Kiyoshi Saruwatari's Wii Blog

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Microphone...

Yes, all Wiimotes will feature a built in microphone that is placed at the very bottom of the Wiimote. The speaker in the latest prototypes is moved upwards, so it's right below the A button.

This is all to enable to use it as a phone. In certain online games you will be able to chat while you're playing and when you're in the lobby you can use the Wiimote as a normal telephone. However, this function will not be integrated in an online service and will only work in selected games. But I dont doubt that some 3rd party will do an online portal that enable the use of the Wii as a voice over IP device... That's likely to happen, but not yet planned.

So the phone functionality that is used in Metroid Prime Hunters on DS will also work with some games right out of the box without headset on Wii. You will also be able to plug in a headset in the USB ports of the Wii's back to be able to get higher sound quality when playing the game. A headset will as it looks now not be made by Nintendo, it's yet just a possibility for someone to do a headset.

But the microphone will also be used for gameplay technical uses. In WarioWare you will have to sing (yes...) a little and also say some words in another minigame. In some spots in Twilight Princess when using stealth the enemies can hear you if you make a sound... Though this can be deactivated if you're in a noisy environment, but then the enemies easier spot you, to make the gameplay fair and it's easier to succeed with using the mic and being quiet. We want players to use this option, but if it's a noisy environment it will automatically turn off and stay off until you restart the game when it's quiet, or change the settings for the game.

The microphone will also be used in a brand new Nintendo karaoke game which will come within the first year of the console's release. I cant name it yet but it will come. It will also have a mode where you move around with the mic (Wiimote) and it judges your dance moves from that. Because you always keep the mic close to your mouth so it can track your head.

Of course, since the mic is convenitenly always there it will be used for small things in many games, like on DS. In Project H.A.M.M.E.R. you can blow air to get past some of the puzzles, by blowing into the mic. Also Zelda will use similar things for it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Project H.A.M.M.E.R.

This is a very original game who's idea came up after we've decided on the Wiimote. ”One thing that people always like is surprisingly to smash things... Why not turn it into an idea with the Wiimote?” one developer thought. And Project HAMMER is what came out of that idea.

The controls are very simple and intuitive. You move around the character with the nunchuk and you swing a large hammer around with the Wiimote. The character, by the way, is a human with some robotic gear trying to get rid of robots that are taking over the world. To do that you need to smash robots to peices and a car or two that happen to be in the way get crushed too!

The areas you fight through are pretty unique too. It's mostly in cities with loads of interesting robot devices and things to crush. But it's greatly varied. As you come away from the cities and out in the open you see that the robots in secret are building factories and keep humans away from seeing it. It's your call to stop the robots.

You hammer follows you the entire game, it follows the exact moves of the Wiimote and you can even twist it around. As you go you find different powerups like one that makes the hammer heaver, one that makes in capable of giving electric jolts and one with spikes. It's amazing to see how different objects react to the different powered hammer. When you have spikes things get stuck and you can penetrate glass and see and hear them shatter as you thrust the Wiimote into the window and violently twist it to break the glass.

This game also contains lots of different puzzles. You have to use different power ups to smash different switches and doors and on some targets you are give subtly hints of a special direction to twist the hammer in order to complete the challenge. But the core of this game is the appreciation for destruction that we all carry. And we have found a surprisingly creative outlet for it! Be creative by being destructive – that's certainly something new. Because you do get lots of excersise while playing this game.

This first Project H.A.M.M.E.R is only the first in a new series of games. This is a new franchise. We plan on releasing further games in this franchise. It's one of those many games that can only be apprectiated on a Wii. Because how fun is it really to turn a joystick left an see a hammer move on the screen? Not that funny. The Wiimote makes that simple move very satisfying and entertaining. The built-in speaker in the Wiimote is also creatively used in this game. Hit and object and klank! you hear the hammer hit the object and it also shakes to give you the impression of being in the game. And it works. It does feel like you are the very character on screen when you're frantically smashing around in an atempt to destroy the robots before the imprison you with other rebels.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The online portal

The Wii will offer a great portal. Ive already told you that at e3 you cans download demo and videos from the show. To experience e3 at home for free. Well, that will use a special e3 interface. But normally you will also be able to use a portal. From there you will be able to download demos of new games, extra game content and even full games. It uses an simple to use interface with buttons that are labeled to be easy understand.

Also different games companies and net sites will be able to create portals that connect to the Wii portal. It's almost like it's own Internet with Wii approved content (of course you can browse the net too with the Opera firmware upgrade). I think I've talked about it but I can do it again. Opera will come slightly after launch as a $5-$10 firmware upgrade. With it you will be able to browse all webpages inutivly with the Wiimote. It feels very natuarl and you can find your way around fast.

Well, anyway, sites like for example GameSpot or IGN will be able to set up their Wii portals and offer video reviews, text reviews, other videos or text or even downloadable game data. Users will be able to set up a special portal too which you can find when searching on the Wii search engine, and they can offer mods for games or similar. The Wii kind of uses its own Internet with a special format of programming (I'm not really good at this technical area), but it's very simplified from usual languages like HTML and PHP. But still it offers amazing possiblitis with downloadable media and browsing capabilities.

From the Wii portal you will also be able to access the online stor where you can buy everything from games (most games will not be released this way, though companies with limits funds can do so) to peripherals for Wii. Like a Wiimote and nunchuck.

Virtual Console and WiiConnect, the name of the portal, will be closely integrated. You can buy a VC game for the online store and then chose "Play" when the download is finished and it seems as you go to a new webpage, which in reality is the Virtual Console interface. When you stop playing the game you can start off exactly where you left the portal.

And whenever you're done - press the power off button. The Wii goes to sleep and can continue to download data for you or update your games using WiiConnect24. I should calify that no updates will be forced - the console always asks for permission if it wants to modify any data of your games. Updates to games you own on discs will be stored in the memory and the applied every time you start the game. You dont notice any speed difference at all.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Disaster: Day of Crisis

Disaster is one of the new yet-Wii-exclusive franchises from Nintendo. We are we excited about them since they all offer new and refreshing gameplay. But on the other hand, the competition in the gameplay area on the Wii is very, very tough.

In this game big disasters are happeing in a city in the states. Your task is to survive the disasters and get out of harm. This game has highly cinematic gameplay, it feels like a movie. It's fast-paced and very hectic. You play the game in a 3rd person perspektive and you use the Wiimote to point. Either to use your gun or to pick up objects. Because there will be a lot of obstacles.

You will need to take cover inside houses to avoid getting hit by falling meterods, and get up in skyscrapes to get safe from extremely high sea waves... Or are you safe in that skyscraper... The atomsphere in the city is horrible. Everywhere are people panicking and running around. Some people go slightly mad and threaten you for being to close to them. It's a very pressed situation.

The most freighning is that after a disaster, the streets are all empty. But there are some left that you need to help. Locate first aid-kits, food, etc. Exploring, shooting and grabbing objects are done with the Wiimote while walking is done with the nunchuk. You can also drive cars where you use the Wiimote in a similar fashion as Excite Truck (hold it at the side and steer like a steer wheel). You can all the time grab any object, look at or take and use for different things. The gameplay reminds of slow adventure games, just without the slow. And you wont have to run around looking for stuff. Much of it is also optional.

At your disposal you have everything you can find. A gun, a shovel, anything you can find. Though this game is not as violent as GTA, the shovel is just used for digging... In one place you need to locate a radio underneath earth so you can call to an emergency to get you out of a deserted city. You use a metal detector which you move around with the Wiimote.

This game will feature a breathtaking physics engine and also different endings depending on how you do. Every time you play the disaster can happen in different orders and you can go to cities in different orders. There are many ways to survive, though none is easy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

DS <> Wii

There are some things already known between DS and Wii. Wii will be able to connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection through Wii. Nintendo DS will be able to download demos from Wii. It will also be used in different ways in different games.

Now I dont know if you have taken time to really think about the possibilitys here. Because they are very big. Imagine that you directly during e3 can just turn on your Wii, look at the press conference live and then download demos directly to your DS and Wii. That will be reality.

You no longer have to go to e3 to be able to try the latest and greatest game betas for your DS or Wii. You will be presented with a very nice interface of the WiiConnect e3 portal that will list all new game demos and videos. You can watch the media brifing as well as interviews and similar. e3 just moved into every gamer's home.

This is a very exciting connectivity use for Wii and DS. As I've said earlier Wii is the connected console, with high focus on online feature, but it will also have full-fledged offline games, greater than ever thought possible.

But there's more to the DS – Wii connectivity that this. You will also be able to play some very special games on the Wii, using you DS. This has already been stated but you cant understand just how great this is before you know more. DS, as we all know, is a very powerful handheld that's capable of voice chat and intense online play. When playing with Wii this power will be used to keep a connection with Wii and Wii will provide with the game itself, and the graphics. The DS' screen with be extension of the Wii, and show Wii generated graphics. The touch screen, mic etc will then be linked to Wii. In this way you can play games with console graphics on your DS. Or have exciting games that use the DS for input in combination with other input systems or the TV, of the Wii.

For example, Super Mario Galaxy will allow you to use your DS to check stats and see a map. If you play Zelda Twilight Princess with a DS and Wii, you will get extra content and puzzles that take advantage of the touch screen. WarioWare Smooth Moves will offer a mode that show a shape on the TV that you have to mimic on the DS with the stylus. It will also offer some DS specific mini games. Wii will also have, for all games not using DS connection, a setting that mirrors that TV image on the DS. This can be useful for watching others play.

Some other games take it to a whole new level by using the DS as a way to play multiplayer. Projekt HAMMER will take advantage of this in a great way with coperative mode. One player will play the game on the Wii with the Wiimote. Another player will help the other one by partially clearing up areas using the DS. Again, this is all optional. Because you in no means need a DS to play Wii. No game yet requires a DS to play.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

WarioWare Smooth Moves

Everyone who saw the latest game in the WarioWare series at e3 were very impressed. It's a fantastic exapmle how you can use Wii for experimental gameplay. It also uses little graphics power and could be very cheap to produce for a third party. That shows the world that great Wii games dont have to be expensive to develop. A big idea = a big game. Sounds like an utopia? No, it's Wii from Nintendo.

Anyway, the e3 version was only half of the this game offers. It uses the biggest secret as well, in ways just a fresh and innovative as it use the Wiimote. You will all be blown away, if you werent already by the e3 demo. Smooth Moves will use the biggest secret in some of the minigames, but not all of them.

WarioWare is one of my favorite games. It's because it's so flexible. No matter how crazy ideas we come up with, there always seems like a thousand ways to use them for WarioWare. And customers love WarioWare too. We believe the with Smooth Moves, the WarioWare franchise will be much more recognised that it curently is. It deservs that. We also think it will draw new gamers to Wii and it is an excellent example of a game thats actually fun to watch anybody else to play it. It's a great party game, a great family game for all ages and just a great game that captures what Wii is all about.

It will offer 250-300 radically different minigames. There are so many things you can do with the Wiimote and the biggest secret. I will list some things you can do with the wiimote that was not showceased at e3.

- Swing the Wiimote as a sword to cut a tree
- Solve a very simple puzzle with three pieces
- Steer a plane to not crash in buildings
- Start a boat engine by pulling
- Draw a gun and shoot
- Turn a pice of wood to fit in a hole in a building approaching
- Do two crazy dance moves in a row
- Touch the ground and then jump as high as possible
- Play a extract from a NES game with the buttons (a very surprising change)
- Shake a broom to get rid of rats hiding in it

We had the idea of swinging the cable between the Wiimote and the nunchuck and jumping but we figured out quite soon that it would propably destroy practically all controllers. And the wire itself is too short. Too bad, because I really liked the idea! It sounded great.

Now the game play entirely with the Wiimote, without the nunchuk. Some games werent suitable for the nunchuck at all, and it would be fun to take it on and off all the time.

More on Half-Life and Shenmue

You have asked if we will see Shenmue 1 and 2 as well as the entirely new title on the Wii. We may or may not but Im sure that they will not come included with Shenmue 3 nor will they be sold an a physic medium. Instead they may be available on virtual console... What?!! I can hear you ask. Well, Sega and Nintendo are closely working on a Dreamcast emulator. It's very difficult because it's hard to emulate such a powerful system but they've come far and it looks promising. So hopefully we will see Shenmue 1 and 2 on virtual console, though they will be charged $15-$30 for each. But that's still amazing. We will also see more Dreamcast titles, though which ones are not clear yet, but Shenmue will be available if the Dreamcast emulator turns out to work great. Otherwise you'll have to wait to the next next generation console to see a Dreamcast emulator and Shenmue 1 and 2 on a Nintendo system.

About Half-Life I dont know. If you think it's safe to assume they will only release the newer games in the series, you're taking a risk. Because now we have the WiiConnect features, a great option for Valve would be to release the original Half-Life and expansion to it. But that still needs porting of the game. Let me just remind you all that it's not sure that Half-Life will come to Wii. It's under consideration, though it looks promising if I can have my word.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Interview with alleged-rapist

> I'm a big Nintendo fan and have always imagined working at Nintendo, so I'll
> begin by asking questions about your job at Nintendo.
>
> How did you come about working with Nintendo?

I have always had a passion for technology and games. Everyone are of course interested about games because they're the same thing as fun. We know that not all people think this, and we think that is not how it should be. Because that, we try our hardest to get everyone to play games. Personally, Ive always enjoyed games together with robustly constructed hardware to play those games. The hardware is a crucial part, and though not everyone are interested in it, I certainly is. It's what powers the games. It's what inspires the games and make them possible.



> How long have you been working at Nintendo?

Ive been working here for a little more that five years and Im really enjoying it. The people here are so nice and creative. It's really the ideal environment for coming up with and realising crazy ideas. We all just let it flow.



> What do you like about working at Nintendo?

Working at Nintendo is a dream coming true. And it is all that I anticipated it to be. It's creative, friendly and unusual ideas are very welcome all the time. The teamwork works great and the end result is almost always very satisfying. But if it's not, we perfect it. Because we a perfectionists.



> Could you describe your role in other pieces of hardware besides the Wii?

Ive mainly worked with designing the Wii since I got here, though in the beginning I worked a little with the GameCube. I dont want to tell you my exact position, but I work with the human interface of the hardware.



> Here are are some general questions about the processes intact at Nintendo.
>
>
> How long does it take for a console to be created, from conception to
> realization?

It really depends. It can take 15 years. Someone gets an extraordinary idea, but its not possible yet to realize. Then we research it and one day maybe we see the technology for it is available. Then we look at different possibilities to incorporate these ideas into a new hardware project. Most console have ideas that came many years ago, though the serious work begin after a new console has come to the market.



> Do you consult with focus groups, whether it third party developers or
> gamers, when deciding what to have in a console?

No, we keep almost all of the details close to the chest in the beginning. We research many different possiblities to do and decide ourselves which way we want to go. Since we produce software ourselves, we prefer to set our own pace and direction. And since were the leading game developers, that usually turns out highly successful. We feel that it's our hardware, our software and we just go on and realize our wildest dreams. Later in the cycle, though, we have an open dialogue with other developers. From them we receive early input which can push us in the right direction. But most of the time they just say WOW. And we're right on track.



> From the release of a new console, when does Nintendo start working on their
> next console?

The work begins even before the new console is release. We ask How can we improve this? What can we do to further expand our concepts? What new concepts can we introduce? What do we really want to do the next generation? We often have various projects and researches of crazy technologies going on in the background. Most of the turn out to be too expensive or not right in time. Then we just lay them on ice to inspect in the future.



> Nintendo is known for delaying the release of their products. I suppose
> this is because of Nintendo's comitment to quality. Could you describe
> Nintendo's quality assurance process?

Well, we have a large number of people working for us and we always consult each other and talk very openly. Then we let different people in the company try out new concepts and ideas. This way we try to come up with the perfect concept for the new generation. When we have finalized the ideas we create experimental software, pushing the capablilities of the concept. We then do playtests. As you see, gameplay is always, always in focus. After we've finalized how the gameplay will work we go on to find suitable deals for graphics chip, etc and we start to design the hardware. Controller, console itselfs and so on. We create a great number of prototypes, not one similar to the other.



> When making a game, in general, is there more effort spent making the
> resources (such as textures, models, sound, etc.) than programming?

The programming is an large, crucial part of every software. But the resources take a greater effort to create. We have one team programming, one team doing graphics (and sub-teams doing texturing, modeling, etc), one team dealing with sound, and another one designing the gameplay, voice acting and the general presentation.



> Here are some questions about the Wii.
>
> You claim that Wii is able to make high quality graphics with little
> horsepower. Are we to see Hollywood style graphics on the Wii? If so, do
> you see the movie industry, and other gaming companies, adapting this
> technology?

I havent said the graphics will be unlike anything youve ever seen. In fact, they will be inferior to those of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Though only by a little. The amazing is that Wii does this with a fraction of the raw power. And with the fraction of the production cost and heat creation. We believe that many industries and companys will want to use this technology since it allows to drastically cut the cost for production of both hardware and software, but since weve patented it, they will either be unable to do so or have to pay a fee. That will be decided in each individual case.



> Making high quality graphics with little horse power must require a lot of
> research. When did this research begin? Would this extensive research
> accounted for Nintendo's half-hearted support of the GameCube?

This research began back when we considered a SNES CD addon. It was a long time ago. Then it developed into a series of breathtaking technologies. It was originally planned to be used in Nintendo 64, but then we realized that it was too immature to even use in GameCube, years later.



> I'm also an SGi fan. Do they have any role in the Wii?

We worked with them for some of the new technologies, but lately we didnt. So they dont play a major role in Wii, no.



> Aside from the controller, with the last secret in mind, will the developing
> on the Wii require more or less programming effort than the GC?

It will require more effort. Just like all new consoles. But the gap between GC and Wii is much smaller than for example that between PS2 and PS3. And we have also given small developers new possibilties to deliver games. They can distribute small games with creative ideas for the wiimote, on the internet. That way even the smallest of developers can create a great game and sell to a large audince. Because we believe it's the idea that counts - not the fund.



> From what you have described, the Wii seems indeed to be a magical machine.
> In the beginning of every generation, I think graphics are not going to get
> any better. With the Wii, do you see that the "graphics war" has ended, and
> there is no need for spending time on hardware for high quality graphics?
> Would the only additional feature on Nintendo's next console be HD support?

Graphics will still improve, but it has never been the central concern for us at Nintendo. If you look at the history, the weakest console always seem to win. SNES vs Sega Mega. PlayStation vs N64. DS vs PSP. We know that people are after fun games, and affordable prices. We still loves amazing graphics, though, so we will continue to deliver the best graphics. The next generation console will probably have HD support, though that is pure speculation on my part. This current generation we believe that so few people have HDTVs that they apprectiatve more a lower price that HD support. Remember that HD also greatly expenses developement of games, and it takes a lot of space on the disks. We need all the space we can get to make spectacular and large games.



> Is Nintendo of Japan working on any games aimed towards a mature audience?

Well, I would consider many of Nintendo's first party titles to be targeted to mature gamers. But Im talking about the famous Nintendo franchises like Zelda. We believe that that game appeals to many mature gamers. But yes, we have other games in the works as well. The Brain Training for the DS was a huge success, so expect more things like that in the future.



> Although the games Nintendo demoed at E3 were innovating, groundbreaking,
> and refreshing, most of them were extensions of existing games. Are there
> any games in development that can only be materialized with the "big
> secret?"

Yes, there certainly are games like that. And the games you did saw at e3 didnt show their true faces. They have more to them...



> I thank you for your time.

You're welcome.

The games

At e3, Nintendo unveiled the best launch line up any Nintendo console has ever had. There will be a ton of games at launch. Both from first and third party. We really believe that a lot new publishers will find their luck on Nintendo Wii, and that more established developers will support it too.

Now lets get more specified. Many of you have asked about 3rd party titles.

- RE5 is under developement for Wii, RE4 is not.
- There has been talk about porting the entire or parts of the MGS series and eventually utilizing the connection features to download the games separately. We believe this would be a good way to implement the online functionality of Wii. But it's not sure yet.
- We are almost sure that Shenmue will do a comeback on Wii. Some very exciting gameplay technical solutions, which I cant talk about, has been shown. It's still a bit experimental but looks promiseing.

None of these games will be launch titles.

Also at least one to-be-AO-rated title is in works. Though we dont encourage such games, neither do we discourage them. The more games the better. And I cant really say Wii is not suited for this... Almost all traditional games as well a experimental games can work great on Wii. So there will be at least on licensed AO-title for Wii some time in the future.

Wii is the console for everyone. Children, older people, hardcore gamers, even thouse with - lets say - dirty minds. So we dont see any reason to stop these kinds of games.

Another big news is that Valve is currently looking into offering games from the Half-Life series on the Wii. They think Wii is perfectly suited for what they want to do and take the PC experience on a new console. It has great graphics, offers power for great physics, has the ultimate controller for first-person-shooters and a online mode very suitable to make a "Steam Wii". Where Valve can deliver updates, news, download new games and prevent pirating. We are very thrilled about this, and there is a great chance that we will se future Half-Life episodes on Wii.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Prices

Ive already said that Wii will cost $199. That's a very good price and will get much people to buy it. But it's nothing without the games and because that it's very important that they are cheap. And they will be. 1st party titles from Nintendo will cost as much as a DS game or a little over. $29-$39. This is possible because its much easier to do Wii games than Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games. We expect 3rd parties to make similar prices too.

The Wii will still not have poor graphics. But we have put much effort in making software tools that are extreme easy to use and give large result. The hardware has also been developed with this in mind and there are even some things it can help developers with by doing it automatically to enhance the look. I cant go into detail ,but it will greatly decrease cost for making high quality graphics.

The Wii is the console of accesorys. In the pack will come Wii, wiimote, nunchuk, sensor bar, biggest secret, 512 mb memory card and Wii sports. All for just $199. But you can extend you Wii system with:

Wiimote + nunchuck (also comes with wriststrap) - $24,99
Classic controller shell - $19,99
Shotgun controller shell - $14,99
Steering wheel shell - $19,99
(plus various other controller shells for similar prices)

It will use standard SD memory cards for storage, which are pretty cheap. Eventually Nintendo will release a 40 gb harddrive for ~$59. That will be useful for saving downloaded game content. The harddrive will draw its power from the Wii itself. It will not be possible to use any USB harddrive, because Nintendo use a special connector for their harddrive to make it impossible (or difficult) to connect it to a computer and pirate softwares.

The biggest secret

I have talked a little about the unveiled biggest secret of Wii. I have said that it is small and fits on the console. But you can also put it somewhere else... Because you need to have it where you are. This is useful because you might place your console in a shelf or anywhere you like.

The secret will put Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to shame. Not only gameplay wise but also in graphics. It will enhance the graphics in such a way it will be good for gameplay and look stunning. And that's coupled with the extreme effectivness of the platform to push the amount of polygon. Trust me, this secret will make it look like not game have ever looked. It's new and unique. The technology in it is not new but it's implemented in a fantastic new way. One never thought possible. And several technologys are combined to create the best result. A revolutionary one. The best of all is these all innovations are cheap to manufacture.

The secret will come in packed together with the Wii, a wiimote and a nunchuk extension, as well as with Wii sports. That will be the pack on sale when it's released, and there are no plans for further packings. It's a great value though, and in the next post I'll talk a bit about the game and acessory prices.

Friday, June 02, 2006

$199

Wii has already been official confirmed to cost ”less than $250”. It should come as no surprise when I tell you that it will cost $199. I just say this to end the discussion whether it will cost $149, $199 or $249. I find it annoying to find such speculations when everyone should understand that price will be $199. But it’s still interesting to talk about the price even though it’s obvious. Now that you don’t have to argue what it will cost we can discuss the benefits and possibiliys with such a low price.

Nintendo is trying to reach out to groups of people that has never played games, or not often. The design of the console, for example the controller, shows this philosophy. But the price is perhaps the largest factor for the success among peopple who are not gamers. Because they want not to spend much money on a games machine. We know that.

Maybe the play Wii at a friend or they see an advetisment. Whatever the reason they end up in store to see what you can buy. When they see the Wii priced as $199, they say wow and think it’s really worth it to try out something new and very exciting, expecially when looking to Xbox and PlayStation, which will be both much expensive.

But Nintendo forgets not about gamers. They will get the same new and exciting technology and full blown game productions both from first and second and third parties. This will make everyone look att Wii and think it’s attractive, and the price makes no limit for them. Still it’s very powerful but technology is used to make it as cheap as possible. And you can really use less horsepower to generate great graphics. Because Wii will not have as many flops, flips or ghz and PS3 and Xbox 360, but who cares? Do you think a non-hardcore gamer or nongamer will say “OH YES! 3.4GHz 5000 cores!”? I don’t. They will look at the games and how you play and say this look really fun. But Xbox and PS will be forgotten by them.

Why is Wii not fully shown?

It seems many people wonder about this. But they shouldn’t because the answer is right before. You can just reach out and touch it. Before I answer the question let me ask you a question. Why do console makers show the machine before they release? It because they want to tease people, or create hype as many say. They also want to convice game developers that they should make games for it. Because that is perhaps the most important thing.

The thing is, Wii stealed the e3 show completely. Everyone was super excited over it while PS3 was fogotten, and 360 even more so. So they simply chose not to reveal all, because it would not create much more hype than it already get. That’s why its so smart to reveal it later because then the hype will go up again and people will be really excited. So that’s a bettter stragety to say things. Over a period of time. Don’t take it wrong for teasing the fans, its just a way of marketing product.

Some of the things I can reveal for you here was meant to be shown a e3. But it wasn’t because they felt it didn’t needed. Because the info already had an overwhelming effect; it made all gamer go crazy and I know you all were as impressed as you can be when Miyamoto started to conduct the great Wii orchestra.

But I think its wrong to tease fans, and because I will give you information bit for bit I think you should be able to keep your head busy with Wii news and don’t have to feel mistreated by Nintendo. I only want the company good, and I think this is the right way. But I wont talk about things we have not yet patent in.

Remember. Nintendo still has a lot of secrets to show. The graphics are in fact greater than what has been shown. They just decided they could make quite a WOW if they unveil the true power at a later time. Nintendo has always been a leader in graphics. GameCube is more powerful than PS2, and about on par with Xbox (which has higher specs). Wii will not be as powerful as its competitors, but on the other hand it wont overheat. And it will be small.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

TP singleplayer to be online

When I told you about the connectivity on Wii, I didn’t give you any speicifs. But I think I can reveal the Twilight Princess will heavily use the online, though as an option. As you all know, this amazing game will be available for both the GameCube and the Wii. But the GameCube version will not have a fraction of the features the Wii version has. Because the Wii version will allow you to download new quests and missions from a server. Most of them free of charge. They will come as a download every other month and will extend on the default single player mode. This will truly be a game to play for many, many months.

I said that most extra gameplay content for Twilight Princess will be free. That’s from Nintendo. We might release a larger pack for a small sum, that’s not decided yet, but what is indeed decided is that the system with Twilight Princess will be available for all. That means whatever stuido or private person can go in a program and make their own Zelda game, using the resources in the game. They can then charge for it (no fee from Nintendo) or give it away free. You can of course download the content, but some publishers may choose to let you stream the content from a server, in real-time. This will let the publishers have more control over the use of the content. But the best here is the bulit in hardware functions in Wii will handle the streaming. Because it will not ever lag or slow down. The processor and graphics card will focus on bringing the game to life, while a separate circuit will feed the RAM memory with the new data. It will be unable to you to know if it’s playing from memory stick or from server.

We believe this is a major breakthrough in using online. This is an incredibly exciting new way to use possibilities to high speed information transfer. To add new gameplay to an existing game. And as I said its all optionaol. So you with 56k modem (time to upgrade!) can still enjoy the most immersive game we have ever created (and GameCube owner too). But new Wii owners with broadband will experience a whole new way of using the internet to enhance game experience. When you experience it you will say “Why did not anyone did this before? It’s so natural, and addictive. It adds a lot to this great games.” This is only one of the ways Nintendo plan to implement internet to bring new possibilities to games, and we fully expect third parties to use this function, which is hardware enabled. But yet, we havent seen anyone implement it in as a dramatic way as we do in Twilight Princess.

Yaz0

Yes, I am indeed a Nintendo employee and I would like to prove it to you all, so I'll do my best. How about I talk a little about the Yaz0 compression that is used in the data files of many Nintendo 1st party GameCube titles?

Alright. The first 16 bytes of the file is the header. The first charachters are "Yaz0", the next is a single uint32 which contains the size of the compressed data (for you to set an appropriate buffer) and then 8 zero bytes. After that comes the actual data, which is compressed with a kind of RLE compression method. It starts with a code byte, in which each of the eight bits talk about how you how to read each of the next eight data bytes. I'd rather not go into specifics, since this is classified, but I hope you get the picture. And if you check using a HEX editor, you will it's correct.

Release

The preliminary release date for Wii is November 6 in USA, and the same in Japan. It's just finalized. There's a lot talk about a November 20 release in Europe, but we'll try to keep it as early as possible, but it might get delayed because of unexpected demand. The low price will certainly make it sell very many.