The Making of The Game
Yoshi's Touch & Go

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.

January 2005

Hiroyuki Kimura
Nintendo Co., Ltd. Entertainment Analysis & Development

Keizo Ohta
Chief Programmer
Nintendo Co., Ltd. Entertainment Analysis & Development

Q: What kind of software have you been involved with?

Hiroyuki Kimura: I was recently involved in the production of the Super Mario Advance series. I have been very occupied with developments on the Game Boy Advance.

Keizo Ohta: I was mainly responsible for a lot of development on the Nintendo 64 and GameCube. My work is more related to technology and even software tools that were recently used in Donkey Konga and Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. This game was influenced by my peers who worked on the original Yoshi's Island on the Super Nintendo.

Q: Please tells us more about Yoshi's Touch N' Go?

Kimura: Well the project was very early on when it was first exhibited during E3 2004. The positive response forced the executives no choice but to greenlight our project. Our development team then got bigger.

Ohta: The conception started as "Balloon Trip". We initially knew we wanted to incorporate drawing images as the integral game element. It was after E3 that Mr. Kimura and some other designers joined our group to further elaborate on our game idea. It was our collaboration that lead to the final product.

Q: How confident was the development team about developing a game without traditional button mechanics?

Ohta: It was very interesting and almost daunting to ignore the traditional control scheme. The truth is the roots of this project began on the GameCube. I was working with an idea of Yoshi protecting Baby Mario. It was a sort of puzzle platformer using the GameCube controller.

Kimura: The original Yoshi title was a horizontal side-scroller. Mr. Miyamoto felt the title would create a bigger impact as a DS title.

Q: Did you purposely make it for the GameCube?

Ohta: We were not sure what was going to happen with the GameCube version. I mean nothing design wise was set in stone. After our E3 demo, there was no turning back. We went full steam ahead with the touch and go idea.

Q: Was there problems producing the game on new hardware?

Ohta: I think it's safe to say there were no hardships in development because of the new hardware. On the contrary, we all became rejuvenated and very excited with the new direction. Our development team was also very good.

Kimura: The software was produced with no major hurdles. Once it became clear that the nucleus of the game would revolve around drawing paths to move Yoshi or protect Baby Mario, we hit no set backs.

Q: How about the two screens?

Ohta: It is dire to keep focus on both screens in order to collect coins and avoid danger!

Kimura: There might seem to be somewhat of a high difficulty. However, it is nothing too frustrating for the game player.

Ohta: This is a game that requires challenge. It is also about high score and performance.

Q: The game doesn't use any buttons at all?

Ohta: I wanted the game player to concentrate on drawing. It's an interesting way to control your character.

Kimura: It is possible to adapt to these new play mechanics no matter what age the player is. That is the beauty of this system.

Q: What are some of the modes?

Kimura: The modes increase because some are accessed only through score attack, and it is almost endless.

Ohta: The way you have to use your brain is different. Every player will have their own way of attacking certain challenges.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of blowing off the cloud with the mic input?

Ohta: Our team wanted to use the mic for something interesting. New technology deserves thought of in how it can be beneficial to gameplay.

Q: In addition there is also a battle mode?

Ohta: There is a system that instantly looks for an opponent. The game can also be stopped, and a chat session of Pictochat chat can be prompted.

Q: Final words to describe the game?

Ohta: Everything can be controlled by the playing person. This offers a new sense of value against games that are judged primarily by the volume of stages or boss characters. I want you to enjoy the process of playing the game constantly, several sessions a day, not ending, but continous play, and becoming quite skilled.

Kimura: It is a game that a gamer will enjoy becoming good in. It is a great joy to discover the aspect in which mechanics are new and intuitive.