Is the Wii great for motion control? Some say yes.
Is it great for casual gaming? Sure.
Is it great for black-and-white gaming? Shigenori Nishikawa, developer of 2009's violent "Madworld" told me last week that the Wii is perfect for that.
"The Wii is the ideal console to express white and black graphics," he told me during the announcement of the partnership between publisher Sega and the Platinum Games studio where Nishikawa, formerly of Capcom, now works. "For consoles like the 360 and PlayStation 3 the level of high-quality graphics is so extreme. I wanted things to be simpler than that." He said he had been told that he needed to make a Wii game. "We thought about 'What can we do that's new on the Wii?' And we came out the white and black graphics."
Since its debut last week, "Madworld" has drawn comparisons to "Sin City," the famous graphic novel that was also rendered primarily in black-and-white. Ishikawa says the comic was just one inspiration for the game. "' Sin City' is really what graphic novels and American comics represent," he said. "So, yes, ''Sin City' was one of the graphic novels we looked at. But the direction 'Sin City' goes and 'Madworld' goes are completely different.
One direction that is shared between comic and game is extraordinary, unusual violence. I wanted to know more about that and got some colorful answers…
Nishikawa literally wore proof of 'Madworld''s distinct brand of aggression on his chest. The shirt he was wearing during our conversation featured a signature move from the game: the impaling of an enemy's face with the post of a street sign. I asked Ishikawa where that move came from: "There's a lot of those games out there where you use daggers to stab people," he explained -- cheerfully mind you. "But stabbing daggers through people is so normal and everyone does it. So we were thinking if we put a sign on it, an everyday signpost, it would be more fun and more creative."
The "Madworld" pitch is that the game is intentionally ridiculous. Jesting, I asked Nishikawa if he was a violent person. He laughed. "We're not trying to be extremely violent. Where we started was U.S. cartoons like Tom and Jerry. What you're doing may be a little violent, a little cruel, but it's all in good fun and it's all amusing and funny."
He told me that Nintendo has been fine with the game so far, though he said he hasn't heard their feedback about the sign-stabbing move yet.
He also mentioned to me that the game will be scored primarily with hip-hop. His favorites are Kanye West and Jay-Z, but he didn't say they'd be part of the official soundtrack.
"Madworld" hits the Wii some time in 2009.
[EDIT: This story originally mis-identified Mr. Nishikawa as Takanori Ishikawa. My sincere apologies.]