We’ve always been huge Earth Defense Force fans here at Push Square (we’ve lost track of how many times we’ve used “EDF! EDF! EDF!” As our article slogan). The meme-worthy series has been around for a while at this point, and it’s about to reach a whole new level of absurdity with Earth Defense Force: World Brothers, which launches for PlayStation 4 on May 27. In order to learn more about the next shooter, we asked producer Nobuyki Okajima our most pressing questions.
Push Square: First off, can you give us an overview of what Earth Defense Force is?
Nobuyuki Okajima: EDF is a third person shooter game that allows players to protect Earth from alien invaders. The player fights as a soldier belonging to the EDF. Giant insectoid monsters, giant monsters, giant UFOs and giant robots appear and attack in desperate numbers. You will feel the euphoria of defeating them as a soldier of flesh.
What’s new in Earth Defense Force: World Brothers?
There are three strengths of EDF: WB.
1. For fans of the old EDF series, there will be a lot of old soldiers and enemies. All of these characters from previous titles will come together to create battles never seen before. For example, the giant EDF Barga robot from EDF5 can fight the giant monster Solas from EDF2, and the soldiers from EDF3 can fight enemies from EDF: IR.
2. For those new to EDF, the game has been designed to be easy to play, with a four-player team system that lets you control a variety of characters in a single battle, as well as the ability to switch characters. to take the stress out of recharging. You can also get weapons and stamina, which are elements of character growth, without having to collect them on the map.
3. Besides the two strengths above, you can take full advantage of the typical EDF dynamic combat (which is actually the most important).
The radical change in artistic style for World Brothers makes an immediate impression. Why did you decide to move away from the more “realistic” visuals of previous EDF games?
Needless to say, EDF: WB is derivative work, but we’ve given a lot of thought to what kind of derivative work it should be at the start of the project. We decided that it should be a star game, that it should appeal to old fans, that it should attract new members (something that would appeal to a new user base), and that it should be immediately recognizable as a spin-off.
Voxel-like graphics were created as an art style that meets these requirements. There are a lot of games with voxel graphics, but if they are too simple they look cheap, so we looked for a design that would be accepted by adults with an action game character, with voxel-like details. And I think I was able to achieve it.
Has the new art style had an impact on game systems or mechanics?
The art style didn’t have a negative impact on the game’s controls or systems, as it would be a shame to lose the dynamic nature expected of an EDF game. The good news is that people who couldn’t play previous EDF games because they hated bugs said they could play this one.
Oh, I just remembered a real storyline that looked like a joke. Because we have everything square in the world (even the earth is square), we couldn’t embed diagonals in the soil of the map. This led to insurmountable bumps in the ground for tanks and other vehicles. To clarify this, we had to mount thrusters at the bottom of the tanks.
Can you tell us about the different character classes available in World Brothers?
You can play all soldiers from the previous EDF series (both numbered series and derivative titles). You can also play as brothers, sisters and other friends around the world as the original characters in this title. There are over 100 characters in total, including variations with different abilities.
Do you have a favorite character class?
This is a very difficult question. I love all the soldiers who have appeared in the previous series. When it comes to his original characters, I like Pharaoh Sister and Ninja Brother. I also like a character named ILI in the additional DLC.
The EDF series has been around for quite a while now. Is there pressure to develop a new entry in such a long series?
Yes there is. I feel tremendous pressure!
The EDF series is perhaps more popular than ever here in the West – did you ever think it would have such a dedicated following?
What? Is it true! It has finally become popular! I am so happy. I worked on this game thinking that there is no reason why such a fun game should not be popular in the West, so I would like to extend its appeal even more.
Games are often taken so seriously, but EDF has always embraced its absurdity, and it knows how to have fun. Do you think it’s important to have games like EDF, games that aren’t that serious?
It’s true. A game doesn’t have to follow a realistic line. However, there’s definitely a sense of immersion that comes from pursuing realism, and it’s hard to find the right balance. I think it’s good to think of this as a personality trait as it varies from game to game. In this sense, unique games like EDF are necessary.
Can you tell us about the future of EDF? Where would you like to take the series after World Brothers?
It is difficult to say what are the long-term prospects for the future of EDF. In terms of a short-term view, I would first like to achieve worldwide sales of 1 million units. I would like to share the experience of humanity coming together to protect the Earth with a million people first.
EDF6 is slated for release in Japan at the end of this year, but before that I would like to recruit members for the latest numbered title EDF5, which is currently being released, until the number of soldiers reaches 1 million worldwide. Otherwise, I don’t think humanity will be able to win the tough battle of EDF6.
Finally, do you have something to say to EDF fans, or even to people who may not be familiar with the series?
To existing EDF Fans: Thank you for joining EDF. I am sure there will be many more intense and difficult battles to come, but please fight to protect the peace of Earth. We, the team and the creators of EDF, have done our best to deliver a fun product that will make everyone happy and “desperate”.
To those who don’t know much about EDF: I think there are things that we lose if we don’t know. If you are someone who loves games, you are missing out if you haven’t had the chance to join EDF. In this game there are huge bugs and huge monsters, all of which are waiting for you to make you feel hopeless. And if you overcome this desperation, you will get the best experience to become a hero to save earth. You might not know what I’m talking about, but sign up first to find out for yourself!
Did you join the Earth Defense Force? Is World Brothers on your radar? Show your support by chanting “EDF! in the comments section below.
Many thanks to Okajima-san for taking the time to answer our questions. Special thanks to James Bartholomeou and the ICO Partners team for making this interview possible.