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Nintendo on ARMS – origins, future fighters, game balance, accessible but deep, more

Posted on April 27, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

EDGE has a big feature on ARMS this month. Switch’s upcoming game is on the cover of the magazine, and also has several pages of coverage.

Producer Kosuke Yabuki, art director Masaaki Ishikawa, and design director Shintaro Jikumaru shared some comments about ARMS as well. Between the three, they talked a bit about the game’s origins, making it balanced (including a special tool used), trying to have it be accessible yet also deep, and other topics as well. 

We’ve posted a number of comments from Yabuki, Ishikawa, and Jikumaru below. You can pick up this month’s EDGE for the full feature. 

On the game’s origins…

“We were thinking up ideas relating to things that extend. Things that would normally be rolled or bunched up, but could be extended with a punch – springs, ribbons, bandages, chains, and the like. We then expanded our ideas from there so, for example, we could use chains for a ninja-style character. The characters appear quite prominently, so we’ve made their designs fairly detailed.” – Ishikawa

On the core concept…

“I wondered if there was any way to make ARMS a little more accessible as a fighting game. Specifically, whether it would be possible to replace the elements that make up a fighting game with something more visually intuitive. For example, instead of having openings in your defense during or after an attack, we have the arm extension and retraction mechanic. And instead of strong and weak attacks, we have light-but-fast and slow-but-heavy weapons.” – Jikumaru

On additional fighters…

“The fighters we’ve announced are just a fraction of what’s to come. We’ll be introducing fighters all the time, with all sorts of abilities.” – Jikumaru

On balance…

“In addition to the vast number of possibilities that you can get from the different combinations of left arm, fighter and right arm, if you include the advantages and disadvantages incurred in stages as well, then it’s not practical to balance everything with just a handful of designers. To cope with this, we designed some systems to tabulate the battle results of all the developers, as well as a system for the AI to battle itself all night.” – Jikumaru

On motion controls recommended, but not required…

“The true feel of ARMS comes when you’re holding both Joy-Con controllers in the Thumbs-Up grip. You can throw punches from each hand with real precision as you dash or jump around, allowing for a lot more depth for your fighting style. It’s possible to throw a straight punch as a feint for your first blow, then curve your second punch to where your opponent runs to. But ARMS doesn’t quire you to use motion controls. I hope people will pick the playstyle that suits them.” – Yabuki

On having to appeal to different types of players…

“I don’t actually consider fighting games to be a niche genre. There are a lot of big games, and a lot of titles that are prominent on the esports scene. It’s a fiercely competitive genre. We designed the appearance and systems of ARMS so that people can feel like it’s the kind of game they’d like to play, too, by making it so you could see the trajectory of your arms, and by reducing the amount of things you have to memorize. And because we were using motion controls, we worked hard to make sure that while you could play simply by waving your hands, you couldn’t win against a good player by doing just that. Making games accessible while still maintaining plenty of depth is a never-ending problem in videogame development, and we have taken on that challenge with ARMS as well.

On wanting ARMS to be a franchise and having the game spread…

“It would be like a dream for this to become a franchise spanning decades. But right now, only a small number of people in the world know about ARMS: those who closely follow new games and technology. First, I’d like those people to play ARMS, then have fun with it. This game offers a brand-new playstyle, brand-new characters and brand-new strategic gameplay.” – Yabuki

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