Inside Captivate, Capcom's annual game event that showcases the Japanese giant's biggest releases for the coming year, the position of first announcement of the show was a completely new action title from the company: Dragon's Dogma.
As the name suggests, this is grand fantasy adventure stuff, filled with dragons, monsters, swords and sorcery. It's third person with a focus on fast-paced action delivered with cinematic flair.
Dragon's Dogma's director and producer duo of Hideaki Itsuno (Devil May Cry 2 - 4) and Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry 4) are massively excited about the game. "This is the biggest Capcom game at the moment and it has the most staff working on it," they explained. "It has been in development for two full years now and we are truly committed to make DD a great game."
The game reminds you heavily of great western fantasy epics like Dragon Age or Oblivion, with Dragon's Dogma is easily one of the most western looking Japanese games we have seen. Although the director insist the game's influences stretch further back to Kobayashi's childhood, when he came across some of the Western world's most celebrated novels.
"This is the game he has wanted to make ever since junior high school," Itsuno-san says. "When he got introduced to fantasy classics like Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia.
There's definitely some touches in Dragon's Dogma that hint towards the country that created it - as ever with Japanese action titles, bigger is definitely better. Players will be set against all manner of gigantic fantasy monsters. In the opening trailer, we saw a mammoth dragon that will play a pivotal role in the story, as well as a seven-headed hydra as tall as house, which you can see in the gameplay trailer below. In the playable segment of the game, we're thrown against a flying gryphon.
Western influences aside, what sets DD apart from other action RPG's, according to Itsuno-san, is is the game's open world and pawns. That's pawns. Not prawns. As in chess, not the ocean-travelling crustaceans.
Pawns are AI-controlled sidekicks that players can recruit from anywhere in the world, and they posses some skills that make them highly desirable, such as healing abilities or an eye to spot and highlight enemy weak spots. At the moment there were only three classes: daggers and bow wielding Strider, magic casting Mage and a melee specialist Fighter.
Of the open world, Itsuno had this to say: "We wanted to make a true open world where you can go whereever you can see on the map. In game if you hear stories about big monster attacking a town or even see it happening from a far distance - you can travel there and join the fight to save the town and it's people."
"We are aware that Capcom is not known of it's open world games so this is a bit challenge to us but were are really excited by it."
Dragon's Dogma is set to release early 2012 on PS3 and Xbox 360.