Nintendo's Koizumi on bringing in new devs at Nintendo to handle games, changing how games feel

Coming from an EDGE interview with Nintendo's Yoshiaki Koizumi...

“Generations turn over, and when you’re working on games like these, you can’t have the same veterans on everything forever. Any time that you have a new generation working on games, they’re always going to think about the things that are close to them, and incorporate those into the game somehow. That definitely changes the way the games feel.”

Koizumi has definitely taken a much more prominent role at Nintendo with the Switch, and I think the direction things are going in is quite exciting. The new wave of devs at Nintendo seem to have the core values Nintendo desires, but with a new approach and sense of style.

Splatoon 2 devs talk tweaks, new content, story aspect, new rules, future content and more

The following comes from a Famitsu interview with Art director Seita Inoue, lead programmer Shintaro Sato, director Yusuke Amano, and producer Hisashi Nogami, as translated by NintendoEverything.

- the game's shading mechanism has changed, which allows for increased gear texture quality
- all graphical aspects and programming mechanisms have been built up from scratch for this sequel
- maximum resolution is 1080p in TV mode
- a bigger focus for Nintendo was the 60 frames per second
- occasionally the resolution will be scaled down when there is too much ink displaying on the screen
- Nintendo reduced the CPU load and refined the way to use CPU power effectively to maintain 60fps in all matches
- weapons were tweaked to let players be more creative by thinking about unique weapon characteristics and their best uses
- weapons are designed to be effective when they are used during the right occasion
- Special weapons are stronger than the original ones when used in the right situation, but weaker otherwise
- the damage and effect of slowing down your movement when you step in the opponent’s ink are reduced from original
- you can jump up in rank if you’re good enough, but only up until S
- you can’t jump up from C, B or A to S+
- when you win battles in Ranked mode, the Ranked meter fills and your rank goes up when its fully filled
- when you lose a battle, the gauge does not decrease, but the meter starts to crack
- once the meter reaches its limit, it breaks
- when the meter breaks, you have to start over again from the beginning or from a lower rank
- highest rank is still S+, but if you fill up the Ranked meter, you get numbers after the alphabet such as “S+1”, “S+2” and so on
- maximum number is “S+50”, but this number will not be displayed to your opponent
- you are the only one to see it, and you can check it on your own status screen
- Ranked Power is calculated by an algorithm to measure how strong each player is with minuteness
- this will determine if a player’s rank is worthy of receiving a big jump (like from “C” to “A”)
- Ranked Power has no relation to your splat rate, and is more tied into to how well you lead your team to victory
- you won’t drop off more than one rank even if you play poorly
- stage rotation time was changed to two hours
- this was done because the devs expected people to play for an hour or so, but they found people play much longer
- with Salmon Run, Nintendo considered how to implement a co-op oriented mode in a player-versus-player type of game
- the devs will monitor how users are playing this mode to see if there's some tweaks they can throw in
- more Salmon Run maps will be added in the future, but Nintendo wouldn't comment on adding more enemy types to the mode
- rewards are changed each time Salmon Run is played
- you can obtain rewards when playing locally, but not gear
- originally Nintendo had an idea for this mode, but had no background setting, enemy designs, etc.
- Inoue suggested that it should be salmon-themed
- when Nintendo hosted the Splatfest that pit Callie against Marie, the development of Splatoon 2 had started
- the devs had already decided to have the result reflected in the sequel
- they even had an idea to announce the Splatfest with a phrase “Your choice will change the next Splatoon”
- the timing to announce a sequel wasn’t right, so they decided against this
- they eventually released a series of short stories about the Squid Sisters to show how the Splatfest affected the sequel’s story
- Nintendo wouldn't say if Marina is an Octoling, and noted that Inklings are not paying attention to this too much
- Inklings don’t care about appearances, as long as everyone is doing something fresh
- the Squid Sisters had composers who produced their songs, but Off the Hook are composing their music by themselves
- Pearl is genius artist, but she couldn’t find a right partner because she’s a bit too edgy
- she eventually found Marina as a partner though, and their chemistry is sparkling right now
- Nintendo is planning a year of content updates for Splatoon 2
- when finished, the quantity of stages will be more than the original
- some of the additional stages are totally new and some will be arranged stages from the first game
- not all original stages will return and they are choosing stages based on the potential for them to be improved
- Brella is shotgun-esque weapon, so the ink hits your opponent more if you are closer
- it can shield damage when you open it, but the amount of damage has a limit and once it reaches it, it breaks
- you can shoot ink, but you can’t use the shield feature when it breaks
- the shield won’t prevent your allies ink
- there are more new weapon categories which haven’t been revealed yet
- there are no other ranked modes outside of the three current options
- the future holds any sort of possibility, but the devs didn't get specific about adding more content like that
- for the modes, they adjusted the rule designs so that players will experience the more interesting aspects

Nomura "honored" to work on Xenoblade Chronicles 2, more characters to be revealed

The following info comes from a Famitsu interview with Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura...

- Nomura considers Monolith Soft boss Tetsuya Takahashi to be like a master
- Takahashi acted as a mentor and helped guide Nomura back when they were both at Square Enix
- Nomura says it was an honor to be offered the role to work on Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- aside from the two characters we’ve already seen so far, there are even more who haven’t been revealed
- Nomura designed them by thinking about the personalities of each character, their weapons, etc
- the work Nomura did for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 finished quite awhile ago

Kid Tripp dev talks 3DS porting process, Switch port progress

A portion of a 4cr interview with dev Four Horses...

4cr: How long did it take to port the game to the Nintendo 3DS? What is different in this version?

FH: The port was really very quick. The original code is written in Objective C, and I converted it to C++. The languages have a lot of similarities, but the syntax is very different, so almost every line of code required hand modification. Having said that, I had the intro running in 4 days, the menus working after another three and the first level playable from start to finish after about another 14 days. All this was done on my lunch breaks and evenings and weekends.

There aren’t many differences. I dropped the leaderboards as they would have drastically delayed the release without adding a huge amount to the game. Users can post their “game complete” screens on Miiverse to compare scores at least. All other changes are generally cosmetic, for example I removed the “pause” button from the HUD and replaced it with a lives counter instead, we added achievement notifications and an achievements screen into the game (Game Center takes care of those on iOS) and added a way to see your best results at any time. There were a few bugs fixed that were present in the iOS version, and a new achievement was added. It is a really tough one to get!

4cr: How goes the development of the Nintendo Switch version of Kid Tripp? Do you have an estimate on when it will be released for Nintendo’s hybrid console?

FH: Well, I haven’t actually started the Switch version yet, but the code is in such a state that there will be very little work to do to get the game running exactly as it is on 3DS. I plan to start that work on Monday and keep a blog on the Four Horses website to track the progress. I’ve set myself a goal of getting the game running fully in 5 days. I have no idea if that is realistic or not, but it’ll be fun trying. After that there will be considerably more work with all the fiddly additional tasks that will have to be done for the Switch version such as handling multiple user profiles, controller config changes, switching between TV and handheld, the home menu, etc. I don’t know when it is likely to be released, I’m not familiar with the process and it is very likely to require more than one submission to get the builds approved by Nintendo, but I can’t see it being released outside of 2017.

Two Tribes - RIVE at 60fps, 1080p on TV/720p handheld, Copilot Mode detailed, might bring past titles to Switch

A portion of a Nintendo Life interview with Two Tribes...

NL: In the past you highlighted issues getting the game to deliver a solid 60fps on Wii U, and said that was a factor (along with the declining Wii U eShop market) in holding that version back. Has that been an issue at any stage on Nintendo Switch?

TT: The game runs at 60fps at the moment, aside from a few problematic busy areas, which we're working on right now. As a point of comparison: on Wii U the (relatively simple) introduction scene didn't even run at 60fps. But right when we got it to run on the Switch, most of the game already flowed smoothly. A big, big difference. On top of that, the Wii U had less memory than the Switch, making it impossible for us to pre-cache all data (which enables faster loading times).

NL: Are you confident of a rock-solid 60fps while both docked and undocked, and are we looking at a native 720p in portable mode and 1080p on the TV?

TT: A solid yes to a solid 60fps! And, indeed, 720p in portable mode and 1080p on TV.

NL: You've confirmed Copilot Mode for the system, can you summarise that for our readers?

TT: Copilot Mode is, as the name suggests, all about controlling Roughshot's Spider Tank together. Think of Han and Luke manning the gun turrets in the Millennium Falcon, while Chewy is steering the vessel. Although the Spider Tank has just one gun turret.

This fits the available buttons on the Joy-Cons perfectly, and even allows the moving player to jump with the A button… an oft-heard request from players that simply isn't possible in RIVE's normal gameplay modes because you need, really need, your right thumb on the right stick to shoot while jumping.

As soon as you die (and this happens a lot in RIVE), the move and attack roles are reversed, so you both get to try either jumping or shooting through intense situations. This turns out to be a lot of fun!

NL: Is this still the final Two Tribes game, or do you think there'll be a change of heart?

TT: We haven't changed our tune. We still won't be making any new games at Two Tribes. However, if RIVE on Switch does well, we'll consider bringing it to even more platforms, and we'll consider bringing some of our earlier games to Switch. So in short, even though we're not starting any new projects from scratch, we're as committed as ever to our existing game library and our existing fans.

Nintendo UK interview - From comics to Switch RPG with Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Former Marvel Comics artist Joe Madureira is equally well known in the video games world thanks to the epic Darksiders and Darksiders II. Now he’s merging the two mediums with the comic book adaptation Battle Chasers: Nightwar on Nintendo Switch! Here he details the characters and gameplay you can expect from the forthcoming RPG...

Nintendo UK: What inspired you to take the Battle Chasers comic and turn it into an RPG with Battle Chasers: Nightwar?

Joe Madureira: Battle Chasers was a comic book series that I created back in 1998. I did nine issues and then I actually got into the game industry, so that story was never finished. The series was so heavily influenced by anime and Japanese RPGs I was playing at that time, so when it came time to think about what this RPG was going to be, it seemed like a natural fit. The characters were already so inspired by games that they’d fit right in.

Full interview here

Netflix's Castlevania producer talks about the challenges of adapting the series

Coming from a ComicBook interview with producer Adi Shankar...

CB: What would you say was the biggest challenge in getting this series made? The animation style, or something else?

AS: The fact that the show is “animation for adults” was a challenge. Animation in the West has not been seen as an art form and is still largely seen as children’s entertainment. The explanation is simple; so much of the media landscape here for decades had been built around a “movie star system.” That star system routinely fed actor’s faces to the consumer magazine system which in turn enabled advertisers to sell fear and toothpaste to consumers who had been made susceptible to suggestion because the movie star system had deluded them into believing that these “stars” were somehow simultaneously “larger than life” and credible 3rd party endorsements. An animated Trevor Belmont isn’t an ideal spokes person for Colgate toothpaste and Sypha isn’t going to become the temporary face of Revlon. The internet at first pulled the curtain back on and then decimated the star system, and for the first time in modern human history the audience is free to consume without qualitative indicators controlled by a corporate agenda. This chain of events created a scenario where making an animated show for adults was possible.

We also faced challenges within the world of animation as this show was the first in a very long time to use true 2D hand drawn animation, an art form that was on the brink of extinction. In my opinion, 2D hand drawn animation needs to make a resurgence globally and hopefully the success of Castlevania will spawn many more productions world wide. Old school hand drawn OVAs like Vampire Hunter D and Ninja Scroll have stood the test of time because hand drawn anime has infinite replay value. That said, creating something new (based on something old) and building it from the ground up is always challenging. When we started this there wasn’t a roadmap to follow to make this series.

Finally, on a personal note, making something authentic for the fans is always a challenge, lucky we had Netflix who is an amazing partner and who allowed us to make our vision a reality. As an example of how wrong this could have gone, I was approached in 2012 about making a live action Castlevania, by another group (to be clear, none of whom are involved in this Netflix version). I passed on that opportunity because I didn’t feel like that group wanted to make an authentic Castlevania movie and instead were making a movie titled Castlevania to leverage off the “pre-existing brand awareness” associated with the title. I was told, for example, that Trevor Belmont had to be American and that Channning Tatum was my front runner. I walked away from what would have been a lucrative deal for me financially because I was a fan, because of my personal relationship with Castlevania, and because I didn’t want to partake in the massacre my childhood. The fact that fans of Castlevania love the show was our greatest victory and the fact that the show has expanded beyond that core audience and into general pop culture has been surreal.

Analyst says Nintendo's goal is for Switch to become their "one and only platform for hardware"

Coming from David Gibson, a Tokyo-based analyst at Macquarie...

“The 3DS will hang around for a few years because of the big install base, but ultimately the goal is for the Switch to become their one and only platform for hardware. It’s part of the biggest evolution to the company in three decades.”

Gibson says Nintendo is ending the usual one-two punch of portables and consoles with Switch. Let's see if they can make the Switch their biggest system yet!