Nintendo on the new StreetPass Mii Plaza games, connection limit staying, puzzles, more
Kotaku recently had the chance to interview Nintendo’s Kouichi Kawamoto and Toyokazu Nonaka about the StreetPass Mii Plaza. Topics include the new games, connection limit (which won’t be going away any time soon), puzzles, and more.
You can find a few excerpts from the interview below. Kotaku’s full piece is located here.
On the origins of StreetPass Mii Plaza…
Kouichi Kawamoto: I (Kawamoto) am the director of StreetPass Mii Plaza. I think the aims of the StreetPass Mii Plaza project were pretty simple: StreetPass would get used a lot more often if there was a StreetPass game included with every system, and using Mii characters in the data exchanged will help them seem more alive.
During the planning phase, I wanted something that, as opposed to all the countless other social services already out there, used StreetPass to make meeting other people seem more like a single-player game. Trying different things from what other people are doing is always seen as a good thing at Nintendo.
With StreetPass Mii Plaza, the player’s the only true hero in the plaza world, and there are as many of those plaza worlds out there as there are 3DS systems. It’s not a social approach, but more of a single-player-game way of thinking.
On where the idea for new games came from…
The idea behind Puzzle Swap was to have players complete something as they engaged all sorts of people around them with StreetPass. At the start of development, we figured it’d be fun if players went around the country as they used StreetPass; thus it was set up so you couldn’t choose other players’ pieces and they didn’t propagate around. That wound up being far too difficult, though, so you can now choose specific pieces and natural propagation now takes place.
With Find Mii, both me and the rest of the staff are fans of fantasy RPGs, so the project began with us wanting to make something fantasy RPG-like which had that “I accomplished something” element I mentioned above. Originally it was a pretty simple game—there was only one type of enemy, and if you encountered five people via StreetPass, you could deal 5 damage. That wasn’t very fun, though, so gradually the game became more RPG-like in nature. In order to differentiate it from Puzzle Swap, we also added the element of getting stronger if you encounter the same person multiple times within a small range.
On how the quartet of games came about…
Nonaka: I see it as my mission to surprise people, so I take it as a compliment to hear that nobody was expecting it.
When thinking about selling games that would be worth it for gamers to buy, we had to do something to differentiate them from the free games already available in the plaza. That difference could be in the fun, of course, but also in the amount of volume and depth to the games.P
Along these lines, finding the right path to take with each of the four games wasn’t an easy task, but I think we succeeded in giving unique value to each title.
Kawamoto has a very strong vision when it comes to making StreetPass games, so as the development companies proceeded with their work, I discussed their project proposals pretty extensively with Kawamoto. These discussions would lead to other ideas, and what you see here are the four ideas we decided to proceed with in the end.
On how StreetPass games are different from other games…
Kawamoto: The core concept I (Kawamoto) brought forward is the idea that gameplay advances forward when you use StreetPass. In other words, going outside in order to use StreetPass is an important aspect of the games. I think that’s an unusual experience for people.
Also, I felt it important to have the Mii characters play as active a role in the games as possible. That helps players feel like the people they’re interacting with really exist.
On how they ended up working on the new games, and why those four…
Nonaka: I discussed the concept process previously, but in coming up with each title, I wanted them to be more than just another game; I wanted something that a wide range of people would take interest in. The resulting variations in gameplay we came up with wound up taking the form of four different titles.
We also thought that offering a line of titles in the plaza instead of selling a single product would provide more of an impact to gamers; it’d be a big surprise to them.
On whether the business perspective of carrying around 3DS systems to convince other people to do the same played a role in designing the new games…
Kawamoto: There might be a business element behind including the StreetPass functionality itself, but we didn’t think much about the business perspective when coming up with StreetPass Mii Plaza’s gameplay. What we focused on was what we could do to make bringing your Nintendo 3DS outside more fun. If that wasn’t fun, after all, gamers wouldn’t take them out and we wouldn’t be getting anywhere.
On the limit of 10 StreetPass Mii Plaza connections at a time…
Kawamoto: We had been thinking about the possibility of expanding StreetPass Mii Plaza from the start, and we set the maximum number of connections to 10 to ensure we’d have room to exchange more data via StreetPass in the future. As a result, if we get to a point where we definitely won’t expand it anymore, there is a possibility that we’ll raise the number of connections. However, we have no plans to do that, and we’re already transmitting a lot of data, so even if we stopped right now, I doubt that number would go up much.
On who works on the animations for the puzzle piece game…
Kawamoto: Some of the pictures are created by our team, and sometimes the development companies come in and say they want to make them. Generally we have the team or developer behind the theme game produce the animation.
Often we’re amazed at how intricate these pictures are when we get the data; we show them around to the staff and so on. I really appreciate all the people that put in the work on these pictures.
On the future for StreetPass games…
Kawamoto: Sadly, there’s nothing I can really talk about at this moment.