The Wonderful 101 is Platinum's first title for the Wii U and has met with widespread critical acclaim, scoring 9/10 in our review. Eurogamer recently sat down with director Hideki Kamiya to chat about the production of the title and Platinum's relationship with Nintendo, and the resultant comments suggest that the often outspoken designer thoroughly enjoyed working with the company which fed his childhood obsession with video gaming.
Kamiya reveals that The Wonderful 101 started life without a specific platform in mind, and it was only when it was shown to Nintendo that Wii U exclusivity cropped up:
I started thinking of ideas before thinking it was necessarily for any particular hardware. Once we showed it to Nintendo again and we reached an agreement - but we were never really thinking about a particular console at all.
Before it was decided that it was going to be for Wii U, the core of the game had already been developed. Only after that was it decided that we'd have this partnership with Nintendo. Once we had the opportunity to do something with the GamePad it provided us with some interesting opportunities - as developers it's something that really piques our curiosity.
The game is certainly impressive, but like so many titles it's not entirely perfect. Kamiya was asked about the complaints some players had raised about the dual touchscreen and stick controls, and replied:
I can only really speculate about the problems that people are having, or why they're having them. But if I do speculate, I'll start by recognising that the game's really for core gamers - though there are elements that make it accessible. Personally, I find that using the stick is something more suited to the hardcore gamers, because if you take time to look down at the screen you lose time. If you're hardcore, use the stick and it'll be better - the screen's for people who aren't quite as hardcore.
On the topic of working with Nintendo — the company he says he wanted to join when he entered the video game industry — Kamiya had nothing but praise to impart:
Before working with Nintendo I thought they were a big company and they'll have some big marketing guy telling them what to make, but once I started working with them I found the human side was deeper than I thought. You could have real conversations about how to make the game, and how to make it better.
We were never really forced to do anything, but there was a dialogue and we got some pointers from Nintendo. The biggest thing was probably the graphical style - originally it was a bit darker. I wasn't really satisfied with it, and Nintendo said why don't you change it? Why don't you find something with a broader appeal, and the result's what you see now - it's a bit brighter, and it feels like action figures moving about in the game. I like the fact that Nintendo didn't ask to change too much - the creativity of Platinum was totally respected by Nintendo throughout the process.
Given the strong working relationship between Platinum and Nintendo — tied with the latter's recent keenness to entrust its IP with outside developers — surely the chances of a Kamiya-fronted Star Fox title have never been better?
I can't really commit to anything - if I was going to work on anything like that it'd come with huge responsibility, so I can't say this lightly - but it's something that I really love, and I'm personally speaking a huge fan of the franchise.
Go on, Nintendo. Give this man Star Fox — he won't let you down.