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It's dealing with the responsibility of leadership.
YK: It could be described that way, but nothing too square like that. More like each of the boss characters has their own characteristic, their own way of thinking of how people should live.
So for example, the land of the drunkards, the king is a drunken king, and everybody thinks that whichever king drinks the most is the most noble one. And that's because when he drinks, he's happy, he's jolly. So, right when you meet him, he says, "World peace!" and he says, "Cheers!", but right after that, he throws fire at you.
Another example is that there's one where they think whoever is the tallest or whoever is at the highest location is the most noble one. So, they're all trying their best to be longer and taller and try to one up everybody. The main character goes into that land because he's still a kid. He's really small, so everybody is condescending to him. By going to different kingdoms, you see their aspect of what's good in that land.
So, one of the things that I want the U.S. audience to really watch and understand is that there's a land of TV, and the king is called TV Dinner. Basically, I got that idea because talking to people that I know in America, my friends and myself. I love American TV. And people in America really love TV. So, in this land, people who watch the most TV or make the best programs are considered noble.
One of the things, I guess it's not a spoiler, but I haven't talked to anybody about this -- but TV Dinner, his land is actually a world map.
It's actually a world, so you'll see little pins marking Italy, France, and Germany. In each country, there's a porter. If you go talk to them, they're talking about what the country is about.
TV Dinner thinks that he's actually broadcasting to everybody. But each country, they have their own biased opinion of what that country is.
So, for example, if you go talk to Italy, he's saying something like, "People in Italy are all hairy, and they try to compete on who's the hairiest." The king at the TV land, TV Dinner, he thinks broadcasting war is the most noble thing because a lot of people are interested in it.
So, he wants to have something going on. So, as soon as the main character goes into their land, it becomes a world war within that section -- so World War III.
Is there some kind of message that you want to bring across with this TV land? Actually, I would be very unpopular TV because I don't watch TV at all.
YK: More like I love watching TV, but I fear for myself -- that watching TV will make me stupid.
Me too. So I stopped.
YK: I know that's going to make me stupid, but I can't stop myself from watching it. I really don't say this much, but I love American TV. So, every time I go to Europe or Africa or even Japan -- any place in the world, I always try to find major networks -- always trying to find like Heroes, Lost... And right now, I'm really into American Idol and Six Feet Under.
When I'm watching it, I'm really happy watching it, but afterwards, I have just like a little bit of depression saying, "Ahhh... I think I just wasted some time." So, with all that combined, that's the reason I made this TV Land. I haven't told this to that many people yet.
You should try The Wire and Dexter.
YK: I haven't seen The Wire, but I have seen Dexter. That is funny. It's a little confusing because I haven't really seen this show, but it's about a serial killer trying to be hero or something, and the father advises him to kill bad people.
Yeah, he has the feelings of a serial killer and he can't escape it, so his father, who is a cop, told him, "You should only focus on bad people, because I know you can't control it." So, actually, he works in the forensics department of the police -- so he actually is helping the police. But when he sees someone who is beyond reform, then he will kill them and sink them into the lake.
YK: [laughs] Yeah, he's like watching them.
You mentioned, in Japanese, a "nobi-nobi" country. What did you think of Noby Noby Boy?
YK: I haven't had time to really play that. But actually, Takahashi-san is a friend of mine. He often comes to my house to play. I have a lot of game creators come to my house, and we have drinks as well. Takahashi-san used to live really close to me, like 200 meters away. Walking distance.
Do you have any thoughts on Microsoft's upcoming Project Natal? I think you would be very interested to see it. Peter Molyneux presented a demo for it at E3.
YK: I love Peter Molyneux. Especially like the AI part, there's a person who's kind of like Peter Molyneux in Japan, Yasanaga-san, and he was involved in the AI process in Little King's Story. So, I'm really looking forward to it. I think his work is really great. I'm looking forward to it. There's no way I could beat Peter Molyneux. [laughs]
It seems like it's a kind of fit for the type of game that you like to work on. Like Chulip, where you have to go around and kiss a bunch of people. If you could actually do that in reality, that would be interesting.
YK: [laughs] Yeah, I want to make an American version of Chulip. Right now I have something in my mind, it's getting together, but I'm thinking about like a New York Bronx type of setting with an African-American kid, or a Caucasian, Asian, doesn't really matter, but will be going around kissing everybody -- the American version.
[For more conversations with Kimura, Gamasutra interviewed him in early 2008, when Little King's Story was still in development and lacked a final Western title.]