Development was supervised by Shinji Mikami, best known for the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series. It was released in Japan on September 14th 2006, on October 10th 2006 in North America and on 17th February 2007 in Europe. It was re-released for the PlayStation 3 as a downloadable title on the PlayStation Network on October 4, 2011. God Hand was also the last game developed by Clover Studio.
In the days before time, an angel filled with pride fell from the heavens to a life in exile as the Demon King Angra. Filled with spite and hatred, Angra spearheaded an army of demons and specters to overthrow the world of mortal men. His plan was foiled, a man appeared with the power of God sealed in his arms, and used this power to once again send Angra into exile.
The people, grateful that the Angra's threat had subsided, bestowed upon the man the title of Godhand. Legend states: "Although the man is long since gone, a single clan continues to this day to defend the Godhands, and the power held within". "Those who possess this power are capable of becoming either god or demon.".
- Mr. Gold and Mr. Silver - The Siegfried and Roy from hell, these homosexual identical twins dress in bizarre flamboyant Las Vegas-style costumes. If they get a hold of Gene, they perform a combination move which is quite damaging. Naturally, it is best to concentrate on defeating one first, and then the other. They serve as sub-bosses on Stage 1 to their master, Elvis. Both of them are immune to the Roulette Technique: Ball Buster, suggesting they have no sexual organs. Gene even makes a comment that they may have lost their balls during the war (if the player check their bodies with the circle button after the fight is over). Voiced by Wally Wingert.
- Elvis - Possessing amazing strength and a huge appetite, Elvis likes to chase the ladies when he's not kicking butt, particularly Shannon. Despite being a demon, he has acquired some nasty human habits. He appears in "human" form as a fat, yet heavily muscled Mexican/Cuban man in a poor fitting white vest and pants, with a giant set of purple Buddhist prayer beads around his neck. He has very crude language, constantly cursing in Spanish (he usually refers to Gene as cabrón or huevón), and is relentlessly and constantly chewing on an enormous cigar. He uses the smoke from it to blind his enemies in battle and breath fire. His demon form is giant and purple/red, with a chomping face on its belly, mouths for hands that shoot fire, and a retractable head that Gene pounds into its body when he performs the "Pummel" action command on it. Despite being a demon, he considers Gene a worthy opponent (Gene even says, after killing him, that they could have been friends if the occasion was different). His prayer beads may be a reference to Akuma of Street Fighter fame, and he also releases purple flames from various attacks, similar to Akuma's Hadoken and Shoryuken. Voiced by Jamieson Price.
- Bruce, Conchita and Felix - Three bounty hunters who are under Belze's command. They were responsible for Gene losing his human arm before the beginning of the game, with Bruce cutting it off with his sharp boomerang. When fighting Gene, they attack one at a time (but the player has a limited time to defeat them, otherwise the others show up), starting with Felix, a bulky man with spiked balls for hands wearing a helmet with sharp horns. When angered, Felix charge like a bull and toss Gene up in the air with them. Next comes the much faster and skinny Bruce, who can blow green smoke to blind Gene (like Elvis) and wields a razor-sharp boomerang. Lastly is Conchita, who seems to be some kind of lion-tamer and doesn't mind inflicting the cruel pain of her deadly lashes, which have a great range. They're killed by Azel later in the game while searching for Gene. Voiced by Sam Riegel (Bruce), Melissa Fahn (Conchita) and Fred Tatasciore (Felix).
- Shannon - The life of the party, this ravishing hedonist hides cold, cruel instincts. In the pursuit of satisfying her own hunger for pleasure, no sacrifice is too much. She see Gene as an object of desire, wanting him for herself. Appears as a coquettish, lithe female in an outrageous maroon and yellow outfit, with candystriped horns and green tattoos. Fights with a fairy wand that shoots energy blasts and heart-shaped energy balls that temporarily turn Gene into a harmless Chihuahua while she kicks him. Her demon form is a cyclopean female form, melded with a four-legged monster with a mouth like a Predator and a single eye on its rear. Due to her status as an attractive, blonde, promiscous, caucasian female, and her association with Chihuahuas, some take her as a parody of Paris Hilton. She is eventually beaten to death by angry peasants with folding fans that she previously enslaved. Voiced by Susan Chesler.
- Azel - Mysterious, cold and supremely confident, his left arm is one of the fabled Godhands. Though human, he joins the demons in order to further his own ambitions, calling himself the Devil Hand. He fights the same way as Gene does, having variations of Gene's roulette moves. Azel was engaged to Olivia by arrangement of her family, to become the Guardian of the Godhands. However he betrays the deal and kills her clan, as well stealing one of the Godhands (while Olivia escaped carrying the other). On his death throes, he launches his Devilhand at Gene, giving Gene the power of both Godhands, which's the only power capable to defeat Angra. Voiced by Sam Riegel.
- Belze - Cold as ice, the leader of the Four Devas is deeply loyal to Angra and very proud of his demon heritage. He doesn't fight against Gene in his usual human form, but transforms into his demonic form in the only boss fight against him. Belze's demon form is a giant, purple praying mantis with Belze's face shown in between two big bug eyes that turn purple whenever he attacks. When he has 50% health remaining, he grows wings and separates himself from his thorax, resembling a fly. His attacks include blinding Gene with acid, swiping at Gene with claws glowing with purple energy, charging at him, and slamming him into the ground. Voiced by Daran Norris.
- Angra (SATAN, in Japan) - The fallen angel who was slain by the Godhand Warrior years ago. He was almost resurrected by Azel, using Olivia's body as a host. He is the final boss character with two health bars to drain. He battles Gene in his true demon form, which is gigantic, flat with two spikes on his tail, which is erected over his head. His head has two ram-like horns; he has two hands with opposable thumbs; and he is covered with dark red scales. He teleports around the edge of the tower top, and attacks by flicking off Gene like a booger, swiping with his right hand, striking the ground in his path with his tail-spikes, and generating an energy ball that fires blades that resemble Gene's 'Shockwave' God Reel attack. He occasionally summons demons that can easily be killed and almost always reveal an item (boost or healing). Angra's most powerful attack is a blast of flame from his mouth, but if the player press the circle button when the 'Counter' command appears, Gene performs a jumping ball buster on Angra in the jaw, preventing the attack and leaving Angra stunned for a few moments. The ending cutscene shows Gene slaying Angra with a flying swarm of energy fists. Voiced by Jamieson Price.
God Hand is a 3D action game in the same spirit of Devil May Cry. The player moves in all directions, attacking with the face buttons and using special moves (unlocked or powered up as the game progresses through an in-game shop). God Hand's camera mode (over the shoulder mode) and control scheme are borrowed directly from Resident Evil 4 with some major changes. The player must manually turn around using a button, and all actions (outside of basic attacks) are performed via a context sensitive button. Using this button allows the player to jump up ladders, pick up items, and use special attacks (like a flurry of punches and kicks or suplex attacks) that can only be used when the enemy is in a dazed or tired state; each type of special attack depends on the type of enemy.
The Right Analog stick no longer controls the camera, but maps four dodge moves to the directions on the stick; a duck move, a backflip, and a left and right dash. After each level the player can Save or visit the Town, where he can either buy upgrades (like Moves, Roulettes and Health/TP/Orb Upgrades) or enter the Casino to play card games and win more money. The game also features a New Game+ Mode, where the player has access to all moves from the start, along with exclusive moves only avaliable after beating the game (however previous acquired moves and money are not carried). The player can also pick various objects in the background to use as a weapon (or projectiles); those includes bats, wooden planks, barrels, swords and even rocket launchers.
The player maps any attack they wish to Triangle, Square, and X, making the game very customizable to the player's choice and gameplay style. Square is the only button that allows the player to chain multiple attacks at once. All buttons allow the player to map an alternative move to a combination of back (on the analog stick) and a button press (Back and Square, back and Triangle, back and X). There are over 100 moves in the game for the player to choose from including Drunken-Style and Capoeira Martial Arts to Basic Jabs and Punches.
The player can map a limited amount of moves to their God Reel (AKA God Roulette). This moves are limited to a number of orbs that Gene has collected throughout the level (in the form of cards in three levels). Some moves require Gene to have two or three orbs, while a most of them only require one. These attacks are notably more powerful then Gene's basic punches and have different properties. Some moves send Gene's opponents flying into the stratosphere while others are simple punches or kicks to specific places (a groin kick, for example). Some specific Reels can also enhance Gene's abilities or heal him.
Another move in Gene's arsenal is the God Hand itself. As Gene strikes, dodges and defeats enemies (or get hit by them), his TP bar goes up. Gene can also taunt and use TP boosting attacks to increase his TP bar, altought doing that set the enemies on a fury that increase their attack power, but also make them vulnerable to knock out attacks. When it reaches a set amount, Gene can remove the bracelet from his arm (referred to as the "Deistic Brace") to unleash the true power of the God Hand. In this state he is completely invincible and all of his attacks increase in both power and speed (also ignores the enemy's blocks and all recovery from moves, allowing him to successfully lock enemies in combos). By purchasing various stat boosting items, Gene can increase the size of his TP bar to hold more power. Gene can also find cards or glamour pictures in the middle of a level to increase his TP.
The game features a unique Level Bar, that increases or decreases depending on the player's performance (damage dealt or received). If the player gets caught up in a flurry of punches and combos, his level will drop. If the player deals a large number of attacks to their enemies, taunt and dodge, then their level will go up. The lowest level is Level 1 with the highest numerical level being 3, and the highest overall being Level DIE. During Level 2 and below, the enemies will not attack Gene unless they are in his line of sight or he is attacking them. On level 3 and above, the enemies will attack regardless of the camera position (leading to many offscreen blows or hits unless the player monitors the radar in the top screen). Also, enemy attack strength and AI increases as the levels increase; at Level DIE a fully maxed out Gene can be killed in about 6 hits or less, depending on the oponent. Gene possesses a God Reel called Grovel, in which he falls to his knees and begs. This has the effect of instantly resetting the level bar to 1, regardless of its previous state. The uniqueness of this system works in a way that the more skilled the player is, harder the game becomes. Also, the more enemies defeated in a higher Level, higher is the cash obtained at the end of each stage. This forces the players to master the enemies' AI in order to gain a higher score and purchase more moves.
The in-game Level Meter ties in with the difficulty options that the player has when they first start the game. Easy mode keeps the Level Meter capped at Level 2. Normal starts the player at Level 1 and lets them go as high as Level DIE. Hard difficulty, unlocked by beating Normal, increases enemy health slightly and keeps the Level on DIE regardless of Gene receiving damage. While Normal keeps the Level meter open for all levels of difficulty, most high-level players will want to play the game on Hard to avoid maintaining the Level Meter and keeping it at the highest level possible. Grovel has no effect on Hard Mode.
There's a small percentage of chance, after killing each opponent, that he/she becomes a Demon; which is a disfigured humanoid creature. These Demons are unique and have their own track that plays once they transform, with the screen getting darker. They're are very deadly and can teleport around the screen to dodge Gene attacks. There are 4 types of Demons: Red Demons (the most common type, which hands can transform into a long blade), Purple Demons (that can release Dark Flames projectiles at distance), Yellow Demons (which can release long spikes from their bodies that can attack Gene in all directions, if he's too close) and Blue Demons (the rarest type, who are big muscled centaur-like creatures wielding a gigantic trident to attack Gene - its weapon can be picked up after defeating it). The chances of an enemy transforming varies from the Game Difficulty and current Level Meter.
The game was first announced in April 2006 along with the use of a small teaser page on Clover Studio's website. The game was developed by the team responsible for Resident Evil 4. Development was supervised by Shinji Mikami, best known for the Resident Evil series of survival horror games, and was produced by Atsushi Inaba.
The original idea for God Hand came about during a conversation between the two about the current state of action games; they found that many games in the genre at the time focused on the use of weapons and had gotten away from hand to hand combat. Mikami later approached Inaba with a poster depicting two stylized fists, meant to exemplify the kind of original game he wanted the two to create. Originally, God Hand was to focus solely on "hardcore action" without much humor. However, after showing a trailer for the game at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) which contained some comic relief, the team decided to integrate a large amount of comedy into the game based on the viewers' reactions. Inaba stated that God Hand is "aimed at hardcore gamers," which is shown in its hard difficulty.
Although God Hand appears to share many elements with famous manga and anime series such as Fist of the North Star and MD Geist, none were actually used as inspiration for the game.
Masafumi Takada, from Grasshopper Manufacture, composed the game's soundtrack, with one track being contributed by Jun Fukuda. The score contains many throwbacks to older video game music, and is heavily influenced by 1960s and 1970s theme songs and other genres, including techno, rave, rock and funk. Takada was told by Mikami that due to the game's hardcore nature, the soundtrack should be composed to "relax things a little bit." Takada's score utilizes motifs in the game's boss battle songs because many of them are fought more than once; Takada hoped that using different arrangements and orchestrations would remind players of older encounters with each boss. The soundtrack itself, "God Tracks", is composed of 23 tracks and was packaged with the Japanese version of the game.
- There are a few minor differences between the American and Japanese versions of the game. The Chihuahua Curry power-up was changed to Puppy Pizza. A free Roulette called "Pan Drop", which gives the user short-lived invincibility in return for taking a little damage, was removed.
- Included in the press kit when God Hand was released was a digitally altered photo depicting an opponent getting punched through the mouth, instead of to the side of the face like in the image featured on the covers of the North America and European versions. Even though there is no blood, the exact reason this more disturbing image was not used is unknown.
- Despite the game being intended for a mature audience, there are no signs of actual blood or sexual content. However, there is brief profanity and some suggestive content.
- One of the Chihuahuas in the Chihuahua race is named after Amaterasu from Ōkami. Another one is called Viewtiful Pup after the main character from Viewtiful Joe. Atsushi Inaba and Clover Studio developed all three games for Capcom. Another one is named Lucky Clover, obviously after the studio itself (which has the highest odds for winning, usually).
- One of Gene's unlockable moves is the Dragon Punch, otherwise known as the Shoryuken from Street Fighter. He also has a unlockable costume that looks like Ryu's Gi, one worn by his arch rival, Devil Hand, and one worn by the twins Mr. Gold and Mr. Silver.