FromSoftware, known for the Armored Core series and the Souls games, released on November 6th a new game for PSVR which is quite different from their recent titles: Déraciné. On November 8th, the game’s Japanese release day, a release event was held at Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara.
The event’s MC was Misuzu Araki, and it featured Sony Japan Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa, FromSoftware Communication Manager Yasuhiro Kitao, and Marketing Section Department Manager Yasunori Ogura. All three developers shared some really interesting tidbits on the game.
As we already know, Déraciné was born from the mind of Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of most Souls games and Bloodborne. We learned at this event that he first brought up the game’s idea during the wrap-up party celebrating the end of development on all of Bloodborne‘s DLCs (in December 2015). At the time, FromSoftware was looking into developing a PS VR title, so the timing was perfect.
The game went through many different changes during initial development, but the main concept has always been to make a game where “players will be able to experience for themselves what is real and what isn’t”. This is how they went with the story of players controlling an invisible fairy, trying to prove its existence to the pupils of a boarding school. As they were working on the game, the concept came first, the story later. They went with that story because it’s what corresponded the best to the concept they had.
Speaking of the boarding school, as the game is in VR, you end up seeing most of the pupils’ faces very closely. As it isn’t set in Japan, in order to make the children’ expressions as realistic as possible, FromSoftware hired multiple non-Japanese child actors, for motion-capture and face-capture. This is also part of why they chose the boarding school as the setting. Seeing cute children smiling will make players feel they’d love to attend the school together with them, reinforcing immersion. You don’t see cute girls in FromSoftware games often, so they really wanted them to be as cute as possible, and original, which is why they didn’t go for an anime-like, “2D” style.
Similar to other FromSoftware titles like Bloodborne, instead of directly explaining various elements to the players, the development team included many “hints” in the game that observative players will be able to notice. As previously stated, Miyazaki-san loves this kind of storytelling. As such, he handled the game’s script very carefully, even more so than his past games. Playing Déraciné will make you feel as if you’re reading an old Shoujo manga by FromSoftware. Older FromSoftware fans who played titles such as Echo Night can enjoy the game too.
Because of these points, Kitao-san mentioned that Déraciné is “the kind of game which chooses its players” and that it may not be for everyone. Yamagiwa-san mentioned that it was the first time both him and Miyazaki-san made an adventure game like Déraciné, and while his game developers’ spirit makes him constantly unsatisfied, striving to improve himself, he’s extremely happy with how the game turned out.
Lastly, Masaaki Yamagiwa pointed out how one of the main characters in Déraciné is a girl named Yuliya, and how Miyazaki-san games often have a character named “Yulia”. When he asked Miyazaki-san about it, he simply said that it’s really fun to think of possible connections between the games.
In my opinion, Miyazaki-san only does these kinds of references and easter eggs for fun, and FromSoftware isn’t actually planning to link Déraciné with Bloodborne or Dark Souls, but who knows.
An artwork by Rana Suzuki, an artist who specializes in beautiful chalk drawings on blackboards, was also exhibited during the event, you can check it below.
I’m really intrigued by Déraciné, and because of their similar settings, have been nicknaming it “Princess Sarah Simulator” since its initial announcement at E3 2018. It’ll probably be one of the first games I try out if I ever get my hands on a PSVR. Hidetaka Miyazaki also shared more comments on the game ahead of release, you can read them here.
Déraciné launched for PlayStation VR on November 6th in the west.