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Dark dreams really don't die: Swery on D4's journey to PC

Access Games' former Xbox One exclusive episodic series D4 is coming to PC. We spoke with D4 director Swery about the shift, and got a taste of season 2.

Back at GDC in March, I sort of accidentally broke the news of Access Games' episodic weird-fest D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die having a functional mouse-and-keyboard PC build. The game can actually be played entirely using the mouse, extremely smoothly, and the game's director, Swery -- ever the social media darling -- was keen to gauge audience response to the idea of bringing it over. 

It turned out a lot of people wanted the game on PC, so he showed it around PAX East directly after GDC. This week, the company announced that D4 is in fact coming to PC, and if all goes well, we'll finally see the game's as-yet unreleased second episode, an image of which you can see below.

I recently had a chance for a brief Q&A with Swery about the new port, his relationship with his fans around the world, and the future of D4

How much did the fan response to your tweets about the PC version affect your decision to release the game?

Swery: My decision to release the game on the PC was greatly affected by the response of fans at PAX East and later from other fans who sent me SNS messages. Honestly, I doubt I would have been able to bring out the PC version if it hadn’t been for all that support. I check my own accounts every day, so everyone’s voices really hit me head-on.

In what ways are you going to try to engage the community more, when you release D4 on the PC?

Swery: I think I’ll be listening to people’s opinions a lot more. But I have no intention of becoming a lazy creator who just puts in whatever people tell him to. I don’t want to try and curry favor from them just because they’re fans. If I can just have discussions with everyone, like a fellow human being, that’d be the best outcome for me. I’d like to do Reddit AMA-type events, do livestreams during the development, and increase how often I meet with people. 

You're pretty well known in the U.S., but not as much in Japan. How does this affect your PR and marketing strategy for a game like D4, when you're working from Japan?

Swery: Honestly, hardly anyone in Japan knows who I am. Even with people in the game industry. I wonder why? I gave a speech at [developer conference] CEDEC, I’ve appeared in various Japanese media outlets, I’ve put out a lot of games, I always take Sharapova (my partner, the monkey) with me... It makes me sad.

Because of that, I’ve hardly been able to do any PR or marketing in Japan. I really need to work harder to teach more people about D4.

D4 with mouse controlD4 with mouse control.

How long did it take to implement mouse movement instead of Kinect? How has the playtest response been?

Swery: It took three months to make the test version we showed at GDC. At the time, I thought it might be easier to make, but when we actually tried to do it, we kept finding more spots that we needed to finely tune for the mouse, and repeated a lot of trial-and-error in order to make it more fun and intuitive.

I think because of that, it got a really good response from everyone at PAX. People who had played the Xbox One version also said that it felt easier to play now, so I think our visit to PAX was a very important one.

After PAX, I also figured out a method for enabling the theory of sensory replication with the mouse, so we’re working to complete that in time for the release.

If D4 sells well on PC, can we expect future episodes?

Swery: It’ll be a little longer until I can start talking about new episodes, but I’m doing my best. The next season will be even better than you’re all expecting, so please keep cheering me on.

...no?

...You can’t accept that answer?

...Uuuh...

Okay, then. Just this once, just for you, I’ll show you a single picture.

Hopefully this is enough to tide you over for now!

Can you talk about how Microsoft allowed you to bring the game to PC, when it was previously Xbox One exclusive?

Swery: (Voice of Heaven) Windows is not one of the Xbox One’s competitors.

That’s all.

I decided to release the PC version after hearing about how so many people didn’t have a chance to play D4. Myself and the rest of the D4 team at Access Games worked personally on the PC port, and we put a lot of work into many places just for the PC version.

I really hope you’ll all take this chance to explore the world of D4!

I love you all!!

Swery and Sharapova

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