Actual Treasure employee during the N64 era

The paradigm shift from 2D to 3D that game developers faced in the 32/64-bit era was so drastic that not only did developers have to grapple with new tech but also figuring out how on earth their games would work in a new dimension. It didn't always work out so well, but when it did it was magical.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata sat down with members of Treasure's development team behind N64 blaster Sin & Punishment, which happens to be one of those magical moments, and its just-released-in-Japan sequel for a Creator's Voice interview (translated by Siliconera) where he got them to shed some light on the blood, sweat, tears and headaches that went into the original game.

Namely, how much the N64 sucked to develop for.

Atsutomo Nakagawa, director, Treasure: …Yes. That’s why we thought we could work on the Nintendo 64 too. But, the Nintendo 64 … sure was something (bitter laughter).

Iwata: (laughs) It was a machine that was hard to create things for and didn’t work at all.

Nakagawa: Y-Yes. It didn’t work at all…

Iwata served as the CEO of HAL Laboratory in the N64 era and helped pump out a few small games for the console, so he shares their pain. But...why was it so bad?

Iwata: Because the Silicon Graphics Co.8 architecture was just dropped into play. The Nintendo 64 had all sorts of limitations, but in the end, it was a 3D machine to the core. It’s just that, even if it was one to the core, there were those limitations, so it was hard to use and turned out to be a machine that didn’t work at all.

For a machine that didn't work at all, there sure were a lot of amazing games made for it.