What was your first impression of the Nintendo 3DS system, Enomoto-san?
When I first saw it, I thought, "What in the world is this thing?!" I'd never seen a 3D effect that didn't involve special glasses, so I was startled; I thought, "Huh? They can really do this?" As you'd expect, I think sports broadcasts are very well suited to 3D. I think I got a good chance in being able to see how "PES" would look if I recreated it on this.
By having that perception of depth, it's probable that projected images will acquire more of a feeling of space. We were really interested to hear what would happen when we showed this to everyone on the "PES" team.
Before now, when we structured football games, the only way to add a feeling of perspective was to change the size of the shadows. 3D goes beyond that form of expression.
Does that mean that, while you were startled, you also immediately felt how well it would work with football games, sensed its appealing elements?
When the pictures actually began to move in 3D, what sort of response did you and the people on your team feel?
The truth is, there was a blind spot: originally, in order to make the game system for "PES" perform smoother, we hadn't drawn the turf on the pitch to be seen on a 3D Screen. Adjusting that for the Nintendo 3DS system was quite a challenge.
You mean, you needed power in places you hadn't expected. To begin with, moving 22 players on a portable game device must have been quite a challenge.
Right. After we overcame that, it started to look really good.
When you saw it in 3D and now could sense depth, was there something that you, the people making the game, found interesting?
In this game, you can enjoy 3D football from five perspectives, and you can also set it to a first-person perspective, which is very close to the athletes' line of sight. It feels as though you're standing on the field; I think the sense of tension you're able to feel around you is something the 3D made possible.
So you have the usual perspective, where you have a bird's-eye view of the whole game, but as a new challenge, on Nintendo 3DS, there's also a perspective where you yourself are on the field.
That's correct. From that first-person perspective, when the athletes clash on the field, it feels far more real than it ever has before. Football is a fierce sport, you know; bodies collide. Of course, to be honest, when we put in a first-person perspective camera, to make use of the 3D, effects we hadn't seen coming were produced as a result.
When you changed the location of the camera and expressed the action that way, it changed the way you saw things, even the things you'd made in the usual way.
Yes. It was our first experience making games on Nintendo 3DS, so I think there were parts that we didn't understand.
I'm sure there are a lot of discoveries being made one after another at this point, just as there were when people started developing with the polygon system. Nintendo 3DS is still right at the starting line; as it becomes popular as a platform, I think more things will become possible in the process.
I think that, just as polygons developed, by continuing to make games for Nintendo 3DS, we'll begin to see new possibilities.
This is something to really think about, more so when making series: it's important to live up to regular players' expectations, but on the other hand, that narrows the range, and it may make it harder for new players to get in. The more of a track record a series acquires, the bigger that concern becomes. How did you strike a balance for "PES" on Nintendo 3DS?
First, "PES" is a skill-based game. That's one of the reasons our dedicated fans stick with us, but it does create a difference in ability between them and first-time players. On Nintendo 3DS, though, both sides can enjoy playing with completely different perspectives and sensations that they’ve never experienced before. I think this will lessen the importance of skills.
So you made the game with two ways to play: one that would utilise the skills of returning players, and one that was only possible because of the new Nintendo 3DS.
That's right. That really is a topic of concern when making a sequel. It's something we're constantly discussing at the company: how do you make both extremities coexist?
In a sense, watching things from a slightly removed position, the way you do, just may become one of the most important roles.
The people creating the game hands-on are seeing how important the thing they're making at present really is, but someone needs to look farther than that. Unless there's a person whose job is to think, "The present exists for the sake of the future", there'll be trouble every year.
In some cases, a certain decision one year can be the first step towards producing amazing results the next year, or perhaps the year after that.
That's right. The more of an expert you become, the less you want to change.
I think that's the same with creators and players alike. People are very reluctant to lose what they've gained. On the other hand, unless you deny some part of what you're doing now, you'll never produce new things, and you'll never surprise the players. It's a struggle every time.
It's a question of how to dispel anxiety, really. When I want to try something new, I experiment with several staff members and make sure I get rid of their uneasiness.
In order to get rid of uneasiness, you have to show them proof.
Yes. If I do that, no one will be able to deny it. If I don't, there’s sure to be opposition, making it hard to persuade more than 100 people.
In general, it's normal for a successful team to have an aversion to change. That's what makes it so hard to keep changing. But if you don't keep changing, you won't be able to express everything that happens in a stadium, or get closer to real football, which is itself changing from moment to moment, and you won't be able to create more football game players. I think that conviction is what has put your work where it is today.
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