Nintendo 3DS

How Style Savvy: Trendsetters Is Like An RPG


Style Savvy: Trendsetters on the Nintendo 3DS is developed in collaboration by four separate companies—Nintendo (the publisher); Syn Sophia (the developer); and Drumcan Inc. (a fashion show producer) and Atom Inc. (whose founder was previously at Drumcan), both of which served as fashion consultants.


Style Savvy: Trendsetters is a game where you run a fashion boutique. The game has several fictional clothing brands, and the player’s job is to manage their shop, stock up on the necessary kinds of items, and help put together outfits for customers that visit your store. You also put outfits together for models to wear at fashion shows.


The goal of Trendsetters, the developers say in an Iwata Asks interview, is to allow knowledge gleaned from the game to extend into real life—ie; to allow the player to learn about clothes, and apply this knowledge to their day-to-day lives. To help accommodate this goal, the one major addition made to Trendsetters over its predecessor, the original Style Savvy, is a more flexible system for putting together “a look”.


In the original Style Savvy, the system for matching clothing items was relatively simple and predictable. Once you spent some time with the game, you would have little trouble figuring out what clothes to match together for an outfit that would make your customers fork over their cash. This was the result of technological limitations, which make it difficult to account for a more “human” and personal touch, which is what fashion really revolves around.


To help avoid this problem in Trendsetters, and make the game feel more human and unpredictable, Syn Sophia created a lengthy and complex flowchart for the new game that determines how items match up, and also included a system that allows for one item in the look to be “off” or edgy. The hope is that Trendsetters will feel less predictable, allow the player to experiment and understand how clothes work in real life, and to get them to take notice of things they wouldn’t have before.


Different people enjoy Style Savvy: Trendsetters for different reasons, however, and this is another of the game’s goals. For example, Nintendo producer, Hitoshi Yamagami, sees it as a role-playing game where the customers are the enemy, and your “attacks” involve putting together outfits and recommendations that drain them of the most money, and bring you the most profit. Yamagami, being the managerial type, plays the game from the perspective of a sales person, and focuses on profit and efficiency.


On the other hand, Hiromasa Tsujii of Atom Inc., who works in fashion, uses the game to drum up conversation with his daughter, who he sometimes goes shopping with. Drumcan’s Koji Tamura adds that men could use it in a similar way to understand how clothes work, and help their girlfriends pick out things to wear while shopping, too.


“I think this game is an extension of real life since it’s based on fashion, a real life substance,” explains Nintendo’s Yurie Hattori. “And when you play the game for a while and then return to your everyday life, the real world is like an extension of the game. When you see people in the streets, you’ll be like, ‘That outfit is a bit iffy.’”

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.