Alright. In closing, I’d like to have each of you say a few words regarding things you recommend about this game, or incidents that made an impression on you. Tom-san, can we start with you?
Okay. First, from a development perspective, I was really excited about getting to know so much of the EAD team through being involved with "Mario Kart". From a player perspective, every day we'd get a new ROM, and I got to play "Mario Kart" on the job, so it couldn't possibly have been more fun (laughs). I'll be interested to see what players think of the new elements, the mid-air and underwater aspects. I’ll always remember the first time we played the game through the network together, when we were able to load up and play it. We wanted to race well so we wouldn’t embarrass Retro in front of EAD, to prove we could also race Mario Kart and enjoy the experience. It was really fun, just being that first time and being able to play together. Even more than that, I think it brought us together as a team.
First, more than anything, it was an honour to be involved in Mario Kart. When I first heard about this, right after I got home, I loaded up my Mario Kart Wii game15 and raced against the EAD team's ghosts, and thought "Wow...I'll be working with these people..." (laughs). I think the new functions will give players a very fresh, new feeling as well. I want to give thanks to Will Bate, our animation lead, who did a lot of work with Ishikawa-san and the team, and also Brian Walker for bringing in a lot of ideas for the tools and stuff; using a project management system to track tasks was fantastic. 15Mario Kart Wii: An action-racing game released for the Wii console in April 2008.
Your turn, Ryan-san.
For me, it was exciting to work on another Nintendo product that I grew up playing, all the way back on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. As an artist and a developer, it was exciting to be working very closely with another part of Nintendo. It was great for me and the team to see how they approached creating the courses and the art for these levels, and what they focused on, learning the new tools, the constant communication back and forth between us and EAD... It was just really good insight for me as a developer, and for the other artists on my team. Towards the end of the project, we were asked to capture some of the Staff Ghosts for this project. We really focused on trying to achieve the Staff Ghost track times, and it was a big honour to have that in this game. It was a great experience, and I really enjoyed working with the team at EAD. Thank you.
I think, through being in such close contact with the Retro staff, we managed to bring out each other’s best and put it to work, and that resulted in a good game. In this game, you’re able to play against eight people over the Internet, and it was fun for all of us to play it together. We played it as part of the check work: four people from EAD and four people from Retro got together, representing each department...
You guys were serious? (laughs)
Yes, a serious match. (laughs) When I was at Retro on a business trip, I got to play them over Local Multiplayer, and that was incredibly fun as well. We all put our pride on the line, gaming as representatives of our companies, and we played full on. I think our customers will be able to enjoy it as much as we did.
So Retro has some pretty skilled players as well?
They’re very good! Not only that, they make sure to gather all the good players just for the matches. (laughs)
Because their pride is on the line, you mean. Okay, Ishikawa-san?
Speaking of the character and kart designs, this time there’s a function that lets players customise their karts with a combination of lots of different parts . There are also lots of memorable characters, and so I hope players will find their favourite combination and have fun racing. The animations are really worth looking at, too, so after you get to the goal, make sure you watch the replays. Here’s a story from when the game was still in development: late one night, we had the opportunity to hold a video conference with Retro to discuss the animation, but the connection was bad, and their audio wasn’t coming through on our end.
That happens every once in a while.
So I asked, “Is it okay if we use gestures?” and the Retro staff faced the camera and made the “Sure, go ahead!” sign. It made me think they could handle just about anything. Here we were, these grown men conversing furiously in gestures late at night. It was so funny. I’ll never forget it. (laughs)
Well, we haven’t said much about the new courses, so I’ll add a bit about them. These are concepts that Retro proposed to us, which were actually used as new courses. With regard to the new courses... This is my fourth game in the series, and Retro sent some ideas that were so good that I was kicking myself, thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” We spurred each other on that way.
Yes, it’s important to get fresh perspectives on these things, isn’t it?
I think so, yes. To be honest, I was interested in American graphics and design sensibilities and had been thinking I’d like an opportunity to study them. I was very lucky to get to do that this time. In future, I want to adopt those techniques. What I’d recommend about the game, is both the EAD staff and Retro put out ideas for this game, and we both created courses full of variation. I think the new courses, classic courses, and battle stages we produced were all good. In addition, effects like the sparks and cherry blossoms flowing in the air, and the marine snow underwater, really bring out the feeling of depth and presence. Mario Kart 7 makes full use of the new sensations you can only get with the Nintendo 3DS system. I hope players enjoy it.
All right. Konno-san, you’re last.
We’ve finally finished Mario Kart 7. I think we came very close to perfecting this one through the collaboration between EAD and Retro Studios. Although it’s on a handheld system, it has quite a lot of good functions; players can use the StreetPass16 and SpotPass17 features, and can play matches online. I think it’s a product that players will enjoy for a long time, and I can’t wait for them to be able to start using it. 16StreetPass: A feature that allows users who enable it to walk around with their Nintendo 3DS system turned on to exchange certain game data with other Nintendo 3DS users whom they pass on the street. 17SpotPass: A feature in the Nintendo 3DS system that when activated receives various information and content when near a wireless LAN access point.
I’ll take the last turn, then. I love the phrase “every crisis is an opportunity”. There are lots of times when things suddenly stop going as planned, but if you look at those times from another angle, they’re opportunities to do things you ordinarily wouldn’t try. This time, we couldn’t free up enough internal design members, so we approached Retro, and that’s how it all started. In fact, there are lots of things that were possible precisely because we created this game with Retro. So my impression of this project is that it proved, in real life, that every crisis is an opportunity. This is unmistakably Mario Kart, but it’s also acquired a charm that isn’t present in any of the earlier games in the series. We were able to make that a reality through the efforts of the EAD team, and through cooperation with the good people of Retro. I congratulate you all on a job well done. And thank you as well, Michael18 and Brian! 18Michael Kelbaugh: President of Retro Studios.
(sticking their heads in and waving at the video camera)
Thank you all for your time today.
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