Yeah the Tokyo Games Show 2023 is already finished for quite a while now, but there’s still some more material we did not exhaust. So here’s another article about an upcoming game called Undefeated. It is made by Indie-Us, a small studio based in Osaka, Japan, and while it’s clearly an indie game, its qualities screams of Triple A. I hope the following will convince you that it’s the case:
As you can see this game takes a lot of inspiration from Dragon Ball Z or more recent anime like One Punch Man to deliver solid action, energy beams and human flight in wide open spaces. Undefeated uses Unreal Engine and uses it well. The game is not expected to reach the market until 2025, so it’s at least a year and a half away, but from what we could try already at the Bitsummit 2023 and at the TGS 2023, the playable levels feel very, very good and it’s probably about creating more content from there on.
It’s planned to become a trilogy, with the first title being subtitled “Genesis”. Note that all of this started with a first demo released on Steam back in 2019 as the game developers were still students, and that received quite a lot of positive feedback. This convinced them to make it into a full game - it was first presented at the Bitsummit in July 2023 in Kyoto, Japan, as Unrestricted and it has since then changed name to be called Undefeated: Genesis afterwards.
Interview with Daigo Hyodo
We also had the chance to talk with Daigo Hyodo at the TGS2023, Game Designer at Indie-Us. Here’s the full interview below, as well as a transcript aftrwards. This interview took place on the 21st of September 2023, right at the time when Unity made headlines with their proposed pricing change for developers using their runtime.
You can see the video on Peertube as well.
Here is the transcript of the interview below. Note that we touch upon the Unity controversy at that time, since Unity had yet to announce changes to their policy after developers complained about it - it made it possible to talk about alternatives such as Godot and Unreal.
Boiling Steam: What changed in this version versus the version shown at the Bitsummit 2023?
Daigo Hyodo: In this version we added a Boss fight, so you can basically fight against it. After that we changed some UI aspects as well.
Boiling Steam: The engine is Unreal right?
Daigo Hyodo: I used Unreal Engine to make it, version 5.1. Now there’s 5.3 available, after the TGS I plan to move to the newer version.
Boiling Steam: After the Bitsummit, what happened in terms of impact?
Daigo Hyodo: A lot of people registered our game into their wishlist. We had interviews and a lot of press articles. We also ended up making a franchise page about Undefeated. Our fans told us it was great that we were finally doing it.
Boiling Steam: Do you have a publisher already?
Daigo Hyodo: Yes, it’s Chorus Worldwide.
Boiling Steam: At the Bitsummit you didn’t have one right?
Daigo Hyodo: Actually… we had one, but it was announced on the 1st of September, After the BitSummit. At that time we changed the title from Unrestricted to Undefeated.
Boiling Steam: This was a request from the publisher?
Daigo Hyodo: No, we also were considering a change at the time… Then Chorus told us it was no problem to change anyway. So thinking about the franchise, we wanted to make more games under the same Undefeated title. And this is the first one (subtitled Genesis).
Boiling Steam: Do you plan to present the game overseas as well?
Daigo Hyodo: Yes, basically… we are Japanese, but Chorus will represent us in overseas events in English. We also want to localize the game And also produce a console version, Playstation, Xbox… We don’t know all details yet, but the publisher will take care of it. For development it will probably be us though.
About Unity, Godot and Alternatives
Boiling Steam: Now onto another topic… With what’s happening with Unity these days… while you are using Unreal yourself… I would still like to hear your opinion about what is going to change for developers
Daigo Hyodo: It’s very difficult to say. For indie game developers, the choice is actually fairly limited. It’s basically Unreal or Unity… And Godot, if you make RPGs you could use it. In this world of very limited options, most people are going to default to Unity.
8Boiling Steam*: So it can’t be helped?
Daigo Hyodo: Yes it can’t be helped somehow, but also I’d like people to think more about it.
Boiling Steam: You mentioned Godot earlier, when did you first hear about it?
Daigo Hyodo: When I was learning about Unreal Engine, I heard about it at that time. I have never used it, but I know of its existence. And it’s not really an engine, but you also have Cocos2D, if you know C++. On my end I started with C++ and Cocos2D before moving to Unreal Engine. I think it really depends on what you want to build.
Boiling Steam: If you want to make 2D games. Godot is an option…
Daigo Hyodo: Yes, for 2D games Godot can do and Cocos as well.
Boiling Steam: Is Godot popular in Japan?
Daigo Hyodo: No, not really, I don’t hear so much about it. The main reason to use Unity is because you have a lot of info out there in Japan, when you search for it it comes up easily. The Japanese (Unity) community is really big. That’s what makes it easy to use.
Boiling Steam: Do you think Godot is going to become bigger from there?
Daigo Hyodo: I think Godot is going to become more popular… and Epic as well is going to come up as well !
Boiling Steam: Don’t you think it could also be an opportunity to switch to Unreal as well?
Daigo Hyodo: I’d like people to switch to Unreal personally. It would be good for the Unreal community to grow. It would be great but… it depends on the stuff you want to do. If you make 2D games, Unreal has mainly a lot of example on how to make 3D games. On top of things that you would not use, it feels a little heavy for that kind of use case. Because of that, it’s probably not ideal to switch to Unreal.
Boiling Steam: Do you feel that Unreal is perceived to be hard to use?
Daigo Hyodo: Personally I don’t think this way. If you start from a Blueprint and you can touch C++, it’s not that bad.
Boiling Steam: How about the documentation? When you don’t really know how to do something, how do you look for it?
Daigo Hyodo: The first thing is to start with the official documentation. After that, checking out the resources on Youtube is a good idea then there is the developer community that you can also tap into AnswerHub? Or maybe the name has changed… Basically you can look at that. And ultimately if nothing else, you can check Twitter and Youtube There are quite a few people who explain what they do. And when it comes to Youtube, I don’t understand English but looking at the screen / interface I can get the meaning anyway. Youtube is actually quite useful. When I want to know about a feature, I usually learn from Youtube.
Boiling Steam: If Unity devs don’t switch to something else, Do you expect the price of games made with Unity to increase?
Daigo Hyodo: I think they CAN’T charge more. There is a limit that is set by the game’s quality when it comes to indies. There are no indie games that sell for 9000 JPY (approximately 50~60 USD). It’s difficult in that sense for indie games and pricing. In the end I don’t think it will change.
Boiling Steam: How about Free to Play Games?
Daigo Hyodo: For Free to Play Games… maybe they will charge more for monetization… or instead they might recoup on making bigger volumes… For example, if you pay 100 JPY you could play something for 10 times… and from now on, for 100 JPY you can only play 7 times or something. In this way they don’t charge more, but they decrease the number of times you can play. This may be how things could change.
Boiling Steam: There are quite a lot of people complaining about Unity right now, Do you think they will listen in the end or anyway charge more?
Daigo Hyodo: I think there are probably other ways they can do it. I think they will find a different way to adjust…And the dev community would prefer for Unity to continue existing… It would be better for Unity to have a “Developer First” mindset, I think… this being said, please consider using Unreal!
The Role of LLMs to Support Game Development
We also briefly touched upon the topic of how LLMs can be used in the context of game development.
Boiling Steam: For developers, do you think LLMs (like ChatGPT) are going to transform how you work?
Daigo Hyodo: I think so, yes. For example, when I want to choose the name of an item, I can ask ChatGPT to give me 100 names and 100 names pop up, then I have just have to choose from there That’s very easy, I think
Boiling Steam: How about when it comes to coding?
Daigo Hyodo: For coding, it’s not really to use for Unreal. But if you think that there is this functionality in Unreal, you can probe for it… it can tell you that for Unity it’s called this way, and for Unreal it’s called that way. For example in Unity it’s a collider, and the equivalent in Unreal is collision. So you can also use it in that way to get taught something, to give you suggestions to pick from. Letting the AI decide for you is probably not good so it’s better that we choose for ourselves
There’s still some time before the game hits the shelves, so to speak, but you can stay up to date with the title with some of the following links:
- Steam Store Page: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2088020/UNDEFEATED_Genesis/
- Chorus (Publisher) Page about the game: https://chorusworldwide.com/undefeated-genesis/
We will no doubt talk about the game again in 2024 ahead of its release.