Epic Diaries: UE3 and Asura's Wrath

Epic Diaries: UE3 and Asura's Wrath

By Mark Rein

March 14th 2012 at 10:00AM

Mark Rein looks at Unreal Engine 3's role in the latest Capcom action title

Capcom and CyberConnect2 have combined forces for the much anticipated brawler, Asura’s Wrath, set for release during mid-February.

The action adventure game is set in an alternate reality called Gaea, blending science-fiction elements with Asian mythology, and combines shooter action with grand-scale combat. Capcom has positioned Asura’s Wrath to launch as a new franchise, and they chose to develop their new game using Unreal Engine 3.

Kazuhiro Tsuchiya, producer of Asura’s Wrath at CyberConnect2, says of Epic’s game engine: “This was actually the first time we’ve developed a game using Unreal Engine 3, and it provided the most effective environment for developing a game, whilst managing resources most efficiently.”

Tsuchiya adds that UE3 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 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 that they wanted to tell.

“During development, we wanted to bring something new to the action genre and to blend action and drama in a new way,” says Tsuchiya. “We also wanted to blend cut scenes and action sequences 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. 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 utilised UE3 to incorporate a unique art style into the game’s science fiction and Asian mythology-fused environments and characters, which he says “stylised our crazy over-the-top scenes.”

Tsuchiya said UE3 empowered his team to craft a truly immersive experience that entices the player into the game world in the same way that Hollywood TV shows hook viewers. The team was also 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.

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 UE3 bringing this visually impressive, action-packed game to life, the developer could have a third successful global franchise on its hands.