You’ve just spoken about how you wanted to avoid including the same sports as Wii Sports as much as possible. But there are some sports that are the same, aren't there?
Yes, bowling and golf.
Why did you decide to include the same sports?
In Wii Sports, there was a bowling game where you could knock down 100 pins.
It was included in the training mode, and I remember that you were only able to bowl the ball once in the final stage.
That’s right. In the new game, it's now not only possible to bowl the ball a second time, but there is a completely separate mode where you can bowl a full ten frame match . In the regular game, the maximum score is 300 points, but in this one…
It’s 3000 points! (laughs) That’s the highest possible score in the 100-pin match.
This game is really going to get players excited.
The sense of unity the player has with the on-screen action has also been greatly increased.
The sense of unity?
In the previous title, if you press the B Button when you are holding the ball, the Mii will walk automatically with the player aiming to match the Mii's movement to bowl the ball. But this time round, even if the player presses the B Button, the Mii won’t move until the player does.
That’s because it can detect the movements of the player holding the ball.
That's right. So when you hold the ball up, the Mii will also hold the ball up and will release it when you release it.
So that’s how the sense of unity has been increased.
We also wanted to make the controls simpler this time round so we designed it so that you could play simply by swinging the Wii Remote with the B Button held down. Due to things like this, I think that anyone who has played the original bowling will find that there are major differences when they play this one. I think that’s also the case for golf.
In golf this time round, someone was saying that, once they get used to it, good players wouldn’t need to take a practice swing.
What do you mean by not needing to take a practice swing?
It was something a member of the team said. They said that even without taking a practice swing, once you get a feel for it, you'll be able to strike the ball first time and hit it more or less to where you want.
It’s undoubtedly been made more faithful to the real thing. The element of uncertainty has been reduced.
Basically, ever since the very first golf game on the NES, golf has always been a game where you have to stare at the shot meter. Making a practice shot meant taking a swing and watching the shot meter. But with this title, you don’t have to stare at a shot meter and can enjoy the feeling of working on your own swing. In other words, you are now able to enjoy a sensation that is close to the real thing. By the way, why did you decide to include golf in Wii Sports Resort?
Well, after Miyamoto-san got back from E3 in 2008…
Really? Is that right?
Right after getting back to Japan, he suddenly said: “You know we’re including golf now.” Apparently he’d stated in an interview that this time round golf shots would be determined by the backswing, even though at that time a golf game didn't exist in any shape or form! (laughs)
It’s a trick he often uses! (laughs)
That’s right. I block off the escape route.
I’m not quite as bad as Miyamoto-san, but I have been known to use the same trick on occasion.
It’s of course very appealing to be able to control the backswing in golf. In the previous title, it was all about the speed of the swing…
You determined everything simply via the speed at which Wii Remote was swung.
But it’s not healthy to swing as hard as you can and the fact that you’re only able to play using the appropriate speed meant that it could be a bit stressful. But for this time, as the degree of back swing could determine how hard the ball is hit , I really wanted to realise that.
And because Miyamoto-san had come out with this in an interview, we had no alternative but to make it happen...
It also grew to 18 holes.
That’s because of the “18 Hole Incident”. (laughs)
“The 18 Hole Incident”? Tell us about that! (laughs)
We originally planned to have a 9 hole course as we had on Wii Sports. We were developing the game based on the plan for a 9 hole course when the producer, (Katsuya) Eguchi-san, announced that Miyamoto-san had been speaking to Iwata-san. When we asked what they had been discussing, we were told: “Golf is going to be 18 holes after all.” I did wonder if it was really true though...
That’s another well-worn technique! (laughs)
When did this incident take place?
It was at the end of 2008.
But that was the period when you needed to be finishing things up.
Yes, the original plan was to release it for Christmas.
But it was right around that time when we heard that some flexibility might be possible regarding the schedule.
We won ourselves some extra time while things were left to stew in the pressure cooker! (laughs)
What do you mean?
Read the previous Iwata Asks interview and all will become clear! (laughs) The scheduled release date was set back as the Wii MotionPlus hardware team continued their gruelling battle with the gyro sensor, experimenting by making the connector into a floating structure, attaching steel hooks and boiling it in a pressure cooker.
We had originally planned to make a 9 hole course in order to have it ready for a Christmas release, but when we were given more time, we somehow managed to turn it into an 18 hole course, which the team ended up feeling really positive about. To people who play golf, an 18 hole course that is a par-72 is expected. That's why they felt that the score they'll get after going round the course is incredibly realistic.
So it seems that the extension to the development period of Wii MotionPlus yielded an unexpected by-product. While we’re on the subject, Miyamoto-san, what sort of things were you thinking about when you learned that there was now more time before the title was released?
Well, we had settled on the features in order to get it ready for a Christmas release, but fortunately...
Fortunately? It certainly wasn’t a fortunate development from a business perspective! (laughs)
Yes, that’s true. Anyway, I remember going to see the sales planners, who said: "Let's wait a while." That came as a great relief, and under normal circumstances I would have just gone straight back to my desk.
But this time you didn’t just go back to your desk.
That’s right. I went to the room where the dev team were working…
And what did you do?
(loudly) “You guys got a lucky break!”
I bet you sounded really happy when you shouted it! (laughs)
I really did shout! (laughs) Well, I thought that the extra time we had courtesy of the delay in the Wii MotionPlus development really was a lucky break. I feel that being able to adapt well to changes in both environment and situation is extremely important in video game development.
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