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Dev explains the origins of Arms' eponymous extendable appendages

In a brief interview with Game Informer, Nintendo devs Kosuke Yabuki and Masaaki Ishikawa explain how a lot of the game's design stems from wanting to make a 3D fighter with a behind-the-back camera.
"When making a fighting game, it’s really important, the distance you have between you and your opponent, but it might be difficult to see that difference when the camera’s behind the back of the player. So, with these extending arms, we were working hard to see if there’s anything we could do."

- Nintendo's Kosuke Yabuki, producer on the company's upcoming game Arms, speaking to Game Informer.

When it comes to fisticuffs with friends, two Nintendo properties stand out: Punch-Out!! and Super Smash Bros.

Now Nintendo is poised to release a new 3D punch-em-up, Arms, for its Switch console. But despite its resemblance to a boxing game, a developer on the project recently told Game Informer the game is actually designed to be more akin to a fighting game like Smash. 

Notably, since players' ability to gauge distance is key to a good fighting game, combatants in the prototype that became Arms were given extra-long arms in an effort to make them viable beyond close range, where the behind-the-back camera might make it hard for players to read what's going on.  

"Even at the beginning, the camera was still behind the back of the character, said producer Kosuke Yabuki, referring to the earliest prototypes of what would become Arms. "We were thinking when making a fighting game, it’s really important, the distance you have between you and your opponent, but it might be difficult to see that difference when the camera’s behind the back of the player."

"So, with these extending arms, we were working hard to see if there’s anything we could do – any sort of new ideas that we could do – to make that easier. And we officially kicked off the development of this project when we were looking at new techniques and strategies we could have with these extending arms."

The rest of the interview is a bit fluffy but worth reading, in part because it sounds like a lot of what became Arms grew out of a strange attachment to making a 3D fighting game with a behind-the-back camera.

Later in the conversation, for example, Yabuki jumps back in to note that while the first prototype had characters with punching devices that extended from their elbows, that was eventually shifted so that characters punched from the shoulder since it was more readable from behind.

You can read that anecdote and many more in the full interview, which includes comments from both Yabuki and Arms art director Masaaki Ishikawa. 

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