Nintendo talks Splatoon 2's core inspiration, original prototype, where the game fits into the world of eSports

A portion of a Glixel interview with Nintendo's Hisashi Nogami and Shintaro Sato...

G: We spoke to Reggie Fils-Aimé recently about how important competition is becoming to Nintendo. Splatoon seems to be at the heart of that – was that always the core inspiration?

Hisashi Nogami: Well, you know, competition is really important to Splatoon 2, and it's a core element of the game. Our idea of the competitive game that we're making is that we first offer a set of content to the players and give them the tools for play – the stages and the weapons – and then the players themselves determine what sort of play they're going to create using those tools. We watch that and keep an eye on it, and then make adjustments if necessary. We have a back and forth with the community.

We take a lot of care to ensure that equality and fairness – making sure that players perceive that they're all on the same fair playing field – is very important. And, you know, as we're combining all of these elements into this competitive experience, if we do it with an eye to fairness, we'll only widen that circle of people who can jump in and enjoy it.

One style of making games at Nintendo is what you can see with Super Mario Odyssey – you have a set of content that is made for a player to enjoy. That's wha we have a lot of respect for and feels very important. However, the type of play experience that we're creating with Splatoon is something that we view more as a playground. You know, players are on the playground, and it's a bit of a conversation, a back and forth, with the content we create and the reactions from the players. And that's a choice that we have to make between the Odyssey style of game creation and the competitive style of game we're making.

G: We spoke to Arms producer Kosuke Yabuki recently, and he mentioned that there's a real culture of prototyping at Nintendo. What was the process like for Splatoon? Were there previous ideas that you worked on and ultimately dismissed?

Hisashi Nogami: Prototyping was really important for Splatoon, and I think actually it was at the prototyping stage that we had the core gameplay that ended up surviving into the final game.

This was originally a prototype that Mr. Sato created, and the way it originally looked was you would have a grey playing field with four simple cube-like characters on each team – so, four black cubes against four white cubes. They would shoot their own color of ink at each other and compete for turf.

This doesn't mean that we had all the actions you can do in the game mapped out, or the final look of the characters as squids, but it was already possible to see where your allies were, or whether an an opponent was attacking your territory. You also had a clear idea of what you needed to do to win, and that in trying to secure victory you could be discovered by your opponent. This was all something we found really fun, and it was all discovered and implemented during that prototype stage.

So, you know, in our Nintendo way of making games, we wanted to layer on abilities, sets of weapons with their own characteristics, and build out from this prototype that we had. It was really important for us to make sure we protected and kept that core prototype idea, and that we didn't lose sight of it while we continued to layer on and build out the game into the final product.

G: A lot of people have talked about the real potential for this as an international esport. Was that ever on your mind when you were making it, or was it something that emerged later with the first game, and was it something that was considered while making the sequel?

Hisashi Nogami: Well, I think "esports" is a term that actually encapsulates a lot of different meanings. You know, it could be something as simple as friends getting together to play a tournament online or it could be a tournament where prizes are involved, where sponsors jump in and you actually have pro game players involved. That said, being an esport wasn't something that we were ever really considering or aiming for when developing the game. We want to strongly encourage that sense of competition among players – we really want to make a game for players who are seriously interested in competition. After the release of Splatoon 1 we were definitely aware of a community that rose up, people who put together serious teams that were interested in a competitive tournament. And so we've included some systems in Splatoon 2 that acknowledge and encourage that type of competitive play among that more serious group of players.

Shintaro Sato: We definitely recommend getting eight people together in a local wireless setting, and you can play to your heart's content that way. But for those players that want to make sure that there is no lag we've also included the ability to connect eight Nintendo Switches via LAN play.

We also added a spectator mode so that players can have someone who is controlling the camera during their match from a variety of different perspectives, and then that match play can be recorded, potentially, and posted online to be shared with the wider community.

There's also a new mode in Splatoon 2 called League Battle. This will be a mode that players can play either in groups of two or four, and it will present you with a two-hour period in which your group competes with other groups to see how many points you can earn. Because the results of that League Battle play will be displayed in a ranking at the end of every two-hour period, we can give players goals to strive for, and hope to encourage them to keep competing and pushing.

Hisashi Nogami: And, you know, hopefully even players who aren't participating in that top level will find these developments interesting and enjoy viewing them from the outside.

So, part of your question was whether we had been thinking about esports or competitive gaming from the time of Splatoon 1 – well, while we had the confidence that we were making a game that would answer the needs of the more competitive player, we also realized that if we were going to have competitive play, it would need to be supported by a great community. We're really grateful that we've had a good response from that community, and after seeing it grow, that gave us the confidence we needed to add these additional elements that encourage competitive play in Splatoon 2.

And I think the World Splatoon Invitational that we held at E3 was basically the result and evidence of the community engagement that we've been so grateful to get. So, with all of the support that we've gotten from those players, that serves as fuel for us going forward, and encourages us to make sure we can answer the needs that they have.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Phantom Armor blog post

Hello. I'm Iwamoto, Assistant Director of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

With DLC Pack 1, The Master Trials, you can acquire the armor of a Phantom (this DLC is only available through the purchase of the Expansion Pass).

Depending on your experience with the series, some of you may be wondering, "What's a Phantom?" Well, Phantoms are a type of knight appearing in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks games for the Nintendo DS™ system. In those games, the mysterious armor they wear does not take damage when attacked from the front.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was called a "stylus action adventure game" in Japan, but at the beginning of development, one of our initial ideas was to include a type of gameplay that would let you sort of play tag with unbeatable enemies in dungeons. In the finished game, Link would actually die with just one attack from a Phantom, so it required Link to advance through The Temple of the Ocean King by hiding from them and sometimes using traps to his advantage. Come to think of it, that's somewhat similar to his relationship with Guardians, isn't it?

Phantoms also appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and this time, Zelda could possess them and solve puzzles alongside Link! Seeing a hefty Phantom act like a princess was a pretty funny sight at the time.

This time, Link can dress as a Phantom, and the armor you get in this game has the same look as the Phantoms that Zelda possessed in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks! If you wear this Phantom armor in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it will increase Link's attack power.

In addition to the Phantom, there are other armors based on previous The Legend of Zelda game characters, such as Tingle and Midna. We'll go over those in our posts tomorrow and Wednesday.

Nintendo's Doug Bowser talks third parties on Switch, tournaments, Smash Bros. and more

Thanks to Anon for the heads up!

Zelda: Breath of the Wild dev blog update - Korok Mask and hidden Koroks

The following blog post comes from Hidemaro Fujibayashi, the Director on Breath of the Wild

- the Korok Mask helps you find the hidden Koroks
- the dev team thought it would be fun to hide all sorts of things across the landscape, including Koroks
- they originally hid stone objects, but decided that wasn't much fun
- they then thought about hiding something under stones, which is where the Koroks came up
- originally, the Koroks could only be found deep in the Lost Woods, but the team decided against that
- if you happen to get near a spot where a Korok is hiding, the mask will shake to warn you
- the stone object in the image above is actually the Master Sword pedestal from Skyward Sword

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User-submitted video reviews - 6/24/17 (Arms, Has-Been Heroes, Booty Diver)

We've had quite a few people reaching out about sharing their video reviews. These videos may not be from big-name outlets, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth your time. Perhaps today's the day you find your new favorite video reviewer! That's why we're sharing video reviews from two different GN readers, Twinworld and Game Away. Check out their work below, and always feel free to send in your own video reviews. We'd like to start doing a weekly feature where we round up your reviews and share them with everyone else on GN!

What happened to MercurySteam's original pitches for Metroid Wii U/3DS games?

If you'll remember, there was a rumor many years ago that MecurySteam was trying to work on Metroid games for Wii U and 3DS. Now we see that MecurySteam is working on Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS. Obviously this talk stirred back up those old rumors, which really aren't rumors anymore!


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