As I listen to you talk, I simply think what a great team this is! (laughs) But, given the current state of game-making, it isn’t easy to make a game on this scale—I mean with only five core members—so the existence of this team itself is extremely unusual and very interesting to me.
I knew it! We’re unusual!
It’s true! I mean, for everyone to follow behind and try to grasp the vision of a central personality as he tries to perfect something is a kind of group mechanics that would never function for a team of 50 people.
I, too, thought it was unconventional and asked Iwata-san several times whether it was alright to continue on with the group as it was, but you said it was okay, so we continued without any changes.
I thought that this particular team chemistry would generate the greatest efficiency, and, more than anything, make the most of Osawa-san’s personality. And, um, how should I put this? I thought it was best not to change anything because I could really sense that this team was enamoured of what only Osawa-san could accomplish and wanted to back him up.
Osawa-san is very sincere when it comes to making something. He doesn’t say much, but he puts a lot into even the smallest effect in a game, into consideration for the players, so that when you play the game, you think, “Wow! He’s amazing!”
Yes, when you’re playing the game, those elements tend to pop out at you.
That’s right. They’re subtle but considerate. You can feel the playful spirit behind them.
And sometimes he does things others will never notice. Takeuchi-san, can you think of an example that isn’t very well-known?
Well, let’s see. One thing that isn’t very well-known—or rather, there’s no way consumers could know about it because it isn’t actually in the game—is that he puts in a single picture just for the people who check the pre-release software.
Only the people who perform the check can see it. He makes that sort of considerate gesture on his own without saying anything to anyone.
Are there any other episodes we can relate that illustrate Osawa-san’s distinct personality?
There are tons! For example, when we were making WarioWare, Inc., the two of us made a demo. I drew the characters and overall storyboards and gave them to him, but then he did something completely different. But his version was more fun! (laughs) His game was so bright and bouncy, I was bowled over.
You weren’t irritated that he changed your storyboards?
No, not at all. If I were the type to think that, I don’t think we could work as a team. (laughs)
I see. (laughs)
That happened with the sound once, too. Osawa-san asked me to make the voices for the characters and the sound effects, and I made several extras that hadn’t been requested. As I was working, I would imagine places where I thought coughing sounds would go, but when I saw the finished version, they were in places I could never have expected, but he had used them in such a way as to maximize their effect. I was shocked. I was like “Oh, they go here?!”
Masaoka-san, how have you experienced Osawa-san’s unique personality?
First of all, as a fellow programmer, I’m surprised by how fast he is. If I tell him about a particular function I want, it will be done in a flash. And he’s very polite. There’s a practice stage in every single game, and every one of them is so carefully thought out and considerate.
Ahh, I’ve often noticed that.
I think it’s his thoughtfulness toward users that shows his personality.
I think so, too. I feel like he broods as hard as he can over where some players might have trouble, even though he himself might be able to breeze right though such places when he plays them. Seki-san, what do you think?
Well, he’s very good at animation. I make animation, too. I tend to place emphasis on smoothness of movement and realism, but Osawa-san will say, “Do it like this,” and show me what he’s drawn, and the illustration, the animation itself, will be pleasing to watch. Of course, his programming and ideas are great, but what I think is really incredible is how he pays so much attention to making something enjoyable.
Ah, I see. Osawa-san, do you do the actual pixel art?
Uh... a little. Even if I do, most of the time Takeuchi-san and Seki-san redo it.
But you create the original.
And you write all the text, is that right?
Yes...most of it, anyway.
He can do anything! (laughs)
He does anything but express what he wants in words. (laughs)
Okay, everyone, tell me what it is you like most about Rhythm Paradise. Let’s start with you, Seki-san.
What I like best? Hmm, it’s got to be the flicking motion. It’s a control involved in the whole game, but I like the unique feeling of holding it down as you flick and then the feeling of release when you let up. And I like the way you can use the flick action to do so many things.
I like the game’s simple parts. I don’t have any particular background in music, so as I made the game, rather than try anything fancy, I paid attention to simple elements like simply banging or sliding over and over again.But even if the structure is simple, it’s a satisfying game because of Tsunku-san’s music and Osawa-san’s arrangements. Because of their construction and placement, the simple aspects of the game are fun. I recommend everyone to check those parts out.
Okay. As Masaoka-kun mentioned, the rules are simple and requires very little preparation from the players, so anyone can jump right in and start playing. And no matter who you are, a sense of rhythm is necessary in life. For example, a housewife can chop her vegetables better in time with a beat! (laughs) I think you can implement the rhythm skills gained from the game in such situations, so I want people to enjoy that. It’s the kind of game that a wide variety of people can enjoy, so I hope even people who don’t play video games on a daily basis will play it.
Well, there are a lot of aspects to the game that can’t be understood until you actually play it, so first I want everyone to try playing it. Even now, there are things that catch me by surprise. As I’m playing, there are all kinds of little discoveries and surprises. The game is packed full of such small pleasures, so I hope everyone will give it a shot. And, uh... that’s it!
Before I ask Osawa-san, I’d like to mention what I like about the game. One thing I like about this game, one of its basic points, is that by sticking to your own rhythm, you would expect to clear the games easily. However, the game has a variety of obstacles designed to throw your rhythm off, such as obstructing your line of sight or suddenly changing the camera angle. I get amused at how easily I get hung up and my rhythm falls apart. (laughs) In other words, I fall into all the traps laid by the developers, which is fun.I also like how the sounds stay with me for a while. After I play, for a while I’ll be humming the music or hearing the tak tak sounds of a ping-pong volley in my head. (laughs) Or in my head I’ll be eating a manju in time to the game’s rhythm! (laughs) Um...if those sounds persist in my head while I’m carrying out my duties as president, it might be a problem.
That’s what I like about the game. When I play the game, I naturally start smiling. (laughs) That’s another very attractive aspect of this game. Sorry for rambling on. Osawa-san, bring this together for me, would you?
What I like about Rhythm Paradise.
...I’ve always liked music. Especially the rhythms. And...I like video games. I think Rhythm Paradise is fun, but what I like more than anything else...what I think was fun...is that everyone worked in tune with me while making it. That’s what I like.
Hmm, I see. (laughs)
It isn’t really a message for players. It’s more of a...personal comment.
But I know what you mean. If it hadn’t been for you, we would never have made this game. If we hadn’t met Tsunku-san, the game would have never come out, and if this team had never been assembled, it would never have been completed. Going even further, if the company hadn’t given the green light for this unique team to proceed with development, we would have never got this far. So I think this game has been born of a series of extraordinary meetings.
That’s right. The chance occurrences piled up. They really did.
It would be great if the product of those occurrences finds its way into the hands of many people. I hope its music starts playing in the heads of millions of people and never stops!
Well, I think that’s about it. Uh, has anyone forgotten to... Oh, that’s right. I’ve got a question for Osawa-san. What do you think of Takeuchi-san?
I’m s-scared to hear. (laughs)
What kind of person is he?
I’d be...lost without him.
Spiritually...professionally...I’d be...lost. (laughs)
I truly understand. (laughs)
Is that answer...all right? (laughs)
It’s fine. What about Yone-san?
He’s very...kind. He knows how to read me...and cheers me up. When I’m feeling down, he emails me pictures of kittens.
And th-that cheers you up. (laughs)
Photos of cute kittens are a big help. (laughs)
In the morning, when he looks down-and-out, I send him pictures of kittens to help him relax.
You do?! (laughs)
You shouldn’t use company email for that! (laughs)
All right, thanks, everyone.
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