Metal Gear Solid Touch has likely caused a lot of heads to be scratched across the game industry today - a full on MGS game on a fledgling platform that features a couple decent titles and approximately eight squillion one-shot gimmicks?
Don't tell that to MGS director Hideo Kojima. Along with MGS Touch creative producer Yasuyo Watanabe, the man sees great opportunity in the tiny device - in fact, when the game is released next spring, he hopes it opens up an entirely new userbase for his games.
Here are a few choice excerpts from the interview with Kojima and Watanabe published in Famitsu magazine this week:
This is Watanabe's first "real" game. Up to now, she was Kojima Productions' chief Web designer, working on a variety of Flash stuff for the site.
Kojima: She almost never give me any lame ideas during presentations; she has a good sense for that sort of thing. Around the time I noticed that, the iPhone was released and started to become a major movement. I'm a huge fan of the iPod and Apple products in general, so if they're putting out a game platform, then naturally I want to compete on it - and I thought that her design sense would work perfectly on the iPhone.
The game, a shooter set in the world of Metal Gear Solid 4, is controlled entirely with the touch screen. You drag a finger around to aim, tap to fire, and do assorted other finger tricks to open up your sniper scope and such.
Kojima: The content is purely MGS4, but the concept was more to create a "simple MGS." The development team's first impression was that MGS has to be all about stealth, but you can't play a quick game on the train if it's about that. It's a little much to ask of someone trying our games for the first time. That's why we made it a simple touch-screen shooting game.
What's the iPhone/iPod Touch like to develop for as a game platform?
Watanabe: Regular game machines have directional pads and buttons that you assign functions to, but having nothing but a touch screen for control actually offers a lot of new things to try. We started with a game design and then had a lot of headaches trying to find a way to use the platform's unique functionality, but as a development platform, it's seemed pretty easy, the sort of thing that even a single person can make a game on.
Do you think it'll grow to be a successful platform for games?
Kojima: This device has its roots as a music player, added phone functionality, and now it can play games. It's starting to have the features that the PSP, Nintendo DS, and cell phones all have. I think eventually, every kind of mobile device will be able to do all the same kinds of things - and that includes games, of course.
When you think of it that way, compared to cell-phone gamers just looking for a way to waste time, iPhone users are people interested in musical and visual entertainment from the start, so it seems natural to think they'll want to try games.
Watanabe: There are a lot of one-trick pony games out there right now, but looking at user feedback, a lot of people want "real" action and adventure games. That's the sort of challenge I wanted to take up.
Kojima: This game really is nothing more than an entrance for us. I'd like people unfamiliar with MGS to play it, and maybe develop an interest in MGS4 in the process - and if they foster a general interest in games from there, it'd make me all the happier. More PlayStation 3 News...