A new adventure awaits in the Alola region when Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon arrive exclusively on Nintendo 3DS family systems on November 23rd. In the first part of our Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon interview, Shigeru Ohmori, the game’s director, and Junichi Masuda, the game’s producer, took sides on some hard-hitting Pokémon dilemmas. In the second part of our interview, we ask them how they create new Pokémon, how Hawaii inspired the all-new Alola region and what players can expect from these brand new games.
Image & Form - SteamWorld Tower Defense remake chances, maybe returning to Dig, Switch game is SteamWorld
A portion of a NintenDoomed interview with Image & Form...
Q: The first game from the SteamWorld series, Tower Defense, had a decent success, obviously not comparable to that of its successors. Is there any possibility to give this game a second shot, maybe in the form of a port or maybe even a remake?
A: You’re right – it’s not really comparable! 😀 Yes, it’s quite possible that we’ll look into a prettier and better version of SWTD in the future. When we made it (for the Nintendo DSi), we actually did a tiny bit of research. There were no tower defense games on that platform at the time, so we decided we could fill a gap. We actually made SWTD very quickly, but naturally – once we were done with it, there were already three other TD games there. :S
Q: We know it’s all super secret stuff, but don’t you have any little-bitty piece of info about your projects with the Nintendo Switch that you can share with us? Pretty please?
A: Thanks for the flattery! 😀 It’s a SteamWorld game, that’s all I can say at the moment. 🙂
Q: Do you think you’ll come back to SteamWorld Dig’s world someday? We miss Rusty, you know…
A: Haha! Yeah, what happened to him at the end there…? We’re curious ourselves. I’m sure there’s a story to be told.
Coming from a Reddit AMA with 13AM Games and Dadako, the dev behing Pirare Pop Plus...
13AM: we think it's pretty cool. Dare we say "a switch in the right direction?" ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) edit: realize I wanted to give a bit more detail I also think that it FEELS like my old SNES. Gathering around, playing games with a friend, that's something that makes tons of sense to me on, like, a base-level. If it's also powerful enough to run Skyrim? Super cool.
Dadako: I think it's a step in the right direction, I love local two player games - and have always wanted to develop more.
This interview snippet comes from a 1996 feature with Pokemon creator, Satoshi Tajiri...
Satoshi Tajiri of Game Freak defines game design as “creating new rules”.
Rules are the very lifeblood of games. whether a game is interesting or not depends entirely on the agreed-upon rules. Game design, then, when you boil it down, is simply the construction of those rules. I often get approached by aspiring game designers who want to tell me about their idea for a game. Usually all they can tell me is some vague story or plot outline, like “it takes place in outer space” or something… but that isn’t game design—it isn’t even a game. Only after you’ve devised a set of rules for your game, can you call it “game design.”
In Tajiri’s view, “as video games have become more and more complicated, a designer’s mindset is now required.”
In actuality, there are very few truly “new” games. And despite what I just said about rules, the truth is that the majority of rules in any given game are just recombinations of existing rules. However, I think the potential different combinations are practically infinite.
“It’s similar to music,” Tajiri points out, in that the human ear can only hear a limited number of frequencies, yet no one calls music limited.
However, as the audio/visual aspect of video games have become more complicated, so too have the rules. With so many rules, contradictions inevitably arise. Even in digital rules which should have no space for subjective or emotional interpretation, once you start working with layers upon layers of such rules, surprising inconsistencies pop up.
Take, for example, vs. fighting games. The most basic premise for that genre is “two players fight each other until one is defeated.” A second rule would be “there is a time limit.” Rule 3: “If you don’t kill your opponent within the time limit, whoever has more life remaining wins the round.”
From rule 2 and 3, one could imagine a strategy where you land one blow then run away from your opponent until the time runs out, and that would violate rule #1—that the players should fight each other!
To avoid this contradiction, you can add Rule #4, that if you go outside the ring space, you lose the match. I think this kind of work—solving the contradiction between Rule A and Rule B by creating a new Rule C—is precisely what “game design” is.
Tajiri also shared his thoughts about the advances in hardware.
You know, after the release of the Super Famicom, it took nearly two years for the sound of Super Famicom games to mature. Hardware advances encourage new ideas, but it takes time to cultivate and develop those ideas. When hardware advances too quickly, there isn’t sufficient time to do that.
Coming from a Kotaku interview with Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori...
“When the designers first came up with the idea, the background is that the sun in Alola is so strong, that [Exeggutor] just keeps growing and growing.
For the 20th anniversary, we wanted to have a lot of special surprises…we wanted a funny element. At the same time, we had to find a balance of cool ones, serious ones. We looked at the Alola region as a whole and thought about that ecosystem.
I don’t think we have the intention of making [the professors] cooler or prettier.”
Speaking of professors, have you been wondering why Kukui is shirtless? There's a really simple answer to that. Masuda says it's because the Alola region is hot!
A portion of a Nintendo Life interview with Co-Founder of developer Syndicate Atomic, Michael Effenberger
NL: What was the main reason for producing a game focused on local multiplayer? Do you feel the Wii U is a particularly good fit for this?
ME: Ectoplaza was originally developed for festival play, which meant that it needed to engage both the players and the audience equally so that people would want to try out the game. Through painstaking research (AKA playing way too many games in our dorm room), we found that local multiplayer was the perfect genre for this kind of social setting. And since nearly all of our favorite local multiplayer games are on Wii U, we thought that made it a particularly good fit for Ectoplaza.
NL: Was the game always planned as a Wii U release, or was it a PC project initially?
ME: Before development on Ectoplaza began, we knew we wanted to create a project that made for a great console-based experience. It wasn't until the game began to take shape that we realized Ectoplaza would be perfect for the Wii U, given the console's history of colorful platformers and local multiplayer titles.
NL: Do you have any update on a release date or pricing for Ectoplaza?
ME: Ectoplaza will be releasing on the North American Nintendo Wii U eShop for $7.99 this Thursday, October 27th. We hope the Nintendo Life community visits the haunted halls of Ectoplaza this Halloween!
NL: Does the team hope to work on Nintendo hardware again in future? If so, what's the biggest reason for that?
ME: We would love to work on Nintendo hardware again in the future, especially after the Nintendo Switch reveal. Having just developed our local multiplayer title Ectoplaza, it was especially encouraging to see the Switch announcement trailer go out of its way to highlight the local multiplayer options on-the-go console gaming can provide. The future looks bright for Nintendo, and we here at Syndicate Atomic can't wait to wrap our tendrils around the new system!
Coming from Jefferies & Co.’s Mark Lipacis...
“We estimate this to be a $200-$320m annual opportunity for NVDA near term. While the incremental dollars would likely be margin dilutive, we view upside potential to our sales and EPS estimates of $0.11-0.16 in 2017.
While Nintendo has been largely uncompetitive against the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox, we think the Switch has the potential to see more shipments. There are very few details on the price point, but we think the Wii and Wii U case studies are instructive. In the first 12 months of launch, Wii shipped 13m units and the Wii U shipped 4m units. Assuming 5-8 million units at a $40 ASP for Tegra translates to $200-320m in revenues and $0.11-0.16 in EPS."
Coming from Dan Maher, gaming expert and presenter...
"When Xbox or Sony announce new consoles, what you're expecting is more of the same - but more powerful," Dan Maher, gaming expert and presenter. Nintendo tend to deal with the technology and the hardware itself, what they can do to innovate and make gaming more accessible and more lifestyle friendly.
"They needed to come out with something that was easily sellable that people could understand in an instant. They are unifying their two strands, they've been a very strong handheld player and a moderately successful console player in recent years, so to bring those two together it's a bit of an all or nothing gamble really. I think they've pretty much clinched it.
"Traditionally third party support for Nintendo devices has been quite poor and people buy purely because of Nintendo's own games. Because of this fusion between the home and the handheld hardware they're really regrouping a lot of those people who drifted off. All the major players are coming back and I think we're going to see some big titles coming out for the Switch."
Coming from Macquarie Securities analyst David Gibson...
- estimates Switch will cost $250
- estimates Nintendo will sell 2.5 million units in its first month and an additional 10.6 million units by March 2018