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Developers Comment on NGP

Major third party producers and directors share their price forecasts and say what features attract them.

 
Sony's next generation portable system.

This week's Famitsu has a feature on NGP in which game creators, retailers and readers were asked for their opinions on the new hardware. Here's a bit of what was said, based off a summary at our usual source for early magazine leaks.

PLATFORM ANALYSIS

The feature first began with some analysis of the hardware from Zenji Nishikawa, who's known for his technical articles at Impress Watch.

Nishikawa noted that for the system's GPU and CPU, Sony appears to be taking the exact opposite approach from the PS3, making use of existing technology. This gives them advantages both in terms of cost and allowing programmers be experienced with the architecture.

Overall, Nishikawa feels that rather than offering games with super high quality PS3-level visuals, the NGP's focus is on offering new experiences through its variety of input devices. He said that the price could be in the ¥25,000 range (this is the same price as the 3DS).

SURVEY

Famitsu polled retailers and readers about the NGP. I'm not sure of the number of responders, but here are some of the results:

Do you want NGP?

39% of retailers said yes. 76% of readers said yes.

Expected price:

75% of retailers expect below ¥35,000. 60% of readers expect below ¥30,000.

Most wanted colors:

Readers selected white, blue, red, silver and green.

System's notable features:

The system's visual power was at the top for both retailers and readers. Readers are also excited about the dual analogue sticks.

Most wanted genres:

Readers and retailers agreed on action, puzzle, and shooting.

Most wanted series:

Readers and retailers agreed on Monster Hunter, Metal Gear Solid, and Final Fantasy.

Most wanted third parties:

Readers and retailers agreed on Capcom, Konami and Square Enix.

Developer Commentary

The magazine got the opinions from a number of high profile producers and directors.

Metal Gear's Hideo Kojima speaks at Sony's January NGP unveiling press conference. Third parties did not make formal announcement of titles at the event.

Jiro Ishii (Level-5, Time Travelers director)

Ishii said he's personally excited about the "grab" style control possibilities offered by having touch panels on both sides of the system. He said that using the system's 3G and other network features, he'd like to make an adventure game that is downloadable cheaply on a weekly basis in similar fashion to renting a video.

He believes that the system could accelerate the movement away from consoles and thinks things could get interesting if the NGP is accepted overseas in such a way. On price, his hope is that it comes out for around ¥25,000.

Yoshinori Kitase (Square Enix)

He's paying attention to the system's 3G capability, as he feels great potential from the ability to connect to the internet all the time. He wants to make an RPG that utilizes the system's specs fully -- something that's online compatible and uses the system's 3G. On price, he said that he'd buy it even it were expensive, but with considerations for sales, he hopes it will cost less than PS3.

Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Capcom)

Kobayashi believes NGP will change the position of portable systems. He's interested in particular in the systems's screen quality and dual side touch. The screen in particular is beautiful and can be seen clearly from all sides. In terms of price, he expects around ¥29,800.

Satoshi Sakai (Sega, Phantasy Star producer)

He's watching the system's Wi-Fi and 3G functionality, as he believes a permanent connection could expand the possibilities for online games. He's also excited for the dual touch panels.

Sakai is concerned about rising production costs on the NGP and believes that how to recoup the costs will be a major talking point. Because of his, he thinks that downloadable games could increase.

If he were to make a game, he said he'd want it to be a multiplayer game with online features.

On price, ¥25,000 would be best, but he believes ¥30,000 would be shocking enough.

Akari Uchida (Konami, Love Plus director)

With the appearance of NGP, Uchida believes online games could become even more casual. Users will be able to be attached to games and online communities from all locations.

All games will, like with MMORPGs, allow players to communicate while they play. This makes him excited, as it's something that would work well with the kinds of games that he makes.

Uchida joked that if he were to make an NGP game it would be a game where you use the dual touch panels to grab doors.

He expects a ¥24,980 price point.

Akihiro Suzuki (Tecmo Koei)

He's excited about the system's dual sided touch and can't wait to see how the rear touch is incorporated into gameplay. He also believes the constant connection provided by 3G will be a big thing.

When making NGP software, he personally believes there are two points: using dual sided touch inputs, and using things like wireless functionality and GPS.

He hopes the price will be just as surprising as the system's specs were.

Suda 51 (Grasshopper Manufacture)

The point of note for the system is its network connectivity. Also among the areas he's watching out for are the system's spread in overseas markets, and its compatibility with the Unreal Engine.

If he were to make a game, he'd like to make a punk themed network game.

He's hoping for a price point of below ¥30,000.

Jun Takeuchi (Capcom)

The feeling upon actually getting his hands on the system was overwhelmingly "game system." With the feel of holding the system, the feel of the analogue stick controls, and the ease of view for the screen, he felt it was designed to be a complete game system.

A price point of under ¥30,000 would have a great impact, he believes.

Toshihiro Nagoshi (Sega, Yakuza series)

He's looking at all areas of the system. The system feels like it has good balance and delivers much of what one would want from a new game playing device. He believes it's possible that by building up community via 3G and other wireless functionality, the system could change the game industry.

Work for developers will probably increase, he said, but if it heats up the market, it's work with value.

Yoshifumi Hashimoto (Marvelous Entertainment, Harvest Moon)

Said he wants to make a number of sequels, but would also like to try out completely new titles, including a school love game, games with extreme violence, and slow life games.

Yousuke Hayashi (Tecmo Koei/Team Ninja)

He's interested in the system's specs and online environment.

Until now, they've developed games under the idea that people differentiate between games that are played in the home and on the go. However, in the future, you could be able to continue playing one game on both NGP and PS3.

He'd personally buy the system whatever the price, but as a developer he wants the price to be affordable enough that many players can buy it.

Katsuhiro Harada (Namco Bandai, Tekken producer)

He believes that the NGP will be included in HD multiplatform title plans from now on -- not just being multiplatform, but also in connectivity.

Regarding what he would like to make, he has to respond "fighting game," but he'd also like to make a Genpei Toma Den​ (this is an old Namco arcade title) that uses the system's rear touch panel.

Regarding price, he'd like ¥29,800, but he expects ¥34,800.

Akihiro Hino (Level-5)

The big point of the system is its network functionality, Hino believes. The NGP will make buying games via the internet a more mainstream activity. On the gameplay front, there could be the possibility of all games needing to have internet compatibility.

On price, he expects ¥29,800, but hopes that Sony will keep the 3DS in mind and release the system in the lower ¥20,000 range.

Makoto Yoshizumi (Namco Bandai, Tales series)

The top three features that have his interest are: wireless, connectivity with PS3, and more robust DLC. He'd like to make content that uses these features -- in fact, he feels that there's no meaning if you don't use those features.

On price, he believes that if the system betrays your expectations in a good way, it could cause a huge movement.

Hiroshi Maruyama (CyberConnect2)

For CC2, the big point is the high specifications. He's very happy that they'll be able to use the knowhow they've gained from working with HD consoles. If CC2 were to make NGP software, they'd want to make something that would surprise players visually.

On price, he wants ¥29,800, but said it could end up being ¥39,800. Whatever the price, he's going to buy it.

Noritaka Funamizu (Crafts & Meister)

He views NGP first as a game machine. The OLED display is extremely beautiful. He'd like to use that and the analogue sticks to create a base game and also add networking ideas on top of that. He's hoping to try out a type of game that's different from Wii's Earth Seeker.

On price, he expects ¥39,800.

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