A portion of a 1up interview with Tomonobu Itagaki (Team Ninja)
1UP: When you said Ryu would look better deep sea fishing, it brought to mind a segue. How do you feel about the Nintendo Wii? I know you enjoy playing Nintendo with your daughter and you’re a big Nintendo fan as well. How do you feel about the Wii and possibly developing for it?
TI: I think you have to be really skilled in the art game design in order to make a game for the Wii. The Wii is interesting because it turns around the paradigm of input and output in videogames on its head. The reason that videogames are fun is because you get a big output from a small input. You push a single button and the character does something amazing on screen, but the philosophy of the Wii is to make input as big a part of the experience itself. On the other hand the output is reduced — instead of pushing a button to make a guy swing a sword, you have to swing the remote to see a guy swing a sword. I think in the wrong hands it could potentially be disastrous. You have to be really skilled to understand how to develop for that new paradigm.
1UP: In other words developers will have to develop specifically for the Wii. It’s not the old days where you could put Splinter Cell on the Xbox, PS2 and GC because they all had controllers with similar amounts of buttons. Now you can’t take something designed for the Xbox controller or a PS3 controller and just make it happen on the remote and Nunchuk, so it’s going to have to have to be very specialized.
TI: I think the Wii is a platform where you have to be very serious and very dedicated and a very skilled designer in order to develop for that hardware. It will be about how you can find balance for the size of input versus the size of the output of the game.
1UP: In saying that “you’d have to be a very good game designer in order to create something for the Wii,” it sounds like you just described yourself and your own team. I know that you are very busy with Xbox 360-specific titles — I understand that — but is there anything that intrigues you specifically about possibly for developing on the Wii?
TI: Well… I am only focused on what is in front of me right now and what I want to do — what I need to do. So I cannot comment on anything beyond that. I don’t really comment on anything I am not committed on. I don’t talk about, “I’d like to do this” or “it might be fun to do that.” I only make specific comments on what I would like to do and can commit to. As you know we’re working on a DS title and that’s very challenging, and it is interesting and fun to work on. As I said earlier in the interview, “I can’t do everything.” I can’t satisfy everyone and do everything, but you guys know me, so I don’t want to talk about mere possibilities.