As a player, Amano-san, what did you think of Star Fox 64?
What made an impression on me with regard to the voices was how much Slippy talks. For example…
“Fox! Do something!”
He doesn’t say “Ribbit!” (laughs) At first, though, he did say things like, “Do something, ribbit!” but Miyamoto-san said it wasn’t cool, so I took it out.
Oh, that’s right. (laughs)
All the talking made an impression on me. When I first played it, I thought it was difficult.
Did you also think Star Fox 64 was difficult?
Star Fox has always been all about acceleration and deceleration. It’s poor playing if you just recklessly plunge ahead even when a wall is coming up or you enter a meteor storm, because you’ll just crash into things.
Just trying to dodge won’t work.
No. When a wall or meteor storm comes, it’s fun to do this… (leaning back), slam on the brakes, and then hit the booster when you can confidently shoot through . But I suppose Amano-san didn’t know that back in his first year of secondary school. (laughs)
Amano-san, you hounded Imamura-san to make a new Star Fox game, so what made you think it was difficult?
Well, once I got used to it, it was fun. At first glance, Star Fox looks like a shooting game, so I thought the objective was to shoot enemies, but after I’d played it a few times, I noticed how fun it was to slip through narrow places.
After all, going through torii was what led to the idea of Fox! (laughs)
Yes. (laughs) And like Miyamoto-san just said, I learned that it’s all about how you accelerate and decelerate, so once I had learned complete control of the Arwing, it was loads of fun.
Even in your first year of secondary school, you had grasped the key to enjoying it. (laughs)
My apologies. (laughs)
In your secondary school days, you overcame the difficulty and noticed how fun Star Fox was, so you wanted to see what it would be like on the new equipment and let Imamura-san know it.
Yes. Also, shooting games are for your experienced gamer, aren’t they?
Yes. Shooting games used to be really mainstream, but they gradually gained that reputation.
The first time I played Star Fox 64, I felt like there was a whole world on the other side of the television screen. I thought it would be a shame if it went no further than hardcore gamers. I wanted more people to enjoy it, so I told Imamura-san to make a new one.
Something I understand now that I’m involved with game development is that when you simply say a game is difficult, you may mean that the game itself is difficult or you may mean that it is difficult getting used to the controls.
Yes, that’s right.
The controls for Star Fox 64 3D are intuitive, so I think that the difficulty of growing accustomed to the controls is less present.
Nice transition, Amano-san! (laughs) Alright, let’s talk about Star Fox 64 3D for the Nintendo 3DS system! Later, I will ask about the intuitive controls that Amano-san just mentioned, but first, Miyamoto-san, when did you first decide to make a Star Fox game for the Nintendo 3DS system?
Pretty early on.
Soon after we had decided the direction to take with the Nintendo 3DS system?
Yes. One theme of the Nintendo 3DS system was gameplay involving depth. For example, the lasers that the Arwing fires are really long and massive.
It fires something like long rods.
Otherwise, it wouldn’t hit what you were aiming at. But on the Nintendo 3DS system, you can clearly see the depth involved, so I thought it would be more fun shooting with the laser. And as mentioned earlier, when we made Star Fox 64, we wanted to show how cool aircraft are, so…
You wanted people see how cool they are in 3D.
That’s right. I thought it would be great to see scenes in 3D like the fighters flying in formation and a pilot in a cockpit signalling with his hand just before suddenly taking a nosedive, or a swarm of enemies pouring out of a giant UFO in the air over a pyramid.
The game has a lot of cinematic elements.
So I wanted to make the game for the Nintendo 3DS system, but making a completely new Star Fox game like Amano-san wanted would take three years to complete—while they wanted something for the Nintendo 3DS system fast. Luckily, Dylan-san’s work was at a pause, so I called him right away.
After you got that call from Miyamoto-san, what was on your mind as you began?
The idea was to faithfully recreate the contents of Star Fox 64. I did want to concentrate on improving the graphics, so I made thorough use of normal mapping.
Normal mapping is also called dot3 bump mapping. It’s a technology for adding shading to planes so they appear to have irregularities. The technology was not available in the days of the Nintendo 64 system.
Correct. If you use normal mapping, it looks much more impressive on the Nintendo 3DS system —because of its stereoscopic 3D—than on any other system. Something I noticed as we made it was how there’s something like depth in a sideways direction as well with the Nintendo 3DS system.
You can sense it horizontally and not just vertically?
Yes. There’s something you sense subconsciously when you pass by objects sideways, so I decided to add a lot of detail to the graphics.
And that increased concentration of detail generates a stronger 3D effect. For example, it’s much easier to go through rings floating in the air.
Because it’s easier to grasp exactly where they are when the graphics are cleaner and they’re in 3D.
Yes. There’s a place where three items are lined up vertically and you get them by doing a sort of somersault . You can do that fairly easily in 3D, but it’s difficult in 2D. (laughs)
Hmm, that’s interesting!
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