Q&A: Katamari Damacy director Keita Takahashi
The man behind the sticky rolling ball talks to GameSpot about his decision to make Noby Noby Boy a PS3 exclusive, why he's a bit bored, and why three next-gen consoles may not be a good thing.
During his talk at GameCity '07, Keita Takahashi showed off a very early version of his latest title Noby Noby Boy to the audience, as well as using the event as a forum for getting across an environmental message and complaining about his neighbours.
The kooky director of Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari spoke to GameSpot UK after his talk and named a date for the apocalypse, revealed where he would most like to go traveling, and explained why he also would like a one-console future.
GameSpot UK: Why are you sick of Katamari Damacy?
Keita Takahashi: Wouldn't you be?
GS UK: Why didn't the original Katamari Damacy get a release in the UK?
KT: It didn't? I think because we didn't make a PAL version.
GS UK: What kind of games do you like playing?
KT: I have not played games very much recently. Can you recommend any games?
GS UK: What is the objective of the game in Noby Noby Boy?
KT: I can't tell you yet. It's confidential... Do you think you need objectives? What objectives would be good? What do you think?
GS UK: What was the inspiration for Noby Noby Boy?
KT: Hidden in everyday life are many things, for example when I'm walking dogs, the lead can stretch out and snap back, and that was one of the inspirations I had.
GS UK: Why do you make games rather than express yourself in other ways?
KT: I was originally a sculptor... But I wanted to express myself in a wider way. So that's why I came to the games industry, but actually, you know, it's not been so much fun.
GS UK: Were you surprised at the success of Katamari Damacy?
KT: I am quite surprised actually at the success to date, yes. I think that the success only comes from people who know games, and those in the games industry.
GS UK: Did you find that people believed in Katamari Damacy while you were making it?
KT: Definitely not. However, it was quite interesting to see how the market reacted to this game.
GS UK: You say even your boss doesn't understand Noby Noby Boy yet. Do you think you're allowed this creative freedom solely because of your success on the Katamari Damacy games?
GS UK: So are you going to now do something really crazy?
KT: I reckon that in order to do something even more crazy, I need to do Noby Noby Boy and for it to be successful. If I want to do totally bonkers crazy I have to do well at this one, then I have two successful titles behind me and will have more freedom.
GS UK: Any ETA on Noby Noby Boy?
KT: I can't really confirm any kind of date at this point.
GS UK: Why did you decide to make it a PlayStation 3 exclusive?
KT: I definitely understand the idea behind games going multiplatform, however going multiplatform does mean extra effort. The reason I chose PlayStation 3 on this occasion is simply due to the specification of the hardware, and looking at the timeline I had in his mind with this idea. I thought the PS3 would best suit that schedule, and that's the reason.
GS UK: You say you're sick of Katamari. Does that mean there will be no more games in the series?
KT: There won't be any more directed by me myself. But there's a new one coming out soon called Beautiful Katamari on the Xbox 360, so I think the IP will live on for a while longer, but I won't be involved directly at all. Well, I think.
GS UK: You also said you're not having much fun. Why do you think the games industry is not much fun?
KT: I think for anyone in the world, you start to get bored of whatever you do, if you do one thing for too long, and that's one of the main reasons.
GS UK: How do you think the games industry could improve?
KT: I think the sales price of the consoles has been too high lately. In an ideal world, I want to see only one major console being retailed on the market, and everyone actually making games for just one console, and bring the price of that console down from what the three currently cost right now.
At the moment, I feel that having three next-gen consoles is only as a result of having three different companies that want to maximize their potential and their profits, and I think we should start working together to decrease the power of the market leaders.
GS UK: So which console should be "the one"?
KT: If you have to think about the impact, I think bringing out one completely new console would be the best thing to do.
GS UK: You say in 10 to 20 years, you said maybe none of us will be able to play games. Do you think the apocalypse is coming?
KT: How things are going at the moment, it certainly won't be surprising if something drastic like that happens suddenly. There might be the possibility of the apocalypse.
GS UK: Have you seen any signs of the apocalypse so far?
KT: It might be difficult to visually see what's going on. If we could work individually to do something at this point, there is something we can do to avoid this.
GS UK: Would all the time spent on video games be better spent on saving the planet?
KT: Not necessarily so. Maybe we shouldn't waste our energy. I'm sorry, that's not a very good answer.
GS UK: Are you thinking of leaving the games industry and going and doing something else?
KT: Looking at the long term, it might be a possibility, but you never really know what's going to happen.
GS UK: If you weren't a games designer what would you do?
KT: What do you think I should do? I'd like to go to Alaska and the North Pole.
GS UK: Thanks for your time.
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