E3 Q&A: Nintendo's Goro Abe On WarioWare: Smooth Moves
E3 2006 marked to first time the lion's share of the media were given the opportunity to get hands on experience with the Wii, Nintendo's upcoming next-generation gaming console, which is built upon a concept, according to Reggie Fils-Aime, of "How do we make games that feel entirely new all over again?".
A core component of that idea comes from the system's unique remote-style controller that can not only sense location and distance with the aid of the Wii's peripheral sensor, but also emit both sounds and vibrations to further help to draw the player into the game.
One of the games shown at E3 that best exemplifies the capabilities of the Wii remote is Nintendo's internally-developed WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Gamasutra sat down with Nintendo's Goro Abe, along with a translator, to discuss this game, and what it brings to both the Wii, as well as the WarioWare franchise.
Gamesutra: Hello. Could you talk a bit a your current project, WarioWare: Smooth Moves?
Goro Abe: My latest project is a new sequel to the WarioWare series. As a process why we started this development, it was really natural because we wanted a WarioWare title for the Wii because it is a type of game that introduces new technologies and devices to the world, so it was quite natural that Nintendo came up to have WarioWare for this new console.
GS: Other WarioWare titles such as those for the Game Boy Advance and DS have featured subtitles that exemplified how the game was played. What does the name Smooth Moves have to do with this game?
GA: Well, for example, in our past series such as WarioWare: Twisted or Touched, we tried to have a title that would represent the basic movement that is required. So when we created this game, we wanted the players to do many moves that would ultimately look like dancing. We thought to represent the basic movement for this game, Smooth Moves was the best phrase.
GS: Other than obvious functionalities provided by having a wireless controller, how else does this game take advantage of the technologies made possible by the Wii?
GA: Well, just by watching the movies and trailers I think you will only see the gestures of using the controller, but with the Wii remote we have modes that utilize functions such as the speaker, where we will have the sound coming from the remote, and we also have the vibration function as well. So, other than the gestures, you can have a sense of reality and can feel how the motions are going on. I think you will feel it very strange and fun when you actually play it.
GS: As the Wii will allow players to play games online, will WarioWare: Smooth Moves feature any sort of online functionality?
GA: We do not have any plans for online for this game.
GS: What about multiplayer modes for play offline?
GA: Well, basically, we do not have any modes where everyone has to have a controller for themselves. However, have a mode where you can pass on the controller, but our basic concept for the game was to gather up in one room and watch a player doing funny moves and entertain everybody. So we really wanted to make that the best point of the game.
GS: Will Smooth Moves center around multiple unlockable characters and micro-games focused on themes for these characters, much like what was done in previous WarioWare titles?
GA: Yes, we are following that flow. However, in the DS version we differentiated the characters by the type of games, such as touching and scratching. Here we have not separated in that style, but we are following the style that new games will unlocked with new characters.
GS: Once a player has seen all the game is the offer, will there be the possibility of getting new micro-games, perhaps through the Virtual Console?
GA: No, this is not planned currently.
GS: In videos we have seen a player use two controllers at once. Will any of the micro-games in WarioWare feature this functionality?
GA: Well presently, we don't have any plans to have people with two controllers, but we are thinking of an idea to use the nunchuck, with one person holding onto the Wii remote, and another holding onto the nunchuck, and they could play together.
GS: Can you give us some examples of the different kinds of micro-games that will be included?
GA: With the Wii controller we can provide a wide variety of games. We thought it was better to come up with ideas inspired by everyday life, which are familiar to everyone. So there are many games that are inspired by the things we do everyday, such as we hold the controller on our head and do a squat movement, hold it and lift it like a weight, or balance a small broom on your hand. Things like that.
GS: Finally, what is is like to develop for the Wii?
GA: Every day is full of new discoveries.
[UPDATE: 05/19/06 - corrected interview subject, apologies to all.]