ARK: Survival Evolved devs discuss the technical challenges of bringing the game to Switch

The following comes from a GamesIndustry interview with Abstraction CEO Ralph Egas...

"Switch is not as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One. Everyone knows that. Having said that, the difference isn't as big as the general perception would have you believe. In some locations you need to downsize a bit on the distance you're able to view. But not as much as you'd think compared with Xbox One and PS4. Obviously, in terms of Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, that's a different story. But compared with the base platforms, Switch is not that bad.

Performance is not really the issue. The issue instead is in the size of carts. The 32GB carts are expensive, you shouldn't be wanting to do that. So we need to fit everything on 16GB, whereas the standard game on PS4 is much, much larger. It's a crazy ratio we're talking about. However, thankfully, there are a lot of opportunities for reduction without changing anything anyone will notice. Another thing we can do is do a cartridge version and then do staggered downloads to make the game complete. That's probably the hardest part. Finding all the new technicalities and quirks that you get with a new platform.

Of course, with the runtime memory footprint, there's not as much as PS4 or Xbox One, so that means you need to reduce the content that is being used at any one time. Partially that's a case of having fewer dinos here or there, and downsizing on actual content experience. But that's only a bit. The rest is just from clever compression algorithms."

Nintendo's Damon Baker goes into more detail on the success of Switch Nindies

The Switch has been a hit in a number of areas, eShop included. Indie devs have seen massive success on the platform, and more of that is sure to come. Nintendo's Damon Baker said that while there was uncertainty about the Switch around launch last year, he was confident the 60 Nindies Nintendo had lined up would go a long way to keep fans entertained.

Now we know the Switch is the number one destination for indie devs. There's quite a good reason for that. 76% of respondents from indie developers with multi-platform releases answered that sales on the Switch matched or exceeded sales on other platforms.

Thanks to Sligeach_eire for the heads up!

Stardew Valley creator shares his love of Harvest Moon

There are two things almost everyone knows about Stardew Valley. The game is heavily inspired by Harvest Moon, and it took an insane amount of work for its one-man team to create. In an interview with GQ, Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone elaborates upon both topics.

A love of Harvest Moon

“I liked that you could have relationships with the townsfolk, and even get married and start a family. That was something you couldn't do in most games I played as a kid, and it made the experience much more personal. That you were living in a world that felt alive, time moved forward with or without your input. It was easy to imagine that the world was very much alive.”

The insane work that went into Stardew Valley

“I put in thousands of hours on pixel art just to get better at it and better at it. I just persevered and forced myself to learn. You realize the thing that you thought was good actually isn’t. You realize why and you improve on it. And that’s just an endless cycle. ...It was definitely a struggle to keep my sanity.”

A Way Out director says the team hasn't explored Switch, but aren't saying a port isn't possible

Two days in a row with news on A Way Out, a game currently not slated for Switch. Could that change in the future? In a GamingBolt interview, A Way Out’s director, Josef Fares, didn't completely shoot down the idea.

“…we haven’t really explored the Switch, so I’m not saying it’s not going to happen. But it’s just that we are a small team and we’re doing everything in-house, which makes it very hard for us to have the time… but I’m not saying it will never happen.”

Random Time! - Want to hear Will.i.am talk about Pokemon GO?

Will.i.am is long for William

Will.i.am has taken time from his very busy music career to talk about Pokemon GO, of all things. This stems from a collab between the Black Eyed Peas and Marvel's Masters of the Sun, which has an augmented reality app to go along with it. With AR on the brain, Will.i.am stopped to ponder where Pokemon GO's competitors are.

We have a new instalment of this intellectual property that we're going to bring to culture later on in this year. For example, there’s Spotify and then there’s also Deezer, Apple Music and Pandora. There’s Instagram stories, and then there’s Snapchat. For everything there is another thing. But Pokemon Go? What’s the other Pokemon? It doesn’t exist, right? There is no other that.

And that s*** made a lot of money. But nobody is trying to go out into the world and do that s*** because to do that you have to have augmented technology. I’m just saying you have to start to identify and see things, trigger things and place things. And it’s amazing that there is no other Pokemon Go. For everything you can imagine, there is another thing. Except for that one. Wow it’s crazy!

I guess Will.i.am hasn't heard about the upcoming Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Ghostbusters AR games that are all very similar. I mean, I think they're pretty similar looking, but perhaps I'm not thinking on the same level as Will.i.am.

Koei Tecmo says Fatal Frame is a valuable IP, no info on new game, please be patient while waiting for an announcement

Wondering what's up with the Fatal Frame series? Hoping that a new entry comes the Switch's way? While Koei Tecmo isn't ready to talk about the next step for the franchise, producer Hisashi Koinuma did have some words to share which should help fans of the franchise rest easy.

This series is currently being serialized in a manga [in Japan]. We don’t have new information about the series at the moment, but as Koei Tecmo we believe this is one of our valuable IPs. When the time is right we will make an announcement, please be patient for it.

Blast from the Past - Sakurai discusses the creation of Kirby

Back in 2003, Kirby was already 12 years old. The character had become a well-established part of the Nintendo lineup. This was all thanks to Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the Kirby. For the 12th anniversary of the character, Sakurai took to Famitsu to write a feature on how the character came to be. Our friends at SourceGaming have translated the feature, which you can see a small snippet of below.

“I’ll make an action game where you utilize your enemies!” That was the idea I had in mind when I wrote up the project proposal that Kirby was born from. Then he was drawn in pixel art, animated on the NES, and given the power to inhale his foes and spit them back out. Being able to take multiple hits from enemies, yet dying immediately upon falling into a hole didn’t mix well in my mind, so I blew him up like a balloon, so that he could fly at any time. I was in charge of the planning, design, and most of the graphics. And so, the simple Game Boy game, Kirby’s Dream Land, was completed.

Check out the full feature here

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