Keita Takahashi's PSN game Noby Noby Boy is updated today, gaining offline multiplayer support for four players, as well as improved sound and music and a few other novel features. We jumped at the opportunity to have another chat with the eccentric creator about the game we think is an absurdist masterpiece, even if it is just us. Below, Takahashi details the multiplayer, the unique linguistic flatulence features of the update, the iPhone version he revealed in his amazing GDC presentation, and more.
Eurogamer: Hello. Tell us all about the new update for Noby Noby Boy. What's in the multiplayer mode, and how does it work?
Keita Takahashi: Even though it is offline, there is now a multiplayer mode, up to four players. When a new controller is plugged and detected, a new BOY appears on the map. Unfortunately, there is no battle or any co-op mode available. If you want to play like this, please create your own rules. I am confident that everybody will be able to do this!
Besides that, the ranking now displays the first five best players up to the 100th best player, and the musics are now all implemented.
There are also a lot of practical things that have been updated, other very small details that players shouldn't really care about. But I would like players to check this out by themselves.
Eurogamer: Will the update be free, or will we need to pay for it?
Keita Takahashi: It's free.
Eurogamer: Watching the multiplayer mode at the talk, it seemed like it was possible for two players to control opposite ends of the same BOY. How will this work?
Keita Takahashi: In the single-player mode, you can eat people or animals, BOY can even eat other BOYs.
For example: two players are playing, each of them controlling one BOY. Each BOY gets cut in half, the BOY of player one can eat the bottom part of the BOY of player two and become a mix of both BOYs.
If the head of the BOY of player one and the bottom part of the BOY of player two are combined, the BOY of player one can eat the BOY of player two, poop it out, etc... This kind of combination play becomes necessary. When talking about combination, I know that people are going to ask: what is this all about?
The truth is, I just want to confuse players. If the heads and bottom parts of four players are all mixed together, nobody will understand which on is which one, and things will become almost impossible to understand.
It's a lot of fun!
Eurogamer: Are there any other unusual ways that players can interact with each other?
Keita Takahashi: When BOY eats something and poops it out of his bottom, you can hear the name of the things that he pooped out. That is a new feature that we implemented, and that we call Fart BOY.
For example, when BOY poops out a dog, you can hear "dog" or "inu" [note from the translator: inu means dog in Japanese]. The name of the things BOY pops out is told in English or Japanese in a random way.
That way people will also learn Japanese!
Furthermore, some letters are spread all over the levels. These are hiragana (one of the types of characters used in Japanese), and some are from the Roman alphabet. For example, if you eat the syllables "a" "i" "ra" "bu" "yu" "u" in hiragana, you can almost hear "I love you". You can then then record it as a video and upload it on YouTube, which I think can be funny. It has absolutely no link with growing or with GIRL, but I think that this kind of information is interesting.
Eurogamer: Will the stretching of all the BOYs in multiplayer contribute to the growth of GIRL?
Keita Takahashi: I think that it will help it grow faster a little bit but I don't think that it will dramatically change. The multiplayer mode is not designed to make GIRL grow faster, so I don't really care.
In most multiplayer games, people compete or co-operate with each other. But Noby Noby Boy has no goals. What sort of fun can players have with each other in the game?
When you move the camera by using the motion sensor, the camera zooms on people or animals and the animals or people are actually looking at the camera. It's not like you get more points for doing this, or like if you had to remember something special, but it somehow makes players happy. Or you can try to make BOY move co-ordinated to the music playing from your songs you have on your hard drive, for example.
It's hard to explain, I don't have anything against strategies and difficult rules but it is these little somethings that make me have fun. These are the kind of experiences that I would like players to have.
I think that this kind of experience is also understandable in daily life. There are a lot of problems like this in our lives, and a lot of irrational things too. We shouldn't have a life of servility just because of that; even when you have no friends, when you don't have any money, when your situation is really bad, it's up to you to live a happy life.
If you sit on a precipitous road, if you take a different way than usual to walk, you will get a little bit happier. And from this happy feeling, you will open yourself to many other things.
I am exaggerating a little, but this is what it is all about.
Eurogamer: Do you think adding multiplayer will make the game more popular?
Keita Takahashi: I am not that na´ve. But I think that this version is a little more fun than version 1.0, so I would like the people who had enough of the first version and who really didn't have fun with it to enjoy this one.
Eurogamer: Will you add any Trophies to the game with this update?
Keita Takahashi: We won't add any trophies. As this a free update, we can't add any.
Eurogamer: Is there anything else in the update? The "dreams" on the Web Web Boy website suggest new music, and hairstyles for the house...
Keita Takahashi: We are upgrading it to what people expect in terms of soundtrack. I think that with this update the music will reach the standards of music in a videogame.
There also is a mode that is not included in the manual and which is called Synchro BOY. When you press one button, you get out from the house from somewhere, and even though this a one-player mode, the number of BOYs is being increased. You will understand once you try it!
Eurogamer: Most players of your games really enjoy the music soundtracks. Do you select the music yourself?
Keita Takahashi: At the beginning of the project I talk with the sound engineer to give him the general idea of what I want and then I completely leave it to him.
The game is not only the result of my ideas, it is the result of the power of imagination of the people making it, an I am not only talking about the sound effects or the music here, so on a general basis I leave everything to the person in charge because we end up with things that are even better.
The thing is, we had some problems implementing the sound effects and musics, and at the end, we ran out of time, so that's why version 1.0 was very simple in this aspect. However, version 1.1 is actually pretty good! But I think that the music might disappoint people that are expecting some Katamari-ish music though.
Eurogamer: Tell us some more about the iPhone version of Noby Noby Boy you showed at GDC. What are your aims for this?
Keita Takahashi: There are several reasons and aims with this.
The first one is: We used too much time and money to develop Noby Noby Boy, and there won't be any major updates in the future. However, I am trying to use the iPhone version in order to get more money from our top executives in order to keep updating the PS3 version. Basically, I am using the iPhone version as bait.
The second one is: I want to allow the programmers to develop on other platforms.
The third one is that with the iPhone, you can always be connected to the net, there is a tactile interface and a built-in GPS, so in my opinion, I believe that the possibilities of having fun are increased.
The fourth one is, even though the way of having fun might be different, ideally I would like to see both PS3 and iPhone versions focus on the same GIRL in space. In short, I want GIRL to grow thanks to the iPhone as well. Even if you don't have a PS3 you could create a PSN account and transfer BOY's length form your iPhone to GIRL, that's actually what I would like to do.
To implement this, I am sure that we will meet a lot of obstacles. If we could have some kind of cross-platform fun, and we could make some game hardware competition like which one is going faster, bad criticism may also decrease as well too.
That's pretty much about it.
Eurogamer: As you said in your talk, GIRL's progress through the solar system is going rather slowly. Do you regret implementing this feature the way you did?
Keita Takahashi: Yes, at the pace things are going now, it will take 820 years.
I have absolutely no regrets regarding the way we implemented the feature. I have been told to stop acting up and add some more "game-like" features. But I don't want to create a game with a pre-determined ending and I think it is OK the way it is. I don't think it is right to put an ending just for the sake of it. I believe that it is alright to create a stupid and irresponsible game, I really do.
Eurogamer: Many players say that they enjoyed Noby Noby Boy at first, but didn't play it for long because they didn't know what to do. Don't you think that objectives help people to enjoy themselves?
Keita Takahashi: I don't think that the problem comes form the game missing any objectives. I think that it is simply just not fun. I think we can make fun games without any objectives in it. So this all because of my lack of ability...
All my apologies if you're not having fun, even though you bought it. But with version 1.1 it becomes more fun and as the update is free, please try it!
We're definitely having fun, and it sounds like we're not the only ones. Check out our Noby Noby Boy review for more. We'll try and find another excuse to interview Takahashi ASAP.