Tag Archives: iwata asks

Iwata Asks: A Link Between Worlds Started As A Successor To Spirit Tracks

A_Link_Between_Worlds_lorule_hyrule_ArtworkThe newest Iwata Asks has been published and it features some intriguing production elements about The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Due for release later this week, A Link Between Worlds didn’t start out as a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, in fact, it was first considered as a successor to Spirit Tracks with Toon Link.

As a Link Between Worlds started production soon after Spirit Tracks was completed, it was natural for the team to think about a successor to the title. But with most of the Spirit Tracks team working on Skyward Sword, only three members were left to continue development on a new handheld game – and it wasn’t easy. Producer Eiji Aonuma, director Hiromasa Shikata and assistant director Shiro Mouri brainstormed a working idea involving communication. But when they presented it to Shigeru Miyamoto, he said, “this sounds like an idea that’s 20 years old.”

Distraught but not broken from the presentation with Miyamoto, Shikata was struck by the idea that Link should be able to merge and move in the walls, though he wasn’t entirely sure it made sense. At this point, assistant director Mouri stepped in to say it was a great idea and that he’d make a prototype, which can be seen in the Iwata Asks interview here.

Mouri: There’s this other programmer who is usually a really mild-mannered person, but Shikata-san, who had suggested the idea, was so indecisive about it that the programmer got mad and angrily said, “I think the idea of entering walls sounds amazing, so what’s wrong with it?!”

Iwata: Even though he’s mild-mannered?

Mouri: Yeah. (laughs) He got even hotter, saying, “We’re at a fork in the road as to whether this project runs astray or not, so I’m not changing my mind!” and “We’re making this no matter what, so tell us what to do!” Then Shikata-san was like, “Maybe the point is turning corners on the walls…” without any confidence, so I got angry too and fired back, “Then I’m making a prototype!”

Iwata: When you made that prototype, was it a direct top-down view like in A Link to the Past?

Shikata: No. As in Spirit Tracks, the viewpoint was overhead from an angle.

Aonuma: At the time, we were thinking of it as an extension of the Nintendo DS games.

It wasn’t until Aonuma, along with assistant director Tominaga, presented the idea to Miyamoto after the work on Skyward Sword had finished that A Link Between Worlds was considered as a successor to A Link to the Past, involving the classic top-down view. Make sure you check out the Iwata Asks interview to discover more production details.
Tominaga: But [Miyamoto] didn’t just criticize, he also gave us a hint. He suggested basing it on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Iwata: That was when A Link to the Past first came into the picture?
Tominaga: Yes. And right after Aonuma-san said, “What if we base it on A Link to the Past, and try pairing entering walls with a point of view looking down from directly overhead?”

Miyamoto Says Super Mario 3D World Doesn’t Mean The End Of Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario 3D World Artwork Detail

EAD General Manager Shigeru Miyamoto has told fans that while Super Mario 3D World is the present culmination of 3D Super Mario, that doesn’t mean that the team is done with the acclaimed Super Mario Galaxy series. Koizumi, the producer of the game, also said that when they made Super Mario 3D Land on the Nintendo 3DS, they already had the basic concept of Super Mario 3D World for Wii U in the back of their minds.

Miyamoto:Just so there is no misunderstanding, I should point out that this doesn’t mean we’ll never make another Super Mario Galaxy game.

Koizumi: That’s right. When we first started making Super Mario 3D World, Miyamoto-san asked me if this was going to be more like Super Mario Galaxy or more like Super Mario 3D Land. When we made Super Mario 3D Land, we had our eyes on the form of this game, so we made it this way without any hesitation.

Miyamoto: The same team can’t make both at the same time. And we can’t bring in a second party and slap the name Super Mario Galaxy on it. I suppose we could idealistically make both in Tokyo, but we want to do something new too, so there was that dilemma.

New Iwata Asks Reveals Details About Wii Sports Club, Including Namco Bandai Involvement

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The latest edition of Iwata Asks covers the development and release of Wii Sports Club, which constitutes the updated Wii U versions of Wii Sports games like tennis and bowling. The question and answer session with the game’s developers revealed several interesting tidbits about the games, including the unique “Day Pass” pricing system that allows players to play any of the sports games for 24 hours at a price of $1.99, as well as the revelation that Namco Bandai were called upon to play a small part in the development of the game. Here is what developers Kozo Makino and Takayuki Shimamura had to say about Namco Bandai’s involvement:

Makino: “We asked Namco Bandai Studios to develop it, so I first participated as a coordinator. But in the end, I got into just about anything. I mainly worked on the network aspect of the game, but at times I made suggestions on how some features should turn out to be.”

Shimamura: “From the middle of development, Makino-san and Suzuki-san were also working as full-fledged planners. We did ask Namco Bandai Studio to develop the game this time, but staff in Nintendo’s Network Development & Operations Department—the Software Planning & Development Department that these two are in—and EAD also chipped in.”

Pokemon X & Y Names Chosen To Represent A Cultural Meeting Point

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Pokemon X & Y director Junichi Masuda has explained in the latest Iwata Asks segment that they named the game’s after the world’s axis, as a way to convey the idea that all players exist on the same plan despite our difference. Masuda says that the X and Y represent the x horizontal axis and the y vertical axis. These two axis always meet somewhere so it’s where people who have different views meet regardless of languages, cultures and mindsets.

“The world holds people with all sorts of ways of thinking, and you can get a sense that they exist in different dimensions. But if you think of them as people who think on the x axis and people who think on the y axis — horizontal and vertical axes — then they intersect somewhere. We may think differently, but we all live on the same planet, so everyone eats, sleeps and goes about their business day after day just like everyone else.

“So we consulted a lot of people, like [character designer] (Ken) Sugimori-san, and eventually decided this route was simple and easy to understand,” Masuda said. “And while the pronunciation of the letter may change by country, the shape of the letter is the same the world over-for example, we say ‘ekkusu’ for the letter X in Japanese, but in French they say ‘ix’-so in that way too, it was an appropriate way to name these games.”

 

Wonderful 101 Developers Reveal Hidden Character Based On Kamiya

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The newest Iwata Asks features an extensive interview with The Wonderful 101’s development team. Hideki Kamiya, having already participated in a one-on-one with Iwata, this time joined his crew to discuss the rich history and evolution of the game. Among the many topics covered were the relationship between Nintendo and Platinum Games, the difficulties in creating a title with so many characters on screen at once, and Wonderful 101 director Hideki Kamiya’s infamous temperament.

One of the biggest takeaways from the interview is the news that The Wonderful 101 contains a hidden character based on Kamiya, named Wonder-Director. The character is a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Kamiya who “runs like a middle-aged guy” and caused the team several challenges in the debugging process, according to the interview.

Reviews for The Wonderful 101 have already begun to pile in. Gamers will be able to hunt for Kamiya’s secret character when The Wonderful 101 officially releases on August 23rd in Europe and September 15th in North America.

Iwata Asks: Mario & Luigi RPG 4 Dream Team

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has just wrapped up another Iwata Asks segment which focusses on the intriguing Mario & Luigi RPG 4 Dream Team. The latest Iwata Asks contains many interesting snippets of information, including the fact that the producer and director are the same as the last three games. Iwata also revealed that the development team had so much content this time around that they even went into a Gamma Phase, which Iwata notes as unusual as games typically only have Alpha and Beta.

  • The producer and director are the same as the last three games. The producer was the director on the original.
  • About six months after Bowser’s Inside Story the team was throwing out ideas, one of them became the basis for the dream system.
  • They considered going with Bowser again for the Dream System, but decided to limit themselves to Mario and Luigi as playable this time so the series didn’t loose its roots.
  • The idea to have many Luigis battling and moving in the overworld was a separate one that came before the dream system, but they wanted a system that used the second screen.
  • The team hadn’t considered this game would come out in the 30th anniversary of the character and be part of a ‘Year of Luigi’
  • To get the DreamTeam Alpha up and running too 1.5 years for Alpha Dream. Game has been in development for over 3 years, since the last one.
  • They had so much stuff this time they even went into a Gamma Phase, which Iwata notes as unusual as games typically only have Alpha and Beta. The reason was the switch from 2D to 3D backgrounds and the length of time they spent on the game.
  • They chose sprites because it’s part of the Alpha Dream heritage…but also because they had few 3D production resources
  • The 3D Mega Luigi model was done by a 3rd party after they realised there was a limit to doing that in 2D.
  • A challenge was shifting from drawing sprites for 8-way movement on DS to 16 way movement on 3DS.
  • They couldn’t even just flip the sprites for the other direction due to the ‘L’ on Luigi’s hat.
  • They banned themselves from flipping the sprites for Mario too, because of Mario’s right arm going up when he jumps.
  • They had 5-6 staff working on the character animations for all the characters in the game.
  • The requests and suggestions by Nintendo on Alpha Dream were not always accepted and often required meetings, or discussions with the SPD producers. Sometimes both parties got annoyed with each other.
  • They talk about including an easy mode. For example, when active, a hint block will appear when you redo a battle after dying, or a Slow Mode will activate if you continually fail a brother attack so you can time your move more easily.
  • The Mario & Luigi RPG series is also quite popular with women.
  • Many of the characters from older games appear, too.
  • A Hard Mode unlocks for experienced players after clearing the game. Even the producer has trouble with it, it’s so difficult. He even died during the tutorial.
  • They put a lot of extra stuff into Dream Team after hearing fans say they wanted to play more of M&L RPG 3. There’s special requirements for battles, like ‘no damage KO’ which will earn you points, once you have enough points you will earn a reward.
  • Worked hard on the tempo of the game, especially the opening. Redid it multiple times to get it ‘right’.
  • The producer says long term fans shouldn’t worry – the series is still the same, despite the switch to 3D worlds for Dream Team

Latest Iwata Asks Explores Pokémon Mystery Dungeon’s Development And Reception

pokemon_mystery_dungeon_gates_to_infinity_artThe latest Iwata Asks is in, and this time it’s about our cute, loveable pocket monsters and their foray into the unknown mystery dungeons. Satoru Iwata sits down with The Pokémon Company’s CEO Tsunekaz Ishihara, and Spike Chunsoft developers Shinichiro Tomie and Seiichiro Nagahata to talk about the latest instalment in the series, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, how it still works as a modern format, and how you came to play as the Pokémon protagonist.

Development for a Pokémon ‘roguelike’ dungeon-crawler had been in the works for some time, but it was Tomie who originally came up with the idea that the player is transformed into a Pokémon, in order to bring out the charm of the franchise.

“Ultimately, the question I sought to answer was: ‘How can I bring out the charm of the Pokémon?’ Actually, the first script I wrote was not one where you become a Pokémon, but something altogether different,” Tomie says.  “When I showed this script to Ishihara-san, however, I said I had another idea of my own and proceeded to tell him about it…”

Ishihara simply loved the idea of the player becoming a Pokémon, and that was when the spin-off series found a place of its own among the main franchise development.  It allowed a certain charm and heart that no other ‘roguelike’ dungeon-crawler had experienced before, giving the player something to grasp onto when in a dire situation, and knowing that they couldn’t just give up when the fate of the world rested on their in-game success.

Later, Iwata asks why the team decided to bring ‘an ultimate version’ to the table, instead of two separate versions like the title’s predecessors. The developers chimed in by saying that they evidently thought it was unnecessary to bring a game with so much content by separating them into two different versions, so they gave us a much bigger version.

Ishihara said: “Simply put, we felt that one package was enough. The game already contains a number of different elements, including an enjoyable story, an adventure that involves scanning round objects, co-operative play, StreetPass features and more. We therefore thought it was simpler to just have one version – an ultimate version, if you will.

“I think this is our richest and densest title yet. Even if you get stuck on the story at some point, there are so many different ways of playing the game, it’s possible to try a different approach and still make progress.”

Iwata continues to ask the developers about a whole host of things throughout the interview, including how to create the perfect blend of easy and difficult modes for modern gamers, and how the Magnagates and AR were implemented to progress gameplay even in the trickiest of situations. To read Iwata Asks in full for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, you can see it here.