Yesterday, TIME published a really interesting interview with Shinya Takahashi (General Manager of the Nintendo Entertainment Planning and Development division). But they also published one with Yoshiaki Koizumi, who is Producer of the Nintendo Switch itself, which explains why the interview is mostly about the console itself.
Koizumi starts by reminind us that inspiration for the Nintendo Switch comes from the time Nintendo was making playing cards, which is why it puts so much emphasis on playing with other people. It’s for this reason the console comes with two controllers right out of the box: you can bring the Nintendo Switch with you anywhere, and start playing right here, right there.
Regarding core gamers, Yoshiki Koizumi expects Nintendo fans to show to other people, but he explains that Nintendo will also have to convey the appeal of 1-2-Switch, so that the Nintendo Switch can have a broader appeal.
Koizumi also mentions cultural differences between Japan and the West, regarding local multiplayer:
I think for us, it’s really a much more natural thing. Partly, that’s because particularly with things like DS and 3DS, kids in Japan, they walk to school together and they walk home from school together. You have a lot of opportunity for kids walking home and then playing together after school. They have more of these opportunities for face-to-face local play.
Whereas I hear that in the U.S., there’s maybe not as many of those opportunities on a daily basis for kids based on their schedules. I think for us, it’s just more of a natural flow from even the days of the Famicom when you would sit down with two controllers and then hand one to your friend and play together in front of the TV. And with these other opportunities for kids, that for us the focus on local play just feels very natural.”
One of the main things Nintendo is trying to achieve with the Nintendo Switch is to make a bridge between home consoles and handhelds, so that it becomes the “constant in your gaming life”. There may be people who buy the console and use it for a long time (like one would a regular home console), while others use it more like a handheld to be upgraded later down the line.
Basically, Koizumi envisions scenarios such as a player playing in the TV before heading out, then using the Switch to play while commuting, and then playing back at home on the TV, after school/work.
Of course, he also mentions possible extensions to attach via the Joy-Cons’ “ports”. Koizumi teases such extensions, though naturally, he doesn’t give any example.
In order to convince third-party developers to make games for the Nintendo Switch, Yoshiaki Koizumi and Shinya Takahashi traveled all around the world to present the console, personally. He explains that they were pretty nervous about the whole thing, especially with overseas third-party developers, as they were not sure how they would react.
But in the end, those very developers were pretty happy to see the console:
There were many overseas developers who we presented the system to who were very happy to see it.
We did a number of these presentations last year, and we were actually pretty nervous doing them, because we didn’t know how the overseas developers were going to respond to it And in each presentation, one of the last things that we showed was 1-2-Switch.
[It was] the peak of their joy in playing the system. It’s also funny to watch these middle-age guys dancing as they play.
Later in the interview, Yoshiki Koizumi confirms that Snipperclips should be available at launch (at least, that’s what Nintendo is planning). But one of the reasons Nintendo is pushing for this game to be available at launch is not just because of the local multiplayer and communication aspects.
He explains that Snipperclips is an example of some of the work Nintendo has been doing to get the development environment to a place where even small teams can create games for the Nintendo Switch. With the Wii U, Nintendo really opened its gates to indie developers, and it looks like the Nintendo Switch will be even more open.
That’s a game that’s being developed in Unity that’s on pace to be available for launch of the system. I think that with the tools being available earlier in the life cycle of the system, it’s going to make it a lot easier for developers to create a variety of different games of varying scope for Switch.
Finally, Yoshiaki Koizumi talks about the Nintendo Switch’s graphical power, and how he believes it strikes the right balance between being able to create fun and new ways to play and good graphical quality (while being easy to develop for).
Click here to check out the full interview!
The Nintendo Switch launches on March 3rd, worldwide.