Tomonobu Itagaki is one of the industry's most famous game developers, having put a good amount of time into Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive franchises. In 2008, however, he chose to strike out on his own, working with his new team at Valhalla Game Studios on an original property under the name Devil's Third.
The game's been in development for some time, initially announced in 2009 and set for release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 through THQ. However, with that publisher's closure, Valhalla took the rights back, and is now releasing the game exclusively for Wii U in a publishing deal with Nintendo. Despite the weary road that Devil's Third has been on, it should no doubt be a cool exclusive for Nintendo's platform.
For its gameplay, Devil's Third has a combination of hack-and-slash action (similar to Ninja Gaiden, but with a flair all its own) and third-person shooting, taking place in a futuristic world wiped out by war and a nasty fight over precious petroleum. Players take control of a large, heavily tattooed killer by the name of Ivan, who travels across the world battling a number of human and supernatural forces while trying to require this petroleum for himself.
For those who prefer the over-the-top bloody action the Ninja Gaiden games deliver, Devil's Third is quite a treat. There's no shortage of exploding body parts in this game, whether Ivan hacks them off with his blade of choice (followed by a stylish cinematic takedown, like shoving a grenade down someone's throat) or picks off someone from a distance with a well-timed headshot. In fact, Ivan will need to use both of these elements in balance as he overtakes enemies. Sometimes you'll need to use brute force to take down those that get close to you, and other times you'll let a large chaingun do the talking.
To keep things in perspective, Devil's Third will constantly shift between first and third person view for its segments, so you can keep an eye on your character during the hack-and-slash moments and still get the precision necessary to kill enemies from a first-person perspective. Some may find this jarring at first, but Itagaki and his team will manage the system so it's easy enough to grasp, while still delivering over-the-top gore.
However, Itagaki and Valhalla Games also put a huge emphasis on multiplayer. Up to 16 players will be able to log in to Nintendo Network and compete against each other in the hopes of claiming certain sections of the United States for themselves. The game will utilize several types of currency, which can be used to purchase goods, such as new weapons or special costumes, including cardboard boxes and possibly even a cat costume, although that has yet to be confirmed for the final game.
Those who prefer to be a lone wolf during these sessions can also choose a third side, going up against both teams. It's unknown what sort of perks (if any) are a result of setting off on your own, but chances are you'll reap more of the rewards – even if you manage to make a few additional foes in the process.
Multiplayer will come with plenty of modes, including Team Deathmatch, Cargo Capture (Capture the Flag, essentially), Battle Royal (where winner takes all) and more. In addition, the team will also throw in casual competition modes, including Chickens, where the main goal is to grab chickens and bring them back to your home base alive. Sports activities could also be included, although it's not likely volleyball will make the cut – not after Itagaki mastered it with Dead Or Alive.
If Devil's Third looks completely bizarre, that's because it is. Itagaki and his development team have gone all out to make the game as off-the-wall as it gets when it comes to action, with exploding heads and crazy options for both single and multiplayer. We'll get a better look at how these elements come together – and how you can use them to your advantage – when the game arrives for Wii U sometime this year.