Q&A: Capcom producer talks Zack and Wiki, We Love Golf
Capcom producer Hironobu Takeshita talks new gaming licences, Japan's love for golf, and golden monkey hand bells.
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Capcom fielded a huge stand at this year's Tokyo Game Show, and mixed in among major upcoming titles such as Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Devil May Cry 4 were a few new game properties. We caught up with Capcom producer Hironobu Takeshita, and with the help of a translator asked him about We Love Golf and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure for the Nintendo Wii.
GameSpot AU: Zack & Wiki is a new franchise--can you give us a rundown of the game's back story?
Hironobu Takeshita: The characters who appear in the game are Zack, who is an apprentice pirate, and a golden monkey called Wiki who also turns into a hand bell. They are going on a journey to look for the treasure that was left behind by a legendary pirate called Barbaros. They go through many different environments, such as jungles, temples made out of ice, and the inside of a volcano in order to find the different parts of Barbaros, which--when put back together--they will be able to lay claim to the treasure he left behind.
GS AU: The Wii console does sports games and gesturing very well. What were some of the goals you set out in development for an adventure game and its controls on the console?
HT: The director of Zack and Wiki is a big fan of PC adventure games [point-and-click adventure games] and ever since he joined Capcom, he always wanted to make a new type of adventure game. When we decided we were going to make a game for the Wii, we thought the potential of the Wii and his goal to make a new style of adventure game, they fit together pretty well. Because we decided to put this game on the Wii, we realised we could do a different sort of adventure game that allowed you to have a sort of physical interaction with the game. We thought it would be interesting to make a puzzle-solving game that uses both your head to solve the puzzle, but also uses your body as well in terms of the gestures.
GS AU: In terms of the gesturing system, what sort of technical challenges have you faced in accurately mapping user interaction to the Wii Remote controller?
HT: In terms of the technical difficulties was fine-tuning the controllers. One of the main problems that we had was the difference between each individual person and how they perform. Not everyone performs the same gesture in the same way--for example, if you're turning something, some people might use a small gesture to turn and others might use a really big gesture, some people might do a slow speed and others might do it fast. So this was to be able to create something that anybody could use with the gestures, this was very difficult. To do this, we had to take many different samples, we had to get many different people to try the game to get the gestures from many different people, because they all had different ways of doing the gestures. Tuning this was one of the biggest difficulties.
GS AU: In all three public demos--E3, Leipzig, and now TGS--none have been done with a Nunchuk connected to the Wii Remote. Are there any plans to utilise it in the final version of the game, and if so, what functions will it perform?
HT: We do not plan to use the Nunchuk at all in this game--the main reason for that is that we want this to be a game that would just use the remote controller. That was always our plan for it, so that everybody who played the game--and we wanted to have many different types of people enjoy this game, from game fanatics to complete casual gamers--to enjoy it. We wanted to create a game that didn't necessarily use the same game rules that you need to remember in order to play the game. We wanted to reduce the rules to the simplest level that we could.
This TGS show is the first time we're showing this new system that we're calling the "guide cursor system," and like other puzzle-solving games, this was originally designed for one person, but we wanted to make it a game that was fun to play in a sort of party-style atmosphere--something you would be able to play with many people. By introducing this system, you can draw lines on the screen with two to four people. When you face a puzzle you can't solve yourself, or you're playing it with other people surrounding you, they can say "oh maybe you should go here, or maybe you should take a look over here"--they can participate in it as well. You can also use this for perhaps a puzzle you have already solved yourself. If you want to give that to someone else and you want them to solve it, you can give them hints as they go along. This is another thing we wanted to just use the remote to do this.
GS AU:Turning to We Love Golf, is this the first public showing of the game?
HT: Yes, that's right. We did show it at a media event on August 31 here in Japan, but as a main showing for everyone to see, this is the first time.
GS AU: Was there any particular reason TGS was chosen as the first public viewing of the game?
HT: One of the main reasons was we wanted Japanese gamers to be able to have a go at the game themselves and play it for themselves. This is just how the timing worked out; this was the best timing to be able to do that.
GS AU: Did it have anything to do with Japan perhaps being the most receptive region to a title like We Love Golf?
HT: Yes, indeed, golf games are very popular in Japan, it's a very popular genre in Japan, and this time making a game with Camelot--Camelot are very popular in Japan for their Hot Shots Golf and Mario Golf series--so we wanted to be able to show it here. And as the first in what will hopefully be a new franchise, we wanted to take care of showing it carefully, undisturbed from Japan, to show it more broadly from there.
GS AU: Is We Love Golf a fantasy title, or are courses accurately modeled on the real world?
HT: We Love Golf is not designed to be a strict real-life golf simulator, that was not the intention for us, but by the same token I would not consider it to be a fantasy game either. We are trying to create that balance and to show the player the interesting parts of golf, and try and show them why golf is interesting. And to be able to create the feeling of being a real-life golfer actually playing golf, but also doing the fun and interesting parts of golf, was our intention when creating this game.
GS AU: Hironobu Takeshita, thanks for your time.