Pokemon Black & White 2 leads Nintendo’s latest ‘Iwata Asks’ session

By Dave Cook, Tuesday, 16 October 2012 08:19 GMT

Pokemon Black & White 2 launched last week to stellar reviews – check out all the scores here – and both games are the focus of Nitnendo’s latest instalment of ‘Iwata Asks’ in which the company president Satoru Iwata asks developers questions regarding their game, including the issue of 100-player multiplayer missions. Check out some choice quotes below.

The Iwata Asks session is with Pokemon developer Game Freak, and discusses many topics surrounding the series, such as inspiration for the games, the popularity of the Pokemon World Championships and the creation of Funfest Missions – which allow 100 players to communicate simultaneously online.

On the creation of Funfest Missions, the conversation between Iwata and Game Freak’s Takao Unno goes as follows:

Takao Unno: First, I had the whole staff think about what we could do with the theme of resonance. That was when the idea of Funfest Missions came up. The proposal said 100 people should be able to play through the Entralink, which really interested me.

Iwata: One hundred people? (laughs)

Unno: At first, I too thought, “100 people? That’s crazy!” (laughs) It’s a form of gameplay in which people gather in the same field and take on various missions without disrupting the flow of the main game. I was attracted to the words “one hundred people” more than anything and thought, “We’ve got to do it!”

Iwata: But wasn’t doing that quite difficult?

Unno: Yes. There was a problem with time lags, but we wanted to place importance on how fun it would be if 100 people played. We thought the technology would follow along, so we set a goal and talked about what we could do to accomplish it – which may be why it went well.

Iwata: It would be difficult, physically, for 100 people to communicate in perfect synchronisation, but what was really important was that fun experience of resonance in the same area.

Unno: Yes. All the company employees played it and as they did so, they naturally said things like, “I got the most!” I felt like that was proof of sharing the same space, same time and same game. There were debugging problems though…

Iwata: Right. The person in charge of Mario Club Co., Ltd.14 must have been at a loss for words at the start (laughs), because he wouldn’t be able to do his work without gathering a bunch of people. Masuda-san, what did you think when you heard about 100 people all communicating with one another?

Junichi Masuda: I thought they must be joking. (laughs) What bothered me the most was debugging, but I did think there was value in trying it out as one possibility for multi-person play.

Iwata: Excluding online games, I’ve experienced multiplayer handheld games for about eight or 16 people. What did you discover in raising that to 100?

Unno: With wireless communication, the range is limited, so the degree of excitement is different compared to network games. It’s like you’re closer and can feel each other. It was mysterious how increasing from a few people to about 100 felt like it came with a greater degree of intimacy. I haven’t really analysed it well for myself yet, but…

Iwata: When there are lots of people, they all encounter the same special situations at the same time. With four people, there are fewer moments when special things occur, but with 100 people something is always happening to somebody, so it may be easier to convey a special excitement and energy.

Masuda: Yes, that’s why it feels like a festival!

Unno: I hope lots of people have that mysterious experience. Please, gather 100 people and make 100 friends!

Have you tried Pokemon’s Funfest missions yet? Do they work well? Let us know below.

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