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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Japanese developers weigh in on Xbox 360

Japanese developers weigh in on Xbox 360

"Game creators at Japan's top publishers reveal the ins and outs of developing for Microsoft's next-generation console.

Even before the unveiling of the Xbox 360 in May, Microsoft made no secret that it hoped for a better showing this time around in the Japanese market, a region dominated by rivals Sony and Nintendo. Last month at the Xbox Summit 2005, the company unveiled a long list of Japanese publishers that have signed up as third-party game makers for the Xbox 360. Over the past months, some better-known developers, such as Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Game Republic's Yoshiki Okamoto, have talked about their commitments to the Xbox 360, but there's been little opportunity to hear from others on the development challenges and opportunities. The latest issue of Famitsu Xbox features a series of interviews with the newly announced third-party developers, who talked in-depth about what it's like to make games for the next-generation console.

"When you consider the essence of video games, you can't take away its graphics, sound, and interactivity. The Xbox 360 is the best solution [to delivering the highest quality gaming] at the current time," said Tecmo producer Tomonobu Itagaki, who is currently developing Dead or Alive 4 as an Xbox 360 launch game, with three more games also under way in the future.

Other Japanese developers certainly agree with Itagaki, especially in terms of graphics. The developers at Yuke's, best known for the WWE SmackDown! series, are working on a new wrestling game called Wrestle Kingdom for the Xbox 360, and the differences in the console's graphic capabilities are, well, striking. Director Koji Ito and chief planner Shunsuke Katsumata commented that the Xbox 360 allows a game's atmosphere to be considerably more realistic than in previous consoles, which is due to the machine's lighting-effect calculations.

"Self-shadowing effects contribute a lot to making a pro wrestling game," Katsumata said. "When it comes to pro wrestling games, trying to render the wrestlers' muscles is really the key point. But up until now, we couldn't even use a virtual self-shadowing effect due to hardware limitations."" [more]

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