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Night in the Woods dev shares hits thoughts on the "evergreen" elements of the game

A portion of a Gamasutra interview with Night in the Woods animator, Scott Benson...

GS: It is a fairly unique setting, this small-town life, the malaise of the underemployed, that a lot of people will recognize. Do you think it speaks to a particular cultural moment?

SB: I think the overall themes -- that life changes, that we have to accept when things are over and deal with moving on, or fight for things that aren't yet over and are worth preserving -- that's something that is evergreen. I'm 32 and I still deal with all that. And moreover I think these coming-of-age stories are something that goes back forever [in our media], at least as far back as the early 20th century with the beatniks. That was a gigantic theme with them.

That said there's also a lot that will probably seem closer to the last few years, particularly the collapse of not only national, but local economies. It's no longer necessarily true that you can stay in your home town and there will be jobs for you. That may not be something this generation alone faces, but it is facing it. We've had a lot of fans come forward really strongly identifying with the small town setting of the game, telling us that they were from that town.

Companies that focus on porting games say Switch business is booming, Panic Button teases more projects

The Switch was the biggest success story for gaming in 2017. Nintendo bounced back from the Wii U in a huge way, and so far, the platform shows no sign of stopping. While Nintendo is certainly making money hand over fist, it turns out other game companies are as well. Gamasutra talked to some studios which focus on making Switch ports, and they're benefiting in a big way from the platform.

Adam Creighton, director of development at Panic Button

“You know that meme? With the dog? Drinking from a sprinkler? That’s me right now and we might have some other titles for that platform, and maybe some other games for other platforms, in the works. In terms of volume, I’m in this amazing place where as a studio we get to choose how we want to grow, and with whom, and with what projects. My biggest challenge lately is not which projects do we pick to retarget to other platforms, but managing the other parts of our portfolio, picking the different projects that are exciting to different people in the studio, and being responsible about what I want to work on, versus what is best for the studio.”

Tony Cabello, CEO of BlitWorks

“We’ve recently experienced a big increase in the amount of work. Even though we’re always very busy, we’re now working on more projects at the same time, especially indie games which are our speciality. This is mainly because nowadays, indie studios see that publishing their games on consoles is a possibility, that was not so easy to do in the past because the access to the market was more restrictive. So we now have more developers reaching out to us to get there.

It’s a good time to be a port house, everyone wants to have their game published in every available platform, and even though many developers don’t know they need a porting service they end up realising it requires a whole different skill set.”

Ted Staloch, the executive VP of publishing at Aspyr

“With so many powerful, capable devices, there is simply more opportunity for brands today than what our partners typically have resources or expertise to fulfill. It’s a need Aspyr is very happy to fill, as gamers have demonstrated they don’t want their favorite games tethered to only one device.”

Owlboy dev says Switch a "natural fit" for the game,

Owlboy has been on a number of platforms already, but it just recently came to Switch. According to Owlboy creator and D-Pad Studio art director Simon Stafsnes, bringing the game to Switch just made sense.

“We all grew up with Nintendo as kids. We thought this will fit pretty well. We looked at all the different consoles, because we wanted everyone to play it…but the Switch just seemed like a natural fit for us.”

Some might have picked up quite a heavy Zelda influence in Owlboy, and that's no mistake. Stafsnes was directly inspired by the series.

"Wind Waker taught me that the most important thing is to have very recognizable shapes for people, so I definitely took inspiration from that and the environment, just to make sure it feels alive and you can interact with everything in it.”

Thanks to Sligeach_eire for the heads up!

Old Man's Journey dev explains why the game doesn't have written/spoken dialog

Old Man's Journey is out now on Switch, and it's a pretty unique adventure. Full of puzzles, exploration, and a touching story, the experience seems to be really hitting home for those who pick it up. One interesting thing about the game is its choice to tell story without any words or dialog. Clemens Scott of Broken Rules explains why the team chose this direction.

The main reason we chose a wordless narrative was to make the game as accessible as possible to a wide audience. It demanded a focus on the core elements of the story, making sure that complex emotional issues could be communicated with as little barrier as possible.

Rally Racers devs have DLC and sequel plans, also bringing D/Generation to Switch

A portion of a Neocrisis interview with West Coast Games...

NC: Would you add other ideas (to Rally Racers) through DLC or make a possible sequel?

WCG: We have plans for both DLC with extra levels and a sequel to continue Rees’ journey. DLC will need thorough testing so we don’t expect it to be ready until the end of 2018.

NC: Can you provide any insight into your next title?

WCG: The development team is still working on the other versions of the game, but as a company we have a few ideas in development both racing titles and also new a new puzzle game that will complement D/Generation, which was launched a year or so ago on PS4, Xbox One and Steam. A new version of D/Generation is due to be launched on Switch in a couple of months.

SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~ devs explain "Reaction Accessories"

A portion of a Nintendo Life interview with producer Yasuyuki Oda, and director Kaito Soranaka

NL: Costumes and accessories seem to be a big part of the action in SNK Heroines. Is there a story reason behind the fashion focus? Do the costumes & accessories factor into the gameplay?

Soranaka-san: There aren't any accessories that change special skills or attack power or influence battle in any way, but there are Reaction Accessories that react when taking damage and some accessories that have special sound effects.

Nintendo on seeing/treating indie games the same as AAA, wants both types of experiences on Switch

A portion of an EntertainmentStation interview with Mr. Yusuke Soejima and Mr. Park Seong-sa of Nintendo.

ES: As Nintendo, how is the difference between indie game and conventional game recognized?"

"Park: On Nintendo platforms, we don't really differentiate between AAA titles* from established firms and indie games. In actuality, they're lined up as equals in the Nintendo eShop. We don't specially promote indie games just because they are indie games, and conversely we don't prioritise them below AAA titles either."

*Read as "Triple-A Title". There is no clear definition, but it refers to big hits and other popular games, as well as large-scale games with a large development budget.

ES: As was also mentioned at the beginning, unlike other platforms, indie games are handled in the same line as major companies titles on the Nintendo Switch eShop. In recent years, being indie in overseas is becoming one brand-like position, and users increasingly playing indie games are also increasing.

"Park: As we manage our projects with indie games, we think it would be great if [indie games] could be [one among numerous] attractive brands. However, in Japan, awareness about indie games is still pretty weak, so first we want to get customers to recognise [this brand of products] and see them as appealing. We don't want to 'discriminate' just because they are indie games."

ES: What distinction?

"Park: For example, if we made a store just for indie games, and customers began to think that only boring games were put there, then in the future you could potentially have a market where just the label of 'indie game' causes customers to ignore a product."

ES: So you're saying that the label of 'indie game' could actually work against something?

"Park: While it would be nice if the label of 'indie game' always added some kind of value to a product, there is always the possibility that branding something in this way could cause others to ignore it. That's something we must avoid at all costs, I think."

ES: Please tell us about the prospects for the future of Nintendo's indie games, medium term and long term. What kind of vision do you aim for at the moment?

Soejima: First of all, we just want to get developers on board with developing for our platform when they decide what to develop games for. It's not really a 'goal' per se, but before the Switch really got going, when we would see trailers or posters at events, the platforms that would always be shown at the end were almost always other companies' machines. There was really nowhere where you would see the 3DS or WiiU supported... It was absolutely a situation where we weren't even seen as a practical option. It was here that we thought we'd like to have the Switch's logo up there with the other companies'.

"Park: Fortunately, Nintendo Switch has seen international success, and I think the opportunities for us to be a viable platform have increased. Going forward, we'd like to maintain our momentum, and become a platform developers make content for, from the beginning of development and as a matter of course, alongside the others."

"Park: Looking at more long-term ideas, it's not something just the two of us can do on our own, but there's a cycle we would like to see the entire industry work to support, of indie developers being able to easily produce titles, get a real ROI from them, and then easily move on to the next title, with other (new) developers following their example to enter the industry."

"Soejima: If a given title sells really well, then it can be recognised as its own IP, and it would be great if such an IP can go on to last in the industry and be accepted by consumers. The entire game industry, not just Nintendo, needs to think about how to increase the number of titles born from the indie game scene. Lastly, I just want to say that while indie games tend to be associated with the digital world, we've learned that as a 'community', it is actually incredibly analogue. It's a scene that emphasises connections between people, and that's something we want to place importance on as well."

Nintendo details the Switch stock situation, still working to get things completely ironed out

We covered some tidbits from an interview with Nintendo's president Tatsumi Kimishima a few days back, but now more information has come from that same interview. You can see tidbits from the discussion below.

- Nintendo’s initial yearly sales projection for Switch was ten million units
- people weren't sure the Switch could hit that number in the first year, considering how poorly the Wii U did
- Kimishima says they should have made more units, but at the time, selling 10 million in the first year seemed unbelievable
- Nintendo had to increase projections to 14 million units a few months ago
- customers in Japan and Europe in particular have had trouble purchasing the Switch
- Nintendo was able to increase the production structure to deliver more units by the holiday season
- unfortunately, this still wasn’t enough even by the end of the year
- the company Nintendo entrusted with making units has also increased its production lines
- since certain materials are needed, they went around and asked all kinds of part makers to somehow raise production
- for the time being, as we enter the new year, the stock situation hasn’t been completely solved
- now in Japan, customers don’t have to wait multiple days to get a unit, and can sometimes find them in stores

Nintendo considered letting players control the weather in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Ever been out and about in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and find yourself stimeyed by bad weather? You're just trying to climb up a sheer cliff and a store comes and you're forced to hold off until better weather. It might be a bit frustrating at times, but it helps make the game world feel like a living, breathing universe.

Believe it or not, there was a point during development of Breath of the Wild where the dev team considered giving control of the weather to players. This tidbit was shared by director Hidemaro Fujibayashi in an interview with Game Informer.

“Initially we did consider giving players control of the weather, but realized not being able to control it is much more fun. Controlling it wasn’t really fitting in this game. In Ocarina of Time, you were in places that were just sunny or raining. That was the way the players were able to control that. Adding in the weather control would have increased the number of variables in the world. It was more interesting to have Link against nature, not controlling it. That ended up being more natural and fun.”

Inti Creates president talks benefits of digital releases, reaching different audiences, DLC, and dev disinterest in sequels

Takuya Aizu, president of Inti Creates, took some time to talk about projects the company has in the works, as well as share insight into how the company operates. You can see some tidbits from the interview below.

- the proliferation of online purchases and digital titles lets Inti Creates push out software at a lower cost to the company
- Inti Creates is close to an indie company in nature, encouraging staff to think of their own game ideas
- there are around 100 staff members currently
- Inti Creates was formed because former Capcom employees enjoyed working with each other wanted to continue doing so
- Gal Gun 2 will have an official Chinese version released in Taiwan, released around April 2018
- Inti Creates wants to put out Chinese versions to appeal to a wider Asia audience
- for now they will stick to releasing Chinese versions after the game's initial release
- this is partially due to the lack of a Taiwan eShop on Switch, which is why they need to consider physical copies instead
- Inti Creates doesn’t really look at any particular market outside of Japan when considering making games
- the company is incredibly grateful that they have such a receptive overseas fanbase
- the goals is to localize every game in different languages, even if games are refused a rating in certain countries
- Inti Creates is a very whimsical company
- quite a few staff members don’t like making sequels, and are instead going for new game ideas
- when the developers see that the players really like a game, they will develop DLC to expand content
- if audience reception is loud enough, maybe a sequel will be developed