5. We Wanted the Game to Play Intuitively
We Wanted the Game to Play Intuitively
By the way, you, Tanabe-san, didn’t actually make the original Metroid. Have you made these games with a kind of awareness of being successors to (Yoshio) Sakamoto-san and the others, the people who made the original games?
Sakamoto-san is a very broad-minded person, so whenever we ask him about something, he will always tell us, “If it’s interesting, go ahead and put it in.” However, he insists we don’t reveal what happens to Samus when she transforms into Morph Ball form.
What we have inherited from the previous games is the system of investigating different rooms one by one, finding and opening secret passages as you go, the way you continue searching the environments, going back to previous rooms, and widening the map as you find new rooms. And as you find new items, you can explore the map even further. We have consciously strived to keep this “Metroid tradition” in the 3D games as well.
It is said that FPS games are the type to easily give you motion sickness. Have you adapted these games in any way to counter this?
The FPS games for PCs are played with the mouse and keyboard. The cursor is controlled with the mouse, and when you move it, the camera follows. That’s why the controls are extremely responsive, but then, there are a considerable number of people who will get motion sickness from this kind of quick movement. On the other hand, if you make it so the camera won’t move as long as the cursor is in a certain range, the risk of motion sickness will decrease, but people who want quick movement will feel that the controls have become too slow. Finding the right balance was something we debated again and again with the people at Retro Studios.
Both Tanabe-san and I are of a constitution that is easily susceptible to motion sickness. Therefore, we wanted to restrain the movement of the camera so that as many people as possible could easily enjoy the game. However, the people at Retro Studios thought that since we were using the pointer now, it would be a waste not to make the movement quicker.
That is why, after a lot of trial-and-error, we decided to give the player the chance to choose between three camera speeds: Beginner, Normal, and Advanced.
The three camera speeds of Metroid Prime 3.
In Nintendo’s games, it is not common to be able to choose things like your camera speed, but in the end, you chose to give this option to the players.
Now that I think about it, you can choose the difficulty level as well. While in the American version, partly because of time issues, we made it so this was chosen directly by the player, in the Japanese version, we wanted to add a bit of “Nintendo flavor” to it, so the difficulty is decided by answering to a questionnaire from the Galactic Federation. That was an idea that came from Retro Studios… After you answer the questionnaire, they will tell you, “This is the difficulty level we would like to recommend to you.”
Questionnaire begins at 2:30.
The idea of a questionnaire from the Galactic Federation is very interesting, isn’t it? (Laughs) However, it had been about half a year since the release of the game in America, so you certainly worked on the Japanese version for quite a while…
The amount of text we had to translate was quite extensive. However, I suppose you might wonder why there is so much text in a game like Metroid Prime… Of course, whenever a character speaks, we have subtitles like in the movies. And that’s not all. With the Scan Visor system, you can actively read up on things you’d like to research. Although there is very little text that is integral to progressing through the game, if you’d like to get to know the world of Metroid better, there is a mountain of information crammed into the game. We certainly didn’t skimp on the amount of text.
Furthermore, it wasn’t just simple translation. The two of us, and a third support translator, had to localise the game to suit the Japanese market. The rewriting took quite a lot of time. I’m sorry we made the Japanese audience wait so long.
Metroid Prime 3 had lots of text to translate.
So finally, is there a message you’d like to give our customers?
The thing I’d like to say the most is: please give the new controls a try. The game may at first glance look difficult, but I’m sure if you actually give it a go, you’ll discover a new world of gameplay possibilities. By all means, please try it out.
I’d like to say: please enjoy the game intuitively. In Japan up until now, FPS games have been respected, but ultimately avoided. I think this is because many people have found it too difficult to handle two control sticks to control the games. However, now with Metroid Prime 3, the controls feel truly intuitive, so more than anything else, I wish everyone could experience them. For example, with couples, if the guy sees his girlfriend playing the game stylishly, he might have to revise his opinion of her, and may even fall in love. So, please give it a go. And you know, the main character, Samus, is female, too. (Laughs)
Tabata-san played the game stylishly as well.
Thank you very much! (Laughs)
I’ve noticed that Tabata-san plays the game holding the Wii Remote around her waist.
Well, that’s where Samus holds her arm cannon, too, isn’t it?
So Tabata-san has completely transformed into Samus.
Eh? Is this how we are going to close the interview?
Personally, even though I love games a lot, I haven’t been able to keep up with FPS games because they have been getting harder to handle since they require you to master two analog sticks. I have been thinking the market for this genre must be steadily getting narrower because of this, which I feel is such a shame. But with Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii, you can play the game intuitively with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. I think that even people who have thought previous FPS games to be impossible for them will be able to enjoy this title. I’m happy if through this interview we have been able to let even a few people know about it. Tanabe-san and Tabata-san, thank you for all your hard work.