Japanese devs talk Revolution controller

They like it, generally speaking.

Nintendo Dream has published an interview with a load of Japanese developers, revealing what they think of the "freestyle" remote controller for the Nintendo Revolution. And perhaps unsurprisingly, they all think it's highly exciting and wicked.

"I was surprised when I saw it, I was surprised when I touched it, and when I played the sample games, I was even more surprised," said Sega's Toshihiro Nagoshi, producer of Super Monkey Ball and very surprised man.

"I doubt that there's a creator who doesn't get tickled after getting their hands on this. It combines all the elements required to let you enjoy games while feeling that you've become the character."

Pokémon art director Ken Sugimori also went on about being surprised for a bit, and said it takes a lot of nuts to reduce the numbers of buttons on a controller. Though he probably didn't use that phrase.

"You'll be able to do things with the Revolution that you could never do with consoles before," Sugimoro said.

"Personally, it's the kind of hardware where, more than making games, I'd rather play them."

Kouichi Suda, president of Killer 7 developer Grass Hopper Interactive, would disagree - he told Nintendo Dream he couldn't wait to get started on his first Revolution project, even though he has yet to get his hands on the console itself.

"I've already finalised a plan. Now all that remains is to make it," he said.

But developing Rev games may not be an easy task according to Square-Enix's Kouichi Ishii, project producer for World of Mana.

"You'll have to change game design methods from the core. For instance, you'll have to start by looking back at your play as a kid and think of what kinds of things you could do if developing for the Revolution," Ishii said.

"If you can do this, then surely you will be able to make a completely new form of play, different from current games."

Ishii's not the only one who reckons the Revolution could inspire new gaming genres - Tooru Iwatani, otherwise known as Pac-Man's dad, agrees: "Just as input with the Nintendo DS pen gave birth to new game contents, there are great possibilities hidden in this remote-like controller."

Imagine a game where you input text, just like you would do with a mobile phone, he suggested. Iwatani went on to say the Revolution controller could give game designers the kick up the backside they need to get more creative, adding that he hopes Nintendo will continue to inspire gamers and developers in new ways.

Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada is equally optimistic with regard to the controller's power to inspire. "Isn't this the thing that will cause a revolution for the games industry, which has slowly lost its way? As a creator, this is the ultimate toy," he said - before adding a note of caution.

"A number of basic ideas come forth, but placing those properly into a game and making players have fun is difficult."

Sora's Masahiro Sakurai, who's worked on Kirby, Smash Brothers and Meteos, is also a little wary: "The DS, with its touch screen, made games a ways easier to understand. However, with the D-pad and buttons, and also the touch panel, controls actually became more complicated.

"I think it would be good if the same thing doesn't happen with Revolution."

But that doesn't mean he's not a fan of Nintendo's new controller. "I'm sympathetic to Nintendo's stance of reducing hurdles for games. For that reason, I think it's good that the controller buttons have been reduced to just one.

"A long remote controller shape with just one button. This has impact."

Not enough impact at first glance as far as some developers are concerned, however - hark at Super Robot Wars producer Takanobu Terada.

"To be honest, I was expecting the Revolution controller to have an even more unique form, so I was initially disappointed," he said.

"However, that quickly disappeared. With good use of the expansion terminal, isn't it possible to make, for instance, a versus shooting game without the use of the monitor, where the fight is through the controller alone?

"I feel that it is a great controller that can inspire many ideas, even aside from videogames."

Let's give the final world to Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi: "When I first saw it, I thought 'It's great!' and 'It's just like Nintendo!'."

"It makes you feel like you're actually touching the screen. In that sense, you could say that it's an extension of the DS, but it's actually very different."

And don't think he's all jaded and cynical just because he's one of the richest and most famousest game developers in the world, oh no: "When shown such a new concept, software makers are, even as just normal people, left excited." Good to know.

So there you have it - Japanese developers are giving the Revolution controller two thumbs up, embracing the fact that it has fewer buttons and even going so far as to predict that it will change games FOR EVER. Good news for Nintendo, and a bit of a slap upside the head for those who've suggested a lack of third-party support for the new console. Roll on spring 2006! Or autumn. Or Christmas. Or possibly even 2007. We give up.

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About the author

Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson

Contributor  |  elliegibson

Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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