The latest issue of Famitsu featured a discussion between Smash Bros. and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai and Dragon Quest series producer Ryutaro Ichimura. The two had a lot to say, and covered various games/series such as Smash Bros., Kirby, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Dragon Quest. Additionally, the two talked more broadly about gaming and conversed about such points as attracting new gamers. You can check out what the two had to say below.
“A lot of people around the world have interacted with Smash Bros., and a lot of Japanese people have interacted with Dragon Quest. In that aspect, they’re both games that’re easy to approach and easy to play with.” – Ichimura
“Kirby’s Dream Land was the first game I ever made, but I had no intention of making it a mainstream game. I really narrowed down the audience to beginners only. That’s because, at the time, no matter how much fun the Super Mario Bros. games were, they were still too tough for normal people and kids. I could feel people drifting away from games, and it bothered me. In the midst of making Kirby, a lot of the team started wondering if we were maybe making it too simple. But I think it was necessary for us to consider people who hadn’t played a game before, and I think doing that earned us fans that wouldn’t have been around otherwise. That’s the same creative approach I take with Smash Bros. It hasn’t changed at all today.” – Sakurai
“I grew up playing the Dragon Quest games ever since I was a grade schooler, and they served as a gateway to this great new realm of gameplay called RPGs to me. I’ve gone from playing them to making them, but I can’t afford to let myself forget about what it’s like as a player. I need to make a game that anyone young or old can pick up and unwittingly get addicted to.” – Ichimura
“The thing I always have the most difficulty with in DQ is the hero character, who never speaks and never gives his own opinions. If the hero shows his own emotions, that runs the risk of alienating the player.” – Ichimura
“We generally don’t have the characters talk in Smash Bros. either. That can makes things interesting sometimes, or maybe boring sometimes… With Brawl, we had game modes that played out with the story, and they wound up being like these silent films where we had to keep each character’s personality but couldn’t have them talk. It’d be easier to have them talk, but that’s unfair to the characters in the game who can’t talk, so we decided to keep all of them silent instead.” – Sakurai
“I don’t think there are many games today that really attract new people. That’s why I think games need to be simplified a bit. Kid Icarus might be called a FPS or a third-person shooter, but if you took someone who didn’t know games and gave him the latest FPS and a controller with ten buttons and two analog sticks and told him to start playing, he’d never be able to. That’s why Kid Icarus is really easy to control. It gives people who gave up on the genre a chance to take a step back into that world. Even though I’m a pretty hardcore gamer, I think that’s very important.” – Sakurai
“That’s something you can do because you’ve delved so deeply into the genre and are so familiar with essence of what makes it fun. You’re able to lower your sights precisely because you have a heavy gaming habit. I really understand that, but as a producer, I suppose my approach is different. The way I see it, the main issue before us to figure out how to make games proliferate in the realm of entertainment. One way to do that is position the game front and center, then prepare a bunch of alternate entryways that aren’t games, like manga or anime or merchandise. Having all these entryways results in a single piece of entertainment, and as a producer, I feel it’s my job to link all that together.” – Ichimura
“I suppose our root motivation is the same. Kids and normal people can’t create games, so that’s why we’re here to make them instead. We need to keep ourselves aware of that going into the future.” – Sakurai
Thanks to Robert for the tip!