Umihara Kawase was platformer developed by a small team in Japan with a simple concept of getting to a door. What made the game a cult hit unique is the elastic rope that you could use to swing on and if you’re skilled enough rebound from platforms. Siliconera spoke to the creator Umihara Kawase to talk about the Nintendo 3DS game.
It’s really interesting to see Agatsuma Entertainment bring old teams together. The Guardian Heroes staff reunited to make Code of Princess and now you have the two original creators behind Umihara Kawase developing Farwell, Umihara Kawase. Where did you get the idea to create a world with fish in it and how did Umihara enter this world?
Toshinobu Kondo, Original team leader and illustrator: There was a TV series with main theme as trip & fishing. We liked this, so…
Can you tell us the story about how the very first game, Umihara Kawase for Super Famicom, got started? What challenges did you face when designing the original game?
To create a really fun game, we knew we need to do – crash & build something millions of times. The result wwe came up with was Umihara Kawase. The most challenging part was technical. Mimicking the movement of the rope, the rubber string of the fishing rod, so it feels like it would in the real world was difficult to and we needed to work on programming.
The elastic rope is what makes Umihara Kawase unique. How did you implement it into the game?
When programming the rope, it was better to have elasticity while the character moves. After implementing the elasticity, the gameplay got more flexible and fun.
What’s new in Farewell, Umihara Kawase for 3DS?
All of the fields are newly designed. In addition, the movement parameters have been adjusted for 3DS, so the gameplay should be easier than the previous titles. It also has stereoscopic 3D, but other than that it does not specifically use any hardware features.
Why did you include two versions of Umihara in the game? How are they different and does the game have any other extra characters?
For this game, we made 20-year-old Kawase. However, the fans would like to have the original elementary school kid Kawase. So, we have two versions of her.
Yasuo Nakajima, Producer at Agatsuma Entertainment: The younger Umihara Kawase is a memory of the older Umihara, so that is how she exists in the game. It’s a memory of the 80s in Japan.
TK: There are two new characters in this title: Emiko & Nokko. Emiko is 9-year-old school girl, who is a friend of Kawase when she was a school girl. Nokko is 18-year-old high school girl, but she is also time and place police member and descendent of Kawase. Emiko allows you to play again from the check point once. Nokko can slow time.
YN: The team didn’t want to make the game easier, but some people feel the too tough to play, so they created these new characters instead of making the game easier.
Why did you pick “Sayonara Umihara Kawase” as the games’ title? Will this be the last game in the Umihara Kawase series?
TK: We are trying to develop the best version of the Umihara Kawase series. It could become the last one, but not for sure.
Is Agatsuma Entertainment planning on reviving more franchises like Umihara Kawase?
YN: No, no we only do that every once in awhile. We are not trying to search for old games and revive them, it just happened that way. [Laughs]. If I have a chance to do it I will do it because I love retro games.