Interview | Mitchell Talks Sujin Taisen (Nintendo DSiWare)

By Adam Riley 25.10.2009 4

Japanese developer Mitchell Corporation is renowned for its work in the coin-op world with such hits as Pang! and Puzz-Loop, but more recently has had great success with puzzle games such as Polarium (DS, GBA) and actionloop (DS, WiiWare). Now the company is back with Sujin Taisen: Number Battles for the DSiWare download service and Cubed3 was lucky enough to catch up with the team to discuss the project and its future.

Cubed3's Adam Riley: Where did the idea for the game come?

Mitchell Corporation: There are two game designers; the guy who did the Japanese original and the guy who did the DSiWare version. The guy who came up with the idea for the Japanese original is a great board game fan. He was trying out his ideas on his brother who got hooked so he thought of making it into a videogame. When he first presented it to the people at the company, everybody liked it, but we were all worried whether the players would understand. So Mr. Ozaki got his son and his friend (who were Middle School students) to try the game made out of cardboard pieces. Both understood the basic rules right away. So it was a go!

AR: Were there any delays or problems during development, or ideas that were changed throughout the development process?

Mitchell: The main point was to get the right balance for both the scoring system, as well as the use of items during a Number Battle. It was also important to try and decide what kind of worlds we could let the players play the game in.

AR: According to Famitsu, the game has sold roughly 21,000 copies in Japan. How accurate is this figure?

Mitchell: That is actually more or less accurate!

AR: Were you disappointed it did not sell as well as Polarium or actionloop?

Mitchell: Yes! As it is basically a board game like chess and Othello we knew it would probably have a slow start, but pick up more sales over time. Yet it was more or less disappointing because that did not happen. It is a fun game and we wanted more people to try it!

AR: Whose decision was it to make Chotto Suujin Taisen for DSiWare - you or Nintendo? And has the game had greater success on download?

Mitchell: Both companies worked together on the idea. I think Nintendo also thought there was potential in the game. We will get the download figures at the end of this month, but we are obviously hopeful for more success.

AR: Were you initially disappointed that Suujin Taisen DS was not released at retail in the US and Europe?

Mitchell: We were not sure this kind of board game genre would be accepted in the US and Europe, so we were not actually disappointed when it was not released.

AR: The version on DSiWare in Japan is part of the 'Chotto' series [which is called the 'Express' series in the US (e.g. Puzzle League Express) and known as 'A Little Bit of...' in Europe ('A Little Bit of...Brain Training', for instance)]. What was stripped from the main game for the 'Chotto' DSiWare release?

Mitchell: In the one-player mode cuts were made, with the online Versus mode and parts of the Puzzle mode being cut.

AR: In Europe, Sujin Taisen: Number Battles on DSiWare is actually the full, original game, though, isn't it?

Mitchell: It is different from the original Japanese retail version. The computer responses are much quicker for in Number Battles, plus the item balance has been re-adjusted, as well as other minor alterations. You could say this European edition is the 'ultimate' version!

AR: Was anything 'new' actually added for the European release as well?

Mitchell: A new Replay mode was added, where players can see the history of play in the Vs. mode, with gamers able to go back by up to seven days of play.

AR: What does Suujin Taisen mean, and why did it change to Sujin Taisen (just one 'u') for Europe?

Mitchell: No one knows whether Sujin or Suujin is right *laughs* In Japan it was written in Chinese characters that are pronounced either "Su" or "Suu," and means 'number' or 'numbers.' As for the "Jin" part, this is a 'fort' or 'fortress', whilst "Taisen" means 'battle'.

AR: If some readers are still unsure about downloading the game, what would you say to convince them to make the purchase?

Mitchell: The original game designer wants people to play against other players in the Vs. mode. He says it's a deep game, like chess. Since everyone who downloads Sujin Taisen is connected via Wi-Fi, he thinks there should be no problem finding the right adversary. He also thinks that in Europe and Australia there is a diversity of culture, thus there are many different ways of playing. Additionally, players can find opponents even in Japan.

AR: Skip Ltd. has made several Art Style games and Q-Games made one of the original bit Generations GBA games. Would Mitchell ever consider making a simple puzzle game for the Art Style series?

Mitchell: When someone comes up with an idea that fits the series, then we will definitely do it!

AR: Mitchell has already updated actionloop from DS and out it on WiiWare, so can we expect to see Sujin also appear on WiiWare as well?

Mitchell: The guy who designed Sujin does not think it is a good idea for it to come to WiiWare because of the control system. However, saying that, if someone comes up with an idea that fits, then it's certainly possible.

AR: Back in 2006, you told Cubed3 you were considering bringing some of your older games to the Virtual Console. Is this still going to happen?

Mitchell: As you know, our older games were made for coin-ops in the arcade and only a few of them, such as Time Loop, are a good enough fit for consumer formats.

I personally want to do a shooting game; something like the games that Cave or Toaplan made. [ ED: Cave, along with 8ing, was formed by many ex-Toaplan developers when the company closed in 1995 ]

AR: What is Mitchell's main focus - working on brand new games or resurrecting some of the old classics featured on your website?

Mitchell: We are currently working on new ideas.

AR: Can you tell readers if you have any other DS and Wii projects in development at the moment?

Mitchell: I cannot talk about the specific titles at this moment; but we are working on a couple of DS/DSi games. There are no Wii projects right now, though.

AR: Finally, do you know when Wakugumi: Monochrome Puzzles will be released on DSiWare in Europe?

Mitchell: We have not been notified by Nintendo of Europe yet. I presume it will arrive sometime in late October. [ ED: Since this interview took place, Wakugumi has now been made available on the European DSiWare service ]

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Nice interview peoples, nice to get some information about these little known titles from time to time.

May you be in heaven for half an hour before the devil knows you are dead.

No problem Smilie I'm hoping that readers have had the chance to play Sujin Taisen on DSiWare by now - it's a great little puzzle game that really ramps up the difficulty level, forcing players to use clever tactics rather than simple luck.

I've yet to give Wakugumi a whirl as I've no more DSi Points, but I'm hoping to get some soon as it looks as addictive as Polarium.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I just came in to say that I recognized the Title font as Matura MT Script Capitals.

That is all.

PMD said:
I just came in to say that I recognized the Title font as Matura MT Script Capitals.

That is all.


That's extraordinarily useful information, thanks Smilie I'm surprised nobody else has had much to say about this game. Mitchell makes some fantastic puzzle games! Polarium, actionloop/Magnetica, Sujin Taisen, Wakugumi: Monochrome Puzzles...all 8-9/10 scoring games! There's plenty more to come from the company in 2010 as well Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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