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Bill Trinen talks Tomodachi Life – name, changes for the west, more

Posted on April 10, 2014 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, News

IGN published an article about Tomodachi Life earlier today, and it’s filled with a bunch of quotes from Nintendo of America senior product marketing Bill Trinen. Trinen tackled topics pertaining to the game’s name, changes for the west, and more.

You can find Trinen’s comments below. IGN’s full article is located here.

On what Tomodachi Life actually is…

“It is a difficult thing to understand. Your first impression is really going to be to compare it to an Animal Crossing, or to look at it as a sort of simulation game. But we don’t really look at it so much as a simulation. We look at it really as this sort of living breathing world, and it’s a bit of an alternate reality, where the Mii characters of people you know in everyday life come together to interact and mingle. And the results of it are incredibly funny, with unexpected moments that occur between all of these characters.”

– Trinen says the game is like a blend of social media plus gameplay
– Described as a game where players might feel compelled to constantly check in and see what their Miis are doing
– Layered with subtle interactions between these characters and ideas built around an alternate little world
– One where the Miis have specific desires for food, clothes, other accessories, or even relationships
– Miis will want to play games with you

On why “Tomodachi” was used in the English name…

“I look at names as kind of a peculiar thing. Looking back, there was a time when Pokemon was not going to be a great name for that franchise, or people thought Wii was not going to be a great name for that system. And so, from that perspective, when we’re looking at naming something, we’re often looking at trying to find something that has a unique sound or a unique feel to it. And, certainly, taking a word like ‘Tomodachi’ and combining it with life has a little bit of that intrigue.”

– “Tomodachi” means friend in Japanese, but it has some familiarity in the west
– “Operation Tomodachi” was the name used in an assistance operation to support Japan following the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami

On changes in the US version/localization process…

“What the localization team has done is probably very similar to the process that went into the localization of the original Animal Crossing. We looked at that and said, ‘OK, We’re not changing the core gameplay or the structure of the game as it currently exists.’ What we wanted to do is try to find those moments where the localization team can find a way to make [it all] a little bit more relevant for people here in the US.”

– Game has been in the works for localization for over a year
– The team carried out the objective of transferring this Japanese game to a relatable cultural context in a variety of different ways
– The team went through the list of food items and chose relevant dishes for people living in the US
– Also, changes have been made to the personality profiles embedded in the game that determine how a Mii will behave

“The personalities will be a huge reason why this game is what it is. They really are the next evolution of the Mii characters, and the first time that you really see Mii characters who genuinely have a personality. And, of course, they also have a voice.”

– Inability to include voices for the Mii characters was a big reason why Nintendo chose not to localize the previous Tomodachi game on DS
– For this game, the team has a tool that generates voices based off of text, and it works well other languages

On other updates to Tomodachi Life…

– Devs have included a link to Nintendo’s Image Share Tool in the game
– This will automatically launch the service into the game itself
– Allows for quicker sharing of screenshots


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