Wario Interviews/Development stuff repository

Glowsquid

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#1
What the title implies. I've found a number of interviews with the Wario developers over the year and I suppose this might be of interest to other peeps around here.

It's always interesting to read how the people behind our favouriter games think. Or at least, it is to me.
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Wario Land

Famicom Disk System: The More You Play It, the More You'll Want to Play [Disk 1]

2 part interview with key Nintendo R&D 1 staff held in the Japanese Nintendo Dream magazine (translation by Metroid Database), feat. Hiroji Kiyotake. Wario Land is only briefly mentioned and the interview is mostly about Kid Icarus and the FDS version of Metroid, though.

http://www.wariolandshakeit.com/launch/developer_interview.html

http://www.wariolandshakeit.com/launch/developer_interview2.html

2-part interview on the official Shake It! website. Features
Etsunobu Ebisu, Madoka Yamauchi, Tadanori Tsukawaki, Tomaya Tomita, Kentaro Sei, Takahiro Harada and Nobuo Matsumiya (fiou!).

Highlight: Tsukawa gets it:

After I’d played a bunch of the games in the series, I thought Wario was pretty manly. He’s so uncool that he ends up being extremely cool. Depending on the game, he can be coarse—farting and doing stuff like that—but I didn’t want to show that side of him. As much as possible, I wanted to show a macho Wario, one who is masculine and tough. I asked the animators to emphasize strongly his manly characteristics. We built up this image step-by-step during the animation process
Nintendo Online Magazine Wario Land 3 Interview

7-part interview in Japanese with the Wario Land 3 dev team. Hasn't been translated anywhere AFAIK.

WarioWare:

Nintendo Online Magazine

Short interview held around Mega Party Games' launch, mostly PR fluff. Features Goro Abe, Kyoto Watanabe and Ryutaro Takahashi,

Highlight:
Q: It's wonderful yet strange!

Ryutaro Takahashi:
Wario hates bananas!
http://www.nintendo.co.jp/n08/azwj/9volt/into3.html

Various tidbits and picture of the original WarioWare's development, from the official Japanese website. Someone tell me what Lip and Yoshi are doing there.

Iwata Asks: Smooth Moves

Feat. Goro Abe and Yoshio Sakamoto. One of the first Iwata Asks, (laughs).
Iwata Asks: WarioWare Snapped!

Feat Goro Abe, Taku Sugioka and Naoko Morio. The interview essentially admits they didn't think of WarioWare Snapped as a game and had to dumb down the original prototype enormously to get anything out of the DSi camera.

Highlight:

wata
Did anyone's response make a strong impression on you?

Mori
One guy got mad when he was done. At first he was extremely interested, but I guess it was a shock when he saw himself at the end. He got mad at the system and yelled, "What the?! You darn thing!"

Everyone
(laughs)

Iwata
Who was that?

Mori
Ko Takeuchi.
Iwata Asks: WarioWare DIY

Feat. Goro Abe, Taku Sugioka and Takumi Hatakeyama.

Highlight: Goro Abe essentially admits he has ADHD.

https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Iwata-As...tor-Yoshio-Sakamoto/Page-1/Page-1-203794.html

A transcript of Yoshio Sakamoto's GDC '10 keynote, as part of Metroid Other M's Iwata Asks. Has some info about the development of Twisted! and Touched!.

Iwata Asks: Game & Wario

Feat. Goro Abe, Naoko Mori and Yoshio Sakamoto.

Highlight: Yoshio Sakamoto gotta Yoshio Sakamoto:

Iwata
(laughs)

Sakamoto
There's another mode in 'SKI', which is actually quite a straight-down-the-line ski race. I'm really bad at that one. But as soon as it comes to getting girls to join you on the slopes, my skiing really improves! (laughs)

All
(laughter)

Sakamoto
I improve so drastically that it's actually a little unnerving!

Iwata
I wonder what it is that's improving your technique so dramatically...

Sakamoto
Hmmm... What could it be? (laughs) Well, whatever it is, as soon as those girls appear on the slopes, I really feel like a great skier.

All
(laughter)

Sakamoto
I can usually get all nine girls to follow me on the slopes. I really can't tell you how much I enjoy that!
http://archive.videogamesdaily.com/features/ncl_nintendo_wwiv_apr06_p1.asp

Interview by the defunct site Kikizo with the core R&D1 Wario team. Feat. Yoshi Sakamoto, Goro Abe, Ko Takeuchi, Ryuichi Nakada, Taku Sugioka and Naoko Mori.

Highlight:

Kikizo: Why did you decide to use the old games from Wario Ware for the GameCube version?

GA: Well, we used the old games for Mega Party Games but they all had different objectives. We wanted to concentrate more on enjoying the games than learning them. We thought that if we used the older games then people would have an easier time understanding what you had to do in each putti (mini-game).
Uh, yeah, sure. Whatever you say Goro.

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/translation/23982/yoshio-sakamoto-interview

Short interview with Yoshio Sakamoto. Features some musing about the future of the series.

Video interviews:


http://noco.tv/emission/6445/nolife/reportage/saga-wario-ware-inc

The French cable channel NoLife held an interview with Goro Abe and Yoshio Sakamoto in 2007. Requires subscription to view.

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2006/05/30/interview-warioware-smooth-moves

IGN interview with Goro Abe about Smooth Moves.

Highlight: Please don't be embarassed.

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Got any more? Can provide translation or information for the missing material? Just post and I'll update the OP!
 
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Glowsquid

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#5
Well thanksie ^^. You don't know how much these means to me.

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Bonus: Waluigi may not be a Wario character proper, but that hasn't stopped the lanky bugger from being asscociated with him regardless. And it looks like this page on Camelot's official website may have more information about his luridly mysterious origins..!

According to a NeoGaf poster...

「当初は「ワイージ」という名やアメリカ側のスタッフからは「ジェロージ」や「ジナニー」などの名前が提案されたが、言いやすさやインパクトから「ワルイージ」 となった」

"At first we wanted to name him Waigi, and the american staff were proposing names like "Jell-O-Gi(?)" or "Ginanii(?)", but since it was easier to say and made more impact, we chose "Waluigi"."
Can you imagine if they went with the "JelloGi" name? I can't
 

nayrran

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#6
You're welcome.

JelloGi?
It's sound like a evil counterpart of the company Jell-O or something like that.

I kinda prefer "Waluigi" than thoses tentatives names, even this character irritates me.
 

Glowsquid

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#7
Managed to track down an old interview with Sakamoto following his promotion to manager of Nintendo R&D1. Only one question is related to Wario(ware), but it provides some very interesting insight in R&D1's development philosophy;

We suppose a perfect example of that ethos is Wario Ware Inc. - there's nothing else like it on any other platform and many people consider it to be one of the finest handheld games ever made - how did this game come about?

Sakamoto: Wario Ware is a typical example of Nintendo's and R&D1's uniqueness. We loved the challenge of making the title, and the result of Wario Ware was satisfactory to us.

But after all, now that we have introduced a game called Wario Ware, we cannot follow the same track - if we are going to make a Wario Ware II for example, that's got to be uniquely different from Wario Ware I for us to live up to people's expectations of us.

I personally don't think that R&D1 should always make videogames. For example we can go back to basics and sometimes make toys, or some new gadgets, which Nintendo has never challenged.

I think R&D1, amongst all the departments, has the most freedom to challenge anything. So in other words, we don't want to set any rules or restrictions as to what we are going to make. The only definition of what we are going to make is that it's got to be fun and unique.
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Bonus: Ever wondered what Nintendo UK-mailled walkthroughs of Wario Land II looked like? No? Well now you do anyway.
 

Glowsquid

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#12
Shmuplations recently translated an interview with Yoshio Sakamoto about Metroid Fusion and

The Metroid Fusion team is the same team that made Wario, if I can be frank with you. The very first thing I needed them to understand was what kind of game Metroid is. I told them they were like a lowly enka singer who had suddenly struck it rich… but I don’t think they understood that. (laughs) My goal, of course, was to impress upon them how important it is that the team that makes Metroid really understand what Metroid is all about.
wow
 

Glowsquid

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#13
The official Shake It site has since been taken offline, but fortunately, Nintendo.co uk hosted the same interview! But I'm not going to take any more chances so I'll post it here:

Meet the brains behind Wario Land
18/09/2008

The staff at Nintendo Online Magazine in Japan sat down with the developers of Wario Land: The Shake Dimension to discuss Wario’s latest adventure. The following is a transcript of that interview.

Nintendo Online Magazine: The first thing I thought when I started playing was, ‘This isn’t cartoon rendering?’ (using computer-generated 3D models to look like traditional cel animation) Wario’s comical movement was so smooth, but no matter how closely I looked, it didn’t appear to be using 3D models... So more than anything, I wanted to know how the characters were animated. Staff from Good-Feel Co., Ltd. answered my questions and shared behind-the-scenes stories from development of the game. They also talked about the time they pulled an all-nighter. Read on to learn more!

NOM: What led to the creation of Wario Land: The Shake Dimension?

Takahiro Harada, producer: I had participated in the development of a wide variety of games, but I especially liked platform games and had always wanted to make a Wario Land sequel someday. One day I was playing a platform game for the DS released by a major game developer, and it was so much fun, I thought I would like to work on a Wario Land sequel there. I did some research, and learned that Ebisu-san had been involved in its development.

Etsunobu Ebisu, producer: At that time, I had just quit working for that company and had founded Good-Feel. I had told Nintendo about the new company and was asking if we could work together on something.

Harada: It was perfect timing, so we met face-to-face and I asked if he would like to make a Wario Land action game.

NOM: What incredible timing! It’s almost like you were destined to make this game.

Harada: Yes, it was amazing, like fate brought us together.

Ebisu: When I first heard he was interested in making a Wario game, I was envisioning a shooting game. (laughs) A real western-style shoot-em-up! For some reason, my colleagues and I were playing lots of shooting games in those days. When I suggested that to Harada-san, though, he said, ‘Why not a platform game?’ (laughs)

Harada: They knew a lot about how to make good platform games, so we weren’t thinking about any other genre.

Ebisu: Most of the guys at our company had already made a lot of platform games, so I guess I wanted to suggest something different. After hearing Harada-san’s reaction, we advanced plans for a platform game.

NOM: What kind of an image did you have of Wario?

Ebisu: I thought of him as reckless. But for some reason he doesn’t die. (laughs) He’s completely different than Mario.

Harada: Wario uses strength to overpower opposition. Part of the fun of Wario platform games derives from that dynamic. We had everyone at Good-Feel play the previous games in the Wario Land series and asked them to make an extension in that style.

NOM: Why were you interested in shaking as an element of the game?

Madoka Yamauchi, director: I got the idea once when Harada-san said that when he sees something placed high up, he wants to knock it down. Then we began developing plans for tilting the Wii Remote and shaking it up and down or side to side.

Harada: The concept was to hold the Wii Remote sideways to play a platform game like for the NES or Super NES. Then we added the very Wii-like element of shaking the Wii Remote, and it all came together well.

NOM: What was the first obstacle you ran into?

Yamauchi: The first obstacle was...not enough development staff. (laughs)

Ebisu: Another obstacle was that during the planning stage, we’d been thinking about shaking the remote horizontally as well as vertically, but when you actually played the game, there wasn’t much difference between the two.

Yamauchi: We were thinking about having different effects for shaking the remote sideways and up and down, but since it wasn’t working, we cut it. How to hold the remote presented another challenge. When you hold the Wii Remote sideways, you can only use the D-pad and 1 and 2 buttons. You don’t have the L and R buttons, or X and Y either. We worked hard to allow Wario to perform as wide a variety of actions as possible. Several times I tried using the A and B buttons, but it interfered with game operability. In the end we decided on tilting the Wii Remote and building a variety of devices into the stages. Since only a few buttons are used, game operation will be easy even for people playing a platform game for the first time.



Nintendo Online Magazine: The way Wario moves is rather distinctive.

Etsunobu Ebisu, producer: In addition to designing a platform game with simple operability, we thought about what direction to take regarding visual elements such as backgrounds. (Producer Takahiro Harada) and I exchanged ideas for a while, and eventually settled on the current style.

Takahiro Harada, producer: One of our goals this time was to create the ultimate 2D game.

Tadanori Tsukawaki, design director: When (director Madoka) Yamauchi proposed using entirely hand-drawn animation for visuals, I was hesitant. With hand-drawn animation, making changes is hard.

Harada: With a 3D Wario made from polygons, it’s easy, for example, to change the shape of his beard a little. With traditional animation, there would be hundreds of frames showing Wario, and you’d have to change them all. For backgrounds, to change the position of an object even a little, you can’t just replace one part—you have to change the whole thing.

Tsukawaki: In the beginning, I was worried, but as we progressed, I thought, ‘This has impact!’ First the animators provided us with line drawings. We used those to run the game, and even with just the line drawings the movement looked good. It had a warmth you don’t always get with polygons.

NOM: How many frames did you use for the animation?

Tsukawaki: It depends on the particular movement, but for one action, about 30. For Wario alone, there were over 2000. For the enemies, there were about 6000, including the ones we eventually cut. We had to digitalize all of those to be plugged into the software. (Program director Koichi) Yagi put a lot of effort into that.

Koichi Yagi, program director: I’ve been a programmer for a long time, but it was my first time to make a game with so many patterns. Like Tsukawaki said, there were about 2000 for Wario—about 200 separate actions. Those are stored in memory, so they can be displayed at any time. It took some clever programming to achieve that.

Tsukawaki: It was pretty crazy. (laughs)

Yagi: The backgrounds don’t repeat, so the volume for scenery was greater than I’ve ever seen. It was so big that the scenery alone would have filled up the GameCube. It wasn’t easy to pack all that in.

Ebisu: Early on we considered making the game in 3D. Based on past experience making platform games, I knew the amount of work involved in hand-drawing everything from characters to scenery would be tremendous. Way back when, it was something you dreamt about, but never actually achieved. This time, however, we decided to give it a shot.

NOM: (Animation companies) Production I.G and Kusanagi were involved in design, right?

Ebisu: That’s right. We thought we should request help from animation companies who would have more know-how. Production I.G helped with character animation and the opening and ending sequences, and Kusanagi helped with the backgrounds.

Tsukawaki: Developing a game is something you figure out as you go. The need for alterations is going to arise, but when the animation is already moving along, a conflict arises. All the backgrounds were hand-drawn, too, so even a small change meant everything had to be changed. Whenever (Kentaro) Sei, who was in charge of stage construction, said, ‘Let’s put a secret passage here,’ we knew we were in for some hard labour. (everyone laughs)

Tsukawaki
We’d say, ‘What?! What’s the big idea?!’ and he’d say, ‘It’ll be easier for the player if we do it this way, won’t it?’ and then we’d say, ‘OK, OK, if we do it that way, then...’ In the end we always came around.

Kentaro Sei, planning: Yeah, we were at each other’s throats every day. (laughs)
 

Glowsquid

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#14
(continued from last post due to character limit)


NOM: Since this game is an extension of the Wario Land series, how did you make it feel like Wario Land?

Madoka Yamauchi, director: Primarily, the intense action. We took great care to include showy and rambunctious elements in the game. That’s the reason we decided to have shaking the remote actually shake the screen.

Harada: Wario just tries to take what he wants. He isn’t trying to do anything wrong. The results of his actions can be either bad or good. He sure can stir up trouble, though.

Tsukawaki: After I’d played a bunch of the games in the series, I thought Wario was pretty manly. He’s so uncool that he ends up being extremely cool. Depending on the game, he can be coarse—farting and doing stuff like that, but I didn’t want to show that side of him. As much as possible, I wanted to show a macho Wario, one who is masculine and tough. I asked the animators to emphasize strongly his manly characteristics. We built up this image step-by-step during the animation process.

NOM: So...Wario is macho?

Tsukawaki: He is. He’s the kind of guy you could enjoy tossing back a few drinks with.... But I guess making conversation might be hard. (laughs) Some of the ladies in the office were complaining at first about how his nose is pink, but in the end they started using pictures of him for their desktop wallpaper. Now they say he’s cool. (laughs)

NOM: How did Syrup, who leads Wario on, come to enter into the game?

Harada: It started with Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 for the Game Boy. The character controlling the final boss was Captain Syrup, but ever since then she’s mostly been overlooked. We thought it was about time she made another appearance. She’s pretty and charming, and a little devious.

NOM: Did you design the music to reflect the character of Wario Land?

Tomoya Tomita, music and sound effects: I played the Game Boy Advance version and listened to the music for the other games as well. It was completely different from the music in Nintendo’s other platform games. Some stages feature cute, girly music, even though the enemies are relentless! (laughs)

NOM: It’s sort of surreal.

Tomita: That’s right. So we wanted to use music that was slightly unusual. There’s some normal platform game music, too, but for the most part, it isn’t what you might expect.

Harada: Many people on the debugging team liked the music, too, although there was quite a variety among the songs each person said was their favourite.

Sei: Each stage has its own specific missions. At first we had put in an element of being rewarded for extra effort whereby completing all the missions would unlock the soundtrack for that stage in the Audio Room. Tomita overturned that idea, though, because then we wouldn’t be able to put out the sound track. (laughs)

NOM: Do you have a favourite song from the background music?

Tomita: I like the song for Mt. Lava Lava. At first we created it with Wario in mind. He can be a little fierce and hot-headed, and that led us to use it for the volcano stage. (Note: The Mt. Lava Lava music can be heard at the beginning of the game’s trailer.)

NOM: Someone mentioned rewards for extra effort. Can you give us some examples?

Kentaro Sei, planning: As mentioned earlier, each stage has objectives called missions. One unique aspect of this game is that there’s only one goal, but including the missions, there are multiple objectives. That means you can enjoy playing the same stage over and over again. You can reach the goal just playing the usual way, but the game presents a greater challenge once you try to complete the missions as well. The stages have been constructed so that everyone from novices to experienced gamers can enjoy them.

Nobuo Matsumiya, assistant director: We put a lot of thought into construction of the stages. Partway through development, parts of the game were quite difficult even in the opening stages. In order to make the game enjoyable to players new to platform games, in the end we decreased the difficulty of the opening stages.

Sei: Another rewarding challenge is time attacks. In the latter half of the stages, after you rescue a character named Merelda, a countdown begins. Then it’s like a race game, requiring split-second reflexes. There’s one hidden stage called Lowdown Depths where the time attack is pretty intense.

Tadanori Tsukawaki, design director: We played that a lot during development. (laughs) Matsumiya-san was knocking out the most incredible times. We were all like, “That’s impossible! How did you do that?”

Matsumiya: He’s too kind... (laughs)

Sei: One characteristic of the game is rescuing Merelda and then returning with her. That is perhaps the most challenging, yet rewarding, aspect of the game.

NOM: There are a lot of roads in unexpected places. Did you try to put them in places the players wouldn’t notice?

Sei: Yes. We outdid ourselves and later had to make them easier to find because the most important thing is giving players an enjoyable game.

Takahiro Harada, producer: When you think, “Maybe I should go that way,” and then it works out the way you thought, it feels really good. We had that in mind when designing the stages.

Sei: Also, there’s the element of collecting treasure. We came up with that one night when we camped out at Tsukawaki’s house. Including dead-end ideas, we came up with about 100 ideas that night gathered around the hot pot.

Tsukawaki: We were talking, and eating, and drinking—and drawing—until morning. (laughs)

Sei: Tsukawaki draws really fast. Almost faster than we could come up with ideas. We kept going until about five or six in the morning, with guys passing out along the way. (laughs)

Tsukawaki: The company had moved that day. (Note: While Wario Land was under development, Good-Feel changed locations for the second time.) The day’s momentum swept everyone over to my house for an all-night brainstorming session. We were already exhausted, so we figured why not just keep going? (laughs)

NOM: Wow. Exhausted but ploughing ahead!

Tsukawaki: Sei had been taking random notes on his cell phone. He read them out as we got started, which allowed everyone to get an idea of what direction to take. Then we all started throwing out ideas.

Sei: I saw a new side of my colleagues. Even the more serious among us were saying some pretty unexpected stuff. Each stage has three hidden treasures. I hope players can find them!

NOM: Is there anything you would like to say to NOM’s readers?

Tomoya Tomita, music and sound effects: I hope everyone will complete the missions and listen to all the background music.

Koichi Yagi, program director: There aren’t many games like this for video game consoles anymore, but it contains all the know-how we’ve built up over the years. It would be great if people who used to play these kinds of games would try this one and relive the fun of those older ones. And, of course, I hope newcomers will experience playing a platform game for the first time and enjoy the balance between its easier and more challenging aspects.

Tsukawaki: This is the age of 3D models. Wario Land: The Shake Dimension’s visuals may feel like they’re going against the tide, but you can really see the warmth and hand-drawn character of the images on the screen. I hope everyone will enjoy playing in the world of Wario as rendered through classical animation.

Sei: I want everyone to see how cool Wario is. His behaviour isn’t that crude this time, so I hope even girls will think he’s cool.

Matsumiya: Completing the missions will be difficult at first, so I suggest taking them one at a time. As you get used to the game, though, you’ll get more efficient and enjoy completing more than one mission simultaneously. I think everyone will have fun trying to complete as many missions as possible at once.

Madoka Yamauchi, director: In my past experience making games, most of the time I was under time constraints and never felt as if I’d accomplished all I wanted to. We had plenty of time to develop this game, however, and put in some late nights, so it was a fully satisfying process. I hope everyone will enjoy playing the game, and see the degree to which we perfected it.

Etsunobu Ebisu, producer: Among all the platform games I’ve worked on, Wario Land: The Shake Dimension is the best suited for enjoyment by people who have never played platform games before or aren’t very good at them. I hope everyone will give it a try and experience the fun of platform games. And of course gamers who are good at platform games and like playing them will also find plenty to sink their teeth into!

Harada: Simply clearing the stages isn’t that difficult, so I think beginners can sit back and enjoy playing. Skilled players of platform games will also fully enjoy it because of the treasures, missions and other elements. And, as Sei-san mentioned, we cut out Wario’s coarse antics this time, so we can even recommend this game to your mothers! I hope you’ll check it out.
 

Glowsquid

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#15
Apparently Yoshio Sakamoto was featured in a very early episode of Game Center CX and talked about WarioWare in it. However, this apparently isn't very well known and the only upload I've managed to find of the episode cuts out the part with him.

Any Game Center CX fans could help me?
 

Glowsquid

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#16
The September (or is it august? can't tell) issue of Nintendo Dream will feature an interview with the staff of WarioWare Gold. would be cool if anyone got ahold of it

 
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