A portion of a Gamasutra interview with Parappa the Rapper creator, Masaya Matsuura, and NanaOn-Sha’s overseas business manager, Dewi Tanner
GS: What’s interesting to me is that some companies that do larger games for next-gen consoles like 360 or PlayStation 3 are making games in Japan, specifically for the western market. Capcom is a good example, doing Dead Rising, and Lost Planet, and things like this. They are very much made for the western market, and they already know it won’t succeed in Japan — because it can’t. But I wonder, how long will DS and Wii be popular in Japan? Do you think forever, or…?
MM: That’s a very difficult question. Some people have said already that the DS software’s bubble has burst.
GS: Well everyone — everyone — every company that exists, like people that make word processing software, have made a “training” game.
MM: [One company I know has] some kind of learning type of game. The first one sold over 200,000, but the second one is 8,000. So these kind of things are going to happen.
GS: Well, you know, what’s difficult is that Nintendo, with the Wii and DS, is bringing in a lot of new users, right? These new users don’t have experience with buying games, and so the first game they buy is a Nintendo game, and they think: “Oh, the other games are going to be good, like this!” And so, if they start buying all of these other games, that are just really bad, they’re going to be like: “Well, I’m not going to buy any more games!” So that’s concerning, because there’s a huge amount of titles, and for these kinds of people, there’s no real way to tell if it’s going to be good.
MM: That’s true. I have to say, to the small developers like us, that you have to be unique. So don’t be like some of the other developers that’s…
MM: Mm. So if you want to make something similar to another title, then you should be an employee of a big company. To be independent, you have to alternate the culture. You can’t have set ideas. [If you do,] you don’t have to be independent.
GS: How will your “game jam” work, production-wise? Will you collaborate in person, or will Greenblat send you art and you design around it, or do you design and he sends art?
MM: We try to involve Rodney as much as possible in the game’s design, so it’s a very organic and responsive process. He is always a pleasure to work with and brings a fresh dimension to any project.
GS: Can you say anything about how the game will play, or use the Wiimote?
MM: Well, it will most certainly have something to do with music! (laughs)
GS: You sent out a New Year’s card with some unique art on it — I also found similar art on your site… is this in any way related to the new game?
MM: I’m afraid that’s a secret! (laughs)
The interview has a lot more Nintendo talk, and is definitely worth a read. Click here to check it out.