As an offshoot of the original manga and anime, the animated TV series “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” packed plenty of cyberpunk action into its fifty-two episodes and offshoot movie, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society.” But despite its massive success in animation, attempts to turn that action into a video game have largely fallen flat.
Neople’s Lead Director Jung Eik Choi is hoping to change that with “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: First Assault,” an online shooter from Nexon America set to arrive on PC next year. And, as Choi tells CBR News, you won’t have to be a fan of the original anime, or any anime, to get into this game — but it’ll help.
CBR News: Let’s start with the basics: What kind of game is “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: First Assault,” and how do you play it?
Jung Eik Choi: It’s an online, multiplayer, first-person-shooter in which players can become one of the original characters from the anime series. Each character has a unique skill, and through the SkillSync system, these skills can be shared with allies for more tactical gameplay. Also, players can battle along with Tachikomas, adding more excitement to the game.
How tactical is going to be? Is it like a Tom Clancy game, or something simpler like “Halo 5: Guardians?”
Each game has its own style of tactical gameplay, and in “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: First Assault,” players will benefit from the various unique skills and the SkillSync system. Through many objectives, players can gain “Intel,” which can be used to activate these skills. This can be accomplished with the team’s effort, as they will focus on the objectives and sharing skills to gain an advantage on the battlegrounds.
So what are the different modes in the game?
The current main game modes are “Team Deathmatch,” “Demolition” and “Terminal Conquest.”
As “First Assault” is based on the first season episode “Annihilation,” the game has Section 9 facing such opposing forces as the Maritime Self Defense Force. In “Team Deathmatch,” Section 9 fights against opposing forces in specific locations and players, and the side that eliminates more opponents within the limited time wins the battle.
“Demolition” brings Section 9 to strategic locations where critical assets must be defended and destroyed. When on defense, the team must eliminate all opposing forces from destroying their assets or diffuse any explosions that are planted. When on attack, the team must eliminate all opposing forces or plant an explosive to destroy the opponents assets.
Lastly, “Terminal Conquest” is a mode in which Section 9 must capture strategic terminals and prevent the opposing forces from doing so. When a terminal is successfully captured, the team calls in a Tachikoma that supports fire and takes an important role in capturing further terminals. However, if the opposing team captures a terminal, they will call in a Think Tank to support them. You’ll need to hack the Think Tank to temporarily disable it and attack it to bring it down.
While the game is based on the episode “Annihilation,” is that the only episode that inspired it?
No. Throughout the game, you’ll see maps based on specific moments and places from the series, such as PSS9 headquarters from the episode “Missing Hearts,” and Downtown Dejima from the “This Side of Justice” episode from Season 2. We wanted to bring in as much of the iconic “Ghost in the Shell” world as possible, and there are many elements that work well for a first-person shooter. There’s also enemies, locations and weaponry from the original anime.
Why did you decide to set the game in the “Stand Alone Complex” version of “Ghost in the Shell” as opposed to the original manga, or the first two movies, or even the new “Arise” series?
There are a lot of exciting concepts and ideas within the “Stand Alone Complex” series, and it has some of the best action sequences in the franchise. We wanted to leverage all of the awesome features and add them to the game through various content, including characters and maps.
Is anyone from the show involved in the game’s design?
We are working very closely with Production I.G. [the Japanese animation studio that produced “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”] to ensure all designs for characters, locations, and items accurately represent the original anime.
How about Masamune Shirow, who wrote the original “Ghost in the Shell” manga. Is he helping out at all?
Although Masamune Shirow is not directly involved with the making of the game, we hope he is following the whole process.
At the moment, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: First Assault” is just coming to PCs. Is there any chance it’ll come to consoles as well?
Our current plan is to release on PC only, and we’re focusing our attention on creating a robust experience for PC players.
Finally, the new “Call of Duty: Black Ops III” has a very cyberpunk feel to it, one that makes it feel like it was inspired by “Ghost in the Shell.” Are you at all worried that they might cannibalize your game, or do you think your game will be different from theirs?
The cyberpunk feel has become a trend in many game designs, and the genre is widely credited to the “Ghost in the Shell” manga. But since our game is directly inspired by the original “Stand Alone Complex” anime, you’ll see not only familiar characters and locations, but it gives “First Assault” a different atmosphere and experience compared to other games with a cyberpunk element.
“Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: First Assault” will be released in 2016, but is now playable in early access. To sign up for it or any later beta tests, visit FirstAssaultGame.com
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