Xenoblade Chronicles X Will Have A Different Feel Than Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

US gaming publication GameSpot has published an interesting interview with Monolith Soft, Monster Games, and representatives from Nintendo SPD. There’s a wealth of new information contained within the question and answer sessions including why the developers decided to bring Xenoblade Chronicles to the New Nintendo 3DS rather than the Wii U. Here’s some key nuggets of information.

What is it that you think made Xenoblade Chronicles such a critical and commercial success here in the US?

Takahashi: I think it all comes down to “empathy.” As I wrote above, it may not be impossible for Japanese people to understand what people in the West feel and like, but it does take a fair amount of time. Empathy, however, is something we can all recognize. Those of us in Japan can be moved by, and can empathize with, things like Hollywood films, dramas and novels written by Western authors. I personally love the TV dramas I watched as a kid, like Star TrekMission: Impossible, and Starsky & Hutch; I looked forward to seeing them broadcast every week.

The things that we’re moved by, the points that we can empathize with, are the same. So we decided it’d be fine if we just made something we could honestly be moved by and find fun; there was no need to fiddle around too much thinking about what we would need to achieve success outside Japan. That was a philosophy we took pains not to stray from as we proceeded with development.

What drove the decision to bring Xenoblade Chronicles to 3DS instead of a remaster on Wii U (like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD)?

Nintendo SPD: Xenoblade Chronicles features a ton of depth and volume, something that earned it a lot of high praise from the people who played the Wii release. I think a lot of people began to take an interest in this game after hearing all of that praise, too. However, it’s not unheard of for this game to take around 100 hours just to complete it normally, so even if people take an interest, I think some of them would give up the idea of playing it, thinking to themselves: “No way do I have the free time to sit in front of a TV and play this game for 100 hours.”

Even if we remastered it for Wii U, my concern was that people like that would still avoid playing it. Remaking it for a portable system, however, will let them play it whenever they like, at home or outside, and we thought that would lead to more people trying it out. We considered making it for the original Nintendo 3DS at first, but if we wanted to achieve nearly the same quality as you saw on the original Wii version, the New Nintendo 3DS XL became all but required.

Would it have been possible to run this on the regular 3DS? If no, what did the New 3DS open up?

Monster Games: We initially tried to get the game to run on the regular Nintendo 3DS system. After months of work, we realized that the game was too big and would perform too slowly. At this point we learned about New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware and were excited to learn about the faster CPU and extra RAM. This immediately made the project seem possible, so we continued working on the conversion.

Even with the system’s extra capabilities, it was still a challenging project and we spent many months working on optimizations. Given how hard it was to convert the game for New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware, we can easily imagine that the port to the regular Nintendo 3DS hardware would have ended up far from the quality game play that the original Wii version had even if we had given it our all.

Were there any particular technological or UI hurdles to bringing the game to 3DS?

Monster Games: The biggest technical hurdle when porting between Wii and New Nintendo 3DS XL is that the two systems have very different capabilities. All these differences kept the project from being a simple port. Every part of the game had to be reworked to account for the capabilities of New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware. For example, New Nintendo 3DS XL has a different GPU architecture, so none of the art assets could be directly used. The team had to rebuild all the graphical assets while making sure it still looked as good as the original game. Each world was carefully optimized by the art staff and we needed to invent new techniques to render the large scenes where the player can see far into the distance. It wasn’t until late in the project that we finally were able to make sure the frame rate was good everywhere.

Regarding the UI design, our big challenge was to maintain the look and feel of the original game, while taking advantage of the dual screens. There are hundreds of screens in the game and the design had to work for many languages. The design team spent over a month mocking up various UI designs until we got one that seemed to work well. Once we converted the screens to run on New Nintendo 3DS XL, we brushed up the artwork to fit the small screens and fine-tuned the placement of the elements. Given the number of screens and languages, this process took a long time and we were working on improving and fine-tuning details all the way to the end of the project.

Without revealing any spoilers, what can fans of Xenoblade Chronicles look forward to when the franchise comes to Wii U? Will it feel familiar for returning fans, or will it be a departure from what was put together in Chronicles?

Takahashi: I think Xenoblade Chronicles X will have a different play feel from the first Xenoblade Chronicles game. Xenoblade Chronicles is a pretty linear game, but Xenoblade Chronicles X is non-linear, and I think a lot of the gameplay will depend on that.

Xenoblade Chronicles’ core thrust is centered around its story, but Xenoblade Chronicles X is shaping up to be a game with more focus placed on action elements that take advantage of the open world instead of the story aspects. However, both games will retain a common feel based on the core elements that serve as the foundation for the series. It may feel different to play, but it’ll provide a new way of having fun within the same Xenoblade series.

Thanks, Michelle

 

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem Producer Says It Was Very Challenging To Add “Fire Emblem” Aspect

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Traduko has a translated interview with Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem producer Shinjiro Takada. The enlightening interview reveals that Atlus found it initially difficult to work in the Fire Emblem aspect into the game, but are currently pleased with the development team’s work. Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem will be launching in Japan this fall on the Wii U.

“This is the result of our collaboration work on the “Fire Emblem” series. I think many people will find it quite different than they had originally expected. Originally, it was very challenging for us to get the “Fire Emblem” aspect into the game, but we worked carefully with Nintendo to ensure it’d work well and deliver the feeling you get from the series.
But, “as long as development of this title conforms with what Intelligent Systems originally would have wanted, and ATLUS develops it and triumphs through it, then ATLUS’ work is good.”

“It was following that that we were able to come to our conclusion and settle on the concept for this project. As a result of this, “Illusory Revelations ♯ Fire Emblem” follows the basic axis of what I would say are “Realistic characters who suffer from many conflicts and worries in modern-day Japan” in this RPG. It was capturing the feeling of “Fire Emblem” that was the real challenge during the development of this concept, as this is a collaboration.”

“In this PV, many people may find it hard to understand where the essence of “Fire Emblem” comes into play. However, this will be explained more in the future, so please wait for a follow-up to this.”

“Although only four characters appear in the spotlight of this PV, there are more characters (some of which make a quick appearance in the PV) prepared for the future, so please stay tuned!”

“It should also be noted that “Illusory Revelations ♯ Fire Emblem” has given us the opportunity to work with other developers. This time, in the first edition of this creators’ blog, you got to hear comments from me, the top batter of the project. But, we have interviews planned with other ATLUS staff and developers in the future, so we hope everyone will enjoy it!”

 

Devil’s Third Has Apparently Made Big Improvements Since E3 Build

Devil’s Third producer Tomonobu Itagaki has explained to Japanese gaming publication Famitsu that the game has undergone some big changes to the build we saw at this year’s E3 event back in June. Itagaki also explained what it’s been like to have Nintendo become publisher of your game. There’s plenty of interesting details below.

Q1. Can you tell me the how and why Nintendo has become a publisher for your game?

Tomonobu Itagaki: Because we love games more than anyone else. We love to play and have fun. That’s exactly why we went independent in the first place. We wanted to develop in an environment where the question, “what is a game?” could be our central focus when making a decision. And it was absolute luck that allowed us to create this game with Nintendo. I think it’s our mission to take advantage of this encounter and meet the expectations of both gamers and everyone working in the industry.

Tomonobu Itagaki: But remember that what was shown in the trailer is only just one small part – we’ve poured our identity into every part of this game. Since E3, we’ve made major improvements in every area, from graphics to animations to playability. I know there will be some reactions like “what the hell is this?” But for now, we’ll just keep charging straight ahead!

Thanks, WhiteEagle

Platinum Games Talk About Sales Struggles And Low Bayonetta Sales

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Respected video game developer Platinum Games have sat down with Polygon to discuss a number of issues that have been troubling the acclaimed company. Platinum Games admit that they’re happy with their output, but their sales haven’t met company expectations. They also confess that sales of the original Bayonetta weren’t as much as they had originally hoped for. The development studio is working on a number of projects and they’re also investigating iOS and Android development, and they already have prototypes. Here’s some key points from the feature.

  • They’re happy with their quality, but not their sales.
  • Bayonetta was less than expected.
  • They’re currently working on titles for both first and third parties.
  • They’re investigating iOS and Android development, and already have prototypes.
  • They’re definitely looking into art styles that might appeal more to the West, but also game designs that appeal more to the West.
  • However, they still want to make games that they want to make.
  • They have also had several canceled games, including one in a well known franchise that was far enough along that they could have made a trailer.

Shigeru Miyamoto: I’m Very Grateful With The Way Video Games Are Being Received

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Video games began appearing in the 20th century and were first popularized during the 1970s. When video games were established, skeptics deemed them as just a fad and thought their popularity was going to be short-lived. Fortunately, for the millions of video game players out there, that’s not the case. Video games continue to gain widespread popular support, and the video game industry generates billions of dollars each year.

In an interview with CNN.com, legendary Nintendo designer and producer Shigeru Miyamoto said he’s thankful that video games still exist and are still admired by many people as a primary form of entertainment.

“The fact that we’ve reached an age where video games are being received the way they are just makes me very grateful. There was a time when people always asked, when is the video game boom going to end? We’ve reached a stage where there’s no longer a question of when the boom’s going to end.

“It is simply: there are video games.”

-Shigeru Miyamoto

Two Tribes Would Love To Make Star Fox Wii U

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Collin van Ginkel, co-founder of Two Tribes Games and spiritual father of Toki Tori, has revealed that he would love to create a new Star Fox game for the Wii U. He believes that he would be able to create a classic Star Fox title if he was given the chance by the folks at Nintendo. Although it’s very unlikely to happen, would you want to see Two Tribes take on the Star Fox franchise?

I think we could make a damn fine Star fox game for Wii U. Yes, a classic Star fox game would be awesome to work on.

Thanks, Waseem

 

Straight Right Want To Develop More Wii U Games And Maybe 3DS

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Tom Crago, CEO at Straight Right, who are the developers behind the Mass Effect 3 Wii U port, have revealed that they would love to be able to develop more games for the console. Crago says that the development studio can’t talk about what they are working on just yet, but it’s rumoured that they have a couple of Wii U games in the pipeline. Crago also said that he’s really interested in the Nintendo 3DS, so who knows? We might see a Nintendo 3DS game from Straight Right in the future.

“We can’t talk about what we’re working on right now, but we certainly hope to be able to develop more titles for Wii U. On the subject of Nintendo platforms, we’re also really interested in the 3DS. It’d be fun to do something there in the next year or so too.”

Thanks, Dennis