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Kensuke Tanabe

Retro Studios president and CEO Michael Kelbaugh commented on several topics while speaking with GameSpot, including the Wii U’s technical capabilities.

According to Kelbaugh, the console is “a powerhouse”, adding, “It’s more than adequate to make great games on.”

“Unfortunately, the perception is that it’s not a very powerful machine. That’s just not true. It’s a powerhouse. It’s more than adequate to make great games on.”

Kelbaugh also mentioned that the Wii U is a “great box to make games on.”

The Official Nintendo Magazine has put up its full interview with Retro CEO Michael Kelbaugh and Nintendo SPD producer Kensuke Tanabe. We’ve highlighted a few excerpts below. For the full piece, head on over to ONM.

A slew of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze details have emerged from this month’s issue of ONM. There are a bunch of noteworthy tidbits here, including the ability to upload times and full replays. The full roundup of information can be found below.

– ONM estimates that most levels will take about 10 minutes to complete on your first attempt
– 3-3 Frantic Field: set against a hurricane, with small tornadoes, and lightning as obstacles; eventually you reach the eye of the storm
– Next stage takes place in a forest, with sections on fire due to the previous levels lightning
– Need to use watery fruit to put out vine fires in order to progress
– Game includes tag barrels ala Donkey Kong 64, to switch between Kongs (could just be DK barrels)
– Multiple routes in the various levels
– 3 secret levels per world confirmed
– Time Attack returns
– In Time Attack, you can choose which character’s DK barrels will appear
– Upload times and full replays to show friends, and to help other players improve their own times
– There seems to be more emphasis on the background, which is constantly moving, which makes the world feel alive, and sometimes provides hints to what you’re going to encounter next
– When asked if there was anything the felt was missing from the game, Kensuke Tanabe said that he wishes they could have done more with the animal buddies
– Tanabe also mentions that there is something from A Link to the Past that he wanted to do, couldn’t, and used it in Link’s Awakening instead (ending of LA when the egg opens)
– Retro president’s favorite levels: 6-6 Cliffside Slide, “like jumping right into the middle of an action movie”, it’s a silhouette level. 4-4 Irate Eight, and underwater level which sounds like the giant octopus from DKCR is back. 3-3 Frantic Fields, which is challenging, but with a bit of comedy.
Tanabe mentions that World 4 is made of only underwater levels.
– Kelbaugh also mentions that he likes 4-4, and 3-6 Cannon Canyon, because of the dynamic 3D camera movement
– Animation quality has improved over Returns
– With David Wise, Kenji Yamamoto, and Scott Petersen, they have an amazing soundtrack, and special effects effort
– Tanabe was surprised that so few people in DKCR didn’t want to use the Super Guide once it appeared. He said that the difficulty of Tropical Freeze hasn’t been lowered, but that they have added some features that will give casual players an easier time.
– Difficulty hasn’t been lowered, but the new items, and Kong POW allow you to change the difficulty of the levels somewhat
– Miyamoto told Retro, when first working on DKCR: “This is my baby. Don’t mess it up.”
– Kelbaugh and Tanabe both worked on DKC, with Tanabe on the Japanese localisation, but never met.
Ten years later Tanabe met Kelbaugh, when he became president of Retro. He saw that Kelbaugh had a DKC jacket, and they learned that they both worked on DKC.
– A few years after that they both started on DKCR, Michael gave DKCR the codename F8 – fate.
– Retro was working on Mario Kart 7, and TF at the same time
– Tanabe, and his team at SPD is Retro’s primary contact at Nintendo, but the games are a collaborative effort throughout Nintendo
– If they found themselves on Kong Island Kelbaugh would team up with Diddy, and Tanabe with Donkey Kong, so that he could be carried around


Retro Studios president Michael Kelbaugh and Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe commented on how the two companies cooperate in the development of projects in the latest issue of ONM.

To begin, Kelbaugh explained how the process is ultimately “a symbiotic relationship” between Retro, Nintendo SPD, “and other entities throughout the Nintendo family.”

He said:

“Tanabe-san and his team at SPD are our primary contacts at Nintendo. Please let me be clear: games developed at Retro Studios are a collaboration between members from Retro Studios, SPD and other entities throughout the Nintendo family. It’s a symbiotic relationship that consists of members from all over the world; we are very honoured to be working with such a talented team.

“When we worked on Mario Kart 7, we were working on Tropical Freeze at the same time. Part of the team was working on creating assets for Hideki Konno’s group, the Mario Kart team, and part of our team continued making progress on Tropical Freeze in conjunction with Tanabe-san and SPD.”

Game Informer has put up an insightful interview with Retro Studios CEO Michael Kelbaugh and Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe. The two spoke about how the game’s delay benefited development, revealed Monster Games’ involvement with the project, talked about the possibility of a 3DS version, and more. Tanabe also teased, “we may consider not just the Donkey Kong Country series but a broader range of possibilities for Retro’s next project.”

You can find the full interview breakdown below. Game Informer’s entire piece is located here.