There are only a handful of original Xbox Live games developed Japan that aren’t arcade ports or based on a franchise. Yuke’s Double D Dodgeball is one of them and I spoke to Ken Koyama, Product Manager at Yuke’s Corporation America, about the decision to pick the Xbox 360 as their platform of choice. While Yuke’s is primarily known for their work on the never ending WWE wrestling games, they tested digital distribution and motion control last year with Go! Sports Ski on the PlayStation 3. Double D Dogeball ditches the gimmicks and 3D graphics. It’s designed to be old school.
How do you play Double D Dodgeball? Is it like Super Dodgeball?
Our basic approach to the game was very simple controls. [Double D Dodgeball is] easy to play, but hard to master, in terms of game controls. It’s just like the old dodgeball games for the NES. It has East set rules and West set rules. The difference is it’s not a side view. It’s a top down view. It’s 2D and not 3D.
We really wanted to take a retro style, bring it back to the days were you’re at the arcade plunking quarters in the machine that kind of feel to it. Back in the day in the arcades where you want to challenge somebody like in Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter you put your quarter up there and wait for the challenge, we wanted to get that kind of feel in there where there are a lot of games in there, a lot of turnaround.
Are you doing an arcade style mode where people can watch games?
If you’re involved in the game you could watch it on the sidelines as well if you’re out. But it’s not like you can view it on the outside. If you’re not playing the game you won’t be able to view the game.
Are there any super moves maybe like Super Dodgeball Brawlers which just came out?
We have five different characters you can choose from. Each character has their own special traits. They also each have their own unique style super shot. You can perform a super shot if you make a catch. Catching the ball in our game is pretty difficult. The reason being is we wanted to focus on the super shot aspect of it. We don’t want anybody just to catch easily and throw a super shot right away. You have to earn it. If you play for awhile and you master the controls it’s easier to catch the ball.
Can you explain how you catch the ball?
Sure. Basically, you want to take your character and face towards the ball. Then you got to time the right trigger just right, right when the ball is in your grasp. From the front end of the characters, they have little arms that catch the ball, you can kind of see that detail. If you time it just right, you can get the feel of how well they catch the ball.
Do you think Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball, which is graphically the exact opposite of Double D Dodgeball’s retro feel, is a competitor?
I think our games are completely different. I’m not quite sure what kind of game Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball is, but I do know there's is 3D, ours is 2D. I think the gameplay styles are going to be completely different. We have Eastern rules, I’m not sure if they have Eastern rules or not. I think it’s going to be good for people who like dodgeball because you can get two different versions of dodgeball. I think people are going to get different experiences from each game.
Yuke's is making this game for the Xbox 360, but you guys have a history of making PlayStation Network games. How come you chose to switch platforms?
Good question. When we were looking at the market in the US, the Xbox is probably the biggest market out there. We did consider the Playstation, but knowing the ins and outs of the market in the US we definitely thought Xbox Live Arcade was the way to go with this one.
Is this game developed by Yuke’s Corporation of America?
No, it’s actually developed by Yuke’s Yokohama.
Since it’s still developed in Japan you chose to focus on the American market primarily when developing Double D Dodgeball?
Correct. When we decided to go online we really wanted to look at the market as a whole. You know worldwide, which country had the biggest online base, it’s definitely the Xbox 360 and that made our decision to go that route.
Are you guys working on any other Xbox 360 games or any Xbox Live Arcade titles?
We do have some concepts of things in the works, but nothing I can actually reveal at this moment.
What about PSN?
As you know, we developed the Go Ski game and we definitely have interest in the PSN. We’re looking at the market as well. Maybe in the future you might hear something about us doing something on the PSN.
WiiWare we’re definitely looking into. We really like the Wii. I think the gameplay and the way you play with the Wii is excellent. I think WiiWare is a great thing for the Wii. So, that’s definitely something else we’re looking into.
When I was looking at the screenshots I saw one of the menu items said download content. What kind of extras can people buy in Double D Dodgeball?
There isn’t an official announcement that I can make, but there are some things I can hint on: extra characters, extra arenas, and things of that kind of content.
I guess this more of a general question when it comes to Xbox Live Arcade games, but Double D Dodgeball said it’s coming out worldwide except for Korea. Why not Korea?
You know we really wanted to release it worldwide, but we just didn’t have much support from Microsoft for the Korean territory, as much as we felt we wanted to release it in Korea. I think Korea is still a new market for Microsoft so they aren’t as established in that area. If everything went well on that end we would like to publish it in Korea as well.
Images courtesy of Yuke’s.