Confirmed: Wii Hardware Stores Player Caricatures, Profiles
Topic: Console Games
HELPFUL SUMMARY of the below: Game|Life is able to exclusively reveal that the Wii hardware will include a feature by which players can create "profiles" of themselves that include not only personal information but a caricature of their face that any Wii game will be able to access and use, as seen in the demonstration of Wii Sports Tennis.
THE WHOLE STORY and why do I know this: I interviewed Animal Crossing and Wii Sports producer Katsuya Eguchi at E3, and thought I'd gotten a big scoop from him when he told me that players would be able to create their own facial caricatures to put on the players in Wii Sports, then use them in other games.
But then, minutes later, a friend of mine told me they'd got the same information in another interview with a different Nintendo producer. So I figured, hell, that's not worth putting up, it's common knowledge.
So I figured I'd just sit on the piece. But then I've noticed that one of the most important parts of the story -- the fact that the caricature-making and profile-storing process is part of the hardware -- didn't get out. Even today, all the major outlets are just speculating. Well, no more speculation. It's a hardware feature. Here's the relevant part of the interview:
Wired News: With the graphic design, is there a reason for having it as simple as it is?
Katsuya Eguchi: Sure, there are games that require more sophisticated graphics. But there are also titles that require more simplified graphics. Our priority with Wii Sports isn't graphics; what we were trying to show through these games is how the controllers works, how sensitive it is. Our goal wasn't to create a realistic baseball game with real-world pro athletes, it was to create soemthing familiar, something that isn't intimidating, something that anyone in the family would be comfortable pickign up and trying out themselves. That's why we went with the simpler graphics.
Also as you saw in the media briefing, you saw Iwata, Miyamoto, and Reggie playing tennis. we are looking to implement a similar kind of editing feature into the hardware that will allow users to create caricatures of themselves, members of the family, people they would potentially play with. and so when they go to play tennis, those would be the faces in the game. a more sophisticated graphic look wouldn't match well with the caricatures, but a simpler one does.
Wired News: So the feature would be in the hardware and then applied to, potentially, any game…
Katsuya Eguchi: Yes. The caricatures will exist in the hardware, as data, as one of several profiles that you could save in the Wii. And if you insert compatible software into the Wii, it will pull up the images that you chose.
Wired News: What would be some of the other profiles you could save in the Wii, then?
Katsuya Eguchi: The other details that will be saved as a part of the user profiles are as yet undecided, but right now we're focusing on creating an editing tool that will allow players to create images as well as allow users to select one of several already-created images, if they're not artistically inclined.
Wired News: This sounds like something that would be very useful for Animal Crossing, especially with multiple profiles.
Katsuya Eguchi: In Animal Crossing the player has the ability to wear different hats, different masks, different accessories. So we're not sure if the caricatures would be something that would work for Animal Crossing. So that is still under consideration. Besides Wii Sports there are a variety of applications that could use the caricatures, and we will explore those.
by Chris Kohler
Friday, 2 June 2006