Nintendo released a new Star Fox Zero interview featuring game developers Shigeru Miyamoto and Yugo Hayashi. The topic of the day was on the title’s immersion, presentation, motion controls and more (or alternatively: It’s Got to Feel Immersive and Look Cool).
It starts with an introduction from Akinori Sao, the interviewer:
Hello there! My name is Akinori Sao and I am a writer who set up the Japanese game magazine ’64 Dream’ (now known as ‘Nintendo DREAM’) pretty much exactly 20 years ago. I worked for many years as that publication’s chief editor before deciding to take a step back from the front line a few years ago. I’d always wanted to live in Kyoto, where Nintendo HQ is located, and ended up settling there where I became involved in books, magazines and websites while also keeping my hand in as a freelance writer – I suppose you could call me a gun for hire.
My latest order was to work on an interview with the team behind the Wii U title Star Fox Zero, which released on 22nd April in Europe. I went to Nintendo’s headquarters to speak with Shigeru Miyamoto, who worked as producer and supervising director on this game, along with the director, Yugo Hayashi, and asked them what had gone on behind the scenes during the game’s development.
This interview has been split into three parts: the theme of the first part is the need to ensure that the game both looked cool and had a really immersive feel. I asked the two directors how they had set out to realise their vision for the latest Star Fox title. Now let’s see what they had to say. Here goes!
Some excerpts, starting with voiced lines in Zero:
Sao: And that sense of being part of the action brings me on to the new system employed in Star Fox Zero for the voiced lines. It really ups the realism and I was very surprised when I first heard it in action. It’s as if your allies and enemies are right there next to you…
3. Star Fox Zero on Wii U uses a system called 3D Voice that allows some voiced lines to be heard through the Wii U GamePad speakers.
Miyamoto: Yes, it feels strange, doesn’t it?
Sao: It really does. It’s as if you’re wearing a really high-end set of headphones.
Miyamoto: There are a lot of techniques you can use for stereophonic sound effects, but this one is really specific to this game. When you’re holding the Wii U GamePad, the speakers are a set distance from you, so it really does feel like someone’s whispering in your ear.
Hayashi: In this title, Fox McCloud is wearing a kind of visor that covers one eye, so by using this technique for the voices, you get the sense that you’re listening to the other characters via that headset.
On how the decision was made to feature both cockpit and TV screen views, as well as motion controls:
Sao: So you started off experimenting with the cameras.
Miyamoto: Yes, and then I’d find that it looked cooler watching from the control tower. It’s the same in a racing game. Obviously, while you’re playing, you see the action from the driving seat, but you’ll often find that the replays from different angles end up looking cooler, right?
Sao: Yes, I know what you mean.
Miyamoto: That’s why I decided I wanted to use the dual screen system of having both the Wii U GamePad and the TV, and have cool images of the Arwing flying shown on the TV, while the images from the cockpit were displayed on the Wii U GamePad screen.
Sao: And the Wii U GamePad’s motion controls also make it easier to target the enemy.
Miyamoto: That’s right. We’ve made it so the player is free to watch the action on the screen they prefer, depending on what’s going on at that point. It also lets anyone who’s watching you play enjoy really cool scenes. That’s how it came about – I thought, if I want to realise this vision, we’re really going to have to make a new Star Fox title for Wii U.
On the motion controls and the power of Training Mode:
Hayashi: But this time round, you can boost your speed by pushing the right stick forward and brake by simply tilting it back towards you.
Sao: So that means you don’t have to worry about remembering which button the brake is. The controls are completely intuitive.
Miyamoto: Right. And in addition to the two sticks, you press the ZR Button to shoot and target enemies using the motion controls, which makes it all even more intuitive. It’s a really simple control system. The only other thing to think about is occasionally using the A Button to transform your ship.
Sao: Even so, listening to that, I think this might seem rather complicated to someone who has never played the game before.
Hayashi: Well, that’s why we’ve made it so you don’t have to go straight into battle if you don’t want to. You can give Training a go first.