On the last day of TGS 2021, England-based publisher 110 Industries and ex-Ninja Gaiden developers Soleil have revealed a brand new action game named Wanted: Dead. Set in a “dark and dangerous version” of science-fiction Hong Kong, the game is described as a third-person action with “spectacular melee combat and exciting gunplay” where you will need sharpened skills to survive. Wanted: Dead is planned to be released for PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC in 2022.
If you seem to have never heard of the name Soleil before, you might have at least heard some of its work. The company created the well-received (although quickly forgotten) Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, Switch-exclusive free-to-play brawler Ninjala, and the WiiU game Devil’s Third. Ninja Gaiden series co-director Hiroaki Matsui and Ninja Gaiden II producer Yoshifuru Okamoto are helming the TGS 2021 announced project. The team also managed to snag the Russian-born DJ Dasha Rush as the composer. Meanwhile actress-slash-model Fee Marie Zimmerman plays the main character, Lt. Hannah Stone. On the other hand, Ninja Gaiden director Tomonobu Itagaki is currently leading a newly-established company Itagaki Games, and working on another unspecified project for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.
For now, the teaser trailer only shows the early alpha footage of the game though. Looks real rough but it definitely reminds me of the gun-and-slash gameplay of Devil’s Third. Considering its predecessor was made during THQ bankruptcy that resulted in a troubling development, let’s hope this time around Soleil can create a proper, fun action game according to its vision.
Here’s what director Hiroaki Matsui had in mind when creating Lt. Hannah Stone into a badass and tough, yet still complex main character.
[The protagonist is] a strong woman with a large build. But just because she’s powerful doesn’t mean she gets to be happy ever after. Much like she would in real life, she has her own problems. She’s supposed to be an ordinary human, but she winds up with a dangerous set of skills. Those talents wind up throwing her in life-or-death missions.
Obviously, that comes with its own type of hardship. And she isn’t just running around going ‘Oh God! I’m so scared!’ She just takes it all head on. At least on the surface, she doesn’t appear emotional as she takes on her challenges. I think that gives our heroine a somewhat hardboiled appeal. That’s her character. I think the fact that she’s both strong and beautiful is appealing. But at the same time, she’s very human. She hides that humanity within herself. She’s filled with that hardboiled attitude I previously mentioned, where she barely lets her humanity show. She’s a very cool character, I think. I think that’s appealing.
Of course, since I’ve been making action games for a while, I have lots of parts I’d be picky about. Especially in action parts themselves. I’ve been doing cutscenes and story scenes in games like that for a long while. So I wanted to get the storytelling in this one JUST right.”
Meanwhile, lead designer Natsuki Tsurugai wants to make hardcore games that deviate from what is currently popular in Japan — casual gacha games you can play on phones — with this new IP.
We’re trying for a very hardcore game too, very different from Japanese clients. Most Japanese publishers are headed down a path where they want a lot of casual games. But 110 Industries was straightforward from the get-go and said they wanted a hardcore game. They were very passionate about it. And since we’d been making difficult action games for a long time… we were able to settle on things very easily.
We both wanted to make a hardcore game. It felt like we had very similar wishes. It felt like we were able to figure out what sort of hardcore game we wanted to make, and that for all the big policies, we were all on the same page. Since the scenario and IP are all original work, they’ve got all this passion for what they’re doing. We can’t really interfere with that. But we really want to take the charm that their ideas have, and their passion.
And since we’re making a hardcore game, we don’t have to worry too much about definitions. With a Japanese publisher, we’d have screen reader support enabled to figure out what exactly ‘casual’ means for a specific game. And it’s difficult. With a hardcore game, we don’t have to do that. And it’s been really easy so far.”
What do you think of Wanted: Dead, does it have the potential to come close to other fast-paced action games like Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry? Tell us what you think in the comments and stay tuned at The Nerd Stash for more nerd and gaming updates.