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Arms producer Kosuke Yabuki outlines Nintendo's prototyping process

"Within Nintendo, individual people or teams have their ideas, and also we kind of choose the prototypes that are best suited to a team's skills to work on them."

Eurogamer has posted a meaty interview with Arms producer Kosuke Yabuki that sheds some light on how prototyping works at Nintendo. 

It's always interesting to learn a little bit more about how Japanese juggernaut approaches game design and production, particularly given its penchant for the weird and wonderful.

And when it comes to creating beautifully bizarre games like Splatoon, Pikmin, and Arms, Yabuki says Nintendo's philosophy is fairly straightforward: give people the freedom to pitch the games they want, and then choose those best suited for the job to create a workable prototype. 

"Within Nintendo, individual people or teams have their ideas, and also we kind of choose the prototypes that are best suited to a team's skills to work on them," explains Yabuki. 

"An example of that being a lot of the staff who worked on Mario Kart came over as a team to work on Arms -- Mario Kart 8 had a large online element, and we knew that Arms would have a large online element, so the understanding of online play would carry over."

It might sound painfully simple, but what's notable is that Nintendo picked Yabuki because of his online pedigree, rather than choosing a fighting game fanatic to lead the charge.

The producer rationalizes that decision by revealing that Arms wasn't green-lit because it was a competitive fighter, but rather because it presented a unique opportunity for online gameplay, and felt like a natural fit for the Switch.  

"In terms of producing that game, it's not the case that it was specifically let's make a fighting game as the first consideration. There were lots of different prototypes for online style games, and Arms was one of those that got chosen in the end," Yabuki continues. 

"With the timing, it was in tandem with development of the Nintendo Switch -- so for Nintendo Switch we asked what kind of game could we make, and within those prototypes Arms got selected."

To hear more from Yabuki, be sure to check out the full interview over at Eurogamer.

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