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Posted on Dec 30, 2010 in Electronic Games

Mindjack – Exclusive Interview with Square Enix

By Jim Zabek

'This is my security clearance!' Mindjack screenshot courtesy Square Enix.

Square Enix is set to release Mindjack, described as "a new kind of game that combines single-player and muli-player modes in a unique way. In the game’s story, a team of rogue agents fight for survival in a world where governments are crumbling, being replaced by new, corrupt powers. Conspiracies abound. And then there’s the matter of the advanced technology that "could destroy the very core of humanity."

To find out more about this unusual game, ArmchairGeneral.com interviewed Square Enix Producer Yamagishi Yoshinori.

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ArmchairGeneral.com: I love the name Mindjack. Where did it come from?

Yamagishi Yoshinori: The name Mindjack was derived from a breakthrough technology called “Mind Wave” that was developed by Nerkas Solutions, the largest technology corporation in the world. Nerkas was known for a variety of amazing technologies that run the gamut from toothpaste to vodka. Mind Wave was the incredible breakthrough that allows users to control all manner of household technology and appliances with only their thoughts. Incidentally, those who are interested can learn more can visit Nerkas Solutions, Inc.

In the game itself, players will use the Mind Wave technology to “hack” into other peoples’ minds to take control of their body. This includes NPCs, enemy soldiers, as well as robotic guards and some cybernetically enhanced animals. Basically any piece of technology or any human being wearing the ubiquitous Mind Wave headset can come under the player control.

Basically, you’re “jacking” them right out of their own mind.

ACG: Can you tell us a bit about how the Nerkas Solution Headset, who wears it, and why?

YY: The Nerkas Solution headset is a device worn by the civilians and soldiers of San Mira. The headset utilizes the Mind Wave technology described above for communication and for collecting information over a large and intricate network. It also allows users to utilize the power of their minds to control appliances and mechanical devices to make their day-to-day living more convenient. However, as with any breakthrough technology of modern times, as soon as it was invented, people started looking for ways to distort it to their advantage or to militarize it. “Mind Hackers” began to abuse the technology to use it as a weapon to turn society against itself. Anyone who wears one – and that’s just about everybody (I mean, wouldn’t you want to turn on your TV or dishwasher by thinking it?) – is subject to being jacked by the player.

ACG: You’ve created a rather innovative blend of single-player and multiplayer game. Can you tell us how it works?

Monkey see, monkey kill. Screenshot courtesy Square Enix.YY: Usually, single and multi-play experiences are treated as two completely different modes – you either play privately or with other people. But in Mindjack, these modes are integrated to create something entirely new. When you start a single player game, other players are allowed—encouraged, even—to “break into” your game, instantly turning it into a multiplayer experience. This transition is entirely seamless and is what makes Mindjack unique and different from other games. You will continue playing along your single player story arc as if nothing has changed, but the enemies—and even your allies in the game—might be under the control of online players. Nothing makes for better AI, or for a more varied and replay-able experience, than a real, human player online.

Firepower is not a problem. Screenshot courtesy Square Enix.ACG: So I can be gaming along in my own little world when suddenly, wham, someone “hacks” into the game and starts controlling the enemy units? I guess that takes the “artificial” out of “artificial intelligence,” doesn’t it?

YY: Yes, it does. The hacker will be able to control other enemy units, which would add additional challenge to the game rather than relying on predictable actions by the AI enemy. As I mentioned, not only can other players join as your enemy, but they can also join on your side, creating what amounts to a simultaneous single player, co-operative, and competitive multiplayer experience, with all these traditional modes coexisting in one new experience.

ACG: So cooperative play is a major aspect of Mindjack. What kind of friend-finding service does the game use?

YY: Matching can be made through XBOX LIVE in 360 and PNS through PS3. This allows gamers to play with total strangers and/or friends. It will be up to the player to set restrictions or leave it open.

ACG: What happens to your “real” body when you take over another one with, ah, mindjack?

YY: When the player hacks out of the character’s body, the character continues fighting in the game but it is controlled by an AI.

ACG: Gamers can expect to see MindJack in stores early next year, right?

YY: That is correct. It will be available in January.

ACG: Thanks for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

YY: Mindjack is a brand new style of shooter that combines the two layers of gameplay—single mode and network (multiplay) mode. Players are no longer required to wait in the lobby until the multiplayer game starts and they are no longer required to play until the game finishes. The player will have the freedom to jump into and out of a game at anytime. We think this variety of opponents and allies, the changing gameplay aspect of it and replayability will create something really special for those who undertake the challenge. If people want to keep up to date on the latest info and assets, besides staying tuned to ArmchairGeneral, they can also check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MindjackGame.

We hope to see you online next month!

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