The Gungrave GORE director set out to create a modern PS2 title
At first glance, Gungrave GORE may look like a game out of time. It has the energy of a PlayStation 2 character action game, but it’s launching on modern consoles, including Xbox Series X/S and PS5. Reviving a long-dormant PlayStation series, the character action game pays homage to some of the genre’s greats – stylish hack-and-slash titles such as Devil May Cry 3, God’s handthe original God of War titles, and Prospective Joe. Like those games, Gungrave GORE has one simple goal: to make players feel like an exaggerated badass.
That’s no coincidence, as the developers behind the game specifically set out to create something that could feel like a modern PS2 game. To make it work, they had to look closely at what made that style of play unique and what needed to be updated for our modern sensibilities.
Bringing a cult classic to a modern world
If you’ve never heard of Gungrave before, it’s because the series has been dormant for nearly 20 years. Originally launched as a PS2 exclusive in the early 2000s, Gungrave has since been hailed as a now-forgotten cult classic. With his first game since 2004, Gungrave GORE director Kay Kim sought to recapture the classic PS2 magic for modern audiences.
“The classic cult type appeal started for us way back with the character design,” Kim tells Digital Trends. “After that we got a lot of ideas and inspiration from the original PlayStation 2 game. However, it’s been a long time since PS2, so we had to add some new things for modern audiences.”
Gungrave GORE is not a simple re-release of a PS2 title for new hardware; it’s a total relaunch of a series that was almost lost to time. With that in mind, the developers had to walk a careful line when bridging the gap between 2004 and 2022. It’s a challenge that the Devil May Cry series faced between the fourth and fifth installments, as the developers were faced with increasing the series’ gameplay without throwing out what made it unique. That’s exactly it Gungrave GOREthe team must withdraw. The title adds new systems and ideas such as additional weapons and melee attacks, an experience system and a new character. It is also set to be the largest world in the series to date.
To make it work, the team must look to the modern gaming landscape for inspiration, examining trends such as open-world structure and Soulslike action. Kim says the idea of bringing back the series was always in the back of his mind, but it became more of a priority when he realized he wanted to give players a different kind of fun. He describes GOREits unique approach as “something quick and fun. A cool but not overly complicated action game.”
It seems very simple, but we wanted to make a “fun game”.
Other inspirations came from completely different industries. The film with Christian Bale in the lead role Equilibrium was a major inspiration thanks to its sword-wielding hero with infinite ammo. More modern films, including superhero titles from both the DC and Marvel Cinematic Universes, also led that direction.
“When we designed this, the American-style hero was still the current trend.” said Kim.” These heroes always worry about peace and saving the earth, but we thought back to the Asian-style hero. Speechless, doesn’t care about peace on earth, he only cares about a little girl – and that made us to feel nostalgic. That’s why we decided to revive Gungrave.”
Simplicity, fun, nostalgia and ‘cool factor’ were key for the team if they wanted to call back to that PS2 era. Kim mentions how so many games today have components like deep and complex stories, tasks to complete on top of core missions, farming, research for information and more.
“It’s a lot,” says Kim. “We simply wanted to make a game that has a cool character with a powerful weapon that aims to destroy his enemies in a visually cool way. It seems very simple, but we wanted to make a ‘fun game’ and I think it will bring back a lot of gaming memories from the past.”
As Devil May Cry 5, Bayonetta 3and The Wonderful 101, Gungrave GORE aims to bring simple, classic action back to modern gamers. While the latest entry has grown to feel more modern, its big goal is to maintain that core gameplay philosophy. Kim thanks the fans who have stuck with the series and assures them that Gungrave is stronger than ever all these years later. He even hints at a possible sequel with more destruction than ever should the title do well enough. Whether or not that happens will be a question of whether more players have a craving for good, old-fashioned carnage.
Gungrave GORE is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
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