During a panel at the Tokyo Sandbox event in Akihabara, Inti Creates CEO Takuya Aizu talked about how easy it is to develop for the newly-released Nintendo Switch.
First of all, Aizu-san explained why the company decided to develop Blaster Master Zero for the Switch. First of all, it was in response to an invitation by Sunsoft (the original developer of Blaster Master), that wanted the game remade.
This is actually bound to a rather funny anecdote:The folks at Sunsoft were trying to find Nintendo representatives at E3 2015 in order to discuss the matter, but they couldn’t get in touch with them as Sunsoft wasn’t actually exhibitor, so they asked Aizu-san.
When the reps were finally found, they started a meeting in the food court, and Aizu-san happened to be hungry, so he was sitting nearby. From the look of it, Nintendo wasn’t too interested in the offer, so Aizu-san intervened, asking the Nintendo reps if they would have be interested if Inti Creates was to work on the game. At that point, Nintendo agreed.
At the time Inti Creates was worried about digital distribution. They had some problems with it, and they didn’t know the best course of action, but in October 20th, 2016 Nintendo announced the Switch.
Inti Creates decided that they wanted to be part of the Switch lineup, and ordered the development kits just four days later, on October 24th. It took about one week to receive the equipment, and at that time, the 3DS remake of Blaster Master was already 50% complete. They immediately started to port the game from the 3DS to the Switch.
Just two months later, on December 26th, the developer was able to submit the preliminary version of the game running on the Switch. Thanks to that, they managed to launch the game in time for the release of the console on March 3rd, 2017.
After that, Aizu-san talked about how easy it was to develop Blaster Master Zero for Switch.
The Blaster Master engine that we were using was the same as the Azure Striker Gunvolt engine. This engine had been ported to PC so that the game could be sold on Steam. In two months we were able to transfer this PC version [of the engine] into a Switch port.
He continued by showing the Nintendo Developer Portal:
So it’s extremely easy to develop for the Nintendo Switch and this is the first step if you want to do so. So yes, Developing games for the Nintendo Switch is very easy, and this Nintendo Developer Portal is the first iteration of its kind for Nintendo. It’s made it very easy, it’s an easy user interface, and it feels like finally Nintendo is slowly catching up to the PlayStation 4.”
Aizu-san explained that back in 2013, in order to become a third-party developer for Nintendo, he had to go to Kyoto three times. On the other hand, to become a third party developer for Nintendo of Europe, all he had to do was clicking on “I agree” on an online contract.
At that time, he wasn’t very happy with the process for Japan, but finally he’s starting to be happy about the Nintendo development environment in the country. Another “massive” positive factor is that now you can purchase the equipment necessary to start developing for a Nintendo console for just 50,000 yen (about $441).
Aizu-san concluded his speech by mentioning that Blaster Master Zero took only six months to develop, including the 3DS version, by a team of 35 people. The commercial result is approximately 80,000 downloads as of May 10th. This put the game in 14th place in NOE sales ranking, while it’s 11th in Japan.
According to Aizu-san, since the Switch is a new platform, it’s a key opportunity for many, and they should get involved.
After teasing that the announcement of two new Switch games at Bitsummit, he expressed his hope that many other developers will try creating games for the Nintendo Switch.
If you want to read more about Tokyo Sandbox, you can check out our interview with the organizer.