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Q's Hidden Genius: Reo Yonaga Speaks
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Q's Hidden Genius: Reo Yonaga Speaks

July 21, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

BS: But sometimes PopCap uses other game designs heavily. AstroPop was taken from Magical Drop and Zuma came from Puzzloop.

RY: There's a game that came out recently that used us as reference. It was called Puzzle Scape?

BS: I don't know that game.

RY: You don't? It's a game that came out on the PSP. It was made by a Finnish company. Some parts of the game are a lot like Every Extend. The game itself is like Tetris, or a slightly altered version of Lumines' Magic Block, but the menus look like Every Extend. The music's pretty cool.

If you don't think about the developing companies, and just focus on the products being produced, then as the genre expands, more and more good games are created. For example when [Capcom's] Sengoku Basara came out, everyone said it was a replica of Sangoku Musou, but Basara has more of an arcade feel, the action battles are better, etc. [Ed. note: Sangoku Musou is known as Dynasty Warriors in the west.]

BS: The overall technology is superior.

RY: Yeah. How do I put it? The components of each stage. For example, if you have three big enemy characters appear in an area, then that path becomes one that's difficult to pass. On the game design side, game planners and people who make adjustments can change a game immensely just by adding another adversary.

For early stages of games like Sangoku Musou, AI programming is key. Thinking along those lines, the release of Basara, Musou, N3 help improve the entire genre. Have you played Bladestorm? It's incredible. Totally awesome!

Anyway, of several games that came out, there's Kingdom Under Fire, where the game's content is sort of a combination of Kessen and Sangoku Musou, right? Bladestorm is like an evolved version of Kingdom Under Fire. There was Kessen, Sangoku Musou, Kingdom Under Fire, then after that came Bladestorm, which made a big hit, so I love companies like PopCap.

Q Entertainment/Phantagram/Microsoft's Ninety-Nine Nights

BS: That's a bit different. If the games are simple, then there should be two separate design ideas.

RY: I think that way about Zuma, but for example Peggle, I've seen several similar games in the past, but Peggle is impressive in its own way. Well, they probably got their inspiration from an old game, but the last part, that split second right before you clear the game when things start to slow down the effects are so detailed and elaborate. Members of our team who are involved with music and audio often say that the game's surprisingly good.

Basically, there's a lot of hardcore gamers that are Gold members on Live Arcade, same goes for online stores, and if it's PopCap's strategy for them to drop casual games into that arena, I find it fascinating.

BS: Isn't Wii more suitable for that?

RY: That's true, but I think it's great that they throw it on a platform that's originally intended for a different group of users.

BS: Earlier you mentioned games that can be played by mothers, most likely these are found on the Wii.

TR: Shigeru Miyamoto said he wanted to make game that everyone's moms can play. That's Nintendo's current strategy.

RY: It's good that they have a set group of users. You see children and mothers fighting for the DS in trains. To avoid fighting, in the end the moms buy their own, and because the moms are housewives and have spare time they get better and better and in turn the children respect them for that. There aren't that many things that parents and children can do together nowadays.

Back in my time, we cut bamboo and made bows, taketonbo, and other toys. I did that when I was a child. It took a lot of time and didn't turn out very well when I made them myself, but when my dad made them, the toys turned out perfect, so I really respected my dad.

These days you can buy almost everything, and where in the world would you even find bamboo? Yeah, if you give it some thought, it's interesting how games have become a form of communication.

BS: Yeah. I talked the Animal Crossing producer and he's always at work and never gets to talk to his kids, so he had an experience where he would go play something on Animal Crossing while he was testing, and send them a mail to his house about things that he had done, and they would play and send a reply. They actually got to communicate that way.

RY: I've met the guy who came up with the iMode structure before. He's a middle-aged man. Back then, [cell phone provider] Softbank was still called J-Phone. J-Phone had a hip image and DoCoMo phones were seen as ones only used by old men. After hearing that comment from his own daughter, the guy set out to make a cell phone that would please her. That's how iMode was created. It's interesting how his daughter seemed to be what inspired him to start.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

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