With all the fond looks-backsie on the year that was in gaming, the creative, StreetPass-powered games pushed by that rabbit who suddenly appeared in the 3DS Mii Plaza tend to be overlooked. Stephen Totilo, a self-professed fan of the games at Kotaku, thought this was a shame, so he went straight to Nintendo to learn more about how these titles came to be.
Totilo managed to get a hold of Kouichi Kawamoto, producer for StreetPass Mii Plaza and StreetPass games, and Toyokazu Nonaka, associate producer for StreetPass games over email. Both men were happy to field questions about their projects.
According to Kawamoto, Mii Plaza and its original games, Puzzle Swap and StreetPass Quest (aka Find Mii), were designed to create a uniquely single-player experience out of meeting others, rather than something more widely social:
The core concept I brought forward is the idea that gameplay advances forward when you use StreetPass. In other words, going outside in order to use StreetPass is an important aspect of the games. I think that's an unusual experience for people.
Also, I felt it important to have the Mii characters play as active a role in the games as possible. That helps players feel like the people they're interacting with really exist.
Nonaka, who said he enjoys surprising people by springing unexpected concepts upon them like the four DLC Mii Plaza games, StreetPass Squad/Mii Force, StreetPass Battle/Warrior’s Way, StreetPass Garden/Flower Town, and StreetPass Mansion/Mystery Manor. He added that the changes required the need for additional thought to make the titles stand out over their free siblings:
When thinking about selling games that would be worth it for gamers to buy, we had to do something to differentiate them from the free games already available in the plaza. That difference could be in the fun, of course, but also in the amount of volume and depth to the games.
Along these lines, finding the right path to take with each of the four games wasn't an easy task, but I think we succeeded in giving unique value to each title.
After discussing the ideas behind each DLC game and their work with the individual development teams in making them, the question of the 10-Mii StreetPass limit was raised. According to Kawamoto, it’s a matter of keeping the pipes open for data flow:
We had been thinking about the possibility of expanding StreetPass Mii Plaza from the start, and we set the maximum number of connections to 10 to ensure we'd have room to exchange more data via StreetPass in the future. As a result, if we get to a point where we definitely won't expand it anymore, there is a possibility that we'll raise the number of connections. However, we have no plans to do that, and we're already transmitting a lot of data, so even if we stopped right now, I doubt that number would go up much.
Kawamoto remained vague regarding the potential of additional StreePass games, but spoke fondly of the current results and leaves the door of possibility wide open:
We've learned that using StreetPass itself feels good in a way, more so than I had thought at first, and it's something that makes gamers happy. I think there are still a lot of gameplay styles we could explore, and not just within StreetPass Mii Plaza either. Unfortunately, I can't go into details quite yet.
The extra details in the full interview should prove further pleasing to fans of the Mii Plaza games. Did you try out the DLC games this year? Are they something you wish to see more of in the future? Let us know in the comments.