This series of articles will take a look at the development of Nintendo-published software. These Q&A sessions conducted by Nintendo Online Magazine, and transcribed to English exclusively by N-Sider staff member Anthony JC, come directly from the developers so as to give you a first-hand look at the amount of sweat and blood that goes into Nintendo's most celebrated releases.
Nintendo Co., Ltd
Q: How did the idea of Napoleon surface?
Tawara: Well we were discussing several ideas at the time of possible Game Boy Advance software, and someone brought up the famous Napoleon. We discussed how we could make software based on him. Coincidentally, Genki just received their AGB kits and told us they wanted to create a war simulation title. Basically we decided to combine our ideas.
Shuichi: Nintendo basically took our initial idea a different direction. Napoleon became an action-simulation rather than just a simulation. The simpler play mechanics were perfect for children and adults.
Q: When the idea was created did Mr. Nakano take charge of the project?
Nakano: Yes. I am basically the lead design on Genki's part, the other main director was from Nintendo. We both created the design lay outs together. Mr. Tawara also had a lot of input, the whole idea of charging up and yelling out a "war" cry was one of his ideas. In general, we handled the programming, Nintendo handled the artwork, and we both equally planned and designed the game.
Q: Speaking of the "war" cry. When Napoleon yells out "war", the morale of the army goes up. Do ideas like that usually start out on paper or deep in the games physical development?
Imano: Just something that happened while the Napoleon producers and supervisors were checking the latest version. Mr. Tawara decided it would be useful when there weren't many units on the map and Napoleon could not make a direct attack.
Q: How was it working with the Game Boy Advance?
Nakano: Very nice. I was surprised how smoothly and intuitive such a game played. I could never imagine doing that on any other hand held.
Q: In many ways, the game could have easily been an RPG.
Shuichi: Yes. But it really would have gone against what we wanted for this game. It would lose all its identity.
Q: Any resource limits?
Nakano: About 10,000 units. Since this is also a rare thing, please do try.
Q: How was the character design handled? Were you faithfully accurate or did you take artistic freedom?
Kabasawa: Honestly we didn't really create any of the characters to represent the real deal. Outside of Napoleon and the general outline of his time and life, we took artistic freedom with our designs.
Q: You used 3D models for the characters?
Kabasawa: The characters model were mocked up in 3D, then rendering is carried out, and then it is dropped on to 2D. Therefore, we have pseudo-3D quality characters without all the headaches of polygon games.
Imano: Since the shade was not attached even if it made the springboard for discussion from 3D, when it was former Game Boy, was it almost meaningless? But it can be taken out with an advance.
Q: How many characters were made?
Kabasawa: When it came to the number of sheets of data in regards to picture, definitely in the thousands.
Q: What 1000! What did Mr. Tawara say about this?
Tawara: Well it made the game more interesting. Development was also still on course, we did make launch after all.
Q: Tell us about the multiplayer mode?
Shuichi: Yes, well. The four player mode could unfortunately not be carried out. But the 2 player mode is quite thrilling.
Tawara: If the screen was more like a television screen, then we would have divided the upper and lower sides or right and left. Therefore, the motion of the other players would be seen and pretty much ruin the element of surprise or tactical warfare. This is one of the areas the GBA really offers something unique over current consoles.
Q: Tell us about the Mobile GB features?
Shuichi: There is a time attack mode and an arranged puzzle-esque battle sequence which is downloaded.
Nakano: The highest scorers get their initials and times saved to the server for others to compete with.
Q: Final thoughts on Napoleon?
Nakano: The game is very good. Please give it a spin by all means.
Shuichi: I think it's a very unique game. Lots of history bits for anyone who wants to learn, and a lot of great gameplay.