Hoping to hit the target

During yesterday's Nintendo Direct broadcast, Nintendo of Europe President Satoru Shibata confirmed that Nintendo Pocket Football Club will arrive on 17th April. It's a title that was shown last year, and brings a rather light-hearted approach to the football management sim genre; don't expect head-scratching Football Manager-style depth here.

It does look charming, however, as you work to recruit and train players for your team before watching a match unfold. Training utilises a power-up card system, while there'll be both StreetPass and SpotPass options to play and trade with others; there'll also be a website where you can log in and check detailed stats on your team and others.

Nintendo of Europe has also celebrated the announcement of a release date with an Iwata Asks article, in which the game's lead Hiroyuke Sonobi explains in more detail how the title utilises the communication capabilities of the 3DS, well beyond what was possible in the Game Boy Advance original.

Iwata: On Game Boy Advance, the only way you could create a network was by using the Link Cable. But on Nintendo 3DS, you have both StreetPass and SpotPass, and this means that the range of network options available has increased dramatically.

Sonobe: That’s right, and that’s the single aspect of the game I spent most time thinking about. I wanted to come up with the best ways to utilise this functionality and enhance the game.

Iwata: Developing the game for Nintendo 3DS meant that it wouldn’t just be computer-generated teams you’d be playing against, but also teams trained up by other players. This adds to the fun of watching games, doesn’t it?

Sonobe: Yes, it does. Also, if you’ve already transferred the data ahead of time, there’s no need for real time connectivity between players.

Iwata: So you don’t have to wait for a convenient time for the other player. You can enjoy playing a match whenever you like.

Sonobe: Exactly. In Derby Stallion, there was something called the Breeders’ Cup where you could race against horses reared by other players, and that proved to be really exciting. That’s why I was keen to do something similar with Nintendo Pocket Football Club.

There is a single-player League structure, too, and it's explained that achieving better objectives is only possible when taking on tougher opponents, encouraging a balance between playing weaker teams for experience and stepping up. It's also mandatory to watch the games, to encourage players to closely watch how their team is progressing — matches will take around eight minutes.

As Sonobe-san focuses on details to a great degree, it emerged that this project was six years in the making, with the bulk of the work being in the mechanics if not the charming but simple visuals.

As always we recommend checking out the whole Iwata Asks article for details. How many of you in Europe are looking forward to this one?