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Iwata reflects on N64 dev challenges

Official translation of S&P Iwata Asks.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Nintendo has published an official translation of its "Iwata Asks" feature about Sin & Punishment 2, in which president Satoru Iwata and men from Treasure discuss how bats*** difficult it was to make anything work on the N64.

"That was because Nintendo 64 drastically changed how things were made up through the Super NES system," Iwata explained in the piece, reminiscing about his time at HAL Laboratory. "We ran up against how to make the best use of 3D graphics, and the team had quite a hard time."

Overall it was worth it, he told an assembled group of Nintendo and Treasure staff brought together for the feature. "Nintendo 64 had a number of restrictions, but it truly was a full-blown 3D machine. Nonetheless, the limits it had were such that, unless you used it right, it wouldn't run well."

And on he went. "With the Nintendo 64, the size of textures was severely limited. If you didn't contrive something clever when making the data, the processing speed would drop dramatically."

He wasn't the only one who struggled with Nintendo's last cartridge-based home console though, as his conversation with Atsutomo Nakagawa later on reached the point where he remarked: "It seems your experience developing Sin & Punishment for N64 was so painful it still causes you to sigh loudly."

The original Sin & Punishment was a headache for Treasure to make for a number of reasons, apparently, one of which was its unorthodox use of the N64's three-pronged controller. But another difficulty was the, er, difficulty.

"When I said, 'It's too difficult. I can't do it,' they responded, 'Then you're not good enough to be in charge of this project,'" Nintendo's Hitoshi Yamagami explained. "When I said, 'But normal people can't do this!' they said, 'Everyone in our company can do it. Anyone who can't do this can't be on our team.'"

Treasure president Masato Maegawa replied: "We wouldn't be worth much if we crumbled just because we were ordered to do something.

"If you do something just because you're told to, even though you don't agree, the game will fall apart. But Yamagami-san was persistent in continually hammering away at our staff."

"If I had really laid on them," Yamagami continued, "we probably could have brought the game out before 2000, but I told them I wouldn't order them to make it easier. I kept saying, 'I won't order you to do it until you understand. I'll keep talking to you until you understand.' If I hadn't, there would have been no point in working with them."

Iwata went on to quiz the developers about Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Skies, which is due out in Europe on 7th May for Wii. Look out for our European review of that soon.

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