Interview: SWERY Discusses the Success of Deadly Premonition, Sequels, and Strange Snacks
Posted by Katy Ellis
Going back to Greenvale
This year PlayStation 3 owners will finally be able to journey to the mysterious town of Greenvale, where purple fog pollutes the air, axe-murderers grace the streets, and the rain never seems to stop falling. We recently caught up with Deadly Premonition: Director's Cut honcho Hidetaka 'SWERY' Suehiro, producer Tomio Kanazawa, and translator Toru Sasaki to find out more about the re-release, as well as grill the developers on the prospects of a sequel. Please note that, while we have tried to keep the interview as spoiler-free as possible, there are a few references to the ending of the game.
Push Square: Thank you all very much for talking to us today, and braving the London snow! To get us started, could you tell us a little about how the Deadly Premonition project first began?
SWERY: As you may know, this is the second project that I directed from scratch. Spy Fiction [first released in December 2003 on the PS2] was the game which put Tomio and I together.
Tomio Kanazawa: I originally wanted to make an open world game and was looking for a director who could work on that with me, and by chance I played Spy Fiction and thought, "Ah, this director can make a nice open world mystery game." I thought he was very good at cinematics and creating open world environments, and was convinced he was the guy for the new Deadly Premonition project.
PS: Since its Western release in 2010, the original Xbox 360 version of Deadly Premonition has become a much-loved open world horror game and earned a cult status among video game enthusiasts. Why do you think the game has been so warmly received by fans despite the initial negative press?
SW: I believe this game is quite different from others on the market, and once you get into the story you can't find any games similar to it. We spent around six years on the project, and throughout those six years I kept putting all of my passion into the game. I think this is the reason why people like it, because it is so different, and I'm very happy that it's receiving such a warm reception from fans.
In Japan the game was known as Red Seeds Profile and was released on the PS3. However, it was only released on the Xbox 360 in Europe and North America. What was the reason behind that?
When publishing the Xbox 360 version of Deadly Premonition, we were actually working on a PS3 version as well – but unfortunately we couldn't reach the release date
TK: When publishing the Xbox 360 version we were actually working on a PS3 version as well, but unfortunately couldn't reach the release date, as there were some technical issues, so we had to give up on the PS3 version for the western market. The release date in Japan was actually later than the American launch date so we had the time to work further on the Japanese PS3 version. Now we would like to try and release the PS3 version in Europe and North America, so we can expand to a new market and appeal to new fans in the west.
SW: The team is really hoping that PS3 and Xbox fans can enjoy the world of Deadly Premonition, and that new fans might create the environment for us to develop something new in the franchise.
PS: A new Deadly Premonition game? Does that mean that we can expect a Deadly Premonition 2 in the near future?
SW: We are in discussion about moving onto the next project. It all depends on how widely Director's Cut is accepted.
TK: I have recommended that SWERY should use Hitchin [a market town in Hertfordshire, England, and home to publisher Rising Star Games] as the next setting. I love Hitchin. It's a very nice town.
PS: [Laughs]. So, Deadly Premonition 2 is set in the cobbled streets of Hitchin?
SW: I can’t say ‘yes’, but maybe. [Laughs].
PS: If you were to make a Deadly Premonition 2, would you presumably now use Zack as the main character, now that York has gone to be with Emily?
SW: [Whispers]. It’s a secret! I’m thinking about a lot of things.
PS: Maybe Kaysen's dog, Willy, could be the new villain! [Laughs].
SW: Willy will most likely be included in Deadly Premonition 2.
PS: Could you please talk a little about some of the new features in the Director's Cut version?
SW: There are three new areas which we have expanded upon in Director's Cut. Firstly, there is an extra scenario, an original storyline to the game that allows existing fans to enjoy more of it, and also opens up the possibility for new gamers to understand the world of Deadly Premonition more easily.
TK: This game starts with a complete new opening movie, and some new characters, such as the young girl that you see at the beginning. But we can’t reveal who they are right now… [Laughs].
SW: The second major improvement is to the graphics and control system. We looked into areas such as those mentioned by core fans over Twitter and took the criticisms into consideration. Improvements were made accordingly. The third area which we have expanded upon is the new feature which allows the player to purchase a villa in Greenvale, a car, and purchase new outfits as DLC.
PS: Ah, yes! We spotted York in a rather dashing red and white Hawaiian suit during the game preview. Very nice.
SW: There are also some other items you can purchase as DLC, which make you stronger and live longer, such as a particular suit that you can buy.
TK: It’s kind of like a cheat suit! [Laughs].
SW: Tomio particularly requested that I should come up with a new costume for Emily, so players can look forward to that too!
TK: Yes, we added a sexy, new costume for her. [Laughs].
On page two we discuss perfume, Easter eggs, and sinful sandwiches.