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N-GAMER Interview


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#1
TRiPPY

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NGamer exclusive - NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams interview


20-Apr-2007

Our big NiGHTS: Journey Of Dreams exclusive in NGamer issue 10 isn't the end of our coverage of Sega's stunning-looking update of its Saturn classic -- oh no. Here, for your pleasure, is a new and exclusive interview with the man behind the game, Takeshi Iizuka -- with the odd tidbit he didn't mention during our separate interview in the magazine itself. Enjoy!

First of all, just to relax the diehard fans, will the Wii version of NiGHTS be following the fundamental game mechanics of the original?
Takeshi Iizuka: For those loyal fans that have waiting 11 years for NiGHTS to return, I felt the need to keep the game concept fundamentally the same as the original so that it would be a reminiscent return to their past NiGHTS experience. This way, I could extend my thanks and appreciation for all those fans that waiting all this time for the sequel. To them, I want to say "Thank You" for without their support this project would not be possible. Additionally, we are planning expand on the original to include a variety of new gameplay mechanics that I hope fans new and old will enjoy.

Can we expect any radical gameplay departures from the original?
Takeshi Iizuka: We found that original NiGHTS game was not "user-friendly" as it was often difficult for the player to figure out what to do or where to go next. The sequel is built around a dramatic storyline that will engage the player and guide them intuitively through the adventure.

Will the music in NiGHTS still change based on the mood of the Nightopians?
Takeshi Iizuka: We are very fortunate to have Mr. Hataya, the original music composer from the first NiGHTS game aboard creating the new soundtrack. Since the game structure is completely revamped as we added a lot more game volume, we realistically didn't expect to do the same things we did in the original NiGHTS. We like the mood-enhancing soundtrack feature very much and want to do something very special collaborating with Mr. Hataya. We promised that there will be a lot of new and exciting ideas for "Journey of Dreams".

Will the original's wide range of moves be making a return - and will they rely on motion-sensing controls?
Takeshi Iizuka: Originally, NiGHTS (for Sega Saturn) was released with a very special 3D controller that intensified the flight experience. With the Nintendo Wii, I thought it would be a perfect chance to attempt to recreate that innovative flight experience once again. We're currently designing the game to be played with two control configurations. Our main focus is to design the game to be played with the Wii remote but for those gamers that are more comfortable using a more "traditional-style" controller configuration, they will able to plug the nunchuk into the Wii remote as well.


Grabbing enemies and throwing them around was often the solution to some of the original's more intense battles. Will we still be grabbing foes in the Wii version and if so how will the remote let us throw them around?
Takeshi Iizuka: Unlike other action games - like Sonic for example - where you run around, then stop and encounter enemies to progress through each level, NiGHTS attack schema is designed differently. We originally designed the gameplay around the joy and freedom of flight system which has made NiGHTS a unique gaming experience. The game rule has been expressively created so that touching the enemies is inherit in the design as it doesn't interfere with the natural feeling of NiGHTS' flight system. By "touching" the enemies, NiGHTS can encounter enemies utilizes his special abilities like Touch Dash or Touch Loop. The sequel will utilize the Wii remote to make these actions very intuitive so that the player can easily execute a wide variety of game actions.

Will you be bringing back the 'A-Life' system?
Takeshi Iizuka: The A-life system was a very popular feature of the original NiGHTS game that we've love to include, but we're currently investigating all options.

Christmas NiGHTS cleverly employed the Saturn's internal clock to alter the game world, particularly the weather conditions. Any chance of the Wii Weather Channel being used for some similar effects?Takeshi Iizuka: What's exciting about the Wii is that it has a lot of great functions that we would like to take advantage of...we have some really special surprises for all!

And what about using Miis?
Takeshi Iizuka: The sequel is being designed around real human struggles. The story is about self-discovery and the belief in oneself. So, we're designing the game around human characters that interact with NiGHTS in the dreamworld of Nightopia.

Does the game use the game engine from Sonic and the Secret Rings?
Takeshi Iizuka: Journey of Dreams is being created from the ground-up and is running on a completely new engine engineered specifically for the Wii. We're finding that there are some very interesting graphical effects and processes that are being merged into our engine. We excited to see how far we can push the hardware this time.

Sonic and the Secret Rings seemed to take a few pages out of NiGHTS' book - putting Sonic 'on rails' for example - and did very well as a result of it. To reverse the situation, are you taking any inspiration from Secret Rings?
Takeshi Iizuka: The inspiration that drives us to make the sequel is appeasing the loyal fan base that has wanted to play a sequel to the original NiGHTS game. We want to make the best game possible so that not only our loyal fans will enjoy it but that we can introduce NiGHTS to a whole new generation of gamers that we hope will fall in love with it like so many have.

We particularly enjoyed facing off against the vicious cat boss Clawz in the original; will there be any giant cats in the sequel?
Takeshi Iizuka: We may not have big cats in particular in our sequel, but we are creating some really fantastic world of Nightmare and fascinating Nightmarens that I am sure you will all enjoy very much. I can't give you any real details, just that there will be a variety of gameplay to entertain you all.

We'd love to have been able to race through levels against friends in the original NiGHTS. Any chance of some multiplayer swooping in the Wii version?
Takeshi Iizuka: We don't have any real details about multiplayer functionality right now, but we are planning many new special features for the sequel.

The character NiGHTS has appeared in just about every Sonic Team game since the game's original release in 1996. There's clearly a lot of affection for the character within Sonic Team, so why the big wait in releasing a sequel?
Takeshi Iizuka: Ever since NiGHTS was released 11 years ago, I've always dreamt of making the sequel , and now I am able to deliver to those you how have patiently waiting so long, a new NiGHTS game! Over the years of my involvement of creating past Sonic titles, neither the market nor platforms seemed right in recreating the sequel...that is until Nintendo released the Wii. So now, it is my chance of saying thank you for all your loyalty and trust. I hope you will love "Journey of Dreams" as much we do making it!

-------------

Thoughts? Despair? Anger? Joyous joy? Lets discuss this article here.

#2
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I'm personally not to happy that this game will be another sidescroller. It was good for the first game, but even then, I thought the first game was going to be in 3D (not counting the kids portions), and that we'd have absolute freedom of movement with NiGHTS. But since the levels are so small, it made since to make it a sidescroller. But this is 11 years later. I always hoped that a sequel would be what I always wanted the first to be.

Other than that, it's my only gripe about NiGHTS JoD.

#3
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He's so vague its killing me!!! XD

#4
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He's so vague its killing me!!! XD


Meh, I could be vaguer, but I been sick for 5 days now, and harder get any sleep. If I was in full health and full rest, you would of been vagued to death by now XD

#5
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Not you! Ha ha! Iizuka! <_<
Anyhow, on an added note, I guess I also expected them not to do this game on a set track like they did with the first one. I wasn't fond of that technique with Sonic and the Secret Rings, it was very awkward for me and I quickly switched my reserve to paper Mario. *snort* But I won't be too worried that it'll be terribly distracting, I'm holding onto some hope that they'll pull it off okay.

#6
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Not you! Ha ha! Iizuka!


Ehh...what?

Yeah, I just got Sonic and the Secret Rings a few days ago. Been to sick to wiggle the Wiimote around without wanting to throw up, so I can't get very far until I feel better. But from what I've played, it seems like a good idea, but the controls are way too glitchy. Sonic Either won't jump, or does the wrong jump. Sonic tries to brake and go in reverse when your holding the Wiimote correctly. Sonic won't home attack most of the time. It's just pretty annoying to play this game. It's a good concept that could work well for NiGHTS (even though it still wouldn't be the sort of free movement I would want), but if the same team were to make NiGHTS, in a SatSR fasion, there would no longer be any way I would buy this game. I actually prefer the sidescroller to the horrid SatSR controls.

#7
animejosse

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The control seems to be what most people dislike about Secret Rings. I really, really hope it won't be an issue in JoD because GOD that'd be awful. However, since it'll have a new engine that hopefully means the controls will be different as well.

#8
DiGi Valentine

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Ehh...what?


Izuka. Purg was talking about Izuka who is incharge of making the new NiGHTS game. He's refering to him being vague in the interview. <_<;;

Also, i am happy that they've brought the original composer back for the new game because the old style music was very memorable. I just hope the guy hasn't 'come with the times' and turned every tune into a rock-off/rap-off. As much as NiGHTS throwing down bad-boy lyrics humors me, i don't think everybody else will like it. XD

#9
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The only 'rock-off' I would want would be the Reala fight. But for a theme, I can imagine Reala haveing more of a super creepy and scary clownish music theme. But maybe what I have in mind would make Reala more of a character for a T rated game. And maybe I see too much in Reala.

#10
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In one version of the Reala and NiGHTS face-off music, Reala did have an electric guitar representing him, but it was awesome. ^^ I hope they don't screw up the feel of the music, I'm hoping having the original composer will prevent that. Heh heh, hey DiGi, All the stuff I said "I wish" or "I hope" about in that email seems to be going A-OK! <_< (And yes, thanks for explaining what I meant. *brain dead*) I don't know that seeing NiGHTS making crazy arm-flaily rap gestures, grabbing his crotch and spitting HOT FAI-YA would amuse me as much as my face would be permanently curled into a wince and part of my soul would die. Thanks for the image, Bunny-Boy. XD

#11
animejosse

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I just hope the guy hasn't 'come with the times' and turned every tune into a rock-off/rap-off. As much as NiGHTS throwing down bad-boy lyrics humors me, i don't think everybody else will like it. XD

Bad boy like this? (Scroll down a little) XD

#12
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*Lifts pen to Josse's eye* Why? Why do you hate your eyes so much? Is seeing so very terrible?
Uh.. *Thinks of how to keep that NiGHTS related* That... sure was NiGHTSy..? >_O I don't think TRiP will dig the guns though! Why.. am I still awake..

#13
b_boult

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I wish someone would ask Iizuka about the supposed 5 months he wasted developing the game for the Xbox 360, and whether or not it will turn this game into a 1 year rush job. It's my major concern right now, because I'm sick and tired of Sega management rushing out games before they're complete, especially properties of this magnitude.

#14
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Heh, I find it amusing he said the first game wasn't very "User Friendly", I'm use to playing newer games, being a newer gamer, and I picked it up really quickly. NiGHTS was easy to pick up, I though the original was User Friendly...maybe that's just me. Geeze, I can see why he's being so vage, to get everybody all worked up and excited, knowing when we first see it it'll be like opening a christmas present. You never quite know what your going to get. I hope they don't really do to much with the Mii's, the Mii's would look so out of place in the NiGHTS world XD I'm going ot bet they'll have some niffty Multiplayer action, even though they're not telling us much. The Wii was built for Multiplayer! Anyways, all in all I'm excited. Sounds like it'll be amazing.

#15
suri

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"I felt the need to keep the game concept fundamentally the same as the original so that it would be a reminiscent return to their past NiGHTS experience."
Big sigh of relief.
"We found that original NiGHTS game was not "user-friendly"
huh? hes a joker.
"We are very fortunate to have Mr. Hataya, the original music composer from the first NiGHTS game aboard creating the new soundtrack."
Huge sigh of relief.
"they will able to plug the nunchuk into the Wii remote as well"
perfect
"By "touching" the enemies, NiGHTS can encounter enemies utilizes his special abilities like Touch Dash or Touch Loop."
Not sure what he means.
"The A-life system was a very popular feature of the original NiGHTS game that we've love to include, but we're currently investigating all options."
I really hope they bring it back.

#16
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"By "touching" the enemies, NiGHTS can encounter enemies utilizes his special abilities like Touch Dash or Touch Loop."
Not sure what he means.


Yeah, I had that trouble too. I was afraid it was just me.

#17
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Yeah, I had that trouble too. I was afraid it was just me.

You know when you could latch on to a mini maren, hit a button, and it'd go flying into the distance? That's the Touch Dash.
The Touch Loop was when you grabbed onto a maren a pivoted aound it in a circle around it to kill the enemy. Major time-waster, but pretty fun.


So, about the article, it makes me grin a lot. From the looks of things, everything's going great so far. We'll have to see what we can get later on, though. They've still got so much to do in so little time... ._.

Anyway... it might just be me, but I really didn't find the original NiD's controls to be terribly user friendly. It took me a while to get it down... maybe it's just 'cause I never got the analog controller.

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Anyway... it might just be me, but I really didn't find the original NiD's controls to be terribly user friendly. It took me a while to get it down... maybe it's just 'cause I never got the analog controller.


You are not the only one. I was really bad at the game when I was 8. And in one of the fourm post under chit-chat I talk about how my friend prefeared to play Sonic Riders instead of NiGHTS because she couldn't figure out how to go stright... :P The people that could play the game well were people who are used to playing video games in general. Its hard to design a game that is good for both beginners and pro's alike though.

#19
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Ehh...what?

the controls are way too glitchy. Sonic Either won't jump, or does the wrong jump. Sonic tries to brake and go in reverse when your holding the Wiimote correctly. Sonic won't home attack most of the time. It's just pretty annoying to play this game. It's a good concept that could work well for NiGHTS (even though it still wouldn't be the sort of free movement I would want), but if the same team were to make NiGHTS, in a SatSR fasion, there would no longer be any way I would buy this game. I actually prefer the sidescroller to the horrid SatSR controls.



You've really hit the nail on the head there. I feel exactly the same. Secret Rings is almost 'Unplayable' I feel angry every time I come away from it.

Dan.

#20
suri

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Can we expect any radical gameplay departures from the original?
Takeshi Iizuka: We found that original NiGHTS game was not "user-friendly" as it was often difficult for the player to figure out what to do or where to go next. The sequel is built around a dramatic storyline that will engage the player and guide them intuitively through the adventure.


After reading this again, id like to pick it apart. The first time through, my subconsious didnt let me take this serious.

The question was "radical gameplay departures?" and the answer was an indirect "yes". How radical is he talking? :S From the looks of his reply, extremly radical and possibly game-breaking.

He justifies radical gameplay departures by presenting the problem "it was often difficult for the player to figure out what to do or where to go next". False, simplicity was what NiGHTS was all about. The game was very very basic. Fly to the right and collect 20 chips, put them in a reactor, repeat 3 more times,fight a boss, end of level. The fun factor comes from efficiently following this system and breaking highscores. What game on the market has a more easy to follow gameplay? (besides tetris or something) He says this is too confusing and must be replaced with a story-adventure to guid players through the game. If he had made this same comment in reply to a different question it would be no big deal, but he chose to put this in after being asked "Can we expect any radical gameplay departures from the original?" which puts entirely new meaning to what he said. Can we assume the radical change is a change from scoreattack - to story-based action adventure?

#21
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that did cause a little worry for me, but if it plays well and is still fun I can accept change. but not TOO much change fundamentally. It makes me wonder how they were planning to do AiR NiGHTS.

#22
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I think its ok to add a story/adventure element to the game. However, it should be short and sweet and to the point, and easily skipped or indeed switched off after completion of the game. And i must say i do agree with the original game being somewhat user unfriendly. Not in the actual gameplay itself, but for me it was a definate "WHAT THE" everytime you started a stage and walk two paces and then be attacked. It still is annoying. How long did you hesitate jumping off the ledge on the last stage? I like that idea don't get me wrong, but there are people not quite as switched on as the rest of us that would of thought that the game was stuffed or badly programmed or something. It was also weird how the game went back to the press start screen after finishing every level. I liked it ( it symbolised to me waking up and by pressing start going back into the dreamworld ) but again probably confusing to the masses.

#23
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How long did you hesitate jumping off the ledge on the last stage?


Yeah, it was then that I realised that Elliot and Claris were suicidal, and that the game taught kids how to kill themselves O.o

#24
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Yeah, it was then that I realised that Elliot and Claris were suicidal, and that the game taught kids how to kill themselves O.o

Wait, what? O__O No, it didn't. It was symbolic for losing faith, regaining it again and believing in yourself. I mean, the kids didn't die, they FLEW. How is that teaching suicide? Unless you believe people are complete idiots that does everything they see on TV...

#25
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He pretty much ducked a lot of questions.

#26
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He pretty much ducked a lot of questions.


Yeah, that's what I was saying!! All he says to that is "Well.. I hope you love the game as much as the old one!" "Oh.. we have some... secret... stuff..."

Secret stuff?!?! Well shut mah mouth wiiiiide open!

#27
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I wasn't expecting anything different.

This is how the game is played, my friends. This is a very special project for everyone at Sonic Team and it follows that they'd keep it as close to the vest as possible for as long as they can.

Still, I'm curious to see what surprises they'll have in store with regard to the Wii's capabilities. Online multiplayer? Worldwide high-score lists? A track-building feature?

And what about that 'Pian breeding sidequest? What if you could breed 'Pians and download them as Miis? Heck, maybe we can breed 'Pians and trade them! The possibilities are endless!

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Am I the only one that doesn't know what Mii's are? I don't own a Wii. Is it a Wii thing? Why does everyone here keep talking about it?!

#29
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Am I the only one that doesn't know what Mii's are? I don't own a Wii. Is it a Wii thing? Why does everyone here keep talking about it?!

Miis are little people you can make on the Wii. You can customize them to look like a little cartoon version of you or anything you want. I make viruses. XD

#30
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Miis are little people you can make on the Wii. You can customize them to look like a little cartoon version of you or anything you want. I make viruses. XD


Thank you. All this talk of NiGHTS and the features on the Wii make me wish I had $250 to blow...

#31
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I'm glad NiGHTS is going to be on rails again. It perfectly suits the racing/score-attack style of the game. And on a more personal level, the last system I actually owned was a Saturn so my heart still isn't too far removed from the side-scroller era. If full free-flight 3D were to be best incorporated anywhere in the game (aside from the pre-flight walk-abouts) it would be in the boss levels where there's a greater emphasis exploiting a weakness or utilizing the environment to win.

#32
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I'm also glad the gameplay is staying on tracks - I mean just look at NiGHTS from Sega Superstars... the concept of free-flight is a good one but if you accidently veer off the track and lose your way it's terribly confusing and hard to find your way back again (not to mention it murders your arm-muscles). It just wasn't as free, fast and flowing as it could be if the direction was more structured and, well, obvious. XD

Although I picked up the original game quickly that was half because firstly, I am a gamer, but I'd also read every preview, review and guide going round so I knew what to do and how to play before I even got my hands on the analogue controller. But someone totally new to it would be bewildered on what to do initially. Does anyone remember when those guys on Gamesmaster had to compete by fighting Puffy - they both sucked cos they had no clue what to do. XD It's not a very user-friendly game in that sense.

This way, I could extend my thanks and appreciation for all those fans that waiting all this time for the sequel. To them, I want to say "Thank You" for without their support this project would not be possible. Additionally, we are planning expand on the original to include a variety of new gameplay mechanics that I hope fans new and old will enjoy ... Since the game structure is completely revamped as we added a lot more game volume, we realistically didn't expect to do the same things we did in the original NiGHTS.

Translates - They love us fans and are creating it with our enjoyment in mind as well as the prospect of gaining new fans. The game structure is similar to the original NiGHTS but not the same; the levels are bigger and so a different type of play is required to get through them. From the start they didn't want to create a clone of the last game. (To me all this sounds very good)

The game rule has been expressively created so that touching the enemies is inherit in the design as it doesn't interfere with the natural feeling of NiGHTS' flight system. By "touching" the enemies, NiGHTS can encounter enemies utilizes his special abilities like Touch Dash or Touch Loop.

Translates - You'll be able to kill the little buggers quickly and not lose your link. Nice! :D

What's exciting about the Wii is that it has a lot of great functions that we would like to take advantage of...we have some really special surprises for all! ... The A-life system was a very popular feature of the original NiGHTS game that we've love to include, but we're currently investigating all options.

"I'm teasing you, making you think the worst, but really we'd be fools not to put these features into the game. It's gonna be there."

We're finding that there are some very interesting graphical effects and processes that are being merged into our engine. We excited to see how far we can push the hardware this time.

"It's gonna look better than the screenshots suggest. We've got some big-guns but we're not showing them to you yet." The fact he says these graphical effects are being merged into the engine seems to suggest that they're not present in the screenshots we've seen.

We don't have any real details about multiplayer functionality right now, but we are planning many new special features for the sequel.

"There will be multiplayer."

I like how he's not denying anything (it allows me to see everything in a positive light XD). The only thing I can see him denying is the presence of Miis - the fact he said they're designing human characters suggests they're either only having the two core dreamers or that they're developing a new system of some sort with character customisation and how the character influences NiGHTS... and that can only be a good thing. :)

It seems like the main focus is on keeping the gameplay as great as it always was. That's music to my ears~ ^.^

#33
Vincent

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I still can hardly believe that it's finally happening. However it was great to read this, I hope won't have to wait for Germany's release too long once it's out for everyone else. =|

#34
TRiPPY

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I wonder if the gamecube region disc swap works with the wii games too... See we've been playing RE4 (USA) on the Wii... so if it works for GC then i wonder if it will work for Wii too.. if it does then Hello import, goodbye waiting time.

#35
Purgatory

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#36
Louis

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I wonder if the gamecube region disc swap works with the wii games too... See we've been playing RE4 (USA) on the Wii... so if it works for GC then i wonder if it will work for Wii too.. if it does then Hello import, goodbye waiting time.


There was a disk swap trick for PAL Wii's that worked iirc, no idea if that's been corrected with firmware though. Oh well, there'll be a freeloader out soon probably, that should do it.

Also, why you playing RE4 GC? The Wii remake is out in a few months. Knifey slash and gun pointy shoot etc D: One of the only games I'm really looking forward to at the moment, I loved the cube version (and this one has afew hours extra content :))

#37
Rhayader

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after reading the report i started feeling a bit less aprehensive. i was very concerned that the game might not have the same feeling as the original. heck its IMPOSSIBLE to have the same feeling, but having the original soundtrack creator is a great bonus!

too bad we wont be seeing clawz again, then again we might not see any of the old bosses apart from reala!

beeing able to play it "old-school" with the numchuk seems fine with me, and with the touch dash and touch loop the game will retain most of its gameplay, so there wont be any major diferences in the fights with the baddies. i really hope shleep will be in there :P

from one point of view im glad that its still on tracks, but from another point of view its not going to be the true "free flying" we have been waiting for. lets wait and see

#38
gsk

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I'm glad NiGHTS is going to be on rails again.


Does he actually directly say thats its 2D gameplay ala the original? This is my main concern after control (which is going to support analogue so great). If its 2D with stick control, then to be honest, I cant see how they can mess it up :)

#39
Rhayader

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well, he does say you can plug in the numchuk into the controler, so i guess they would have to make it a side scroller unless it still requires some input from the wiimote.
they can also change the perspective from time to time (like the 3rd mare in soft museum when you get shot out of a cannon) giving it a more "3d" feel to it. i guess we will know for sure when we find out if the game will support the gamecube or the classical controler.

#40
gsk

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Yeah, all the hints point at 2D gameplay I suppose, and with analogue control confirmed, I'm set. Only question left for me now is the game worth buying a Wii for...




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