At E3, one of the main points that they were making was that there were a whole lot of third party developers on board, creating titles that you wouldn't necessarily expect to see as launch titles for a Nintendo handheld. Do you sense that Nintendo is trying harder this time around than with the DS to get third parties on board right away?
JCC: I think so. I can't comment really on Nintendo's strategy at all here, but I think the third-party publishers are taking this a lot more seriously. Certainly, the video game market has changed a lot over the last year.
You know, a lot of the casual games that really bombarded the DS marketplace have now moved onto other platforms like the iPhone, so I think everyone looks at this as an opportunity to kind of bring something special back to the gamers.
As the DS became more and more casual... Everyone looked at the 3DS with just how powerful it was, and the new features, the analog stick and the 3D, as an opportunity to bring almost console-level quality games to this handheld because they could. On the DS, you really couldn't.
And that's something that, you know, we've learned over the last six months. You can't treat this machine as just a DS plus. You almost have to treat it like a console, because many of the things it can do are things that consoles can do. So, you know, why not bring a more "gamer" experience to that platform, if it can do really well with it.
You had mentioned some of the design opportunities that you have on 3DS. How have Griptonite's designers been approaching 3D from a design standpoint? How do you take 3D in games from just a cool-looking effect to something that's actually integral to how the game is played?
JCC: Yeah, I think there are two big areas... The first is the character's, or game's, point of view, the perspective.
All the designers have to take that into account, because there are certain things in 3D that you really have to respect -- what the viewer is looking at. They're not looking at the whole screen. They're looking at parts of the screen. So, you kind of direct the player's attention a lot more in 3D.
It brings new design challenges, but also new opportunities, because there's more chances surprise players with events or camera changes or things that characters can do that they've never seen players do in games before.
Because I think, for us, we're really focusing on, "How do we surprise the player with this feature? How do we give the player those moments of pleasure where they see something they haven't done before, and they can do something they haven't done before?" Whether it's going into the depths of an area where they've never been able to [that, or] integrating it all into the mechanics.
Even the basic things like climbing, in 3D. That gives you such a better perspective for the world than it does in 2D. And so that lets you do whole new moves and different kinds of character abilities that maybe haven't been seen in video games. And when I talk about experimentation, that's a lot of what we've been doing, setting up scenarios in our engine and letting designers play with them, really just trying to get ahead.
And some of these features may get into games and some of them may not, kind of just trying to find little moments that can really surprise the player and make them go, "Wow. This is really new. I haven't done this before."
It's more complicated hardware than the DS. Is there any concern on your part about the rising costs of development, that these games could cost as much or maybe more than a Wii game?
JCC: You know, I think that's pretty much in line... There's certainly no concern for us on that at all. Griptonite itself, and this is true of all F9, too, we all scaled from very small, tightly scoped DS games all the way up to big bad hardcore console games. And so, there's always a place for that.
Even on the DS, we've seen pretty big ranges in terms of dev cycles, timelines, expectations, and the staffing resources that a game may have. So, we're actually really encouraged by it.
I think Mr. Iwata said that the cost may approach a Wii game. That's our conclusion, too. We've known about that for a while, so we're happy to see it go that way. We think that gamers are going to start demanding higher quality on this platform. I think that will be great for the market and the industry in general.
Now you can tell me exactly what you're working on for the 3DS. [laughs]
JCC: [laughs] No, no. Unfortunately, I can't. Soon, though. Very soon.