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Interview: Trading Punches with PlayStation All-Stars' Seth Killian

Posted by Sammy Barker

PS: Is there a particular character that isn't in the game that you secretly wished was?

SK: PaRappa was a very memorable PlayStation game for me, as were a lot of the titles included on the roster. But another one that was a real landmark for me that I’d love to figure out how to do is Katamari Damacy. I’d love to see the King of all Cosmos or somebody from Katamari – I guess it would be the Prince, right? – find their way into the game, but, frankly, I think it would really play hell with our engine if you could roll up the characters and elements of the stage. And, another thing is, once the characters all get rolled up, what do they do? Someday, maybe I’ll get the opportunity to figure it out.

PS: We want the mannequin from Echochrome, so you can take that one back to the studio free of charge.

SK: [Laughs]. I’ve heard some obscure suggestions, and that’s pretty solid. That’s great.

PS: What can you tell us about the DLC? Obviously, you’ve just announced that Kat and Emmett Graves are going to be added to the game. Is there anything more that you can say at the moment?

SK: Honestly, they’re both quite early. The game just went gold, so the team was able to stop and focus on DLC for the first time. We hope that the development process is accelerated now that our full attention’s on it. Personally, I've been really happy with the way that Emmett’s trending on paper at least. He’s got a lot of what they call the ‘Build and Battle’ system. Starhawk had a lot of great technology where you’re always dropping crazy things from the sky, and we've tried to really implement that to represent the character. You can assume that some gun attacks will end up in his design as well, but we really wanted to accentuate this construction mechanic.

I'd love to figure out how to add Katamari Damacy to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

As for Kat, well, she’s kind of broken right now. Again, these characters are very early. They’re just sort of mock-ups that still look like other characters. They've got bits of other protagonists still stuck on them that we have to rework in order to get them properly finished. But Kat moves around the screen right now like nobody else. I'm sure, even if it doesn't stay in the way that it is right now, that she’ll have a lot of crazy movement options and definitely the ability to play with gravity. Obviously, she’s immune from it, and she’ll have the opportunity to exploit that in battle. She’s got a lot of great combos already actually.

PS: There have been quite a lot of requests for Kat from fans online. Did that feedback encourage you to add her into the game? She’s quite a new character after all.

SK: She is a new character, but she had a huge impact as soon as Gravity Rush released. Obviously, as one of the stars of the PlayStation Vita, and with PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale being on the same platform, we wanted to unite those families. And also, we just need more ladies in the game. Kat's an awesome one too, because she’s obviously an interesting character with unique abilities, so everyone on the team was really excited about adding her to the game. Thankfully, we were able to get the Gravity Rush team on board, and now it’s full steam ahead.

PS: When can we expect to play as Crash Bandicoot?

SK: [Laughs]. There’s probably someone from another company that you’d be better served asking about that. He is a great part of PlayStation history, but no news on him at this time unfortunately.

PS: If you’re in a battle for a million dollars against the best PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale players in the world, which character would you select and why?

SK: I would probably try and do some intel on who they were playing as, and try to take advantage of that. But my best character is Nathan Drake.

PS: Really? That’s interesting. He’s one of the most difficult characters in our opinion.

SK: Yeah, he is a bit hard, that’s true. I'm not sure he’s the strongest character in the game, but I've always felt good trying to master characters that play to my personal strengths, and he’s solid. He’s an aggressive character, but he doesn't have to be in your face all of the time. He has a lot of really good mid-range attacks, which is where I think I'm happiest. And he is strong. Like I say, I don’t know whether he’s the strongest character in the game, but maybe I can prove it by winning a million dollars.

PS: SuperBot Entertainment’s recruited a lot of fighting game veterans, so what’s next for the studio? Can we expect an original fighting game in the future?

SK: I don’t know. Obviously, we have to wait and see what the reception is to this game. We hope that it’s strong, because we certainly think that the title is worthy of people’s time. I'm confident that it’s going to find an audience of people that stick with it for years, because it’s got a lot of depth. But, yeah, if SuperBot Entertainment makes a billion dollars or something, I'm sure that they’d love to do an original fighting game. We've still got plenty of ideas for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, though, and a chance to do another one of those would be awesome. We’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds. Right now we’re focused on getting the game out of the door, and trying to make the DLC as awesome as possible.

PS: To finish up, we just wanted to talk about you for a moment. You've obviously joined Sony from Capcom. What drove you to PlayStation?

At Capcom, I took every decision so seriously that it was almost agonising, and it made it very difficult for me to say no to anything

SK: Well, honestly, Capcom is extremely close to my heart – and sometimes that’s a positive, and sometimes that’s not a positive. At Capcom, I took every decision so seriously that it was almost agonising. And it also made it very difficult for me to say no to anything. I mean, that’s great in some ways, but it’s probably not sustainable.

Of course, it’s also a global company, so I was constantly travelling. And to try and focus on design – which is where I feel my heart has gone – it would have probably meant moving to Japan, and that’s something that I wasn't prepared to do at this stage. Also, I felt like a lot of the Capcom games were where I’d envisioned them to be, so I felt like my work was maybe not done, but I’d certainly accomplished a lot of what I set out to do with those games.

For my money, Sony Santa Monica is probably the best studio in the United States. They do such an incredible range of games, between God of War, Journey, and, of course, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. I just can’t imagine any other studio in the country doing all three of those titles at once. So, that’s something I was really excited to do, and it’s definitely a new challenge for me. Honestly, it’s good to have a chance to fail once in a while, and I’m excited to be in that position. It makes you feel alive, and try really hard.

PS: What’s next for you personally? Presumably you’re working on other projects within Sony Santa Monica. Is there anything you can talk about yet?

SK: Yeah, unfortunately my other projects are unannounced. I hope all of them will go into full production. Some of them will, but others might not. But, regardless of what happens, I'm a believer in all of them, and I hope that they find their audience internally. Hopefully, we’ll have something to share in the short-term, or before too long at least. I'm really enjoying myself, though. I believe in all of the people that I'm working with, and I'm learning so much. We really do work with some of the most talented developers and teams in the world, and I'm really proud of them. I'm going to make sure that I do my best to really support their efforts, and make sure they go all of the way.

PS: Fantastic. Thank you so much for your time, Seth. We wish you all of the best with the release of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

SK: Thank you.

You can read our thoughts on SuperBot Entertainment’s mascot mash-up in our PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale review. Let us know if you’re playing the brawler in the comments section below. Credit to Jason Millis for the photographs used throughout this article.

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User Comments (6)

zipmonStaff

#3

zipmon said:

Wonderful interview Sammy! It's so interesting reading about the work that goes into balancing fighting games, I've never actually thought about it but I definitely appreciate it!

JamieOStaff

#5

JamieO said:

An excellent interview, I agree with @zipmon, it provides a nice insight into how much work goes into creating balance and an even sense of character symmetry in a fighting game, especially with a variety of distinctive IPs.

I have lost touch with the one-on-one and crossover fighter genres slightly over the years, especially as I was obsessed with arcade and SNES Street Fighter II in 1991/92. However, I played quite a bit of Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV with my cousin and our buddies, so I think Capcom did a great job of rejuvenating the genre for mainstream players in those games.

When Seth Killian announced he was leaving Capcom on the Capcom Unity blog, on June 22nd this year, I thought it was cool how respectful and appreciative gamers were of his work in the comments board. It is interesting to read more about some of his reasons for leaving Capcom in this interview.

I like that his name is ‘s-kill’, as it is perfect for someone who has developed a speciality in this genre, which is a game style that often demands you master its intricacies to become a competent player. As @get2sammyb suggests here, it could also explain why he plays as Nathan Drake in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

Slapshot

#6

Slapshot said:

Awesome, awesome interview Sammy!

I'm really glad that you convinced me to get my butt out their and pick this game up - it's by far my Game of the Year! :)

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