With Carnage Heart EXA gone gold and headed to PSN March 19th for the PSP and Vita, I figured I’d shoot a few quick questions over to Natsume about the upcoming highly challenging strategy game. For the uninitiated, the game is divided into two modes: Plot sections, which introduce characters and advance the game’s story, and Briefing sections, where goals are established and enemies fought using OKEs (Overkill Engines), the highly customizable, programmable mechs that players will need to learn how to get up and running properly in order to succeed and survive some pretty tough missions.
Graham Markay, VP of Operations at Natsume got back to me fairly quickly with some answers, so here you go:
GW: How would you describe Carnage Heart EXA to new players as well as those older ones who remember the original PlayStation game hoping this is just as challenging?
GM: Carnage Heart EXA is a mech battling game with a twist — instead of simply controlling a giant robot, you can program your mech to do the fighting while you watch the action unfold! (Think of the old “Robot Wars” show that used to air on TV.) However, not only can you program your robot: You can also take control of your robo-battler manually, and take on the baddies that way. Therefore, if you’re a Carnage Heart veteran, or just getting into the series, Carnage Heart EXA offers something new for everyone!
GW: Other than the English localization Natsume is handling, are there any new features coming to the game?
GM: There aren’t any differences between the Japanese and the North American version. However, North American players will also have access to the SATLOKE server, which will allow players to download and upload their own OKE designs, teams, and match data. The Japanese and North American data is 100% compatible, so you can trade with other Carnage Heart EXA players, both foreign and domestic!
GW: From what I’ve seen so far, there are some fantastic mech designs in so many varieties here. Do you have a favorite robot or robot type that’s in the game?
Personally, I like the four-legged, jumping mechs, like the Grasshopper mech. Their quick jumping ability allows you dodge faster, and the weapons they can equip are relatively strong. Therefore, they’re probably the most balanced of the mechs, in my opinion.
GW: The original Carnage Heart was definitely not for more casual gamers looking for a quick action experience. However, EXA offers a Manual Control combat option that may appeal to certain players. What advice would you give to those new users who buy this or are interested in buying it in terms of starting out?
GM: Carnage Heart EXA has extensive, easy-to-understand tutorials in the Story Mode of the game, so even if you’ve never played Carnage Heart, the game explains everything in a simple, straightforward way. And if you’re still having trouble, there are example programs you can use and look at to try to figure out how to write at the perfect program!
GW: The series has continued in Japan in a few iterations (such as the two Zeus games and the later PSP entries). If EXA does well, would it be possible for those older titles to be brought to North America as updated versions?
GM: Never say never! Obviously, like you say, a lot of it would depend on how well Carnage Heart EXA does, but if it does well, nothing’s off the table!
GW: Silly question time! If you had your own robot in real life, what sort of design would it be and what tasks would you program it for?
GM: Since I’m not usually trying to fight off evil-doers, I think my own robot would be more domestic… I could have it make my meals, clean my apartment, and take out the garbage. That way, I’d have more time to focus on other things… Like playing Carnage Heart EXA, coming to the PSP this March!