Capcom and CyberConnect2 have combined forces for the much anticipated brawler, Asura's Wrath, set for release on February 21. The action adventure game is set in an alternate reality called Gaea, blending science-fiction elements with Asian mythology, and featuring innovative gameplay that combines shooter action with grand-scale combat. Capcom has positioned Asura’s Wrath to launch a new franchise, and they chose to develop their flagship game using Unreal Engine 3 (UE3).
Kazuhiro Tsuchiya, producer of Asura’s Wrath at CyberConnect2, said of Epic’s game engine, “This was actually the first time CyberConnect2 developed a game using Unreal Engine 3, and it provided the most effective environment for developing a game, while managing resources most efficiently.”
Tsuchiya said UE3 equally reinforces the three core concepts of the studio: idea, knowledge and technology. He explains, “These are all important, and although one factor may weigh more than the other at one given point, overall it should be even as all are essential.”
CyberConnect2 has been making games for more than 15 years, most notably fueling hit franchises such as .hack and Naruto: Ultimate Ninja. With such a distinguished record of game development, the team had no problem diving into Unreal Engine technology to bring this new original IP to life.
The game itself follows the eponymous hero, the demi-god Asura, one of Eight Guardian Generals known for his victory against the evil Gohma. But in spite of his impressive military career, including slaying the monstrous Gohma Vlitra, Asura is framed as a traitor by his fellow generals. Asura’s wife is killed and his daughter taken from him, leaving him expelled from Heaven, cast to earth, and left for dead. But after 12,000 years, Asura awakens and is consumed by the need for revenge and to reclaim his daughter.
Tsuchiya describes the storytelling approach of Asura’s Wrath as more akin to a TV drama than a traditional game, and the developers worked to intertwine the mechanics of the game with the story.
“During development, we wanted to bring something new to the action genre and to blend action and drama in a new way,” said Tsuchiya. “We also wanted to blend cut scenes and action scenes seamlessly throughout the whole game.
“Asura’s Wrath offers different play styles in each episode, rather than simply repeating the same action again and again in different maps. Instead, Asura’s Wrath allows the player to be fully immersed in the game world and experience the drama Asura is going through. This means there are different game systems like combat action, shooting elements, quick time events, and so on, as Asura encounters different situations.”
Tsuchiya’s team utilized UE3 to incorporate a unique art style into the game’s science fiction and Asian mythology-fused environments and characters, which he said “stylize our crazy over-the-top scenes.” The game’s many enemies include the Shinkoku Army and the hero’s former mentor Angus, who trained Asura in his former life.
Tsuchiya said UE3 empowered his team to craft a truly immersive experience that entices the player into the game world the same way that Hollywood TV shows hook viewers. Asura’s Wrath was conceived much like a serialized drama, complete with over-the-top situations, high stakes, and cliffhangers. The game’s episodes, Tsuchiya hopes, will leave players wanting to come back for more. Using UE3, the team was able to add a sense of malleability to the game, and even cinematics can be interrupted, impacting the outcome.
The gameplay stands out from other action games. Battles, such as one waged between Asura and Angus, are huge, boss-style engagements. Gameplay involves combat with katanas and swords, as well as shooting and evading beams of energy bullets. Depending on the fight and Asura’s rage, he can fight with as many as six arms or none at all.
Fights take on superhero proportions, with combatants being sent through walls and into the planet’s atmosphere with powerful punches and kicks. Aiding players along the way is a Rage meter, which allows players to power up to take on the game’s many enemies.
CyberConnect2 is hoping that good things come in threes. With UE 3 bringing this visually impressive, action-packed game to life, the developer could have a third successful global franchise on its hands.