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The Rhythm of Creation: Hiroyuki Kotani and Patapon
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The Rhythm of Creation: Hiroyuki Kotani and Patapon

December 4, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

It's interesting, because I think that this game is a combination of elements that are generally thought to be pretty separate. You don't see a lot of RPGs or strategy type games with a rhythm element; they're usually kept separate, and the games would be completely different games. You know, something like, either, Guitar Hero, or Final Fantasy -- a big difference between them, from a user perspective. So, I was wondering what you think about mixing up genres like that.

HK: Well, I just happened to encounter the characters, the Patapons, and then I just naturally imagined -- or, rather, they just naturally jumped into my head, and they were beating the drum, marching.

That actually makes sense, from the perspective of soldiers marching, and beating on a drum. It's not to suggest that the idea doesn't make sense together; it's just that, I think that, as an industry, we have a tendency to be afraid to mix things up a little bit.

HK: When I was thinking about something fun, I just came up with Patapon -- so I didn't think about it too much. However, actually, I was once trapped in this bad kind of thinking -- that complex games look better.

However, I returned to my originality; my original idea that simple games are better. And a lot of people around me said, "Are you really sure that you can realize a good game with only three commands?"

And I said yes, and I tried to convince all the people around me -- but I did not realize this alone: I had good teamwork from music creators, and programmers, and everybody.

When it comes to collaboration, a lot of games, it seems, are designed with thick paper design documents, and the specifications are set at the beginning, and people go off -- but that's really becoming completely out of fashion in America, because people are finding that doing iterative designs, iterations, one after the other, experimenting, arrives at better games with more fun gameplay; can you talk about the process that you worked collaboratively, on the team?

HK: We started development with my specifications, and the sound designers, they joined us even before the prototyping stage. So they gave us a lot of proposals, as to how to make a fun sound, and how to respond to the commands.

So the key word of the game is "fun", and they were very good at giving proposals about fun aspects. And the programmers, they also responded to very difficult requests from us, and within a week, they always came up with the solutions so we could touch and feel the game. So, we repeated this process for two or three months, to build up a prototype.

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