Coming from a GameSpot interview with director Tetsuya Takahashi...
"When I think about how it feels to work at Monolith, it's something that's probably changed quite a bit over time. In the very beginning of Monolith, right after I'd left Square, there were certainly a lot of times when we were working very late into the night. We were still building up the company so there were not that many people involved.
We still have some of the early core members with us now like [director Koh] Kojima and [art director Norihiro] Takami who were there from the beginning. Certainly things have changed quite a bit over time, but I think it's not quite as grueling as it was in the very beginning. Working with Nintendo has changed our approach to [making games] and given us a little more freedom in terms of how we schedule things out. We don't have to necessarily drive people in the traditional overtime way that you would see at a lot of Japanese companies."
Mr. Takahashi also discussed the Western reaction to JRPGs, specifically Xenoblade Chronicles...
"We do take into consideration the needs and the reactions of western audiences when designing games. After the success of Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii--I believe it had better sales overall abroad than it did in Japan--I was very interested in following along with the reactions that I was seeing outside of Japan. That's definitely something that I will continue to consider going forward, but I also, of course, have to balance that with the needs of the Japanese market as well. Though that balance may shift from project to project, depending on how people's' tastes and reactions are changing."
Finally, Takahashi teased the idea of more Xeno games down the road...
"The opportunity presents itself. Usually I need to start with an interesting idea or direction that I feel it's going to have some compatibility here but if that presented itself, I would consider doing so."
The following information comes from Ikue Otani, the voice actor for Pikachu from the anime series.
Pikachu’s Pika-Pika Lines Are Actually Written
“The role is scripted, but the mouth movements may be a little different from what’s written in the script. So for example, if Pikachu wants to say something like ‘Yatte yaroze’ (‘Let’s do it!’), I would say ‘Pika-pika-chu!’”
Coming from an IGN interview with Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino...
- if Level-5 has a title that would be served well as a Wii U game, Hino "would definitely want to proactively consider it."
- if the NX can "bring Level-5 games to as many kids as possible, it wouldn’t be impossible" to see Level-5 support
- "If kids are willing to buy both of them (Pokemon and Yo-Kai Watch), I couldn’t be happier."
Coming from a GamesIndustry interview with NES designer, Masayuki Uemura...
"You might know that we tried to collaborate with Sony once. We knew what Sony was thinking and what kinds of things they were trying to develop. During this time when Sony and other companies started launching products, people started realizing how difficult it is to create a game with great mechanics. Since the time of Game & Watch, Nintendo was doing their best to create game design mechanics that fully utilize the limited technological specifications. What happened was when they started launching those products with high quality graphic design they started emphasizing the graphics processing power - in other words, it wasn't just the game mechanics they had to focus on but they also had to focus on graphic expression and sound design, not just game design. That's how the market got saturated with all these kinds of products."
Coming from a GamesIndustry interview with NES designer Masayuki Uemura...
"Nintendo was always trying to push the limitations of new types of play. That was a difference between Nintendo product lines and the others. With the maturity of the game industry...it was time to start thinking about redefining the importance of mechanics and design. So for a couple decades the game publishers and hardware manufacturers were focusing on graphics processing power and sound effects and so forth and not focusing much on innovating in game design and mechanics.
From my perspective, the game industry has always been [steered by] indies because the idea of the individual has been quite crucial in making great games. When you try to fully utilize all the computing power, and graphics processing and sound effects, then you have to add more people and more staff to create games compatible with all the technology. But the one thing you could [leverage] is the individual powerful resource. Nintendo has always been like that, we are like indies. Every time we try to create some sort of paradigm shift where all the rules change, where the status quo changes, by coming up with new ideas. Wii is a prime example of that. It became popular beyond our expectations. That was a quite symbolic product for us, we felt like indies."
Coming from a GameSpot interview with executive director Tetsuya Takahashi...
"Since we're aiming for the next evolution in JRPGs, I have to admit that our original goal was not to aim for simplicity. We were looking for new directions and so that means adding new elements to an existing structure that people might have an innate understanding of. As such, I have to be honest, there is going to be some complexity that comes in, but I feel that we've created a really compelling experience from that.
The way that we think about an open world game is that there is so much space and so much to do that if there were no limitations, it would be very easy for the user to get lost or to not know which objective they need to pursue next. From a designer perspective, we think about what steps can we add that will act as limitations to ease people into the experience of this large world. We ease the player into varying objectives and limit their access to certain parts of the map.
Certainly there are a lot of different approaches to open world games of this type, and I think one of the big distinctions between us and [others] is that we're trying to consider the needs of the Japanese market as well where, I think, most players are not necessarily as familiar with that kind of approach to open world games.
The experience that works the best in our market is to have these steps by which the player becomes stronger, and that in turn opens up new areas for them. There definitely was some thought and some sensitivity going around the needs of our market as well, considering what Japanese players like to do and how to give them the best experience."
Coming from a Nintendo Life interview with Project Manager, Anchel Labena...
We've been getting some pretty amazing reviews, which we are obviously really happy about. It really caught us by surprise, since Affordable Space Adventures is such a quirky title that we didn't know what the press would think about it. I guess that all the positive press really affected sales at launch, because we saw a sudden surge of interest from players, YouTube streamers and other media outlets who hadn't heard about the game before its launch.
While sales kicked off to a great start, things slowed down a bit during the months after launch. We still keep selling units on a daily basis though. It doesn't come as a surprise either. We are, after all, a digital-only release, and presence in the Wii U eShop is crucial for us. Every time our game shows up in the eShop front page (like a banner, a Nintendo Highlights video or being included in a list of indie games for example), we have a considerable spike in sales. The new update is surely going to get a new surge of interest in the title, so we hope to keep the momentum going with that. We also just launched in Japan, and that's definitely a super interesting market to get into. You have to think different in how you approach the audience there. Luckily, there are also fans there. One of them posted a drawing on Miiverse and it took as a while to understand that her handwriting said "I've been waiting for a year for this game since Knytt Underground" (Knytt Underground being the previous game of Affordable Space Adventure's Game Director, Nicklas Nygren). What I can tell you, however, is that the game has definitely been a success for us and we are quite happy about how it is performing.
So, while we are currently working on other non-ASA related projects, the potential for future DLC is still there. But for the moment being, both KnapNok Games and Nifflas' Games are working on their own, separate games (though we still work together in the same office – I even have Nicklas playing around with several of his prototypes next to me, and we all get to try them early on and give him our feedback). We still have a few ASA things coming though. Nicklas is giving the finishing touches to the official soundtrack of the game so we can make it available online!
Do we want to make a 3DS version of the game? Yes we do! As a matter of fact, we are working together with a developer to make this project a reality. You obviously can't simply put a Wii U game and try to fit it into a 3DS, whether it's the new 3DS or the original one. The Unity support for the New 3DS obviously helps a lot, but there would still be lots of adjustments to be made to the controls and the gameplay. Also, the 3DS' technical prowess is quite different from the Wii U. However, all this doesn't mean "3DS version confirmed!!!". There are still quite a lot of things to go through before we can determine whether this can happen or not. But ASA on-the-go sounds like too sweet an opportunity to simply let it pass.
A portion of a 8WN interview with Ackk Studios...
8WN: In bringing Two Brothers over to Wii U as Chromophore: The Two Brothers Director’s Cut, were there any unforeseen difficulties or significant challenges that occurred during development?
AS: It’s really an entirely new game. It’s been reprogrammed, all new battle system… no original code is used.
The biggest difficulty came from someone who worked on the PC version, who quit the studio, and is now pressuring us to pay them a higher royalty on the Wii U version… they’ve basically forced us to stop all release plans… so now we slug away hoping we get this sorted out soon so we can release it!
8WN: I’m a huge fan of the Wii U, and I especially enjoy when a developer integrates GamePad support in a unique and interesting way. In what ways is Ackk Studios implementing this support in Chromophore and YIIK?
AS: So, all the battle mode mini games in YIIK you use the Gamepad to play a tailored version for the Wii U pad.
The music based mini games use touch pad keyboard to play songs.
8WN: Thanks so much for doing this interview with us today! I’ll end with one final question, and that is: When can we expect to play both Chromophore and YIIK?
AS: YIIK will be out between mid Dec. and late February. Chromophore is almost done, just need to clear up the legal stuff, then we’ll rush it out!
The following info comes from a Reddit AMA with Freedom Planet devs, Galaxy Trail.
On possible 3DS port:
The game's resolution is nearly perfect for the 3DS, but there are some technical restrictions we'd have to deal with first and we also want to think of a good way to utilize the touch screen.
On moving from Freedom Planet being a Sonic fan-game to an original title:
Very, very early on. The switch happened when we were still playing around with the physics engine and everything was drawn as boxes and circles, haha. The only Sonic element that existed in some form was rings, which were soon switched out for life petals.