Earlier this year at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, Gamasutra spoke to Tecmo's Kohei Shibata about the upcoming Wii title Super Swing Golf 2
, the sequel to last year's Super Swing Golf
, originally based on the Korean golf MMO Pangya
It seems like you've made a lot of improvements and changes since last year's version. Where you get your feedback from -- is it from the U.S. audience or from the Japanese audience, and how do you make the decision on what features to improve?
As far as feedback from the U.S., we use multiple sources. Sometimes we go and read what journalists say, and get consumer feedback, and replies to articles, and sometimes people email us with their feedback and suggestions. Of course, Tecmo's U.S. offices log, gather, and accumulate all of this information to send to us.
What I thought was interesting was that, whether it's users from the U.S. or from Japan, they're all saying the same thing. So it doesn't matter where you're from! It's the same feedback.
There seems to be an explosion of casual sports games on the Wii platform, this TGS. Do you think that this is the most important genre to the Wii? Do you think it's because of Wii Sports, or because of the system's general audience?
I think the number one reason is, of course, the Wii remote. Even as a consumer, you look at that and think, "Oh, I might wanna play sports with this!" And producers and developers, of course, feel the same way. It's just a natural reaction of everyone with this concept.
As a developer, what do you think is the most important difference between making a game like this for a general audience, versus making a game for the more hardcore audience?
Of course, the marketing trends and things like that are important, but more so, it's what the creator wants to make; it's what the creator wants to see end-users playing. That vision, that desire, is the most important thing -- no matter what kind of game you make.
Super Swing Golf 2 is in cooperation with the South Korean developer Ntreev, and their version is an online PC golf game. Your Wii game is actually developed at Tecmo. How much of the development is from the ground up at Tecmo in Japan, and how much is working with Ntreev to create your own version of this game?
The version that Ntreev created is, of course, on PC, and they did such a good job with the basic course design and character designs that of course we used their technology and worked closely with them. But, as far as putting it on the Wii console, we have the experience to do that, and we did all of that.
The Wii controller, of course, is all Tecmo -- all the interface, control, everything was developed by us. But it wasn't like Ntreev doing this thing over here, and Tecmo doing this thing. We worked closely together. It was a very good collaboration, and it was very good teamwork.
Is the Wii version actually on sale in Korea as well as the PC version?
They haven't started selling Wii officially in Korea yet.
When it comes to designing the characters, I'm assuming that you're mostly working with Ntreev's existing artwork. Have you ever received any feedback from the U.S. as to the design and appeal of the characters?
I didn't get any negative feedback on character design or art direction. I assume that the Japanese-style anime art is becoming more mainstream, or more Americans are getting used to it or embracing it. So, we didn't think about changing it for the American audience.
Are you satisfied with the sales and feedback of the first game in North America? And also in Europe -- I'm assuming it went on sale in Europe as well.
As far as North America is concerned, I'm quite happy with the sales result. I think the [sequel] has a lot of improvements, and even more people will play in North America. That's my hope. But in Europe, we had some sales and marketing issues, and the timing, and so forth. It did not perform as well as we hoped it would.