What goes in to porting an existing game to the Wii? At the recent Tokyo Game Show, Gamasutra spoke to Tecmo's Team Tachyon executive producer Keisuke Kikuchi about bringing Rygar to the Wii, the process of developing a new game based on the stage designs and story of a previous version, and the key issues to keep in mind.
Since it's based on the PS2 version, what was the thought behind remaking this game? Was it thought that the Wii has a different, broader audience comprised of users who may not have played the original version?
KK: The world we created for Rygar PS2 was very well accepted. Maybe the action part of the game, some people weren't too excited about it. And the fact that we had way too many worms to kill throughout the game, that wasn't a very popular feature. So, this time of course we are adding new, bigger enemies, and so forth, to mend that problem.
The people who weren't quite satisfied with the action part of the game on the previous version, we want them to enjoy this game [with] the new control. And then, of course, we will have the Wii customer base who have not tried this game -- we would like to go after them as well. But the important thing is that we want to turn this into a series again, so that this game is just a stepping-stone to the next Rygar.
When it comes to the reception of the original game, you said that you took into account the fact that people didn't like the some of the enemies. Is there anything else that you learned and then were able to change in order to improve the game?
KK: As you can see, of course, the new enemies are more like humans. The worms now look like knights. They're taller and bigger than the main character. But the enemies who are carrying Diskarmor-like weapons are the same size as the main character, but they move faster, and they use the weapon to attack back. And, of course, I think that attacking and killing human-based enemies is a lot more satisfying than killing a bunch of little worms. So that's the direction of the enemies.
When it comes to developing a game for the Wii, using the remote as the primary means of attack, what kind of challenges have you faced and overcome in making the game feel really good to play -- so that the user doesn't get tired of swinging the remote too much?
KK: That's precisely the issue that I've been working on, because Conquest Mode -- story mode -- tends to be long enough that you get tired of the same motions. What we're trying to do is give the control more variation; so it's a combination of swinging, directional [movement] and then also the button A and button B, so that we've got more variations.
So hopefully you don't get tired of it. Now, Gladiator Mode, it measures the speed of the controller and reflects that as increased power for the attacks. So that's a little different; something that you'll wanna keep on trying, because faster speed will give you a more powerful blow. We're just trying to do things like that, to take care of the potential problem.
It seems as if most of the Wii titles target a younger or more casual audience -- who do you think the audience for this title is?
KK: I think definitely this game is slightly geared more toward hardcore gamers. Not too hardcore, but more toward a hardcore audience. When you look at the user profile of the Wii system, they tend to cater more to casual type of people that tend to enjoy Zelda and that kind of thing.
I'm thinking that there is a hardcore position here, then Zelda-casual, and we should be somewhere in the middle. Now, there are a lot of Wii games that use the Wii controller as a sword. A more direct type of thing where you chop. I think this is the first time that the Wii controller is used for a yo-yo-like Diskarmor weapon, where you do this [demonstrating motion], then the disk projectile comes out.
That sensation, that feeling should be very unique and very fresh. We are very much focused on creating a new way to utilize the controller.
How does developing an action-adventure game on the Wii differ from from developing on a traditional console, and are there key things you need to keep in mind?
KK: This doesn't just apply to action-adventure games -- it applies to pretty much any kind of game -- I see a lot of games are being destroyed just because they try to force the Wii controller to the existing game. It's not working together. They think that just because they have to use the Wii controller, they'll force it into the game concept, thus destroying the game concept.
When you see a game using the controller to do something -- shaking it, or whatever -- it becomes just a mechanical routine, and it's not fun. The key is to somehow make the Wii controller more based on instinct, not mechanical procedure. So what I tried to do is start here and build the appropriate game concept around it, instead of going the other way.