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The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Interview Part I
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Interview Part IThe Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are the result of a collaboration between game developers from both Nintendo and Capcom. The Japanese website Ki no ue no Himitsu kichi recently conducted an interview with Nintendo's renowned Shigeru Miyamoto (M), Capcom game director Yoshiki Okamoto (O) and Capcom director Yoshifumi Yamashita (Y) about the process of making two new games at once.
Q: How old are you, Mr. Okamoto?
O: I'll be forty this year.
Q: You look younger than that.
O: Well, I've been working out! [laughs]
Y: Hmm ... [laughs]
O: What are you laughing for! [laughs] I really am working out, though. I've been doing push-ups every day. See? [does push-ups] I've really been shaping up.
Q: You do look the athletic type. I'm kind of surprised.
O: When he [Yamashita] turned 40, he was like, "I gotta exercise, I'm gonna work out until I get totally ripped." Right?
Y: Right. I went right back to normal after that, though.
Q: You do a lot of sports too, don't you, Mr. Miyamoto?
M: Not nearly as much as this guy. We...
O: No, no no. We're the ones not doing it nearly as much as you. Miyamoto works out at a totally different level than I do. You exercise, like, nearly every day right?
M: I don't, I don't.
O: Oh, really?
M: Basically twice a week.
O: Well, see? You're keeping it up.
M: My wife's been yelling at me to start walking to work, so I've been doing that recently.
O: She was getting on your case about your health, right? [laughs]
O: So you quit biking?
M: Well, I actually rode my bike today. [laughs]
O: You cheater!
Q: What kind of bicycle do you ride?
O: Something really cheap, right?
M: It's a mountain bike. Well, it's really a mountain bike, but I actually camouflaged it to make it look like a piece of junk.
O: Oh, so you put a basket in front?
M: Yeah, yeah! [laughs]
Q: So you're styling with that?
M: Oh, all the way.
O: With the outfit and all?
M: Well, no, I just go like this. [points to what he's wearing] Plus it's cold so I put on this wool hat. [laughs]
O: Kyoto's cold right now, isn't it? And it's too hot in the summer.
M: I probably should be putting on a helmet, but ...
Q: I was recently talking with the Takahashi brothers [designers of Mario Tennis], and they're actually fairly muscular as well. I got the impression that everyone releasing good games these days are all so fit and healthy, so I figured maybe you two were the same way.
O: Well, you gotta be tough to make games! It's hard to make them when you're sick all the time.
Q: Developers have the image of a bunch of people that sit in front of computers all the time ...
O: Kenji Eno's the only one like that! [laughs]
M: Oh, is he?
O: Well, I don't think he's working out! I don't know about Nintendo, but at Capcom people that have their eyes glued to the monitor all day don't tend to amount to much.
O: Capcom's pretty much overrun by track-meet kind of people.
M: Not just pretty much. Mostly.
O: We've got this thing called the Capcom UTFC going on right now.
Q: Ultimate Training?
O: Actually it's the Push-Up Club. [everyone laughs] Actually there's the Capcom Friendly Club, and then going against that is the Capcom Sit-Up Club. [laughs] Like, instead of going to work out at some training gym, they just sit around and do nothing but sit-ups and push-ups.
Q: Umm, so Zelda on the Game Boy Color ...
O: Nice subject change! [laughs]
Q: Mr. Macho Man himself, Mr. Okamoto, you've done all the production work for this game.
O: I've been allowed to supervise everything, right.
Q: I'd like to ask about those macho-man developers at Capcom, but before that, I want to ask you and Mr. Miyamoto how you think your team's been progress the game along.
O: Well, for the first little while I had left the team totally alone [without Miyamoto's help] because I figured they'd easily be able to do this much by themselves. So I left them alone, and for the first year we did nothing but lose lots of money.
Y: Lots and lots of money.
M: He told me that even a year ago. [laughs]
O: It's been taking up money for ages now, with all the people we've brought in. So I came in, and I saw that nothing was working out, and I went up to Miyamoto and was like, "Help me!" [laughs]
Q: Did you think that leaving the team alone would be alright, Mr. Miyamoto?
M: Well, I trusted him. [laughs]
O: That trust sure stabbed you in the back. [laughs]
Y: Big time. [laughs]
Q: What made you realize that you needed help?
O: The members of our team weren't agreeing over the direction that game development should take. I thought that we should produce a new version of the first Zelda game (released for the NES in the U.S.) for Game Boy Color. Then, if it went well, we could move on to the next stage (making a more ambitious game). But, my people wanted to skip that first phase and create their own Zelda game from the beginning. Mr. Miyamoto normally creates the game scenario (story and characters) after the initial game play is designed. If the action part of the game is solid, the scenario can be developed from there. We started by using the Capcom scenario creation company, Flag Ship, to create the scenario first. Then, we created maps and started developing the game. I don't believe that worked.
M: That didn't work? [laughs]
O: Using that system, the team had to redo both the scenario and the maps several times to make all the elements fit. During that process, we realized that, since the Game Boy Color screen is narrower than a TV screen, the player must scroll the screen to the left and right to see the whole room. That created some difficulties in game play development. If you see a crack on a wall, you know that you need to use a bomb to break through. But, if you can't see the crack, because all of the walls in the room aren't visible at once, you could miss it. That led to more difficulty in developing the maps.