E3 should be the time of big reveals and exciting announcements, yet this year’s event really disappointed me. There was one game that stood out to me though. A game that seemed fresh and unique amongst all inevitable sequels, teaser trailers, and an abundance of samurai games. And that was Daemon X Machina.
This extremely beautiful Mech game opened the Nintendo E3 Direct with a bang, shocking everyone. Its trailer was fast-paced, loud, and colorful. It really felt like a breath of a fresh air after all those grim, realistic looking titles that littered almost every presentation this year. Daemon X Machina’s trailer had explosions, unique cell shaded graphics, and a metal soundtrack that automatically triggered an uncontrolled spasm in my neck. It was glorious.
It was by far my favourite trailer out of all shown during the main E3 presentations. But what made Daemon X Machina the Game of E3 for me were the details we learned during Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse.
First of all, the team. Daemon X Machina is being made by some very talented individuals. Ken Awata and Ken Karube are the directors of this project. They built their careers on niche but certainly very unique games. Ken Awata worked on Blue Dragon and The Last Story, last-gen JRPGs which might not have been huge, but received fairy positive receptions. Ken Karube dipped his toe in to some JRPGs too, such as Lost Odyssey and Phantom Dust. They also both worked on Monster Hunter Stories, 2016’s JRPG spin-off to the Monster Hunter series. Although “the Kens” might have not worked on anything major, their projects were certainly different and unique.
Daemon X Machina does not end at “the Kens” though. One of the biggest talents working on this game has to be the producer of the project, Kenichiro Tsukuda. He is best known for his work on the Armoured Core franchise which Daemon X Machina certainly resembles. He was also the one showcasing the game during the E3 Treehouse event. He was a joy to watch and is clearly very passionate about this project, and wants it to be a very fun and stylish experience.
His choice of team clearly reflects that. Apart from Ken Awata and Ken Karube, he also recruited Shōji Kawamori and Yūsuke Kozaki. Two great talents that will certainly add a lot to the style and visuals of Daemon X Machina.
Yūsuke Kozaki is best known for his character designs for Fire Emblem, as well as the No More Heroes series. Kozaki is one of the artists for Daemon X Machina and it’s obvious that some of his artistic choices have been inspired by his previous projects.
Shōji Kawamori is a famous Mech designer, who not only designed various machines in the hit anime Ghost in the Shell, but also developed most of the designs for the Armoured Core games. He is Daemon X Machina’s greatest asset, and Mr. Tsukuda is certainly aware of that. In the Playhouse he talked alot about various mechs as well as customisation, which certainly will make use of Kawamori’s talent.
The Game itself
Though the names of the team really impressed me, it was the gameplay shone. As it usually is with Nintendo, they were happy to show quite a lot of it footage during the Treehouse presentation.
The gameplay was quick and varied. You can fly around in your mech or run from place to place on mechanized foot. You have a variety of weapons at your disposal such as rocket launchers, machine guns and swords. What’s more, the boss encounter we saw was huge. Destructive environments certainly made the whole battle very epic. Also there seem to be a tonne of enemy types, which is always nice to see (isn’t it Bungie?).
In between the missions you can walk around your base as an actual human being, which is rare for a Mech game. There is also character creator which to some may seem pointless since we’re mostly going to see the mech, but many people (including myself) will surely appreciate.
Daemon X Machina was my game of E3, even though it doesn’t have a cast of famous actors/developers behind it. It doesn’t have super realistic foliage, motion captured killing animations or any of that AAA kind of stuff. It was just fun and cool, yet at the same time catered to the older crowd. It was a flashback to good old times of gaming, where not everything had to be that serious. It was very refreshing, especially this E3.