How Yuji Naka Got Into Fishing And Back In Touch With Naoto Oshima

By Spencer . September 28, 2011 . 5:39pm

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He helped create Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS, and the original Phantasy Star. Yuji Naka has a long history in the video game industry, but none of his past games were linked to fishing. So, Fishing Resort (aka Family Fishing in Japan) was a surprise.

 

It’s the latest title from Naka-san’s company Prope, the studio behind Let’s Tap and Ivy the Kiwi. Xseed will publish the Fishing Resort for Wii in North America. So, why did he want to create a fishing game? That’s one of the questions we asked Naka-san when we spoke to him about Fishing Resort and his thoughts on the two new handhelds – PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.

 

Hi, Naka-san, it’s been awhile since we last talked about Ivy the Kiwi. Just so you know, these questions are from the readers at Siliconera.

 

Yuji Naka, CEO of Prope: Yes, I know. [Laughs.] From my Facebook page, I liked that on Siliconera!

 

Ah, so you know what’s coming! What inspired you to make a fishing game since it’s quite different from the other games you created?

 

Bandai Namco Games contacted me after they released the Family series skiing game, We Ski in the US. They approached me to create a fishing game in the same line. Because I’m not a big fisherman, I said no at first. Thinking about it further, maybe there are other people like me that don’t know much about fishing who may enjoy an accessible fishing game. So, I wanted to create a game that was unlike those on the market right now, which are targeted towards core fishing fans. My goal was to make a fishing game that anyone can play.

 

What feature in Fishing Resort do you think defines that?

 

It starts at the very beginning of the game where you come into a resort, a place where you’re going to spend a fishing vacation. The setting puts everyone at ease. You can relax or go fishing right away. Of course, it’s important to make the fishing accessible, but I also felt making a fun resort was just as important for players to relax and do as they please. Not only did I read a lot of books about fishing, I read a lot of books about running a resort.

 

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Will we see Ivy the Kiwi, the character, appear in perhaps another game?

 

[Laughs.] Right now, I don’t have any plans, but if Bandai Namco Games approached me and said maybe we could create another one, then perhaps.

 

Since Oshima-san left Artoon, do you think you would ever work with him on another game?

 

Actually, we have worked together. Wii Play Motion has mini-games from myself and Oshima-san. At a press event for Wii Play Motion, we had a chance to meet with each other for the first time in awhile because of that project.

 

Do you think you would work on another character or mascot driven game with Oshima-san?

 

Because of that event we saw each other for the first time in awhile. We got drinks with [Takashi] Iizuka-san (current Sonic producer at Sega) too and we talked about how it would be nice to work together again on a new project. Maybe if Sega approached us the opportunity for a collaboration could happen.

 

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What are your thoughts on the PlayStation Vita and the state of the 3DS?

 

I’m looking forward to PlayStation Vita since it adds a lot of new capabilities. I really like the rear touch panel. It would have been nice if all of the models had GPS functions, but still having 3G enabled is a great feature to have.

 

Due to the recent price drop and Nintendo announcing a lot of titles, I’m looking forward to the future of that handheld too.


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