For­mer Ubisoft man Emeric Thoa looks to Ja­pan for in­spi­ra­tion

Like Nid­hogg, Furi is cen­tred on the art of du­elling. Orig­i­nally con­ceived dur­ing a plane flight as Paris-based de­signer

ideal game, it draws on the flow­ing com­bat of Bay­o­netta and the cau­tion of Dark Souls to de­liver an un­com­monly in­ti­mate game about cross­ing swords.

“The orig­i­nal con­cept was of one long boss fight, but in the end we de­cided on sev­eral long boss fights,” Thoa tells us. “Each op­po­nent is for­mi­da­ble, and you’ll need to learn and mas­ter their at­tack pat­terns to beat them. A fight usu­ally goes back and



forth be­tween two states: lon­grange com­bat, where you need to weaken the op­po­nent, and close-range com­bat, where the fo­cus is on sword fight­ing only, more like a sa­mu­rai duel. In both cases, dodg­ing is very im­por­tant and a key to sur­vival.”

That re­ac­tiv­ity ex­tends to the con­trols. Thoa, who worked as a di­rec­tor of game de­sign at Ubisoft prior to co-found­ing The Game Bak­ers, is a big fan of Ja­panese au­teur Shinji Mikami’s work, and Furi is in­flu­enced by his cor­pus as well as the other Ja­panese de­sign­ers who favour fluid ac­tion over fluid an­i­ma­tion. “With the in­flu­ence of great triple-A games such as Un­charted or As­sas­sin’s Creed, videogames nowa­days try more and more to look like a movie, with a char­ac­ter that moves re­al­is­ti­cally,” Thoa says. “But there was a time when the most im­por­tant thing wasn’t for the an­i­ma­tion to play, but for the char­ac­ter to re­act. I al­ways liked that about Ja­panese games – the fact that they value player feed­back over real­ism.”

This fo­cus called for a dis­tinc­tive look, too, so The Game Bak­ers ap­proached manga artist and Afro Sa­mu­rai cre­ator Takashi Okazaki. “Be­cause the game is about du­els be­tween two char­ac­ters, work­ing with one of the best char­ac­ter de­sign­ers in the world was our first ob­jec­tive,” Thoa says. “Takashi was our first choice. We sim­ply wrote to him with the game pitch and he said, ‘OK, that sounds in­ter­est­ing!’”

The re­sults are cer­tainly be­guil­ing, Okazaki’s art­work im­bu­ing Furi with a sur­real beauty and rich char­ac­ter. The ex­tent of its vis­ual am­bi­tions will be­come clear when the game ar­rives on PS4/PC in 2016.

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