“To Save Our Mother Earth From Any Alien Attack…”
Any fan of classic sci-fi b-movies will surely remember the flying saucers and giant ants terrifying the hapless populace of Earth. The Earth Defense Force games took these classic sci-fi setpieces and infused them with some Japanese trappings, like giant mechas and wing-suited troopers being deployed to fight the alien menace. The series became known for its highly entertaining co-operative play and its wildly varied – and often over-the-top – weaponry. Hey Poor Player’s Editor-in-Chief Francis DiPersio and our Deputy Editor, Jonathan Trussler – that’s me – were among a small exclusive group invited to watch a live demonstration of EDF: World Brothers in action, with series creator Okajima-san in the call to give his own commentary with a translator being present to give us his thoughts in plain old English! Here I’ll be giving an abridged version of the session.
A key part of World Brothers as distinct from previous EDF titles is its more cutesy, cartoonish look and feel. This is reflected in the SP gauge system. A character’s SP gauge can be filled up by blasting aliens to smithereens. When it’s full, they can unleash a very characterful special move.
We had demonstrated for us two particularly comical special moves. The traditional Dutch maiden character can throw a windmill onto the ground, causing powerful gusts of wind, destroying surrounding buildings and blowing away roving insectoids. The “Amigo Brother” can unleash a savagely melodic Spanish guitar riff to buff the stats of allies. He can also throw molotov cocktails which unleash a particularly devastating explosion of fire upon foes.
For those playing in single player, they can switch between a team of up to four world brothers rescued from various locations fractured from the dismembered blocky Earth! In single player mode, extra characters will follow your character around, with the ability to switch between characters at any time. In multiplayer, you can have up to three friends joining you.
After the initial demonstration, we got a chance to ask Okajima-san some questions. Some other journalists were there as well, the first of whom eagerly jumped on the obvious question: why had World Brothers opted for a more voxel art style with this entry?
Okajima-san replied that he really wanted to experiment with a new art style that might appeal to children and teenagers to introduce EDF to a whole new generation.
Francis then asked if Okajima-san had any favourite characters from the dizzying array of all the world brothers and sisters on offer. Okajima-san mentioned a fondness for characters from previous EDF games such as the rifle-wielding Ranger and the flying, mech-suited Wing Diver. However, Okajima-san suggested we try out the “Maid Sister”, a mean looking domestic servant with a suitably impressive crossbow as her armament. We got a quick look at her later on seeing her crossbow casting giant bolts of electricity upon hapless foes.
Francis asked if there were any plans for DLC at this stage, but as we got a look at a giant orange robot battering the terrain, it did not seem like there were any. Nonetheless, we did see that gargantuan mechs are still very much a feature of the EDF franchise.
Okajima-san then went on to also expound upon the merits of the Ninja Brother with his terrifying sword, cleaving the baddie bugs in twain.Francis noted he also had a really nice red scarf!
There seemed to be a positively overwhelming cast of characters on offer. Among these was the royal guard character, the like of which tourists to London will have seen patrolling around Buckingham palace. Naturally, being terribly British, I asked if we could have a demonstration of him. Obligingly, they showed off how each character had multiple different skins with the Royal Guard having a bright yellow variation, somewhat differing from the traditional red.
Being a very serious games journalist, wanting to ask the tough questions, I naturally had one burning question on my mind: can you still sing in World Brothers like in other EDF games? Fortunately, Okajima-san replied with an enthusiastic “Mochiron!” (of course). Not only can you sing the entire length of the EDF theme song, but characters can also cut other cool little poses too and emote in a variety of different ways as well. Whether it’s a little disco-style hand-pointing flourish or some Hulk Hogan style muscle flexing there’s plenty to inject character into the proceedings.
When I asked if there were any crazy weapons in the game, the likes of which EDF has been so well known for, Okajima-san replied that weapons were now much more character specific than previous titles in the series. One character in particular, the Dragon Sister, even uses her bare fist as a weapon and Okajima-san warned us of its fearsome power.
Of course, no EDF game could be complete without the possibility of copious amounts of friendly fire. When you’re shooting a rapid-fire grenade launcher down packed city streets and claustrophobic giant ant tunnels, there’s no shortage of opportunities to hit your allies. Okajima-san explained that there were a variety of difficulty settings where friendly fire ranged from 0% to 100% making careful aiming a must to avoid being yelled at on Discord. I assured him that friendly fire in the EDF series is all part of the fun!
It was, all-in-all, a very illuminating hour for us and we got a chance to check out many interesting aspects of Earth Defense Force: World Brothers. Though it’s certainly a big stylistic departure from previous EDF games, it looks to have every bit of the wacky fun. Stay tuned to Hey Poor Player for more news about EDF! EDF! EDF!