So, I heard during the Iwata Asks interview for Mario Kart Wii that when you were finishing up with Mario Kart Wii you once said, ‘I really like making products with large packaging’.
Yup, I’ve gone ahead and made another product with large packaging! The 3rd in the large box series.(laughs).
(laughs) The Wii Zapper was originally unveiled in 2006 at the E3 show8. At the exhibition, we had the Wii Zapper displayed in a glass case, and I remember the way that people ate up the exhibit, practically boring holes through the glass with their eyes, and it really made an impression on me. 8 E3 is a gaming exhibition held in the US. In 2006, the Wii was initially exhibited to the public there.
Though we had made a proposal for a new product called the Wii Zapper, more than a year passed and Nintendo still hadn’t released any new compatible software, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption became operable with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
The whole concept behind the development of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was to be able to hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in each hand and use them separately and freely. Furthermore, since the Nunchuk was created to work as a motion sensing controller in its own right, it didn’t automatically seem to fit with the creation of the Wii Zapper, right?
At the same time, the software makers started to propose ideas for gun attachments to us. Some of them even suggested making limited editions of the gun holder, and they provided us with very gorgeous-looking examples.
So there was the possibility that a few different styles of gun holder would be released?
They could probably fill a living room just with all the different gun holders they’ve proposed to us.
And you’ve also got the Wii Balance Board and the Mario Kart Wii Wheel...
Yeah, your living room must be completely covered with game accessories, huh? (laughs) So, we really understood the necessity of making one standardised gun holder. I thought, if you’ve got the Wii Zapper, you should be able to use it with FPS style games released by other software developers as well.
So that FPS games can be more easily developed? By the way, what was the inspiration for the creation of the Wii Zapper?
Well, initially we just made the frame from wire and attached the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to it with rubber bands. It was a really simple prototype.
Yeah, that sounds like a school pupil’s science project or something (laughs).
When we were in the middle of developing the Wii version of Twilight Princess, one of my staff came up to me and showed me some similar sort of wire and rubber band construction he’d made, and I said to him, ‘this isn’t the time or the place to be making things like this!’ (laughs).
And it was when everyone was busy completing the Twilight Princess development (laughs).
But when I held the thing in my hands, I saw that it really felt pretty comfortable to hold. So, I talked with hardware people, and we got started on the formal project development.
And you made a lot of prototypes for this one too, right?
Yeah, and among them were some really cool ones, like one that used an extra battery to vibrate the gun when you hit a target. But we decided against it because we really didn’t want customers to have to buy the extra battery. That’s one of the reasons developing this product took so long.
At the final stage of the development, I requested we get rid of the Nunchuk cable. I really found it annoying when it got tangled.
Yeah, that became a really clean design, didn’t it? And detaching the Wii Remote also became really easy.
By the way, where did the name for the Wii Zapper come from?
Well, when the NES first came out in the US, the gun controller was called the ‘zapper’. We thought that the word ‘zapper’ had a broader meaning than the word ‘gun’, and even for me, the word ‘zapper’ was something I felt more familiar with. Furthermore, in the same way that we were using it to refer to the crossbow in this new game, we also wanted to be able to use it with other variations of shooting games in the future, so we went with ‘zapper’. Also, we wanted it to be a name that could be used and understood worldwide, so we adopted a really traditional Sci-Fi term.
You also made it white.
Well, because this is another Wii product, we want people to feel like it is a part of their living space that should be on display.
But, even though the original idea for the Wii Zapper came from a Zelda staff member, was there any hesitation on your part about the idea to develop the Wii Zapper in conjunction with Link? Link does not use guns in the first place, does he?
Yes, that was a bit of a problem initially (smiles). But it didn’t really seem right to make the Wii Zapper for use with Animal Crossing... On the other hand, the whole reason that this project began was due to the ideas of the Zelda staff, so it really was thanks to them that it went smoothly most of the way.
Yeah, an FPS Mario game doesn’t seem to fit either (laughs).
So we figured that Link was the logical choice. Then we argued that it would’ve been kind of strange for us to give Link a gun, so I proposed a sort of Terminator-style story about a time warp from the future, but...
Yeah, they vetoed that idea immediately (laughs). You remember the hidden village stage in Twilight Princess9? Well, I personally love that spaghetti western-like setting, and we re-created the scene because we wanted people to be able to find joy in FPS games. I also thought that if you were able to use the Wii Zapper with it, it would be even more fun. So we finally decided to give Link a crossbow, but the problem then became what to do about rapid-fire capabilities (smiling). Shooting a gun in machine gun-style rapid-fire is really satisfying, but having a crossbow that was able to shoot rapid-fire seemed a little unrealistic. But in the end we kind of decided, well, it’s really just for fun, so whatever, and we gave it rapid-fire capabilities (laughs). 9 The Hidden Village showed similarities to a western movie, in which enemies are hidden within a fortress and must be picked off one at a time with a bow and arrow.
This is my final question. What sort of people do you hope to reach with the Wii Zapper?
We hope those who have purchased Wii in order to play Wii Sports try out the Wii Zapper and think, ‘wow, this is a really refreshing new way to experience the games’.
And maybe also the fact that you want people to get the sensation that they’re at a carnival?
Yeah, but you don’t win any goldfish (laughs). These are the kind of games that have people looking-on saying, “let me try”. If they really have fun with this, I hope they will also try out more authentic types of FPS games introduced by third party publishers. Well, shall we develop the next Zelda game with Link holding a Wii Zapper, and not a sword (laughs)? It would be easier for us developers as we do not have to let Link change weapons all the time.
Mr. Miyamoto, you’re getting rid of Link’s sword?!
Well, that could be a problem, couldn’t it? (laughs).
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