GDC 2013: Dragon's Dogma Was Originally Twice as Large, Featured Hang Gliders
Written Thursday, March 28, 2013 By Lee BradleyView author's profile
Director Hideaki Itsuno discussed the development of Dragon's Dogma at the Game Developers Conference today, outlining the struggles he had in creating the game.
Among the many subjects covered by Itsuno in the talk, titled Behind the Scenes of Dragon's Dogma, the director explained just how hard he found selling the game's concepts to Capcom, and some of the sacrifices he had to make to remain on budget.
Itsuno says that in 2008, when work on Dragon's Dogma began in earnest, “open-world hadn't reached the mainstream, especially in Japan.” Indeed, such was the Capcom's insularity that even Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was “almost unheard of” at the publisher.
The biggest problem Itsuno faced, however, was communicating the potential of Dragon's Dogma's Pawn system.
In Dragon's Dogma, each player has access to Pawns; AI-controlled players with customisable abilities. These Pawns can then be shared online between players, picking up knowledge, rewards and experience as they go.
However, Itsuno wasn't able to convince Capcom that it was a fun idea. Conceived at a time when social functionality wasn't common in games, the publisher just didn't understand Pawns' potential. Itsuno reckons that many of Capcom's bosses only properly understood Pawns once they played the retail version of the game.
Beyond this, Itsuno also outlined how Dragon's Dogma's world shrank during development. At one point it was twice as big as the final release, with a hang glider or kite used to travel to the more far flung regions. You were also able to travel to the moon, but the content was eventually cut thanks to budget restictions.
Dragon's Dogma released in May last year, selling over one million copies and earning wide praise from critics. An expansion, Dark Arisen is coming out next month.