Now, about the Nintendo 3DS system. The first time you saw it, what did you think?
I thought, "Whoa!" I really did. Then, for a moment, I wondered how the general public would take it. I thought there'd probably be comments from people about how 3D can strain your eyes, etcetera, but I thought that the impact would more than make up for it. In that instant, I thought, "I'd bet on this hardware." Then, I thought I wanted to prepare several titles at LEVEL-5, beginning with Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle (this game is currently only scheduled to be released in Japan).
Now that you mention it, you announced six titles for us, even though we hadn't requested it.
Yes. (laughs) About those other titles… I wanted to be able to supply good software at an early stage, so I thought about what sort of things it would be nice to have for the Nintendo 3DS system and came up with this product lineup. For example, we switched the product called Fantasy Life24 from the Nintendo DS system to the Nintendo 3DS system. 24 Fantasy Life: A fantasy RPG. Announced at Nintendo World 2011, and scheduled to be released for the Nintendo 3DS system.
So you switched something you'd created for the Nintendo DS system to the Nintendo 3DS system.
Yes. I felt that that game was highly compatible with the three-dimensional feel of the Nintendo 3DS system, and with its advanced network function. I went through all the projects that we had thought would be interesting and were already started, in order to picture which would be fun to have for the Nintendo 3DS system. And then it turned out that almost all of them would go over well.
Ah, I see: after you'd thought about it a while, you thought they'd all be good on the Nintendo 3DS system, so as a result, you ended up with lots of titles lined up for the Nintendo 3DS system.
That's it. The moment I fell in love with the Nintendo 3DS system, I decided, privately, that I'd be with it from the beginning. I wanted LEVEL-5 to be a firm part of the image of the Nintendo 3DS system, as a game publisher, from the very first stages. So we are creating the games with the idea that it would be good to muster the whole company and become the manufacturer who draws the best performance from the Nintendo 3DS system.
What was it that excited you about the Nintendo 3DS system?
One was its appeal as a must-have gadget. I consider the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite systems two different things. The Nintendo DS system is gaming hardware, but the Nintendo DS Lite system is a must-have gadget. When I looked at it from that perspective… You know, the Nintendo 3DS system lets you see things in 3D, right where you are. It's very "in the moment," and I thought it would probably become a popular gadget, just as the Nintendo DS Lite system had.
If the Nintendo 3DS system becomes something that everyone talks about, and if it's passed on from person to person, then the software released for it may very well also be talked about.
I think that "whoa!" will probably make the Nintendo 3DS system into such a gadget. Even people who aren't interested in games may decide to buy it just because they want to experience that "whoa!" moment.
And even if they don't buy it soon, if someone walks around with theirs, at least, the possibility that they'll see the Nintendo 3DS system is high.
Yes. So, to me, one of the main reasons for making software is that the hardware will become popular. Then there's the StreetPass25 feature on the hardware. That's fairly major in my mind as well. Previously, even though this system benefited games that everyone was playing, other titles couldn’t see the light of day. 25 StreetPass: A feature that allows users who enable it to walk around with their Nintendo 3DS system turned on to exchange game data with other Nintendo 3DS users that they pass on the street.
You're right, it was hard to encounter other players.
But I thought that with the Nintendo 3DS system, using StreetPass, although players may not be online, we'd be able to set up something to make it so that they're quasi-connected to the net.
As they walk around with their Nintendo 3DS system and the feature turned on, StreetPass will happen naturally, and being able to experience that is probably something very important.
It is. The impact of StreetPass, and of the 3D visuals. I was certain that combination would make the hardware a success, and I was also interested as a creator. For those reasons, I decided to develop everything in one go.
Getting back to the Professor Layton series, once, during E326 last year, you declared that you'd remake Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle. Does this mean that, since E3, the standard for the course of action you should take with regard to the Nintendo 3DS system has changed as far as you're concerned? 26 E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo): A video game-related trade show usually held in Los Angeles. They are talking about E3 2010 held in June.
The Professor Layton series was originally a 2D game series, so Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle at E3 was made to look pseudo-3D. But when I saw what other companies were releasing at E3, I started to wonder if that would really be all right. If I were a customer, and I were buying software at the same time as a Nintendo 3DS system, I'd want it to be software that utilised the hardware's unique qualities.
Software released on the same day as hardware has a mission to show customers what they're able to do with this hardware that they couldn't have done with previous models.
That's right. So I think it wouldn't have sold that way at all. I mean, first, you want to really show off the 3D! You want to buy something that will make people go "Whoa!" when you show them your Nintendo 3DS system.
Very true. That's why the first customers buy things, after all: to make people say "Whoa!"
Well, you know, no matter how good the story is, you can't exactly brag about that.
Not to mention that if they bragged about the story, people who haven't played would treat them as nuisances. (laughs) Unless they see the images that the Nintendo 3DS system has made possible, you won't be able to utilise the chance inherent in a simultaneous release.
Right. So I thought I'd have to remake Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle into something more "whoa"-worthy. I'm glad I saw those other products at E3. If I hadn't, it would have been something completely different. The background looks like anime, but it's all in 3D. The volume of the content is also at its finest, and I think it's the best Professor Layton game yet.
I see. To wrap up, then, please say a word to fans of the Professor Layton series out there, and about all the Nintendo 3DS software that you'll be developing to the players.
To the Professor Layton fans first, then. Thanks to the Nintendo 3DS system, the puzzles in this game are all brand new, and I think you'll feel as though you're playing something completely new, something no one's ever seen before. It's jammed with the fascination that its creators had with the new Nintendo 3DS hardware. The entire development staff is happy to be working on it, even though they are under the pressure of the development schedule.
When the creators are excited about what they're working on, the product is infused with that excitement.
Yes, so I think the more seasoned the Professor Layton player, the more difference they'll feel. Now about all the software LEVEL-5 is developing for the Nintendo 3DS system: the Nintendo 3DS system is a hardware that will kick the stereotypes present in the games industry to the kerb.
You mean, it has, in a way, laid down the gauntlet to creators.
So even though the stylus and the two screens may be like the Nintendo DS system, the 3D visuals and networking functions have been reinforced in the Nintendo 3DS system, and that makes it feel like something completely new to me. I think that this impact will spread even to those who don't normally play games. I want them to experience the intensity of the identification with the worldview, and a world that's a step deeper than that in any previous game.
I feel very fortunate to have a creator who's resonated so strongly with what we've proposed, who's called it interesting and acted on his instinct.
Thank you. I really think we'll be able to get creative energy and new ideas from this hardware. We've got high hopes for the Nintendo 3DS system, and we plan to work our hearts out as a company, so we hope you'll all play our software on your Nintendo 3DS system.
Thank you for sharing so many interesting things with me today. I've really enjoyed it.
No, thank you.
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