Fabraz talks SpiritSphere Dx release date, Slime-san patch coming late Dec/early Jan

A portion of a 4cr interview with dev Fabraz...

4cr: Spring 2018 is a tad vague. How into spring are we talking about? Early Spring? Mid-Spring? Late Spring that almost goes into Summer?

F: Haha, fair enough! We’re currently aiming for a release in April-May 2018.

4cr: Let’s go back to Slime-San for a bit. I had a lot of fun reviewing the game on Nintendo Switch, so I’ve been looking forward to trying the new content for the game on Nintendo’s hybrid console. How is that coming along? Do you have any ETA for when it will be available for all Slime-San owners to download?

F: Yes! We’ve been incredibly busy in bringing you the first content patch to the Nintendo Switch. It’s called “Blackbird’s Kraken” and features a brand new campaign with 25+ levels, a new hub world, 2 new mini-games, a HUE slider and perhaps most importantly online leaderboards!

It’s an incredibly big patch and we’re really close to getting it out there. The current estimate is end of December or early January. I’d also quickly like the time to say that, yes, the second content patch Sheeple’s Sequel will eventually make its way to the Switch as well.

Cruis’n Blast devs considering adding in Switch Easter egg to the arcade game

A portion of an Arcade Heroes interview with Raw Thrills, the devs behind the Cruis’n Blast arcade game...

AH: Speaking of Cruis’n USA on the N64, one thing various Cruis’n fans keep asking about is a port of Blast to the Nintendo Switch. Has Nintendo shown any interest in a conversion to that platform?

EJ: Being arcade guys, we really weren’t thinking about creating a home game. We wanted to make it the ultimate arcade driver – so its going to be an arcade exclusive – a special treat for arcade players only! We were thinking about using a Switch controller to activate hidden features in the arcade game. We’ll see what happens!

Square-Enix says Switch is a "very attractive and important" platform for them

Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda can't stop gushing about the Switch. Earlier today, we saw comments from Matsuda concerning the company's interest in porting over some legacy games to the platform. Now you can see more from him below, in which he discusses how important the Switch is to Square-Enix.

"The Switch is a very attractive and important platform for us. As a games company, having that breadth in our portfolio is very important, with the Switch being such a unique piece of hardware. When we started work on Project Setsuna, the Switch wasn’t even out yet, there was no information about it. We really set out to make this style of game and to make it on [a] home console. But we didn’t really have any particular ideas about which console we were going to go for in the planning stage.”

Game devs share impressions of their time with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

You've had some time with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Certainly enough rounds with the game to know how you feel about it. Some of you are still plugging away at your camp, while others have pushed the game aside. You've taken to social media to share your thoughts on the title, and discussed the game with others. Now it's time for game devs to do the same!

Gamasutra rounded up a number of game devs to see what they think of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. You can see one blurb below, but make sure to hit up the link to read a lot more.

Yoko Taro (Nier: Automata)

I played the 3DS DobuMori (Animal Crossing), and you know the raccoon who makes you get a mortgage without agreeing to it? It was like the Lehman Shock (The Bankruptcy Of Lehman Brothers), so I wanted to get revenge on him in the mobile version.

I was kind of sad because there are fewer things you can do in the mobile app, compared to the 3DS version. The fact that you have less freedom, makes the Ditch-Forest seem even darker.

Let's take, for example, what the "monsters" eat. The rabbit seems to be of the normal herbivorous variety, but can be seen, in this game, grilling and eating fish. Also, in this game, pigs and cows enjoy barbecue (but you can't see what they're grilling). What is going on in this ecosystem? When you run out of things to eat, do you resort to cannibalism? Is there so much difference in the intelligence of birds and fish? If you walk on two legs and talk, does that mean you won't be hunted? Is the value of your life determined by your intelligence? There are so many interesting themes hidden in this game.

Also, I want to say something about the unreasonable shopping. You need to predict what those monsters want like an esper (human who possesses ESP), and give those things to them to get your big reward. What is this a metaphor for? Why do you have to collect things that are right next to the monsters to make them happy, like a slave? I guess this represents the divisions between people in class society.

I haven't put any furniture or anything in my camp except a kerosene tank. I started this game to get revenge on that raccoon, Tanukichi, but now I have a different purpose.

I'll enjoy playing this game until I burn that dark forest down.

More dev impressions here

Capcom interested in working on more Switch ports for games not previously available on Nintendo platforms

Earlier today, we heard that Square-Enix has interest in bringing some of their back catalog to the Switch. Seems like Capcom thinks that's a good ideas as well, as Capcom CEO Kenzo Tsujimoto pretty much said something similar.

According to Tsujimoto, the home console/portable aspect of Switch is working better than expected, which is why Capcom wants to port games to the Switch that were not previously available on Nintendo consoles. No specifics on games were given in the interview.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2's director looks back on the daunting process of creating art for the game

The following comments come from Tetsuya Takahashi, director of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The comments are found in the art book included with the Limited Edition of the game. In the blurb below, Takahashi looks back on the creation of the art for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Two hundred and twenty… That sounded like a daunting number of pages to fill when I first heard it. But when I saw just how much artwork had been created in total, I came to realize that maybe, probably – no, without a doubt – there was no way we’d be able to include it all.

So I should begin by thanking all the artists for accomplishing this feat. The games we build require lots of design and concept sketching, but this time, those efforts reached new heights. This in itself isn’t hard to believe, given that these days, it’s rarely possible to complete a game simply with the staff you have on hand. The contributions we receive from our many external partners elevate the quality of our creations to something we’re proud to show the world.

In development environments such as this, the power of art can’t be overstated. A single piece of art can convey the look, feel, and nature of the object that designers then set out to craft in-game. Trying to communicate the same qualities with words alone… Let’s say it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get the same point across.

While it’s true that concept art exists primarily as a basis upon which to design in-game models and assets, it fulfills other important roles as well. This time around, the artwork breathed life into the characters we were designing from an early stage, right down to their facial expressions. As a result, the in-game versions of those characters are all the more refined, and their emotional range comes through in the final product.

For the original Xenoblade Chronicles game, this character design artwork simply didn’t exist; all we had were costume designs for the clothing the characters wore. This meant we were forced to create the CG character models to fit those costume designs. And what’s more, the only artwork released of those characters were retouched versions of their CG models – there was no concept art to speak of, not like this at any rate. This exposes one of our shortcomings at Monolith, but for this project, Saito-san (Masatsugu Saito – Main Character Design) and Tek-kun (Tetsuya Nomura – Torna Character Design) covered for and supported us on the character design front, and I’m truly thankful to them for their efforts.

On the other hand, at Monolith we pride ourselves on our design of backgrounds and technological gadgets. When I’m setting out to make a game, nothing stokes my creative fires more than all the detailed, high-quality assets our artists turn out, and I’m incredibly grateful to them. As I wrote this on an evening in August, just before our game masters up, I’m still not quite sure how many pieces of art will be included in this book you’re holding. But if the selections included here help to convey the craft and care we pour into our creations, I’ll feel we’ve done our job well.

Capcom discusses why it took so long for them to create a new Mega Man game

The following info comes from the latest issue of Game Informer, which includes an interview with Mega Man 11 producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya and Director Koji Oda. The pair of devs discussed why it took so long for Capcom to make another Mega Man game.

Kazuhiro Tsuchiya

“To be honest with you, when Inafune left it was a difficult atmosphere with the company. It was difficult for somebody to step up and say, ‘I really want to work on Mega Man.’ Inafune-san was definitely a brand leader for the franchise. He helped pave the way for its success, and he had a lot of brilliant ideas. That’s an absolute truth. So when he left, there was a sense of emptiness, and a sense that no one was appropriate to pick up the mantle and pave a new vision for Mega Man.

When Inafune-san was still our boss he said, ‘Don’t let brands stagnate. Always keep moving forward.’ Yes, we did have a seven-year absence, but it doesn’t mean that we stayed still. We were always moving forward and try to figure out what to do next.”

Koji Oda

“I still feel like Mega Man is one of the most important pillars of the company. At the end of the day, we asked ourselves, ‘What does Capcom need to do for its fans? Should we act like Mega Man is a thing of the past? Should we toss him aside?’ I felt like that would be a foolish gesture. Mega Man is such a treasure to the company that it would be a waste to let him go because someone left.”

Nintendo's Yoshiaki Koizumi talks Switch success, demographics, indie devs, and more

The following tidbits come from a 4Gamer interview with Nintendo's Yoshiaki Koizumi

- Switch sales have progressed faster than he thought they would
- Koizumi assumed it would take about one or two years for the concept to permeate
- believes the Switch concept can be summed up with the words “Anytime, Anywhere, with Anyone”.
- says the majority of people in Japan who purchased Switch are in their teens to their 20s
- the generation of those aged between 15 and 25 had been a difficult spot for Nintendo, but Switch was able to ignite interest
- Koizumi notes Nintendo hasn't particularly planned something special for that demographic
- Koizumi believes this generation is the most optimal one to play outside with somebody else
- this type of generation had grown accustomed to mobile games, so devs had to make Switch as accessible as mobile phones
- the concept of sharing a Joy-Con with someone else is another point Nintendo wants to focus on
- this idea was showcased effectively in Snipperclips
- the game's digital success was enough to push Nintendo to release a physical option
- Nintendo has been actively contacting developers of indie games that fit well with Switch
- Nintendo wants to have a good variety of games available on the platfor
- Koizumi believes that home consoles are actually competing with vacations
- he thinks some people might consider going on vacation, or instead staying home and playing their console games
- the Switch lets you do both, so he's hoping people take advantage of the platforms portability
- Koizumi hopes Nintendo's mobile efforts will help them reach people worldwide.
- Koizumi says smartphones will never cease to be used, so it’s important for Nintendo to “get along” with them

Nintendo considered and tested the hookshot for Zelda: Breath of the Wild, then decided against it

The following comes from an IGN interview with Eiji Aonuma. Aonuma was asked about why the hookshot wasn't included in Breath of the Wild.

“We did consider using [the hookshot] to climb, and then you’d parasail down, but initially when we had the hookshot [in previous Zelda games], it was always that you target something, and that was a game mechanic of itself. But that kind of defeated the purpose of what we wanted to accomplish in Breath of the Wild. With the hookshot, we always had to give it towards the end of the game, or else players could just go anywhere. But in this game, you could do that by climbing and parasailing."

Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi also chimed in on the matter.

"In the early stages of development, we did actually do some tests with double hookshots and just being able to kind of go anywhere, like Spider-Man. Your mobility and your speed was just kind of incredible. We did do some tests like that.

Honestly, the hookshot kind of completely breaks the climbing mechanic. There's lots of fans in the staff, even at pretty high levels, who really like the hookshot and they kept bugging me about it. I eventually just had to say ‘No! Hookshot is gone. There will be no hookshot in this game. If we put the hookshot in this game, it’s not going to work.’ We were just going back to what we did before, and [Breath of the Wild] is all about doing new things.”

Zelda: Breath of the Wild dev team discusses the Master Cycle Zero and the ancient saddle/bridle

If you check out the news section on your Switch, you should find an interview Nintendo conducted with Eiji Aonuma (Producer) and Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Director) concerning The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Don't have access to a Switch or don't feel like firing yours up just to read the news? You can see the full interview below! Looks like this might be an ongoing series, so we'll keep tabs on the news section for future installments.

Nintendo: First of all, thank you for taking time to talk to us. And congratulations on winning Game of the Year for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!

Aonuma & Fujibayashi: Thank you very much!

Nintendo: Many fans were surprised with Link’s new ride in DLC Pack 2. Could you please give us the background on this vehicle?

Aonuma: I was the one that said, “Let’s put this in the game.” (laughs). Both Mr. Fujibayashi and I have a motorcycle licence. Before riding, I felt that the world felt pretty small just walking and riding trains everywhere. But when I hopped on my motorcycle, I felt the world was drastically more vast by having the freedom to go anywhere. I felt a similar sense of freedom when I first played Breath of the Wild (BotW), so I thought “I want to explore this world riding a motorcycle.” (laughs). The staff were extremely passionate about creating this, especially near the end of development, and I believe they created an amazing ride. So the happiest person about this update was me. (laughs)

Fujibayashi: And I was one of the people that was later asked if developing this was possible. (laughs) As Mr. Aonuma said, the functions of the motorcycle are amazing, so I was wondering if the motorcycle can enter the world of BotW without breaking the game. Around the same time, we were discussing what would make the best reward or item players can get at the end of DLC #2, and this idea clicked perfectly.

Nintendo: Can you talk about the new horse gear in DLC Pack 2. Also, are there any horse gear design or abilities that never made it into the game?

Fujibayashi: There is both an ancient saddle and bridle. The saddle allows the horse to warp to Link’s location when he whistles, as long as it’s in a good location to call them. And the new bridge increases its spurs. They are pretty convenient abilities. And no, this was our main horse gear idea. We design them based on their abilities, so we already knew that we could not add too many abilities. However, aligning with the motorcycle, there was a request to upgrade the horses’ abilities.

Aonuma: After all, it was a producer request to enable the horses to warp. (laughs). We thought warping may be possible with ancient technology. So the design is based on ancient gear.