Splatoon 2 - Massive Famitsu interview talks development, balancing, character designs, music, and much more

Famitsu recently hosted an interview with some of the Splatoon 2 dev team. The team members included in the interview are listed below.

– Producer Hisashi Nogami
– Director Yusuke Amano
– Director / art director Seita Inoue
– Director and lead programmer Shintaro Sato
– Sound director Toru Minegishi

The devs discussed all sorts of topics about Splatoon 2, which we've been broken into bulletpoints below. The translation comes courtesy of NintendoEverything.

- the team has been adding weapons one by one because they want the same amount of attention for each weapon
- the team learned that when they added two new weapons at once, one would end up getting overshadowed by the other
- there were more new stages than returning stages because bringing back old stages would have little surprise
- since they want to satisfy both new and returning players, they changed the order of stage additions
- there weren't any major direction changes in balancing from Splatoon 1
- there have been more pattern combinations between weapons and stages, so there was more involved to balance them all
- matchmaking is handled by getting 8 players with similar rank points, and then they're split by weapons
- the rank point gap between S+ players is bigger than ordinary players
- only about one in 1,000 active players are in the S+40 to S+50 region in Ranked Battles
- there's even less than one in 10 players that reach S+, while 80% of the overall player base are in A or less
- about 90% of S+ ranked players are within a +/-150 hidden ranked power range
- rock was the popular genre in Splatoon, so they tried changing it for the sequel
- they prioritized making good background music first before forming the band to play that music
- the design team would make the CD jacket-like artwork afterwards
- due to this, the band members would often change; some getting added while some others removed
- Off the Hook is an exception, as they first decided they would be a DJ and rapper along with their visuals first
- Off the Hook's song came afterwards
- In Splatoon street fashion was the trend, but in Splatoon 2 they tried adding more uniqueness
- the aim was to add Flow with ethnic clothing and Jelfonzo with high fashion
- all Jellyfish in this world are born by splitting, which means Jelfonzo was born by splitting from Jelonzo
- Jellyfish are like a hive mind
- when they hold a wedding ceremony, they’re just simply holding the ceremony
- Jelonzo and Jelfonzo start gaining their own consciences so they can speak
- Flow used her working holiday to go on a trip before reaching Inkopolis Square
- during the trip, she met the owner of Headspace
- the owner liked her, so she got hired to work there
- Bisk has a unique way of speaking: anastrophe
- the team tried to express him as an adult man
- they made him into a giant spider crab because they wanted someone with high posture
- he came from a cold country and broke up with his girlfriend to join a band
- just like Flow, he became attracted to squids
- Crusty Sean finally has his own shop, but he opened it because he’s someone who follows the current trends
- one of the trends happens to be people opening their own shops
- drink tickets aren't stacked, but the probability is higher than a single brand
- the music in Inkopolis Square changes depending on the player’s location
- sounds contribute to creating atmosphere in the location
- the song at front of Grizzco Industries had an atmosphere that feels like some smell can radiate from the game screen
- as for Salmon Run, they imagined it as a Japanese restaurant outside Japan that is not run by a Japanese person
- each time the player moves between the shops, the game uses an arrange shift that shows the personality of each inhabitant
- the arrangement in Shella Fresh is related to Bisk’s guitar and mystery files that describe his past
- with the Squid Sisters moved to Hero Mode, Off the Hook was put in charge in guiding battles and festivals
- Bomb Rush Blush has an orchestra “because it would sound like the final boss”
- the team wanted to express the feel of the story’s real culprit with this music
- the probability of each event occurring in Salmon Run is different
- there are no specific requirements, meaning they're picked randomly
- this means it's possible for fog to appear three times in a row
- the Salmon have different appearances based on the environment they’re raised in
- if the environment is harsher, they would become large salmon
- Steelheads and Maws have big bodies, while Scrappers and Steel Eels have high intelligence
- Salmons basically wield kitchenware, but everybody else has a virtue in fighting to actually cook the Salmons
- Grill is the ultimate form of this
- when Salmons are fighting to the death, they can feel the same sense of unity
- they would be one with the world if they were eaten by other creatures, and they also fight for the pride of their race
- MakoMart is based on a large supermarket in America
- the update also took place on Black Friday in America, which was why Squids are buying a lot of things in the trailer
- Arowana Mall looks like it has more passages because there are changes in tenants and also renovation work
- Walleye Warehouse has no changes at all, because the team wanted to have at least one map that stayed intact
- the only thing different in this map is the graffiti, which is based on the winner of Famitsu’s Squid Fashion Contest
- all members in the band Ink Theory graduated from music university
- they are well-educated girls who also do aggressive things
- the band members wearing neckties are respecting the Hightide Era from the prequel
- the team will continue adding weapons and stages for a year, and Splatfests for two years
- the team will also continue to make more updates including balancing

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle producer explains how RWBY got added to the roster

When BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle was announced, many were surprised to see RWBY’s inclusion on the roster. Want to know how that came to be? Producer Toshimichi Mori explained the situation.

“As you may know, Monty has created various exciting videos in the past, and unfortunately he passed. But Mori-san was always a fan of RWBY and he enjoyed all the videos that Monty created, so he was hoping that there would be a chance to meet, but unfortunately that did not happen. Then there was an interview with Forbes where the question is, “Is there any specific character or IP that you really like or you are a fan of?’ And Mori-san answered, ‘RWBY’. And with that, it led to taking on this spirit of Monti … and that kind of started this whole discussion. And after meeting, Mori-san was really confident that he could have a really good partnership. They made a trip to Texas – Mori-san and the president – and they made a presentation about BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle and asking, ‘Could we have RWBY?’ And the answer was, ‘Of course.’ So that’s how this happened.”

ARMS producer talks development, updates, characters, testing, lore, eSports, sequel potential, and more

Earlier in the week, we told you about a Famitsu interview with ARMS producer, Kosuke Yabuki. Famitsu has now shared that interview online, and we've got a breakdown of the juicy tidbits, courtesy of a NintendoEverything translation.

- Nintendo had initially planned to update ARMS multiple times until it was updated to version 5.0.0 by the end of 2017
- the team decided on the update content based on internal ideas and player requests
- there were many small updates that came along that weren't originally planned
- the team originally planned to only add four fighters between version 2.0.0 and 5.0.0
- the Springtron idea came in the middle of that plan, so they added him in, which brought the total to five
- more small updates are planned to make the game easier to play
- the team aimed for a game balance where a lot of things could happen
- the team balanced ARMS based on analyzing various data from testing
- Spring Man is the first character created, and happens to be Yabuki's favorite
- the team didn't release fighters that require deep strategy at launch, and saved those characters for later
- the aim was to create a new versus game unlike anything before
- team members would play against each other and then make adjustments from the feedback multiple times
- the game starts slow to allow players to learn how things work
- the team aimed for the game to be playable equally with both normal and thumbs-up controller-holding methods
- there are still many deeper world setting aspects in ARMS that haven’t been revealed yet
- the current Spring Man is the third to hold the name
- Yabuki would like to reveal more of these unknown stories if there’s the chance
- the team thought of the ARMS tournament in the ARMS universe to be analogous to the World Cup of soccer
- Twintelle is very popular worldwide
- the picture where she is working out while doing her hair and weightlifting got a lot of positive attention
- Biff is the mascot of ARMS and acts as liaison between the real world and ARMS through tweets
- Nintendo is currently in the phase of looking at how eSports can exist in a Nintendo-like way
- they don’t have any plans to use eSports business-wise right now
- Yabuki says players are training hard like real sportsmen when ARMS tournaments are held
- it's still too early for sequel discussion since not even a year has passed since ARMS’ release
- the team would like to talk about this topic again when they’re in the right time and condition to provide a big surprise

Indie devs share how Nintendo has inspired them over the years

There's hardly a game developer out there who didn't grow up with Nintendo, or hasn't received some sort of inspiration from the gaming giant over the years. To show appreciation for Nintendo, a number of indie devs chatted with PC Gamer to share how the company has inspired their own works.

Finn Brice, CEO of Chucklefish

"For me personally I think Nintendo are just the masters of putting a smile on your face and I think that’s what we try to bring to our games, it’s what we’ve learned from Nintendo. We want people to buy our games and not just appreciate the mechanics and not just tell a good story, but we want the moment-to-moment experience to make them feel good."

Tommy Refenes, co-creator of Super Meat Boy

"Before there are any levels made or anything concrete is created for a game I'm working on I always make the movement feel right and I finalise it before I do anything else. For Super Meat Boy it took three months of figuring out how I wanted Meat Boy to move and what I wanted him to be able to do and how I wanted the player to be able to accomplish those things. Super Meat Boy Forever was exactly the same. I believe it's crucial that level design and controls fit together perfectly and I'm hard pressed to find a Nintendo game where it appears they don't share the same belief."

Check out what other devs have to say here

Atooi's Jools Watsham talks Chicken Wiggle Workshop's Kickstarter, Mutant Mudds Collection's success, future game ideas, & more

Our friend Jools Watsham took to Reddit to partake in an AMA, in which he had a lot of interesting things to say about his current titles and potential upcoming projects. You can see some snippets from the AMA below, but hit up the source link for the full thing.

On the name Chicken Wiggle Workshop

At first, Re-hatched felt right, but later I realized that in the eventuality of it being available on the Switch eShop someday, it will not make sense to someone who is new to the game. Workshop helps communicate more of what it is than Re-hatched. I spent ages kicking around name ideas for it, and in the end I felt Chicken Wiggle Workshop was a good way to go in an effort to retain fans of the original idea and help appeal to new players.

On Mutant Mudds Collection's success after the temporary price drop

The Mudds sale has been fantastic. I had low expectations, but thankfully it has performed very well. It has sold more units in the sale than the entire period before it on Switch. They're all sold at 50%, but still - a great result that I am very thankful for.

On Chicken Wiggle Workshop only coming to Switch if the Kickstarter is a success

Sadly, no. If the Chicken Wiggle Workshop kickstarter is not successful we will not move forward with any version of the game for Switch. Based on the low sales performance of some past titles I must be more cautious moving forward in an effort to avoid commercial failures. Too many missteps and suddenly I will no longer be able to make my own games. I love making my own games, so I am making every effort to make Atooi a success.

On other genres Jools would like to tackle

I like most genres that are based in action gameplay, so I don't expect I would make an RTS for example. But almost anything else is possible. Like I said previously, I would like to make a 3D platformer some day. I would like to make an action RPG (Zelda style). I would also like to dip back into survival horror and racing. I like 'em all! :)

On Mutant Mudds Collection's physical release, and potential for an HD version of Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter

I am not sure when we will be announcing more details of the physical Switch release for Mutant Mudds Collection. Soon, I hope. :) Yeah, an HD version of Mudds and Xeo in the same way as Chicken Wiggle would be very interesting and is something we can discussed. So, yeah, maybe.

Darkest Dungeon, Super Meat Boy, SteamWorld Dig 2 devs discuss their positive sales experience on Switch

We've heard all sorts of success stories on Switch thus far when it comes to indie devs, and now we have three more to share. For details on how Darkest Dungeon, Super Meat Boy, and SteamWorld Dig 2 have been selling, PC Gamer talked to developers at each studio behind those games.

Tyler Sigman of Darkest Dungeon developer Red Hook Studios

"We basically tried not to have any expectations. We hoped for a lot with Steam because that was what our business was built around and we were running out of money when we launched. With Switch, it was a little more frontier-y. We weren't building the business plan around it. Worst case, it doesn't sell well and we're not out that much. It's been a really nice surprise and now will factor into our thoughts a lot.

Comparing to Steam is always tough because we had a massive Early Access launch. The timelines are years apart. There's a lot of different ways to ask the question. Steam is still the vast majority of revenue but we've been really happy with Switch sales. So far, Switch has been about seven percent of our lifetime revenue. Which is a really great start—like really, really good. We had a spike at launch and it's slowed down a lot, but even though it's slowed down, our dailies on Switch were higher for a time than our Steam dailies. Any time anything is even close to Steam, it's pretty exciting. It's been out for a month and two days and it already accounts for seven percent. That's much bigger than expected. I'm very curious to see how things go with discounts."

Tommy Refenes of Super Meat Boy developer Team Meat

"I figured the sales would be slightly better than the Wii U version, which was poor. I figured it would be worth the cost of a port and would make a small profit. Super Meat Boy has sold well on Switch, but it clocks in at maybe 15 percent of its PC debut in 2010. It's not really a fair comparison because of the age of the game, the time of year the game released, etc. Super Meat Boy's first-month PC sales were just nuts. Switch is nuts for an 8-year-old game. [Xbox Live Arcade's] debut was great too but Team Meat made more money off the Switch version day one than it did on the XBLA version day one."

Brjann Sigurgeirsson of SteamWorld Dig 2 developer Image & Form

"On Switch we've sold many times what we've sold on Steam—somewhere between five and 10 times."

Claws of Fury dev explains why they decided to bring the game to Switch

A portion of a Nintendo Life interview with Terahard Studios...

NL: When was the decision made to bring it to Switch?

TS: As I’ve mentioned, we’re all huge Nintendo fans here at Terahard. Pretty much as soon the Switch was released, I bought one immediately and loved the console. I knew Claws Of Furry would be an excellent fit for a few reasons. Being a local co-op game, the Joy-Cons made perfect sense to get multiplayer out of the box and enjoy the game to the maximum with friends. Also beautiful 2D art style and platforming is something that I really enjoy when I’m using my Switch, maybe because it reminds me of the Game Boy days and our game has both.

SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~ producer teases surprises for the roster

Think you know all the characters that will be included in SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~? Well think again, as Producer Yasuyuki Oda told HoneysAnime that there are going to be some surprises thrown into the mix.

We plan to have some characters that will surprise people when joining the cast.

Time to start listing your dream characters for the game. Hopefully some of them will make the cut!

This week's Famitsu features an interview with ARMS director, Kosuke Yabuki

Famitsu has shared a tiny preview of their latest issue, which confirms that Nintendo's Kosuke Yabuki stopped by to talk about ARMS. We have no idea what the interview discusses, but it's definitely ARMS-related! The full interview should be made available tomorrow.

Nintendo America's former head of digital content discusses setbacks bringing Axiom Verge to Switch, and Switch eShop guidelines

Dan Adelman is the former head of digital content at Nintendo of America. Many people might remember how outspoken Adelman was about some of Nintendo's digital practices. This issue came to a head when Adelman spoke on Twitter about how him and Thomas Happ could have had Axiom Verge on Switch at launch, but Nintendo's process held it back. In an interview with Resetera, Adelman further discusses the subject.

Nintendo had two inconsistent policies that I think in retrospect made life very confusing and frustrating for a lot of people. The first policy was that they were only approving developers who were interested in bringing games that had never released on another system before. The second was that once a developer was approved, that developer could bring whatever game they wanted to the system – including their entire back catalog from other systems.

As a result, there was a mismatch between the rationale we were give for not being approved – because Axiom Verge had already released on other platforms – and what we were seeing on the eShop, which was lots of ports from other systems. It was especially frustrating since we had been asking for access to dev kits more than a year before the system’s launch, and I told them that I knew from experience that they’d have a period after launch where they’d be starved for content. Sure enough, there was a long stretch in those first few months after launch where there were lots of new Switch owners but no new games, which would have been a perfect opportunity for Axiom Verge.

I’m a pretty vocal and passionate guy, so I let my frustrations known in ways that may have been less than productive. (I guess I can be a bit of a Walter Sobchak.) I’ve since sat down with some of my former colleagues and buried the hatchet, so I think we’re all good now.