Gamescom 2011: NeverDead Hands-On Preview - Don't Lose Your Head!
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Ever fancied rolling around as a disembodied head, trying to defeat an army of demons? No. Well you’re going to get the chance to do so anyway, so prepare yourself to be blown up, set on fire, dismembered and generally given a harder time than the regular corpse, as NeverDead looks to provide an alternative way to play the regular third-person action adventure. We caught up with the game's Producer, Shinta Nojiri, who showed us just what to expect as well as answering a few fairly frank questions.

Things seem fairly straightforward when we were introduced to Bryce, an immortal demon hunter, who was cursed with his current condition when a botched attempt to slay the Demon King occurred over five hundred years ago. While most people would be happy to live forever, Bryce has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and is seeking a way out of his eternal punishment. Though to pass the time he is still up for a bit of demon slaying on the side – no point being bored now is there?

The action is split across two eras of the game, with Bryce looking back on his 500 year old self and also focusing on his current mission, a seemingly unwinnable war against the same demon that defeated him soundly so long ago. The gameplay is what you would expect with Bryce having a plethora of firepower with which to unleash hell against, well, hell spawn. Obviously if that were all there was to it then things would get stale pretty quickly, so it is quite handy that Bryce can utilise his unique nature to dispatch foes.

Due to his immortality Bryce can set himself on fire and then leap at foes to do the same, he can destroy explosives while stood next to them and also drop whole buildings on himself and his foes to deal massive damage. The onus is really on taking as much damage as possible rather than avoiding it and the fully destructible environments enable you to come up with a variety of ghoulish ways to dispatch foes. Basically you are encouraged to fight as dirty as possible, and use that to take down enemies. Bryce may well lose a limb or two along the way, or even be reduced to just a rolling head, but he can reattach limbs assuming he can find them, or even re-grow them entirely at certain points.

The ability to detach limbs can also be used strategically as Bryce can throw his head over obstructions in order to open a path, or detach an arm and fling it down a demons throat to shoot it from the inside. The possibilities are certainly intriguing but a careful balance has been made to keep the game challenging. While Bryce is dismembered he is at risk of being eaten by enemies, resulting in game over, and he is also tasked with keeping his female partner alive at certain junctures. Obviously players will need to balance the risk versus rewards of each situation, as standing on top of a train while it crashes may not make much sense in most games, but here it could be the key to defeating a horde of monsters.

It's a strange concept and one that even Shinta Nojiri himself admits to being a challenge to get off the ground. His initial idea was to use an immortal player but also to have a unique mechanic that would set NeverDead apart from other games, which is where the idea for dismemberment came in. He went on to say that even the team working on the game had trouble understanding how it would work, and there were a lot of problems and fights in getting them to understand the philosophy of the title. Initial discussions were tricky as at first the team hated the idea of dismemberment, and tried to avoid having it in the game at all as they found it “annoying” to the player, however, Shinta believed in his vision and pushed through the idea by making the gameplay as fun and varied as possible.

Shinta explained the game could be played as a straight up shooter, with players avoiding dismemberment as much as possible, but it would be a lot harder and less fun. When asked how the team felt now that the game was pretty much complete, he laughed and said he wasn’t sure how they felt about the dismemberment, and in a way didn’t care as he was happy with the final product, but they had made the game as enjoyable as possible. While he agreed that dismemberment could look strange, it served an important function in the game and helped it to stand out, plus he was happy that the vision he had created at the start could be fulfilled in such a unique manner.

With seemingly such resistance behind the scenes then, it will certainly be interesting to see the final product once it arrives, and just how players can manage the various stages of dismemberment. As losing a leg could slow things down, while having no arms reduces the chance of being able to attack, so there is certainly a lot of risk here between having that unique selling point and making a game that is enjoyable rather than frustrating to play. With so many third-person shooters flooding the market though it is refreshing to see a producer willing to go out on a limb (see what I did there) to make a title that offers something new, and the fact that he had so much passion to stick to his beliefs and vision should speak volumes.

On the most basic level, the game looks to have an interesting story and plenty of action. Plus it certainly looks good enough and the level or destructibility, and outright crazy violence, is pretty over the top. Whether the unique mechanic will help or hinder the overall flow of the game remains to be seen, but you can rest assured that this will not be like anything else you will have played.

Expect to be reattaching limbs and kicking demon ass when NeverDead is released later this year.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 67
Comment #1 by UltimateBane32
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 12:12:24 PM
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Looks sweet!

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #2 by Epic Gamer Will
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 12:25:33 PM
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Looks like they've changed some parts of the graphical detail technoligcs.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #3 by Denzel 515
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 12:43:16 PM
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And Megadeth did the soundtrack! m/

Forum Posts: 71
Comment #4 by Olrox
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 12:45:21 PM
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Cool gameplay, now we just need to see how good it turns out.

Forum Posts: 108
Comment #5 by aosiding
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 03:06:27 PM
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I think the objective of this game will be to get head as little as possible, or else you will be chucking what's left of you at enemies lol

Forum Posts: 108
Comment #6 by aosiding
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 06:44:56 PM
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I just realized my last post, I meant to say the objective will be to get hit. Either way that's a bad pun hahaha

Forum Posts: 155
Comment #7 by Akatsuki Sw1tch
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 06:54:23 PM
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Very interested in this title, Looking forward to see how this turns out.

Forum Posts: 271
Comment #8 by the action frampton
Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 03:55:17 AM
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Never heard the word dismemberment used so many times in one game article lol.

OT I love TPS (even shit ones) so this should be great for me regardless of how it turns out.

Forum Posts: 156
Comment #9 by Delboy06eu
Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 07:10:43 AM
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You talked about the game as though you did not actually play it yourselves. DID YOU ACTUALLY GET SOME HANDS ON TIME with the game?

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #10 by TheDesertFox76
Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 09:19:11 AM
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This game is veeeeeeeeeery cool!!!

Forum Posts: 173
Comment #11 by Epilogue of Euphoria
Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 01:19:00 PM
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Sounds crazy. Wouldn't mind having that ablity (to fuck with people).

Forum Posts: 291
Comment #12 by ViNyLek
Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 04:47:39 PM
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I'm glad that he stuck to what he believed was right and made it work one way or another in the end. too many ppl give in to pressures of other these days (not talking about video games only), so it's refreshing to know someone stood their ground and succeeded. Will have to check it out as conecpt is interesting:-)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #13 by Denzel 515
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 03:52:05 AM
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Is it only one song Megadeth have done for the game, or are there more?

Forum Posts: 302
Comment #14 by Hanzo Zer0
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 08:42:32 AM
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I like what i see.

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #15 by Spartan375x
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 08:02:48 PM
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Forum Posts: 15
Comment #16 by Deadwood GB 24
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 08:30:19 PM
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Looking forward to this, I believe a demo will be on XBLA on day of release so will check that out.
Looks good graphicly, nice and bright when needed and also a darker side to it, much like Bryce.
I really like the character design, take your partner - Arcadia Maximille. She looks tough like she can handle herself but with a sexy soft side to her too which I'm sure will help the game stand out in stores and on trailers.
Sounds like a good story will unfold and a cracking soundtrack to go with!

If the gameplay is good I hope the title sells as it sounds fresh and very differant from any other game out there!
Good luck NeverDead

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Game Info


US January 31, 2012
Europe February 03, 2012

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