The Making of The Game
Wave Race: Blue Storm

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.

September 2001

Shigeki Yamashiro
Nintendo Software Technology Corporation

Yuki Shimura
Assistant Producer
Nintendo Software Technology Corporation

Josh Atkins
Nintendo Software Technology Corporation

Prasanna Ghali
Chief Programmer
Nintendo Software Technology Corporation

Raymond Yan
Art Director
Nintendo Software Technology Corporation

Lawrence Schwedler
Sound Composer
Nintendo Software Technology Corporation

Q: There are several locations in the game. Are any of them based off real locations?

Raymond Yan: The locations are not real. However, several of them do have several photographic resemblences to real life places. We modeled a place after a harbor in Hong Kong and various places like Venice, Italy.

Q: Are the motions of the jet-ski's realistic? Was anyone in the development staff experienced with water jet-skis?

Shigeki Yamashiro: Unfortunately nobody was experienced. When we started development of the game back in Summer of 2000 (game started development right before Spaceworld 2000), we did not get in to the advanced stages of game development till Winter and by then it was not the season for water sports. We did have a beautiful lake nearby in Seattle and we often watched and studied the jet-skis there. Of course we also studied professional videos.

Q: Are the stunts in the game accurate?

Yamashiro: Yes of course. Accurate by name and motion.

Q: Does the weather also change during the races?

Josh Atkins: The weather is selected before the race commences. However, throughout the race and segments of the course, the weather varies and alters the gameplay required for the player. Water heights can change as rain shwoers gets weaker or stronger throughout duration of the race. The shortcut routes become available depending on these factors.

Yamashiro: There was a plan to change the weather from the beginning planing phase. We though obviously water is one of the most manipulated matters of weather, and thus its conditions would be vital to gameplay and variety. It also made the game more realistic.

Q: How do the characters differ?

Atkins: The characters each have strengths and weaknesses. For example, Rob Haywood is a strong character and he seldom falls out from his jet-ski. David Marina is a heavy character with slow acceleration, but his top speed is the best. Another character, a female named Akari Hayami, has excellent acceleration.

Lawrence Schwedler: For beginners, a light character is the easiest to control.

Q: How was the music made?

Schwedler: I feel each song was made for its respective stage. It reflects on the atmosphere and environment. Also, in some courses, as the weather changes, so will the music. We put a good 100 BGMs altogether in Wave Race: Blue Storm.

Q: The multiplayer increased from two players to four players. How difficult was this?

Yamashiro: Since we were now using GameCube hardware, I thought the idea was an absolute feature that needed to be in the game. I'm not sure how hard it was for the programmers though.

Prasanna Ghali: We worked on it a lot. Adjustments and tweaks went on constantly until near the end of development when we got it just right.

Q: There are also a lot of billboards and advertizements for companies such as McDonalds and Dr. Pepper. How was this decided.

Ghali: We eat a lot of hamburgers and drink a lot of soda!!

Yuki Shimura: The companies in it, are suitable for the game.

Yamashiro: We were first using fake billboards. The upper execs at Nintendo sort of did some good company tie-ins and we got some good cross promotions out of that.

Q: A wonderful thing we saw were all the animals in the game.

Yamashiro: I think we put in like 50-60 different kinds of animals. Some more noticeable than others.

Q: So there are secret animals hiding around?

Atkins: There are many hidden animals. For examples there are swordfish, sheep, several fish, elephants, penguins, and others.

Q: Mr. Miyamoto had a producer type of role in this game with you. How did that work?

Raymond Yan: It was a wonderful experience for me. I really learned a lot of things.

Atkins: I maybe spent the most time with him, we studied various thing. I stayed in Nintendo of Japan for about two weeks in August, and had several key staff (including Mr. Miyamoto) help make one of the courses. It really was an incredible experience.

Schwedler: I had his advise in respect to the music department. His first comment to me was that the soundtrack better have a lot of variety. Consequently, I think he was satisfied with the ending product.

Ghali: He had a lot of ideas regarding the water. He also explained how much trial and error was involved in making a good game.

Shimura: I spent most of my time on the telephone with Mr. Miyamoto. We got lots of advise directly from Japan.

Yan: NCL also sent out one of its artists from Japan to sort make sure the game wasn't too American in art style. We ended up communicating a lot.

Q: Any final words from the development staff?

Ghali: For us, game development, -- as always--, was a pleasant thrill. I think everyone who spends time with this game will definitely get a thrill and enjoyment out of it.

Atkins: The game requires a lot of concentration, it is intense!! I guess its just like riding a real jet-ski.

Schwedler: Please turn up the volume and enjoy all the great music.

Yan: Please observe the beautiful graphics on a good television by all means (smile)!

Shimura: Please try all the game modes. There is more to this game than just racing from start to finish.

Yamashiro: Although this sequel was made in the US, it's funny because I thought one time "only Nintendo Japan can make games like this", but now having been directly working with this American Nintendo group, I can say we showcase the Nintendo name proudly. We really used the GameCube hardware well to create this virtual water world.

Source: Nintendo Online Magazine # 38
Transcribed by: Anthony JC