All right, now let’s talk about Steel Diver.
A lot of different titles are being developed for the Nintendo 3DS system right now, but among them Steel Diver seems somewhat plain. It’s a game where you control a submarine that doesn’t go very fast.
I guess so. (laughs)
First, I want to know what motivated you to complete the development of this game at this time. Steel Diver actually has a very long history, which I’m sure some people will remember. When we first showcased the Nintendo DS system at E3 20048, it was displayed as a reference title. Consequently, it has been in development for a very long time. But then I have to wonder why it’s being released for the Nintendo 3DS system now. 8 E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo): A video game-related trade show held in Los Angeles.
You’re right that the development time was very long, but its initial planning started off even long before the Nintendo DS demo version was made. In short, I always wanted to make a flight-simulation game.
But, in terms of a flight-simulation game, you had already made Pilotwings9 back during the Super Famicom era. You got to fly planes and many other things in that title. Have you still been keeping that desire? 9 Pilotwings: A game released in December 1990 for the Super Famicom (Super NES) system in Japan, and Pilotwings 64 released for the Nintendo 64 system in June 1996 in Japan. A new title in the series, entitled Pilotwings Resort, is currently under development for the Nintendo 3DS system.
Yes, that game was about your enjoying the flying experiences. It’s a bit different from the kind of flight-simulation game I wanted to make. The essence of flight-simulation games is to enjoy the controls of aeroplanes.
Uh-huh, that sounds right.
Not to mention the real flight simulators, PC flight simulators have been around for a long time, and some arcade games were also offering that type of simulation. The difficulty level is high with these simulators when we see them as video games but that difficulty is one of their greatest charms.
It’s simulating the actual control of the machine. In the same way that flying a plane in real life is difficult, the controls for these games were difficult too.
That’s right. It’s the polar opposite of the “controls” for the action games I usually make.
Yes. In the action games that you are mainly involved with, you’re able to do lots of things with a single controller. You prioritise responsiveness more than anything, and sometimes you’ll even ignore the laws of physics to achieve that. However, for a flight-simulation game you’ll have to control the vehicle in the same way that it works in the real world.
Right. That’s why, in flight-simulation games, it’s common to go straight to the “Game Over” screen because of things like “the mistake you made 30 seconds ago.”
That does sound like the polar opposite of how it is in an action game. It seems to me that you’re interested in games at both ends of the spectrum.
Yes. (laughs) I think one of the biggest charms of an action game is the ability to move the characters intuitively. Flight-simulation games, on the other hand, are fun because the gameplay is very logical. The fun is in simulating things moving around in your head.
But that’s from your perspective as a player.
Yes. I have an interest in both of them. They’re both enjoyable in their own right. Let’s compare it to F1 racing. One style of racing games is to make you feel like you can drive, turn and stop just like a professional racing driver. The other is that, by mastering the game, you can actually come closer to being a racing driver. Out of the two, this one is much tougher. Normally, people don’t like difficult things as a form of entertainment, but it has its charms because of that difficulty.
Right, because when you overcome it, the entire game becomes that much more fun.
Yes. That’s why I want to make a game where you can find enjoyment even in harsh conditions. But I have a tendency to quickly gravitate toward making games that are “fun right now.” (laughs)
I don’t think that’s a bad thing. (laughs) Although, it seems that more and more games nowadays are designed so that the player can recognise what’s fun about them within a few minutes after starting to play, and that players must be able to control the game just the way they like.
Yes. Based on that reasoning, the fun of controlling something that’s difficult to manage is something that’s hard to perceive as a form of entertainment.
Right. That’s why unless you can pick up and play like an expert right away, people normally won’t want to touch that game.
But that’s only because people who thought they could control it the way they wanted simply weren’t able to.
Yes, you’re absolutely right.
Yet actually, people will appreciate the game even if they can’t control it well as long as they can realise in advance that the subject they will deal with is difficult.
But people don’t see it that way with cars.
That’s right. You can’t. (laughs)
It’s one of those things you think you can control perfectly. But with a large cruise ship or aircraft, people would understand if the responsiveness of the controls is very slow.
Right. They’d understand that they’re not supposed to be able to move so quickly.
That’s why, when it’s about aeroplanes, it should be about flying a huge passenger aircraft instead of, say, a fighter jet. I always thought it should be something large like a battleship or a submarine. So, I picked the submarine.
I see. (laughs) You’re right that even if you can’t make a submarine move as quickly as you want, you would think that’s just the way it is.
Yes. But first of all, don’t you think submarines are great? (laughs) They have lots of gimmicks, such as throwing out decoys10 or shooting torpedoes. It’s like every man’s dream to be able to pilot something like that. 10 Decoy: Used to trick enemies or fend off enemy torpedoes.
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