PGC speaks with the director of WarioWare: Smooth Moves about the design of the frantic game.
In the scheduling madness of E3, we somehow got a surprise interview with Mr. Abe, the director of WarioWare: Smooth Moves for Wii. Read what he had to say about the game's development.
Planet GameCube: Could you explain your role in the development of WarioWare: Smooth Moves?
Goro Abe: I am the director. I decide the specifics of the game and go over the scheduling and gather the ideas and decide which ideas are best for the game.
PGC: When did you come up with the idea to do WarioWare on Wii?
Abe: At the moment the Wii controller [was revealed to me].
PGC: Where did you come up with the different positions?
Abe: When we were gathering the ideas [with] the team. First, we were thinking of the game [while] holding the controller this way, but only holding the controller one way limits the [amount of] entertainment. So we thought [that] if we want to make this idea into a microgame, which kind of motion is the best, and that's how we came up with the numerous ways of control.
PGC: Is this a multiplayer game?
Abe: We'll have a simultaneous battle mode and the main concept is to have one controller and one player doing silly moves and everyone being entertained around that. So it's a multiplayer game in that sense.
PGC: I know there are a couple of different ways to hold the controller on the floor;, are there any other ways that aren't down there?
Abe: Yes, we are planning to have more movements.
PGC: And can we expect the return of Nine Volt and the classic Nintendo games played with Hula and everything?
Abe: (Laughter) Yes, please.
PGC: How much difficulty did your programmers have in getting the moves to register properly for things like Hula Hoop and other more interesting movements?
Abe: Yes, the programmers do have difficulties because it's an absolute controller, so they have to write the codes from scratch and figure out which kind of program is the best to pick up the movement. So, it is very difficult, but usually the excitement of creating a new movement surpasses the difficulties.
PGC: Are you able to use the rumble feature in the controller the same way the rumble is used for WarioWare Twisted, so that it can tell you when you've moved too far or tells you how much you've moved.? Are you able to use the rumble the same way for the Wii controller?
Abe: Yes, we will be using the rumble so the player will feel the sense of reality in the game, along with the speaker which is implemented in the Wii Remote.
PGC: And how is the speaker used? Can you give an example?
Abe: For example, I think you saw a microgame with a tennis racket and the ball is bouncing. Actually the sound of the ball bouncing is coming out of the speaker. So it will (feel) like you're actually holding the tennis racket and other than that we are thinking of a microgame where the Wii Remote will actually make a sound and the player has to react to it.
PGC: Are you worried that with some of the games the players will cheat by not holding the controllers in the way that the game tells you? For instance in Track and Field, you can just do this… (Jonny bobs his arm up and down without the full body motion requested by the game.)
Abe: I think it's not fun doing that (action). I think it doesn't meet with the concept of the game, where it's a party game where one person is playing is [enjoying the player's] movement, so I would like consumers to take the benefit of that as much as possible.
PGC: Nintendo suggested that they're interested in value priced games. Seems like compared to games like Mario, WarioWare has a little cheaper, smaller development team. Would it be less than the fifty dollars expected from the larger games?
Abe: Well, I actually can't answer that question because the people deciding the prices are not the developers. But concerning whether the Wario team is smaller or if the whole size of the game is smaller than Mario or not, actually Mario is a very deep game with many ideas and many people have to gather around and have full discussions, so concerning the variety of the entertainment, I think as a developer, I do not think that Wario is smaller than Mario. (laughter).
PGC: What's the process like for coming up with all the minigames?
Abe: Part of the process is every member of the team writes down their own idea on a piece of paper--have imagination, okay? (laughter)--and send it to me, then it is all sorted out, then the ideas which will be included in the game will be picked out. And then each developer will start the game design. And those ideas are collected from very original, everyday life issues and developers get inspiration from all of those, if anything.
PGC: What would you think of an idea where fans could submit their own ideas for microgames?
Abe: Well, presently, other than the games that will be included, we have lots of ideas just packing our offices. So, even if we had the chance to collect the ideas from consumers, it would be very difficult to choose a game for a series.
PGC: Your microgames are very quirky, but you also have very quircky visuals to go along with them sometimes. How do you come up with the visuals to match some of the fun games?
Abe: We ask our designers and programmers to make their own design for the microgames, and one of our basic concepts is to make a different taste for every single game. So maybe that's getting a variety, and at the same time a very wacky atmosphere. And the only rule we have on making the game design is that it is instantly easy to realize what it is [happening].
PGC: This is a lead-in question, but were you involved in the creation of the Wario character, originally?
PGC: I guess you're the steward of Wario now, at least, because these are the main games that he's in, and I was wondering, have you worked with Mr. Sakurai in putting Wario into the new Smash Bros? Are you involved in that process at all?
Abe: Yes, he did make contact and I am doing the reviewing of the character design for Smash Bros.
PGC: This isn't a question, but maybe an interesting attack for Wario in Smash Bros. would be to force the other players to play microgames (laughter) as a distraction.
Abe: (Laughter) That's a great idea, you should take it to Sakurai's office!
PGC: In past Wario games, the design has been a sort of adventure mode where you go to each character and play the games up to a certain point one after the other, very quickly. And then there's another mode where you can play the games freely and they get more and more difficult and you can keep a high score. I'd like to know whether the overall game structure for the Wii game is the same, or are you adding some different modes or different structure for how you progress through the game?
Abe: We haven't decided the specifics, yet, but one thing I can say is that for the characters it will be the same as in previous titles. We will have the players go through a set of minigames to unlock other characters. But for the library (freeplay mode), we're still under discussion. But we think that--there are many ways of holding the controller---but if we ask the player to do one movement, but just speeded up, it would be tiring, so maybe we will redesign how we will have the library.
PGC: Are there plans for any really crazy unlockables. I know that in, I believe it was WarioWare Twisted, you could unlock all sorts of songs on records and any number of crazy items.
Abe: Well, we won't have as much as the Twisted, but we are planning on having numbers of little "plays" to enjoy.
PGC: I know that one "play" had a Dr. Mario remake. Do you think we might see anything like that on Wii?
Abe: We'll have to keep that a secret! (laughter)
PGC: Have you received any feedback from the earlier games that has made you think about ways you'd approach this game? Things to change or things to keep?
Abe: Yes, I have received that type of feedback in the past and if those opinions are justified and necessary for the Wario universe, I'd surely implement them. But, if they don't match our concept and our ideas, we will stick to our own ideas.
We'd like to thank Mr. Abe and his translator for taking the time to speak with us during a very busy E3 show. Interview conducted by Michael Cole, Mike Sklens, and Jonathan Metts.