Developer Discussion: Rodea the Sky Soldier
Rodea the Sky Soldier, the long awaited flight-action game from Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka will finally release in Europe on 13th November 2015 courtesy of PROPE and Kadokawa Games. To celebrate its launch, we caught up with Naka and director Jin Hasegawa to find out more about Rodea the Sky Soldier, coming to Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family systems.
Nintendo UK: Hello to both of you! Please could you give a short introduction to who you are and what games you have created in the past?
Jin Hasegawa: Though it was 20 years back from now, I used to develop NEO-GEO titles such as World Heroes Perfect, Ninja Master’s, Beast Busters Second Nightmare, etc. From there, I worked with the Project Zero series, and Dead or Alive series. From Kadokawa Games, I have been involved in many developments.Rodea the Sky Soldier is my first Nintendo title.
Yuji Naka: I have developed various games at Sega for 22 years. Some of my renowned titles include games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS Into Dreams, Phantasy Star Online, Samba de Amigo. Sega helped me create the company PROPE so that I can make new IP games for Sega. Some of the renowned titles include Let’s Tap and Family Fishing. Lately, I am in the middle of creating works such as Nintendo 3DS titles StreetPass Mansion and StreetPass Fishing.
NUK: In a nutshell, how would you describe Rodea the Sky Soldier?
YN: Rodea the Sky Soldier is a 3D action game where a robot called Rodea uses his ability to fly to save Garuda, the world of the sky. I believe the game turned out to be a fresh yet also nostalgic game that children and adults can all enjoy.
NUK: What does Rodea the Sky Soldier have in common with games you’ve created before and what does it do that’s completely new?
JH: In regards to Rodea, the title was influenced in two areas based on all the titles I have been involved with in the past. The first is the action element. Since I have been involved with many action titles, I believe the input and reaction response and the refreshing feeling that action games evoke has been incorporated well in Rodea. For the second, because of the fact that I was involved in many violent games and Rodea expresses the complete opposite, the thought, “I need to make a title that’s different to other titles I made!” was very useful to increasing my enthusiasm.
YN: Since Rodea is a flying action game, players might have NiGHTS Into Dreams in the back of their minds. They might also picture Sonic, based on Rodea tackling the enemy with fast speed, or the process of obtaining Graviton (objects that are set up in the course) in a row. However, I believe that the experience of flying freely in 360 degrees in a 3D environment can only be experienced with this title. Also, the story of Rodea is also one of the key points of the game. Please enjoy the fully voiced interactions of the characters.
NUK: Rodea the Sky Soldier was originally in development for the Wii before shifting to Wii U, and if fans purchase the Limited Edition set they’ll actually receive the Wii disc as a special bonus. Please could you tell us a little more about the Wii version and how it differs from the final Wii U release.
JH: The key point about the Wii version is the direct flying action experience that players can enjoy with one Wii Remote. With the sense of speed where players can’t even take a breather, it’s almost as if players can experience something similar to an arcade game. The Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions are an adventure flying action game that players can take their time with and enjoy. With keeping the refreshing feeling of flying through the skies, similar to the Wii version, we have incorporated the fun of exploring the world and elements that allow the player to enhance Rodea and make him more powerful.
YN: The Wii version’s biggest element is the fact that players can freely fly through the skies directly with the Wii Remote. Since it’s a control that nobody has ever experienced before, some may hesitate at first, but once they get the hang of it, players will be able to feel the freedom of flying through the skies and experiencing unity with Rodea to the fullest. The loading time is also short so players will be able to play the game at a brisk tempo. Also, in the Wii version, there is a bonus element where up to four players can race each other. Definitely try playing with your friends and family.
In the Wii U version, there are various hidden elements that were not included in the Wii version such as customising Rodea. It’s recommended for players who want to take time and play the slowly and carefully, finding everything. Also, the Wii U GamePad always displays the heroine on screen, so she’ll talk to Rodea from time to time. It definitely adds more to the player’s adventure. Though she might be a little noisy at times. Of course, since it’s Wii U, players will also be able to enjoy high-res graphics.
NUK: What part of Rodea the Sky Soldier are you most proud of?
Hasegawa: To be able to work with Nintendo and to be able to learn a lot about Nintendo’s approach toward games. This experience will definitely influence my game development greatly.
Naka: Recently, I was starting to question the idea that along with the dramatic rise of console processing power, the number of games trying to make use of realistic expression has been increasing as well. It’s really easy to tell that there are fewer games that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. To be able to release a new action game which both adults and children can enjoy is what I’m proud of more than anything.
NUK: What advice would you give to those playing Rodea the Sky Soldier for the first time?
YN: In the Wii U version, you start in a state where Rodea himself has low abilities. So by patiently powering Rodea up little by little, please help Rodea to grow. In the Wii version, you will need to shake the Wii Remote, however there’s no need to move it intensely. The key is to have the pointer always set in the inside of the screen and shake lightly.
JH: For everyone including those of you who have decided to purchase the game, and for those who are still on the fence, please close your eyes and picture this: When you’re a child, did you ever want to try flying in the great, blue sky? I’m sure you probably thought that idea was impossible somewhere along the line and gave up as you became an adult. Rodea will grant that wish that you had during your childhood.
Rodea the Sky Soldier will be available from shops and as a downloadable version from Nintendo eShop on November 13th. A Wii U Limited Edition version, which includes the Wii version of Rodea the Sky Soldier, and a Nintendo 3DS Limited Edition version will be available from the Nintendo Official UK Store.