Jordan Amaro (Western designer at Nintendo) Interview about Japanese developers' philosophy


    Not really sure where to put this or how to name it since it touches on multiple very interesting topics. A fascinating read, I strongly recommend it, it explains a lot of decisions that we often find baffling - particularly on Nintendo's part.

    Some of my favourite quotes and takeaways:

    • When a design discussion takes place, you usually don’t refer to other developers’ games. You talk about your game, and in very specific contexts and situations. In Japan, the pride about the craft is very high. You almost never hear another game being mentioned, whether it is a Japanese game or a Western game, during any design discussions.
    • And then there are a ton of people you’ve never heard of who are just as sharp about the craft who are going to emerge in the coming years. Including at Konami. Don’t discount them. Don’t write them off. They’ve got some really good people there.
    • You look at Splatoon, and then people look at Overwatch. These are two totally different games. Overwatch is a self-service game. You boot the game and say, “Hey, I like this mode. I like this character. And I’m only ever going to play this mode, this character, and this map.” You’re like, “I’m going to get what I want.”
    • We think we know what you don’t know you want. You think you know what you want. But we know what you will want once you understand it. There has to be some effort from the player to play ball with the developer, just like in a restaurant where there is a course menu. You enter the restaurant, and this is the course today. It’s displayed outside the restaurant. When you enter the restaurant, you know what you’re going to eat. Once you’re inside, if you want to eat something different, that’s not how it works.
    • When you hear what Ubisoft, Naughty Dog, Valve, all those guys are doing--they track your eyes, they do it for months with hundreds of players--that’s a waste of money. If you feel that you need that much playtesting, and if playtesting results in significant fixes to your game, something went wrong before the playtests.