C3 Exclusive Interview | Camelot Talks We Love Golf; Nintendo DS Version Considered

By Jorge Ba-oh 29.06.2008 7

Camelot Software Planning is renowned throughout the Industry for its sterling work on RPG series such as Golden Sun and Shining Force, but it should be remembered that it was the driving force behind Sony's illustrious Hot Shots Golf franchise. For this reason alone it would be wise to keep an eye on We Love Golf, the team's first Wii project, but given the highly impressive Mario Golf outings on N64, GBC, GC and GBA as well, the new game should be at the top of any golfer's most wanted list. Cubed³'s Adam Riley caught up with Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi to discuss the game in more detail…

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Cubed³'s Adam Riley: First of all, how long did this project take to complete? And were you disappointed at all that it could not be called 'Wii Love Golf'?

Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi, Camelot Software Planning: As you may know Camelot has a very short game development span. One high profile game creator told me that he thought we have 150 people on the works. So I'll leave you to guess the time taken for us finish this game. One thing is for sure that upon developing the US/EU version we've put in as much effort as we would for a brand new title, especially with the new online feature which in turn has made it better than the Japanese version.

AR: Has the team changed much since creating the Mario Golf games across GBC through to GameCube? And were there any particular lessons learned from those experiences that helped you make We Love Golf an even better game?

The Takahashi Brothers: Unfortunately we have had some changes in the team and a few of our main members had to leave just after the previous launch. To tell the truth our slight stalling in development and the low profile within the consoles market in the past few years are somewhat related to that. Developing games for consoles certainly is not an easy task and a quality game only comes from a quality team. We Love Golf is a product made possible by the 'next generation' staff that have now become top developers. Of course the founding members are still with us and it was them that managed the game and trained the 'next generation' staff. This is quite apparent in the credits. We learn many things each time we are involved with a game and for instance when we made Mario Golf 64 our knowledge reflected onto Mario Tennis 64 and onto Golden Sun. Despite the fact We Love Golf has unconventional features such as the unique Wii control interface and the new online system, the game was developed in a very short time to a high standard. This was only possible because of our accumulated experience in games development.

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AR: Other than the main golfing tournaments, what else is there on offer to ensure gamer's get good value for money?

The Takahashi Brothers: As you can see We Love Golf has many different game modes enabling the player to enjoy the game in various ways. In addition the online mode is bound to keep the players going.

AR: How has it been developing for Wii so far? Is it a big step up from the GameCube, or did you find it more comfortable using an upgrade of tools you have previously worked with?

The Takahashi Brothers: For our developing team Wii was not particularly a difficult console to work with. This may come from the fact we have been working with Nintendo for a long time. It is fair to say that our previous knowledge on development was relatively easy to apply on Wii, thus our fast development.

AR: And how well do you make use of the Wii's motion controls in the game?

The Takahashi Brothers: Our aim in We Love Golf was to utilise the Wii controller to its best since it is after all one of Wii's main features. It is in general quite uncommon for such progressive interfaces to be widely accepted so fast but Nintendo has done very well to fit everything in the right places. We agree with Nintendo's stance in innovation and we too believe that games and the ways they are played must evolve together. So in We Love Golf we've made sure that the player can do everything with the Wii controller's pointing functionality.

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AR: What do you think helps to make your golf title a better option for Wii owners than EA's Tiger Woods and Tecmo's Pangya! Golf with Style?

The Takahashi Brothers: The significance is in the fact We Love Golf was made specifically to be played with the Wii controller. I believe this already makes it better compared to games designed for conventional controllers. Up until now the sports games that used the actual motion of the player to control had factors like 'simple', 'intuitive' and 'casual' in common and it was indeed these factors that lowered the barrier for newcomers to start gaming. We however anticipated the next step and thought that they would start to want 'replayability' and 'immersion'. Golf in nature is an attractive sport so the video game version of golf should also be the same. For this to hold true the video game must be as real as possible. We've never intended to make a golf simulator but rather a game that extracted the fun part of the golf. I think in We Love Golf we have managed to represent the real golf in this aspect very well. With We Love Golf the player can enjoy golf at home and I think this alone makes the game very attractive.

AR: And do you feel We Love Golf can be the Wii's equivalent to Hot Shots Golf? What do you think about how that series has developed since you stopped working on it?

The Takahashi Brothers: I believe that 'We Love Golf' is a golf game of the next generation. I wish for it to be known as the best game in terms of quality, rather than in market or fame. In terms of golf games I think Mario Golf Family Tour is the absolute best and I wish We Love Golf to surpass that.

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AR: So far it has been revealed that Apollo from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Chun-Li, Arthur and Jill from the Resident Evil series will appear. But will these be available from the start or secret characters to unlock? Also, can gamers expect more of these special guest appearances?

The Takahashi Brothers: Technically speaking it will be playable characters with Capcom character costumes. I'm sure Capcom fans would love it.

AR: A discovery was made a few months ago that showed trademarks for not only We Love Golf, but also We Love Baseball and We Love Tennis. Whilst a trademark obviously does not mean a game is definitely being made, would you say there is a strong chance of both Baseball and Tennis versions eventually coming to Wii?

The Takahashi Brothers: There is always a possibility for a new sport game as many plans are being worked on. The only limiting factor is the time and resources.

AR: A few years ago it was stated by one of the Takahashi brothers that Mario Golf was in development for DS. What ever happened to this project? Was it cancelled or can gamers eager for some touch-golfing fun expect news in the near future?

The Takahashi Brothers: It is not that we have not bothered with DS. As a fact Mario Golf and Mario Tennis on mobile game consoles are still popular and we have requests to make the sequels. It would be immense fun if there was a golf game that uses the touch screen, with scenario mode, some character growth system and if it was made by people other than us! To be honest this type of game is very difficult to make, since it is like making two games, a golf game and an RPG.

AR: Or how about bringing the We Love sports series to DS as well?

The Takahashi Brothers: That sounds like a brilliant idea. I'll think about it.

AR: It has previously been mentioned by the Takahashi brothers that both a new Golden Sun and Shining would eventually happen. With gamers around the world literally screaming for these two games to happen, will you be actively knocking on both Nintendo and Sega's doors to seal the deal?

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The Takahashi Brothers: Shining and Golden Sun are both very important for us. Shining as a RPG, with its brilliant battle system, reached its peak in Shining 3. Golden Sun is an epitome of all our members' knowledge and experience and of course those that developed the game are very emotionally attached to it.

AR: Finally, considering your current deal with Capcom, and the fact that the company has left its Breath of Fire series untouched for far too long, would you ever give consideration to tackling the resurrection of that RPG franchise?

The Takahashi Brothers: We get asked this a lot recently. The development team is extremely important in making an RPG and when some of the team left after Mario Tennis GBA we had to say it wasn't possible. Lately however the gap is being filled and I'm quite confident to take on pretty much anything. It is possible to start planning for titles such as Breath of Fire series. As I mentioned earlier, the number of games we can develop at a time is quite limited so we would like to consider what people want the most in order to determine the next title for development.

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Comments

Aah, the curse of the e-mail interview; the interviewee can bsaically get away with not giving any straight answers.

Still, I have huge respect for the Takahashi Brothers, they're two of the most down-to-Earth game developers out there.

Good to hear they're considering a DS edition. I reckon they could revolutionise golf on the portable format since nobody has managed it so far...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I dont see why a DS version would be that hard to be honest.
The GBA game was so good, simply a engine upgrade would do.
I mean, they even had decent 3D rendered views made on the fly with that engine.

"Weíve never intended to make a golf simulator but rather a game that extracted the fun part of the golf."

Thats actualy a very good answer.
A lot of sports/simulation games miss that, and instead try to focus on matching reality as much as possible.

I hope this means my ball wont be hitting the flag from a distance!
The only reason the flag is there traditionaly is to mark the hole, after all.
Virtualy, that dosnt have to be solid.

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+. 

Look at the state of that guy in the first picture!

Anyways interesting interview, i'd rather have an RPG from them though I don't really like sports games.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

I am surprised there is no Golden Sun on the gamecube, Wii or DS. It was incredibly popular

Well, for Camelot to make a Golden Sun it needs permission from Nintendo and to do a Shining Force game it needs SEGA's authority due to both companies holding the respective IP rights.

So as soon as Nintendo and SEGA green-light such projects I'm sure Camelot will be more than happy to accommodate the requests of fans. For the time being, though, chances are probably higher for a Capcom-Camelot RPG given the good relations between the two.

Who knows...fingers crossed for more Nintendo work from Camelot, though Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Fingers crossed indeed. I would LOVE a new GS/SF title. To bad I'm not exactly intereted in these sport titles they make, though they are usually of high quality.

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