Nintendo Japan has completed work on its new development studio which is located in Kyoto, Japan. Japanese gaming publication Inside Games recently took some snaps of the new studio which looks very similar to Nintendo’s headquarters. Nintendo says that they built the structure to centralize and strengthen Nintendo’s game development. You can check out all the images, here.
Thanks, N-Dub Nation
Super Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai has addressed a fan’s concerns in his semi-weekly column for Weekly Famitsu. The fan asked why Japanese games supposedly take longer to develop than western games. The fan asked the following question: ”It appears that the time it takes to develop a game differs between Japan and other countries, so why do people say that Japan takes a lot of time on development?” Here’s what Sakurai had to say on the matter.
“Whether it’s domestic or international, development speed is a case-by-case scenario, so I feel this may be a biased opinion. I think the Yakuza team is quite fast considering the scale of their games, and some foreign games can take over 5 years from initial proposal to the actual product release.”
“However, the fact that someone asks this does seem to indicate that it’s not completely unfounded. If I were to guess, it seems that foreign studios have the appearance of a stricter product schedule and organization. Then again, in some cases, even if the development period is long, the development staff can be small, so the entire picture is a mystery.”
“Also, the time between announcement and release does not necessarily equal the development period. In most cases, when development actually started is never publicly announced.”
“In any case, whether it’s cost-effective or not is what’s important. Whether the development period is long or short, the real questions is if the man-hours spent can bring about a profit or results. Of course, this is also a case-by-case scenario.”
Respected technology publication Digital Foundry has shed some light on the experience of developing on Wii U at the time of the launch. There’s a whole host of interesting information contained within the article so it’s well worth giving the full thing a read. Here’s some interesting titbits from the feature including the difficulties third-party developers faced when developing for the system.
“So a basic comparison/calculation makes the Wii U look, on paper at least, significantly slower than an Xbox 360 in terms of raw CPU.”
“Having worked on other hardware consoles, I suppose that we were rather spoilt by having mature toolchains that integrated nicely with our development environment. Wii U on the other hand seemed to be trying at every turn to make it difficult to compile and run any code. Nintendo had provided an integration of their development tools into Visual Studio – the de facto standard for development – but it didn’t work, not even close.”
“After about a week of chasing we heard back from the support team that they had received an answer from Japan, which they emailed to us. The reply was in the form of a few sentences of very broken English that didn’t really answer the question that we had asked in the first place. So we went back to them asking for clarification, which took another week or so to come back. After the second delay we asked why it was taking to long for replies to come back from Japan, were they very busy? The local support team said no, it’s just that any questions had to be sent off for translation into Japanese, then sent to the developers, who replied and then the replies were translated back to English and sent back to us. With timezone differences and the delay in translating, this usually took a week!”
“At some point in this conversation we were informed that it was no good referencing Live and PSN as nobody in their development teams used those systems (!) so could we provide more detailed explanations for them?”
The latest demonstration from the Game Developer’s Conference in Europe showcased the toolkit for Unity, the engine behind Nintendo’s developer-friendly Web Framework. As we reported recently, Nintendo’s Web Framework is a program that allows developers to quickly and easily port games from other platforms to the Wii U. Today’s Unity demonstration provided an in-depth look at the process for porting games to the console.
Wii U’s Unity is integrated with the systems many hardware devices, including the gamepad, Pro Controller, and Wii Remote to access Unity’s many functions. This provides developers with an intuitive process for customizing games directly to the Wii U. Among the many unique specs for Unity on Wii U are “DX10 level graphics, deferred rendering, GFX output support on the Wii U GamePad,” according to Polygon. The toolkit is even free for developers who register to become licensed with Nintendo, making the process for creating games on Wii U extremely accessible to almost anyone with the will and ability to do so.
The first title to use the new Unity toolkit is Wooden Sen’Sey, a demo of which was on display at the GDC and was rumored to have been ported over in only two days. By streamlining game development for Wii U, Nintendo hopes to appease calls from gamers who have decried the low number of must-have games for the console, while curbing the system’s poor sales. No release date has been confirmed for Wooden Sen’Sey at press time.
Legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto says that Wii U video game development actually requires twice the human resources than before. Miyamoto explained that the teams have struggled to adapt to the HD era, and a result a number of software titles were delayed. However, Miyamoto says that Nintendo is almost out of this phase and are creating an easier development approach.
“When it comes to the scale of software development, Wii U with HD graphics requires about twice the human resources than before. Please allow me to explain that we may have underestimated the scale of this change and as a result, the overall software development took more time than originally anticipated just as we tried to polish the software at the completion phase of development. However, we are almost out of this phase, and we are also trying to create something unique utilizing an easier development approach called “Nintendo Web Framework.”
Vigil lead designer Haydn Dalton says that Wii U is actually surprisingly easy to develop for. Dalton claims that technically Wii U is one of the easiest platforms out of the three to work with. He went on to say that porting Darksiders 2 to the console was a quick and painless process. Darksiders 2 is a Wii U launch title, and is therefore due to be released in North America on November 18th.
“Technically, it’s one of the easier platforms to develop for. We had our core game up and running on it in a very short amount of time. There were no major problems for us developing the Wii U version, other than making sure we had a dedicated team to do it justice. For a new platform, it was surprisingly easy to port it to the Wii U.”
There’s been a lot of debate recently about whether Japanese developers are losing their touch compared to Western development studios. Thankfully, Platinum Games executive director Atsushi Inaba has made a valid point on the debate stating that there’s also a lot of terrible Western development studios as well. Atsushi went on to say that trying to lump studios together in great masses completely misses the point.
“I don’t like it when people lump Japanese games developers all together into one group. Frankly, I think it’s a joke. What do these people know?”
“Think about Western developers. There are many Western developers making terrible games, and then you see one like Infinity Ward making a game that sells 20 million and everyone goes, ‘hey, Western developers are amazing!’
“There are tons of terrible Western developers, just like there are tons of terrible Japanese developers. To lump studios together in great masses misses the point.”
Bayonetta director Hideki Kamiya has confirmed via Twitter that, along with Platinum Games, Nintendo staff members are a part of Bayonetta 2′s development team. When asked if Nintendo producers are working on the sequel, Kamiya replied with a mere, albeit straightforward ‘Yup.’
Hello Games, the developer of Joe Danger – a racing game inspired by Nintendo’s Excitebike for NES, thinks that Nintendo makes video game development look effortless. For example, the developer believes Super Mario Galaxy has so much content that an entire game can be made out of just five minutes of playtime with the Wii title.
“What we always talk about is a kind of ‘Nintendo-y’ feel. The Nintendo thing for me is they make it look effortless – they just throw in things. If you’re playing Mario Galaxy, you’re like, ‘That one five minutes, most people would make that an entire game.’ That’s what I really want so badly for people to play unicycle – or any of those … we’ve got skis and it’s only like two levels – you want someone to play that and think, ‘This could’ve been a whole game and I would’ve played it. You know what I mean? But I’ve just had this one little nugget, and it’s left me wanting more. And they move on to the next thing, and the next thing, and they feel like – when they unlock a level – ‘I wonder what this one’s gonna be.’ So we’ve really stuck to that.”
Journey developer and thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen has told online publication Venture Beat that PlayStation 3 owners have a greater appreciation of art than both Wii and Xbox 360 owners. Chen then went on to elaborate his claim by stating that Sony has more artistic and adult-focussed taste.
“The player who owns a PlayStation 3 is more likely to be interested in artistic games compared to Wii and Xbox 360.”
“Sony has a more artistic and adult-focused taste. They care about how grown-ups feel toward their games.”