Iwata Asks: Nintendogs + Cats Edition
Miyamoto originally wanted to release sixteen versions of the original.
Nintendo is continuing with its weekly Iwata Asks columns leading up to the 3DS's February 26 release. Following a couple of insightful looks at the hardware itself, CEO Satoru Iwata has started asking about games, first with Nintendogs + Cats.
In the hot seat for this particular column are Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideki Konno. Iwata previously interviewed Konno on stage at Nintendo World a couple of weeks back, leading to a variety of revelations about the game, which you can read about here.
In Nintendogs + Cats, dogs appear to be the main element. As Miyamoto explained during the Iwata Asks session, "I wanted you to be living with a dog, but then a cat would come along for some reason. When you started the game and went to the shop, I didn't want it to ask, 'Do you want a dog or a cat?' I wanted to make it so the cat suddenly shows up, embellishing your life together with your dog."
Even thought cats are secondary to dogs, the work doubled for the game's development staff. They found that they couldn't really share much between the dogs and cats. This includes not just animation and modeling. They had to also think about how to set up the room differently to allow cats to jump to high places. This required changes in camera work, for example.
Also in the interview, Konno discussed one of the points that was mentioned during the Nintendo World stage. Dogs will remember their owner. This type of relationship will extend beyond just a single owner, though. The dogs can remember the faces of family members and friends. They will also have preferences, liking a particular family member who takes care of them most, for instance. When strangers open the 3DS, however, the dogs will bark or cringe.
As always, the Iwata Asks column is full of bits of gaming trivia. Here, Konno revealed that the Nintendogs development staff was looking into making a Nintendogs for Wii. However, noted Konno, the Wii doesn't have a microphone, which means you wouldn't be able to talk to your dog. There was also some concern about the distance between the Wiimote and television keeping players from feeling like they're petting their dog.
Wii wouldn't have been the first time Nintendogs was on a console, though. When Miyamoto first wanted to make a game like Nintendogs, first experiments were conducted on a Gamecube. The switch to DS prevented them from showing off the dogs' coats as well as the Gamecube prototypes could show. This is something that's rectified on the more powerful 3DS hardware.
In other Nintendogs plans that didn't surface, Miyamoto revealed that he wanted to release fifteen or sixteen versions of the original rather than three. The idea was that the game would begin right at the shop with buyers selecting their dog. Nintendo's sales people said that this would be difficult for retailers, and they ended up going with three.