisher is actually known for making games that are pretty crazy, and while the EDF series definitely includes industrial quantities of wacky elements, it can easily be seen (paradoxically) as the most serious franchise coming from the company. I had to ask Okajima-san if he has ever considered working on a game with a more serious tone.
Interestingly, he explained that the comedy in the EDF series isn’t really something the team intentionally seeks. They try to make games with a pretty serious flavor, but the characters, the over-the-top enemies, and the ways they interact with each other end up naturally creating comedy. In the future — and this includes Iron Rain — the direction is going to be the same. While the team isn’t going to go out of its way to make players laugh, it’s likely going to happen anyway.
While Iron Rain is being created by a new team of younger developers, Okajima-san is working with them with the same concepts as the foundation. He is looking forward to seeing how the fans will react to the game, and he hopes that they will find the same fundamental taste of previous games from the franchise.
We also hear that D3 Publisher is going to try to have releases in the west closer to the Japanese launch dates going forward. In fact, for Iron Rain, they’re actually aiming to release worldwide at the same time. As evidence of that, the demo playable at Tokyo Game Show 2018 was in English as well as in Japanese.
Since Iron Rain is a spinoff separate from the numbered games of the series, I asked Okajima-san whether the team is already working on Earth Defense Force 6. He just smiled and mentioned that it’s a secret.
Lastly, he concluded with a message for the western fans:
“For all the EDF fans around the world, Earth Defense Force 5 is finally coming out on December 11th. Thank you for your patience. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain will also be released worldwide next year. Please look forwad to that as well.
Let’s protect Earth together!”