Even with this project, where so much was decided in the very beginning and it looked like things would progress smoothly, it appears that there were a lot of things happening during the final stage of the development process.
Around that time I found out that Yamagami-san was the one who created Tetris Attack16, so in a way that was breaking news! (laughs)16. Tetris Attack: A puzzle game released for Super NES in Japan in August 1996, and in Europe in November of the same year. Yamagami was the director.
Was it breaking news? (laughs)
It was a huge surprise! I’d always loved Tetris Attack, and I used to play it a lot when I encountered some turning points for me. It was like a dream to be able to work on something with the person who made it.
I acted differently towards Yamagami-san after that. If he’d only said something sooner…
We really put in Multi-Unite Morph at the last possible moment.
Right! We did.
I think that was in May.
Yes, this May. Multi-Unite Morph was the first thing in a while that made me feel like “Oh, here we go!” I really had to yell at the staff, “Don’t be ridiculous!” when I heard about it.
Because this happened at the last phase of development, my first thought when hearing about it was, “Maybe I should ask them to stop it.”
This was May and the product release was planned for August, so that’s the period you should be boxing together the final pieces.
We took what we were boxing up and just spread everything out again.
What is Multi-Unite Morph? Can you please explain?
It’s what it sounds like. It allows you to attack in waves by creating multiple Unite Morphs at the same time . Before that you could only create one Unite Morph for each character at a time, and because there were a lot of heroes, they were sort of left without anything to do.
With a situation like that, including this would be a plus for the game no matter how you thought about it. So I thought “We’ve just got to go with this.”
…sorry about that.
When did that discussion get moving?
During one of the recurring debug meetings, I heard “We’ve actually received a request from Kamiya, and it’s already built in.” And we responded, “Huh? What did you just say?”
When we heard about it, it was already included in the game.
This is getting crazier by the minute! (laughs)
Looking at it objectively, for better or worse, it wasn’t actually that difficult to implement. The game was already set up for several Unite Morphs being created simultaneously for multiplayer mode, so we could apply that to make it happen. But just thinking about all the secondary problems it would cause just made my head spin…
It’s really frightening…
The afternoon I put the specs in, I bumped into Matsushita-san in the elevator hall downstairs. He happened to be at PlatinumGames for a meeting.
Ah yes, I remember. I said, “So you put in Multi-Unite Morph.” And Kamiya-san just said, “Yeah, I did...”
Yes… (laughs) When Matsushita-san spoke to me, I broke out into a cold sweat.
So you were at least aware that you’d done something bad.
Because if he’d said, “That’s something that can’t be added in so late,” he’d be right, and there was nothing I could say to refute it. I knew that.
Usually with a huge change like that, he would have come to show it to me first. Like, “Is it okay if we add this?” But none of that happened with Multi-Unite Morph. I found out about it through a different channel after the fact, so I flipped. I hadn’t been angry like that in a while. I was like, “How could you do that now!?”
I know how you feel. (laughs)
But I think if he’d asked me before, I would have said yes.
Hmm, I’m not sure if I would… It’d be a bit of a difficult position for me.
That gave the game polish. Nintendo really looked after us, ever since the period when the game wasn’t fun at all. So I wanted to do my best for them, even at the last minute.
But I do think if you had asked us ahead of time, Nintendo would have said “yes”. We could have adjusted the release date, and then things wouldn’t have been so painful. The biggest issue was that it was so sudden we weren’t able to change our schedule.
But it was clear that putting that in would make the game much more fun.
Yes. It made it a much better game. Because of it the players are able to do a lot more.
It changed to the point where there’s nothing more fun once you learn how to do it. When you could only use one, you’d only fight with the one you liked best, and it would just be too simple.
Once you find a pattern you like, for better or worse, you lose the excitement you had in the beginning, and it stops being fun.
That’s true. But now you can make up your own strategy and modify your fighting technique to the situation.
It seems like that final ‘crazy addition’ gave more depth to the portions in the game where the players wouldn’t be able to get going unless they are really fun, and succeeded in revolutionising the entire game.
I know it caused a lot of trouble for everyone, but I think it really paid off and it gave the game a lot more depth. With the addition, players are now better able to create their own play style, and we were able to build the gameplay to a point where the players can pursue the most technical, beautiful moves they can imagine, so in that sense I think it was worth the effort.
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