Interview: Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg

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Interview: Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg


Post by Metal Mario » Wed May 07, 2003 9:42 am

*Source: IGN

Sonic Team's Yuji Naka is currently in development with an all-new action platform title called Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg for Nintendo's next-generation console. Earlier today the famous designer sat down in a roundtable Q&A session with select members of the press. We've quickly compiled the session for our readers.

Naka opened by stating: "What happens in the world of Billy Hatcher is that night comes and morning fails to arrive afterward. Hatcher embarks upon an adventure to bring morning back to the land. Basically, in order to bring morning back to the land, Hatcher puts what looks like a rooster suit and controls giants eggs, and rolls them around, and embarks upon an adventure."

"The game actually started as a multiplayer mode game with players rolling and controlling the eggs, jumping and throwing the eggs, and more, and it was based on this concept of action surrounding the eggs," he said. "The title is set up with different missions and objectives and what the player will do is take care of the eggs, nurture them, grow them, hatch them, and things will come out of the eggs and they will go through the quest and try to complete it in this manner."

To wrap up, Naka commented: "We have what's turned into this 3D platform game as players go out in this world and look for the eggs. Players have to think about how they can use the eggs in order to complete their missions. It should provide a really different style of action from what we've seen in some of my past games like Sonic the Hedgehog."

Afterward, the Q&A session with the press began. Following, those questions and answers:

Q: Can you give some examples of the creatures that can be hatched?

Yuji Naka: A wide variety of creatures will hatch out of these eggs and they'll all have different abilities. Some might be strong and more powerful in light while others might be powerful in water. I think players should really look forward to what kind of creatures will hatch out of the eggs.

Q: Will there be GBA connectivity?

Naka: In its current state there is no connectivity. If there is time I would like to include some, but it's looking like time may be fairly strict.

Q: Will Billy Hatcher support LAN gaming?

Naka: No, we don't have any plans to include LAN support. Basically, we're looking at two and four-player split-screen modes for multiplayer play.

Q: What kind of replay value will be looking at in the game? Because it seems there will be a lot of creatures to collect.

Naka: Actually, there are a number of hidden creatures as well so I think playing through will be fun for players. You'll also be able to use different creatures for different methods of clearing the same level. That should provide a lot of replay value for players.

Q: Could the title come to GBA in the future?

Naka: I think that'll depend on how well the GameCube title sells. This is the first new style of action game that I've worked on in awhile so I think I will be looking at ways to develop it more in the future.

Q: Why did you choose eggs as the focus of the game and what properties of eggs are you going to use in gameplay? For instance, can they break, or be cooked, or things like that?

Naka: If you think about it, most action games up until now have been about one character running around in the world doing everything. I wanted a different style of action we could focus on. With eggs, we felt that there is this obligation you have for caring for the egg and joy you get from hatching it. Initially we tried some different experiments with oblong shaped eggs but found that too limiting for the player. Also, because you don't know what's going to come out of eggs, it gives you this feeling of anticipation as you play.

Q: How many levels or environments there are in the game and describe some specifics?

Naka: The number of worlds and missions -- we haven't really finalized just yet. We're still in the process of fine-tuning so that number is not final. For E3 2003, though, we're planning to show three worlds and one boss. So we'd be happy if everyone could find the time to play it and we think that will give you a good indication of what's to come.

Q: Why did you decide to develop this title for GameCube only? Will it come to other systems?

Naka: I really like developing games for GameCube and that's the number-one reason. We're not planning to release it at all for other systems. We think this style of action game falls in line with Nintendo's business and wide audience that Nintendo focuses its games on. We think it's a good match.

Q: Is growing the eggs similar to nurturing the 'chao' in Sonic Adventure 2? Can you explain the similarities or differences?

Naka: The 'chao' were more of an AI life system in SA2. I think they're different from the eggs in Billy Hatcher. The animals in Hatcher will help you solve puzzles and embark on the adventure with you. It's a different feel.

Q: Once a creature has hatched, do you have control of it, or does it become an independent agent?

Naka: The creatures that hatch out of the eggs will move independently, but you can give them commands say when you want them to attack or something. They will perform different actions to help you solve the puzzles.

Q: Has creating an original game from scratch for GCN been easier than doing ports? Also, will the title support progressive scan mode and DPLII?

Naka: Regardless of what platform you're working on, there are always challenges that you face when creating software. This game is quite a bit behind our original development schedule, but you can take that to mean we've nurtured it. I'd like to make the game compatible with progressive scan and Dolby Pro Logic II like we did with Phantasy Star Online.

Q: Tell us about the multiplayer modes.

Naka: We have completed the basic system for the multiplayer mode -- we can get four-players up and running very well. At this point, we're still looking for ways to expand the single-player. We really think that with this idea of nurturing the eggs it's going to bring some different styles to the multiplayer mode. As players are in a four-player mode, they might be worried about what another player is raising, for instance. We think it'll bring new elements that players haven't seen in a multiplayer mode yet.

Q: Please break down the control system for the game.

Naka: Like a standard action game, you'll run around with the control stick and have a jump button, an action button, and you can use the C-stick to manipulate the camera. As far as the creatures go, you'll have a button to give them commands.

Q: Your previous titles have incorporated cameos from Sonic Team franchises. Can we expect something similar in Billy Hatcher?

Naka: I kind of don't think so this time around. Maybe if everybody gets together and really demands it and if we have time. We've really focused on using the power of the GameCube to create a world that has a different feel from Sonic the Hedgehog, so I don't know if it'd be appropriate to have those characters appear.

Q: Is this a standalone game or the first in a series?

Naka: I've made a lot of games over the years, but I've never started developing a game with the idea of a sequel. It was only after the first game sold well did I find myself asking, "oh, okay, what now?"

Q: Is Billy Hatcher running on a new engine or is it using a version of the Sonic Adventure engine?

Naka: In terms of the engine itself, I guess you could consider it an evolution of the Sonic Adventure 2 engine. By making these changes and evolving the engine, we've been able to take advantage of the strengths of the GCN. In the E3 version, if you see the water, you'll notice that's improved. Also, if you take a look at the bosses and the ground around the bosses, you'll notice that's been improved as well.

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Post by Luigi_PS2 » Wed May 07, 2003 11:30 am

Uh yeah.....
L is real

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Post by theflyingfish » Wed May 07, 2003 12:32 pm

Why is it lame? Alright, the plot's a bit strange, but at least you can't blame it for being a cookie cutter game.

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