Anyone that is familiar with some of Platinum Games’ biggest titles (“Bayonetta,” “MadWorld,” “Vanquish”) knows that one of the things that they do best is putting a whole bunch of stuff on the screen at once. Their latest release for the Wii U, “The Wonderful 101,” will be no different, featuring up to 100 heroes all fighting together at the same time. Since this was their first game on the Wii U, we asked the game’s Director, Hideki Kamiya, whether or not they hit any hurdles working with new hardware, and surprisingly, things went smoothly, with only a slight bump or two when it came to the game’s multiplayer.
From a technological standpoint, Mr. Kamiya noted that the development team seemed to be able to execute with little trouble.
“In regard to performance, there weren’t especially any challenges. This is something that, in the creation of any game, you deal with tuning, and it’s not especially characteristic of this particular hardware. So, from a spec perspective, there weren’t any issues in that regard.”
However, when trying to keep all of the action on the screen balanced so that players can keep track of what’s going on, the dev team had to work a little bit harder.
“As far balancing the action on the screen, and making sure it’s easy for the player to follow, there are very distinct visuals. We like to create games that do have a lot going on on screen, but considering there could be 100 characters on screen, there are things that we had to do to make a distinction of things on screen, and tuning to make sure that getting that right visual balance. That was a tough process.”
He went on to elaborate by explaining that it was really the designer who was tasked with making everything in the world of “The Wonderful 101” feel different so that players felt that they understood what was going on around them.
“With the number of different characters that could be approaching a different enemy, and attacking at the same time, and all the effects that come out of that, that’s particularly challenging to deal with, and to understand what’s going on, and to understand the controls as well. So, the designer that was tasked with handling those effects and that balancing. I think that designer had a really tough challenge.”
That’s all fine and good for the single-player mode, but conveying that visual continuity is even more challenging when two players are controlling heroes in “The Wonderful 101.” Mr. Kamiya went on to explain that multiplayer was always planned to be part of the game, and they approached it as such. He stated that, “it is a game where it’s core, whereas a single player you’re controlling all these different characters, but I knew that it would be an interesting aspect to have a multiplayer scenario within that structure.”
Mr. Kamiya also noted that he “didn’t have experience making a multiplayer game like this before,” but that he was “very interested in being able to take advantage of this gameplay to implement it in the game.” He followed that up by noting that “it was really tough making a multiplayer game at that scale,” calling it “quite difficult.” Fellow Platinum Games’ employee, and Producer on “The Wonderful 101,” Atsushi Inaba was also in the room during the interview, and noted that, “he [Mr. Kamiya] said that it was going to be impossible about three times.”
Impossible or not, Wii U owners in the United States will get to try it out for themselves in just a few days, when “The Wonderful 101” is released on September 15.