While party games are relatively common today, the one that put the genre on the map is undeniably Hudson's Mario Party, released a little over a decade ago on the Nintendo 64. Now the company's making another foray into the party business with the devious Oops! Prank Party, set for release in the United States on October 5th.
We had the opportunity to speak with producer Yukihiro Kobayashi about the upcoming title. He shared his thoughts on the team's inspiration from Japanese game shows, the game's focus on humour, why it won't utilise Miis and more.
Nintendo Life: Tell us about the origins of Oops! Prank Party, the original ideas behind it and how it came into being. What were some integral moments in the development process that helped shape the game into what it is today?
Yukihiro Kobayashi: In game shows shown in Japan, it is customary to have some sort of a penalty for losing. Naturally, when players lose in a multiplayer game they should feel mortified, but we thought we would deliver that in a way that would amplify those feelings by incorporating a penalty. That’s how it came to be.
NL: Will players be able to use their own Miis in the game?
YK: Players cannot use Miis here unfortunately, because we couldn’t do what we wanted to the characters according to Nintendo’s Mii regulations. So, we switched to an avatar system of our own. Considering there’s a ton of customisation options for the avatars in Oops! Prank Party, it’s a great substitute.
NL: How are the Wii's unique motion controls utilised?
YK: For example, in a mini game where players need to shake the remote, their avatars will move in accordance with the speed of the shake. In the opposite situation, when they need to carefully tread through obstacles, the avatar will react in the same slow manner. In Oops! Prank Party, we tried to make the controller a direct connection to the player’s avatar, both physically and mentally.
NL: What controllers will be supported? Will there be support for the Classic Controller or Classic Controller Pro for those who prefer it? What about MotionPlus? The balance board?
YK: We wanted as many people to play Oops! Prank Party as possible, so only the Wii Remote is needed here.
NL: Tell us about the pranks that you'll be able to play on one another. Will they simply add an aesthetic flair or affect the gameplay on a deeper level? If the former, would aesthetics in fact work on this deeper level, and how?
YK: The parameters will not change according to the prank or the costume. We did consider this option, but it turns out the Samba costume ended up to be too much of a complication. We reconsidered, with the thought that the embarrassment of having to wear a frog costume was enough for one person to take. Getting back at the other players for that prank would be even sweeter. The costume will last you until the winner and losers are determined for each mode.
NL: While the board game genre is currently well-known to gamers, your company released the one that got it all off to a proper start, Mario Party for the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. Do you see Oops! Prank Party as a spiritual successor, with your own unique characters instead of Mario and friends, or as an entirely new and separate experience altogether?
YK: Oops! Prank Party was created to be a title that provides a new experience aside from Mario Party. It’s much more of a gag-based game with a focus on humour rather than characters.
NL: The Wii has known no shortage of mini-game collections. What innately sets Oops! apart from the pack?
YK: The first thing is that all the games can be played with up to four players – all 100 of them. There are a wide variety of games, and they are all playable from the start. Another unique aspect is the comical acts that the players do. There are little skits that they do in the Master Mode that are quite entertaining. The last would have to be the pranks that the losers’ avatars have to go through, whether it be the silly costumes or simply the embarrassment they end up having put upon them; it’s all really hilarious!
NL: With the upcoming release of Wii Party this holiday season, are you afraid that gamers might find Oops! Prank Party a bit too similar?
YK: Oops! Prank Party is similar to Wii Party in that both games use avatars in the game. But only Oops! Prank Party will leave a player wanting revenge on the others who made him or her put on a chicken suit!
NL: Tell us about some of the mini-games that you'll be able to play. What are some of your favourites, or of which you're the most proud?
YK: In Oops! Prank Party, we have tried to accommodate as wide a variety of games as possible, and there are some that are even more enjoyable when everyone gets better at it. Take “High Speed Drum” for instance. This is a game where players have to jump and duck obstacles in their paths, while they are in hamster-like wheels. The speed gets faster and faster as people get better at this, so naturally the players become extremely focused on the task. You just have to laugh when there is so much tension from everyone playing this kooky game. Another game is “Handbell Recital.” You’ll be surprised by how liberating it is when all the notes are played by all the players in a perfect manner. But mind you that there’s always a loser, so the competition will be even more heated when everyone’s become well-trained in the game.
NL: What is the target age range for a game like this, and is this a game players of all ages can enjoy and find challenging?
YK: This game is set so people of all ages can play it. In that sense, a kindergartener can beat his or her mom, and a elementary school kid could beat his or her father! It’s a great game for kids and families to play together.
NL: Will there be any online play or content made available for the game?
YK: No, there is none.
We'd like to thank Yukihiro Kobayashi for taking the time to answer our questions.