By Spencer . February 7, 2013 . 6:02pm
Namco Bandai has two different kinds of Naruto games coming out in March. CyberConnect2 has the next installment in the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series (read our interview here) and Mega Man 9 developer Inti Creates has a 2D action game. Instead of using the same art, Inti Creates has super deformed character models and a comical storyline. We talked with Atsunori Kawachi, development producer, about the art of making a Naruto platformer.
Inti Creates has worked with Namco Bandai before on the Shin-Chan and Gon 3DS games, but this is your first time working with the Naruto license. How did you feel about working with the Naruto series and why did you want to make a platformer?
Atsunori Kawachi, Development Producer at Inti Creates: While we were discussing ideas on how to provide a new experience of the Naruto story different from what has been done in the past, we discovered the cute artistic design of Naruto and Lee in Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals and found our challenge.
As a game that features cute characters full of comedy as well as battles against formidable enemies and allows a full experience of side-scrolling action and fighting elements using a variety of jutsu and skills, this mission-based game was created.
Can you tell us about the process of how Inti Creates designed levels and boss fights for Naruto Powerful Shippuden?
Boss fights are created through careful selection of the boss character from the original Naruto Shippuden series and emphasis on making the skills and situation appear comical and cool at the same time. As a result, I believe we were able to express the unique attacks of Akatsuki to match their personalities very well.
On the flip side, the stages were designed with emphasis on providing challenges with no correspondence with the storyline. From this, we were able to come up with numerous missions.
Because our aim was to allow players to play for a long time without growing tired of the game, we added “Personal Rules” to the mission requirements that change the motive and aim of the play. We even prepared something past the ending only for the players who have completed these challenges, so we hope you get lots of fun playing!
Naruto is a big series, but Naruto Powerful Shippuden focuses on the Rock Lee spinoff manga. Why did you want to focus on this? Are there any other parts of the Naruto series that Inti Creates is interested in working on?
We did borrow the character designs of Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals, but the real aim in developing Powerful Shippuden was to bring out the cuteness of the characters from Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals while bringing a new way to experience the story of Naruto Shippuden.
We are always thinking of new possible ways to express the appeals of the Naruto series, so we would love to work on this again if we have the opportunity.
Since Naruto Powerful Shippuden is designed to be funny, what are your favorite silly moments in the game?
In the episode “Guard Kazekage Gaara!” from the Rock Lee scenario, Kankuro’s habit of adding “eh?” to his sentences was spread to everybody to the point where even Gaara starting saying “eh?”
In the episode “Pain to the World” from the Naruto scenario, Naruto’s famous line “You’d better give up on me giving up!” was put rather successfully in a different form than the original. These two are my favorite scenes the two scenarios.
There’s a new storyline where Neji dresses up like Hinata? How did you come up with this humorous scenario?
When creating a scenario, we reference the comics and anime of Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals and think of ways to include laughter to funny scenarios that are only made possible through the medium of games.
Unlike the Rock Lee scenario in which it is easy to insert comedic episodes, the Naruto scenario follows the original story of Naruto Shippuden while adding jokes. This proved to be difficult, but in the end we were able to make this rather comedic, and became an extremely good experience for us.