Gamerfeed Interview with Yuji Naka

Interview Data:

  • Interview Date: 06 May 2003
  • Interview Topics: Billy Hatcher, Nintendo
  • Interview Source: Gamerfeed external.png

Will Billy Hatcher include online play?
Naka: No, we don't have any plans to include LAN support. We're looking at 2 and 4 player split screen support.

Will there be any GBA connectivity? Maybe in the future?
Naka: No, but depending on how the game sells we may look into bringing this onto GBA. We will look into ways of developing this on GBA.

What about the replay value of the game?
Naka: Actually, there are a number of hidden creatures in the game. With different creatures, there will be different methods of clearing each level. There will be a lot of replay value through this aspect.

Why eggs? Which of their properties will be used in the game, if any?
Naka: If you think about it, most action games have been one character doing all the action. This time I wanted to find a different way of action. With eggs, we felt the obligation and joy you get from hatching the egg; with both of these, a new style of gameplay could be created. Initially, we tried some experiments with oblong eggs, but that proved challenging and we went with more round eggs. Eggs, because you don't know what's coming out, gives you a feeling of anticipation that would be nice to add to the gameplay.

How many levels and environments are in the game? Can you describe some?
Naka: Actually, the number of worlds and missions haven't been finalized. The number isn't final just yet. For E3 we will show three worlds and one boss. We would be very happy if everyone could play that version so everyone can know what to expect from the game.

Why did you decide to develop this game for GameCube only? Will it come out for any other systems in the future?
Naka: I just like developing for GameCube. As for other systems, we are not planning to release it at all. We think this game relates to Nintendo's style of business and style of games, and we think it's a great match.

There seems to be a similarity between growing the eggs and growing the Chaos in Sonic Adventure. What similarities will we see between the two?
Naka: Well, the Chao were kind of part of an artificial life system in SA2, but it's different from Billy Hatcher. The animals you hatch will help you solve puzzles in the game, and will help you throughout the game.

Once a creature has hatched, do you have control of it at that time? Or does it become it's own independent agent?
Naka: Essentially the small creatures will move independently, but you can give them commands to have them attack or something. You can guide them around to have them help you solve the puzzles and get through the missions.

How were you able to work with the GameCube? Is there a significant difference between porting games and developing this original game? And will the game support Dolby Pro Logic II and progressive scan?
Naka: Regardless of any platform you're working on, there are always challenges. This game is quite a bit behind schedule, but you can take that to mean we have nurtured this game and spent a lot of time improving it. As for pro scan and Dolby, I'd like to make the game compatible with both.

Can you tell us more about the multiplayer modes, which you had mentioned this game started its life as?
Naka: We have completed the system for the multiplayer mode. At this point, we're looking how to expand the one player, but we are done with the 4 player system. We think the style of hatching eggs will benefit the multiplayer a lot. We think the eggs and creatures will serve for different attacks on each other, but also players will be nervous about what other players are growing.

Can you tell us more about the controls about the game?
Naka: You'll have a jump button, you'll run with the action stick, there will be an attack button, the camera stick will work the camera, and you will have a button where you can influence the creatures you hatch.

Will there be any cameos by Sonic Team characters like we've seen in other games?
Naka: I kind of don't think so this time around. If everyone gets together and demands it and we have time, we may put something in there. We've focused on really using the GameCube's power to creature a new world other than Sonic, so we don't know if it would really fit.

Is Billy Hatcher part of a series of games or was it developed as a standalone title?
Naka: Well, I've made a lot of games, but I've never started a game thinking about sequels. Only after a game sells well do I think about those kinds of things. I'm just thinking of the direct future for this title, and we'll see after that.

Is Billy Hatcher's graphic engine original or is it using previous GameCube efforts like Sonic Adventure 2?
Naka: In terms of the engine itself, I guess you could consider it an evolution of the Sonic Adventure 2 engine. We've been able to take advantage of some of the specfic strengths of the GameCube. Pay attention to the water effects and the effects in the boss battles and you'll be nicely surprised.


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