ARMS devs on the game's prototype days, designing characters, plenty of lore coming, more - Nintendo Everything

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ARMS devs on the game’s prototype days, designing characters, plenty of lore coming, more

Posted on June 19, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

Glixel had a chance to speak with ARMS producer Kosuke Yabuki and art director Masaaki Ishikawa. They had plenty to say about the new Switch game, including how characters’ arms didn’t originally extended, approach to designs, plans for lore, and other topics.

We’ve gone through the interview and picked out excerpts below. Read the full discussion here.

On the early days of development…

Kosuke Yabuki: Actually, the arms didn’t extend at first. In the first prototype the characters were holding these kind of hookshot things that had these extendable parts that flew out, but it just didn’t look right on the screen. It didn’t feel responsive. Things felt like they were going way off into the distance and it just felt all wrong. So Mr. Ishikawa suggested that rather than extending from the hands, we’d do it from the shoulder. We’d take the sleeves off completely, and stretch out the whole arms. In doing that, things wouldn’t feel like they were too detached. That’s ultimately how all of these characters came about. Before, when it was the characters holding these extending devices that just shot something out, it just felt too much like the sensation of holding the Joy-Con. What you were doing in real life and what your character was doing on screen – you were both holding something in your hands – it just felt off. There was too much of a lag. When we changed it to extending from the shoulder and then steering the punches with your hands, it felt closer and more intuitive. It made more of a connection between what you were doing with the controller and what was happening on screen.

On the approach to designing characters…

Masaaki Ishikawa: The most important thing is that you get an idea of what the game is meant to be at a glance. We wanted to make sure that the arms of all the characters were actually very expressive. Also, because you’re viewing the whole thing from behind your character’s back, we wanted to make sure that they all had a lot of personality, even when you’re just looking at the back of their head and torso. You need to be able to get a feel for who they are, even if you can’t see their face.

On the first character designed…

Masaaki Ishikawa: Spring Man was the basic character at first, so we started off with him, along with Ribbon Girl and Master Mummy. They were the core, and then other designers came in and started playing with the idea and seeing if they could take it in some unusual directions. From that exercise we got characters like Helix. It was all really about trying to build off the fundamentals of those original three characters though. We can’t just endlessly create characters. Rather than keep making wildly different stuff, we wanted to focus on making 10 that were really strong and distinctive.

On content additions…

Kosuke Yabuki: Yes, we’re adding more. We have a specific number in mind, but we’re keeping that secret for now. That said, if Arms is still very popular after all those characters have been rolled out and people are still playing it after all that time and they want more characters – I’ll definitely think about it.

On the backstory to the game…

Kosuke Yabuki: We’re doing a bit of that right now. So far it’s only happening on Japanese social media, but it’s starting to provide some background on where the arm abilities come from, and we’ve started to talk about why people have stretchy arms in the game. That’s the kind of thing we’re creating to bring a greater sense of reality to the game. We’re hoping to do a lot more of that as time goes on. That said – if you really want to know why they have stretchy arms? The real answer is: because Nintendo.

Masaaki Ishikawa: The most important thing for us is that it’s more fun if the arms extend. So that’s what we did. We are preparing a proper background story though. Don’t worry.

On the inspiration for the design…

Masaaki Ishikawa: Dragon Ball was definitely an influence on what we’re doing. I’ve loved that since I was a kid. The other big influence is Akira.

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