Michel Ancel on Wii U

#1 Posted by Wong_Fei_Hung (735 posts) -

Ubisoft's Michel Ancel has been speaking about the Wii U in a recent interview with Gameblog fr, a translation of some of the interview can be found below:

Video Interview (French)

Gameblog: ZombiU, Rayman Legends... You're betting on Wii U, but a lot of gamers have their doubts...

Michel Ancel: Actually, Nintendo is in a slightly delicate situation, which is that they HAVE to manage to explain something that must be played to be understood.

It's like trying to cook something new, a new recipe. There's no point in trying to talk about it for long. After a while, you need to taste it, otherwise it doesn't make sense.

This was true with Wii, and it's even more true with Wii U. With the Wii, it was like "You move your arm, you're playing Tennis. This looks fun." But here, we're actually facing a rather different concept. Because I think... and it's not easy to perceive from the outset... they went for an even more "gamer oriented" concept, in a way.

This is "let's give the gamer even more tools. Let's give the games more tools. Let's add more, but let's not remove any either". So rather than stripping the gameplay like they did with Wii, they went for adding more, which means we end up with something that's monumental in the history of video games in terms of potential complexity.

So we end up with two levels of complexity, which is you can use the touch screen, which is easy enough to understand [implied: "for casuals", which is what he was talking about at the beginning of the interview], or ypu can use the more "gamer" oriented controls with the joysticks and buttons, which is the most used setup these days.

OR, you can combine both, which is something else entirely! They're now headed in a direction which is hard for us developers to understand at first, because we get the impression of seeing two radically different and opposite worlds (play styles) being reunited.

And it seems that this problem is what makes it worthwhile, which is that you can play in various ways. It's a very open system. We got to start playing around with that concept on Rayman Legends, by saying "Now you can modify the play field" and Player 1, who's holding the GamePad, will have the ability to completely transform the play field... either in a good way or in a bad way, which is what makes it interesting because then the other players (playing with the Wii remotes) will start yelling at each other like "Why did you do that ??", etc.

It's exactly as if you had a level designer modifying the level AS you are playing it. We went very far into that concept with Rayman Legends, since you can completely change the game world "in live" [gameplay shows how you can tilt the gameworld with the gamepad using the gyro], you can dig through the walls etc... we tried to go as far as possible with that idea.

This is stuff that's going to be shown soon, watch out, this is exclusive info I just revealed, I'm gonna get my ass kicked *laughs*

So yeah, we went as much as possible into the fun of letting the gamer with the touch screen interface modify the play field at will, and beyond that, this is a collaboration with the players using the more classic controls. This is the so-called asymmetric gameplay, which, frankly, must be played to be understood.

Other Interesting Bits:

Near the end he pokes fun at Sony for tricking developers into thinking that with their consoles, they wouldn't have any limit, that they could pull off CGI seen in Hollywood movies, first with the emotion engine in the PS2, and then with the PS3. He says games like Uncharted are certainly impressive, but they're far too scenarised and have confined game worlds...whereas with BGE2, he wants to make something on a totally different level of freedom, where the player can really shape his own story.

He said that Rayman Origins wasn't supposed to get a sequel. The Wii U came onto the scene, and they went "Now there's something to be done on this with Rayman"

He also seems to say that the resolution of the touch screen is 800x480, but he doesn't seem to be sure himself (but this seems plausible).


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