เว็บไซต์ของทางค่าย Nintendo ได้อัพเดทบทสัมภาษณ์ระหว่างคุณซาโตรุ อิวาตะ ผู้ดำรงตำแหน่ง CEO ของค่าย กับคุณโนมุระ เท็ตสึยะ ผู้กับกับซีรียส์ Kingdom Hearts จากค่าย Square Enix ซึ่งนี่เป็นครั้งแรกที่บุคคลทั้งสองนี้ได้มีโอกาสมาพบหน้ากัน โดยบทสัมภาษณ์ดังกล่าวนั้นสรุปใจความได้ดังนี้
การสัมภาษณ์เริ่มต้นขึ้นด้วยการพูดถึงเรื่องเดโมเกม Theatrhythm -Final Fantasy- คุณโนมุระบอกว่าพวกเขาตัดสินใจที่จะปล่อยเดโมเกมออกมาให้โหลดกันไปเล่น หลังจากที่ได้ยินเสียงตอบรับที่ดีจากงานแสดงเกมต่างๆ ซึ่งเขาก็ได้เข้าไปใน Blog และ Twitter มากมาย แล้วก็ได้เห็นผู้คนที่พูดกันว่าได้ต่อคิวเพื่อเล่นเกมนี้หลายครั้ง ทีมงานจึงเห็นว่าหลังจากที่ผู้เล่นได้ทดลองเล่นกันแล้ว เสียงตอบรับมันก็ดีขึ้น จึงตัดสินใจที่ปล่อยเดโมออกมาให้ได้โหลดไปเล่นกัน
โดยปกติแล้วทีมงานจะชอบไปดูท่าทางอาการของผู้คนที่ต่อคิวกันรอเล่นเดโม แล้วก็ดูอากัปกิริยาของผู้ชมที่ตั้งตาดูเทรลเลอร์ มันก็ทำให้เขาได้เรียนรู้ว่าแฟนๆ จะสนใจและมีปฏิกิริยาต่อเรื่องไหนอย่างไร
ต่อมาคุณอิวาตะก็ชวนพูดถึงเรื่องจุดกำเนิดของซีรียส์ Kingdom Hearts ในเดือนมีนาคมของปี 2002 ซึ่งเป็นเกมแรกที่คุณโนมุระได้รับหน้าที่เป็นผู้กำกับ (คุณอิวาตะเลี่ยงไม่พูดถึง PS2) คุณอิวาตะรับว่าเขาได้ยินว่าที่มาของ Kingdom Hearts เริ่มมาจากการที่ Disney และ Square ในตอนนั้นได้ทำงานอยู่ในอาคารเดียวกัน ซึ่งคุณโนมุระก็เปิดเผยว่านั่นแหละคือจุดเริ่มต้นที่แท้จริงของการร่วมมือกันระหว่าง Disney และ Square
วันหนึ่งผู้อำนวยการอาวุโสอย่างคุณชินจิ ฮาชิโมโตะ และบิดาของ Final Fantasy อย่างคุณฮิโรโนบุ ซากากุจิ ได้มาหารือกัน ซึ่งคุณโนมุระก็ถูกเรียกตัวเขาไปเพื่อคุยเรื่องอื่นที่ไม่เกี่ยวข้องกัน แต่ไปๆ มาๆ คุณโนมุระก็ได้ดอดเข้าร่วมวงสนทนาเรื่อง Disney ด้วย ทั้งสองพูดกันว่า "มิคกี้เป็นตัวละครที่ดี แต่ไม่น่าจะเอามาใช้ได้" ตอนนั้นเองคุณโนมุระก็ถามว่ากำลังคุยเรื่องงานอะไรกันอยู่ เขาอยากจะร่วมทำด้วย
คุณโนมุระยอมรับว่าตอนนั้น เขาไม่ได้ต้องการจะทำเกมที่มีมิคกี้เป็นตัวเอกเลย แต่เหตุที่เขาหันมาสนใจได้ก็เพราะเกม Mario 64 ของทาง Nintendo ซึ่งเกมนี้ได้ออกมาในช่วงที่คุณโนมุระกำลังพัฒนา Final Fantasy VII อยู่ และมันก็ทำให้คุณโนมุระช็อคอย่้างมาก เขาบอกกับทีมงานว่าเขาอยากจะสร้างเกมแบบ Mario 64 บ้าง แต่เพื่อนๆ ก็บอกว่ามาริโอน่ะเป็นตัวละครที่เป็นที่รู้จักกันทั่วโลก การจะสร้างเกมในระดับเดียวกันให้ได้ด้วยตัวละครใหม่นั้น มันเป็นเรื่องที่เป็นไปไม่ได้ นอกเสียจากจะเอาตัวละครที่ดังระดับ Disney มาใช้
คำพูดนี้ก็ติดอยู่ในใจของคุณโนมุระมาตลอด จนกระทั่งเขาได้ยินโครงการร่วมมือกับทาง Disney ที่คุณชินจิ ฮาชิโมโตะและคุณฮิโรโนบุ ซากกากุจิกำลังคุยกันอยู่ เขาจึงไม่ลังเลที่จะเข้าร่วมด้วยความฝันที่จะสร้างเกมระดับเดียวกับ Mario 64 ที่เขาชื่นชอบให้จงได้
----------------------------------------------------------------------------1. The Impact of 'Mario 64'
Iwata: Thank you for coming today.
Nomura: The pleasure is mine.
Iwata: Mr. Nomura, this is the first time we've met like this, isn't it?
Nomura: That's true, yes.
Iwata: It just didn't seem to happen until now. Actually, I've wanted to speak with you at least once for a long time.
Nomura: Oh, really?
Iwata: Now, just to begin, I want to ask you about 'Theatrhythm' (※1). The other day I met with Producer Mr. Hazama (※2) and listened to what he had to say, and I could definitely feel how you were his mentor.
Nomura: Oh, okay. Well, his friend, rather.
※1 'Theatrhythm' = 'Theatrhythm Final Fantasy'. It's a theatre rhythm action game for the Nintendo 3DS that went on sale Feb 2012. ※2 Mr Ichirō Hazama = Member of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. and producer of 'Theatrhythm Final Fantasy'.
Iwata: To Mr Hazama, you yourself are the 'compass that shows the way of the craft'. So, Nomura, when you heard the idea for Theatrhythm from Mr Hazama, what sort of feeling did you get?
Nomura: Um.... I thought, 'that idea probably won't make it out of development'.
Iwata: Ah, is that so. 'The people who normally make the games won't go for that concept,' sort of thing, right?
Nomura: Yes. However, he had been thinking about it from an even more different point of view. His idea was, 'I want to make a game that uses the images we have so far'. That was an interesting idea, so I told him, 'why not?'
Iwata: Those words definitely support the vibe I got from Mr Hazama. Mr Hazama said to me something like, 'People who create things are amazing. They go on and on along a dark road all alone, believing in their goal. It will be a long time yet before I have walked as far as they have, but I really respect the people who can do such a thing.' It was very interesting for me, too.
Nomura: ...For sure, it's definitely interesting to talk about things we ourselves lack. I can feel the things we lack when he and I talk, too.
Iwata: And then, I think the fact that the 'Theatrhythm' demo version (※3) went well gave it a chance to establish value in the world's eyes. You were the one who proposed the demo, Nomura, so I'd like to hear your thoughts on it.
※3 demo version = The 'Theatrythm Final Fantasy' demo version is available at the Nintendo e-shop. You can also try it out in stores Japan-wide. Please go here [link] for more information regarding the in-store demos. Please understand in advance that the demo version may end without prior notice.
Nomura: Well now... Every year, there are gaming events, right? I always try to watch the customer's reactions, you see, and the line of customers at Theatrhythm's first demo booth was amazing. The people who got to play even wrote blogs and tweets saying things like 'that was fun!' and 'I lined up over and over', and from the very first day this game gave vibes of good reception, and so I thought I'd like to make an even bigger impression within those who got to play.
Iwata: You believed in the hands-on approach, didn't you.
Nomura: Yes. And because of that, I talked to people about doing a demo version.
Iwata: Mr Nomura, do you often go to see the customer's reactions?
Nomura: Yes, I suppose I do. I watch the demos, of course, but I also watch when the trailers are playing. The customer's reactions tell me which parts make an impression, so I always check.
Iwata: There's naturally a gap between the image of how we want them to react and the actual reactions of the customers, so everyday we have to revise over and over, don't we? Is it customary with the people around you, too?
Nomura: We directly circulate responses to the things we've made, and we have for a long time. Even the chief members say they try to go see the customers' reactions.
Iwata: They do it without having been taught to do so, don't they? People who make things don't just make things that their customers want, they have to be brave and betray them, and do things differently to the rest of the world's mainstream. On the other hand, the process of making involves watching customer's reactions closely, while bouncing their own image and the actual reaction off each other until they become rounded.
Nomura: That's true.
Iwata: …Just now with what we were saying, I think I've come to understand a side of you I didn't know before, Mr Nomura. See, I'm relatively similar. I can feel so much empathy for you.
Nomura: Ah, oh really (laughs).
Iwata: Now, about 'Kingdom Hearts' (※4). Ten years, what a grand topic we've come to. 'Kingdom Hearts' was the first title you ever directed, wasn't it?
※4 'Kingsom Hearts' = An Action RPG series that Mr Tetsuya Nomura works on. The first title went on sale March 2002. It's main characteristic is that it uses Disney worlds for themes and settings.
Iwata: One thing about Disney is that they have the strictest control over their characters in the world, but they let us throw our own creations into those same worlds. See, long ago, I had a similar experience when I made Smash Bros (※5), so I know it must have been terrible. First of all, how did it begin, how did you climb over the obstacles, I'm really interested.
※5 Smash Bros = 'Super Smash Bros'. It was a fighting action rpg, the first title releasing Jan 1999 on the Nintendo 64.
Nomura: Firstly, we were in the same building... I've told this story many times, but it originally began from making a game together with Disney. One time, Mr (Shinji) Hashimoto (※6) and Mr (Hironobu) Sakaguchi (※7) were talking together, and I was there too for some reason.
※6 Mr Shinji Hashimoto = Square Enix Holdings Corporate Executive. In the days of the old company Square, he was first the producer of Final Fantasy VII and worked on many titles. ※7 Mr Hironobu Sakaguchi = The creator of the Final Fantasy series. He became independent in 2001, and established the game development company Mist Walker.
Iwata: Were the three of you just together by chance?
Nomura: Yes. I had been called over there for a completely different matter, but at that moment Mr Hashimoto and Mr Sakaguchi were talking back and forth about Disney, something like, 'Mickey would be great but we can't use him'. And then, I put up my hand and said, 'Ah, I want to do that,' and that's how it began. However, at the time I had absolutely no motivation to make a Mickey game...
Nomura: So then it went sort of like, 'Okay, we'll let Tetsu have a go'.
Iwata: What was the background behind raising your hand? What part interested you?
Nomura: From the start, when I was working on FFVII (※8), that was right about the time that Mario 64 got famous, and the way you could run around freely in a full 3D world impacted hugely on me. When I talked with other staff about how I wanted to make a game like that, they told me, 'No, Mario is already a world-famous character, you can't do it now with a new character.'
※8 FFVII = Final Fantasy VII. It went on sale Jan 1997, as the seventh title in the series. ※9 Mario 64 = Super Mario 64. An action game for the Nintendo 64 that went on sale June 1996.
Iwata: Like, 'We can't go up against Mario,' sort of thing?
Nomura: Yes. The colleagues I talked with at the time said, 'It would be impossible to do without Disney-level star power characters'. But, it stayed in my head. So, when I heard them talking about doing something with Disney, I knew I wanted to do it...
Iwata: You must have had it quite firmly stuck in there...! So basically, the impact of Mario 64, hearing it would be 'impossible without Disney-level characters', and then talk about a Mickey game spawned something inside your head and you raised your hand, right?
Nomura: Yes (laughs).
Iwata: Hmm! Fate sure is a strange thing!
2. 'It will definitely be fun'
Iwata: So, then did you go to Disney for meetings?
Nomura: Yes. First of all there were going to be talks, and in the beginning I went to talk to them without even knowing what sort of talk it would be or anything. At the time, I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to make.
Iwata: Are you the type where, with the image of what you want to make, the concrete visuals change and move inside your head?
Nomura: Yes, I think so. I an image of 3D space was the first image I had. It was taking shape one way or another inside my head, and then Disney also asked me if I could do certain things for them, and they presented a lot of things to me.
Iwata: And those things were different to your own image, naturally.
Nomura: Oh, yes. 'Make a game about this character', they'd say, and it seemed on their side they were thinking I'd make what they ordered, so they were explaining things to me very excitedly and happily, but I honestly had no interest at all (laughs).
Iwata: So from your point of view, you wanted to borrow Disney's characters and make a new, fun game that could stand up against Mario 64, and you had that image in your head, but you couldn't engage, right?
Nomura: Yes. And so I said 'no, I'm good thanks,' and stopped the other person's presentation halfway through. The schedule only allowed the other side to make presentations before the time was up, so first of all I concluded by telling them what kind of game I wasn't about to make.
Iwata: Wow. (laughs) Were they surprised?
Nomura: Yeah, they were (laughs). But, they were English-speakers, and since I had no idea what they were saying I paid no attention, and I talked about the beginnings of 'Kingdom Hearts'. I explained how I wanted to 'do the story of a new, original character journeying through the worlds of the Disney characters', and then we went back and forth a few times. In the beginning I showed them an early design sketch of the protagonist, Sora, but he was holding a giant chainsaw-like weapon, and they were all like, 'what on earth is this?'.
Iwata: Well, Disney worlds, right (laughs)
Nomura: When I said, 'this is a chainsaw', they were stunned into speechlessness (laughs). Several people were crowded around one design sketch, and I think they were probably saying 'this is awful,' but I can't understand English at all, so.
Iwata: In that situation, not being able to understand is a blessing (laughs).
Nomura: Yes (laughs). And then, while we bounced ideas back and forth, he became the Sora of today.
Iwata: So, Disney accepted something that at first shocked them into silence, didn't they?
Nomura: Yes, you're right, they were quite tolerant.
Iwata: Perhaps the Disney side was looking for new stimulus and change too, don't you think? As for practical results, there are many people who have come to love Disney through the world of Kingdom Hearts, and the fact that the series is still ongoing after 10 years is surely something Disney appreciates.
Nomura: They have always told me that Kingdom Hearts is important content to them, and I'm glad.
Iwata: This is the first time I've heard these stories. I was thinking, what?? These things really happened?!
Nomura: Yeah (laughs).
Iwata: And also because, if you hadn't been able to overcome those things like the other side being shocked speechless, and them telling you they wanted you to make a game about a certain character, then it wouldn't have ever reached the shape it has now. Usually you couldn't do something like this, how were you able to? It made me wonder.
Nomura: Well, I say this a lot, but in those days, I didn't think anything was impossible.
Iwata: Humans are certainly unable to think the word 'impossible', aren't they? When someone firmly believes 'I can', and that person keeps steadily moving forwards, things often work out one way or another.
Nomura: Yes, that's true, isn't it. I believed that once it was done, it would definitely be interesting, so if we didn't do it it would be such a loss, and just kept talking (laughs).
Iwata: That presentation method, you could definitely call it 'American' (laughs). However, in the process of bouncing ideas and creating a visual image, I'm sure there was a moment where the other side began to approve, wasn't there?
Nomura: Well... Back then, there were many meetings where we spoke directly to their director of the time, and he was a considerably tolerant guy. Even when the staff around him opposed to something, that director would say 'yeah okay' to me, and the talks would move forward. There was that.
Iwata: Having one person who understood on the other side, and that person holding so much power, was an important factor, wasn't it? Like fate.
Nomura: Yes, I was very lucky.
Iwata: On the other side, in those days Square had only been making RPGs, so were there not many people who had experience with making games that had that degree of action?
Nomura: You're right, there weren't very many at all.
Iwata: I get the feeling that perhaps it didn't go as usual, until the image had enough shape to satisfy, but how was it?
Nomura: I began by collecting staff from scratch, and there were many who had never done action, which meant the dark times were long.
Iwata: So, this new director had to begin with gathering staff, convincing Disney, and then make a game in a genre they'd never done? Those hurdles are three or four times higher than regular games, aren't they!
Nomura: Yes, that's right (laughs). During development the staff moved from impatience to anxiety many times, and there were times we weren't sure if the thing we were making would even be fun.
Iwata: That does happen to people who've been making a game for a long time, doesn't it?
Nomura: Yes, it does. Although, I just kept saying the whole time, 'It will be fine, it will be fun'.
Iwata: So despite everything, you yourself believed firmly in your goal to definitely make it fun, didn't you.
3. Square's Intentions
Iwata: When you first became a director, how did you establish your personal style? How did you think a director should be?
Nomura: The first director I worked under was Mr Sakaguchi, and the next director was Mr (Yoshinori) Kitase (※10), and I think the two of them had a huge influence on me. Then, there was the director when I worked on battle plan for FFIX (※11), Mr (Hiroyuki) Itō (※12). Then, there's the man who went to MLSI (※13), Mr (Tetsuya) Takahashi (※14). He was the graphics leader, and was quite affectionate to me. Those four make up the image I have of a boss.
※10 Mr Yoshinori Kitase = Producer of the Square Enix 1st Production Department. In the days of the ex-company Square he worked on many titles beginning with Final Fantasy VII. ※11 FFIX = Final Fantasy IX. Released July 2000, it is the ninth title in the series. ※12 Mr Hiroyuki Itō = Square Enix game developer. He first directed FFIX and FFXII and has worked on many titles. ※13 MLSI = Monolith Soft, Incorporated. A game development company headquartered in Meguro, Tokyo. ※14 Mr Tetsuya Takahashi = An ex-Square game developer. He went independent in 1999 and founded a game development company, Monolith Soft.
Iwata: So you became the director you gathered from the image of those four?
Nomura: No, I didn't pick up anything but the way to think about the craft, really. When I became a director, I knew I wasn't able to be like them, but I had fun creating with those four, so I thought it would be good if I could at least be fun.
Iwata: But, I think that the most important duty of a leader is to say 'this is our goal!' and to get everyone to believe that 'when we get to our goal, it will be great'. Listening to you, I think that you make those things very easy to understand and then turn into reality.
Nomura: Well... I'm also a designer, so for me it's the visual image that comes into my mind first, and perhaps it's easier to convey that to other people than ideas put into writing.
Iwata: But when you say you're the type to go in from a visual angle, I'm sure that doesn't mean that you yourself see the visual as a still image, so to speak, but rather you imagine the structure of the action at the same time, and how you can make it fun, right?
Nomura: Yeah, I think so.
Iwata: So how do you convey that?
Nomura: Hmm... In the beginning, I'd scribble pictures as I explained. See, for example, it's the same way you'd talk about a movie you've seen. It feels like that.
Iwata: Ahh, so because you yourself are seeing the complete image, you can explain things like 'this part is a bit different' and 'this part is fine like that' until gradually it takes shape, right? You're the exact type to begin from the complete visual image, aren't you.
Nomura: That's why when we make trailers, the staff tell me they are easy to grasp.
Iwata: You don't only present trailers to the customers, but to staff as well, so they become like a moving specifications document, don't they?
Nomura: That's true. The game department can grasp the sort of action we want from watching the trailer.
Iwata: Indeed. I totally understand that. Now, when we think of Kingdom Hearts, there's one more thing I'm sure a lot of people were very taken aback by, and that is the fact of Ms Hikaru Utada's collaboration. I was surprised, too. How did that come about?
Nomura: Well, I personally like Ms Utada, and because of course Disney is the world's largest assembly of characters, I knew that I absolutely had to have a top artist to do the music, and I said that Ms Utada would be the only way to go. They told me it would be almost certainly impossible, but I said we'd never know if we didn't ask, and that if we sent an offer it wouldn't be as bad as we thought, and so we did.
Iwata: You must be glad that they can be so frank with you. That said, I suppose there aren't a lot of people out there like the guy who could go to Disney and tell them 'I'm not doing a game with a Disney character as the main, I want to make my own character' (laughs).
Iwata: I think it's probably unusual for you to have suddenly gone to Ms Utada and asked her to make a song for your game, too. Usually people would think it was impossible, see.
Nomura: Maybe, yeah.... But, there are many things you shouldn't consider impossible before you've tried. 'Just give it a go and give it your best,' sort of thing.
Iwata: Rather than not doing something because it's impossible, it's better to see it as a steady challenge, isn't it. However, after Kingdom Hearts was first accepted, you came up against other walls during the long development period, didn't you. It's a story with much magnificent foreshadowing, but, how much had you thought of from the beginning?
Nomura: I had a vague general framework from the start. Firstly, I'd basically thought of up until around KH2 (※15). When KH1 was announced, I knew as far as KH2, and when after that three titles were announced around the same time (※16), by then I'd basically planned everything. With the release of the latest title, KH3D (※17), I'm thinking ahead now too, splitting it into stages.
※15 KH2 = Kingdom Hearts II. Action RPG released December 2005. There's a 2 in the title, but it's actually the third work in the KH series. ※16 three titles announced at the same time = KH Coded, distributed June 2009, KH 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS, released May 2009, and KH Birth by Sleep, which went on sale Jan 2010. ※17 KH3D = Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]. Released on the 29th March 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS, it is the latest title in the series.
Iwata: You've built up more and more flows and ties so far, but, do they ever tire you out?
Nomura: Yes, well. But...
Iwata: The truth is, Mr. Nomura, we can't see any of that tiring out at all (laughs).
Nomura: Ah, really (laughs). Hm... There definitely have to be limits when creating something. You 100% can't just do anything.
Iwata: Yes, there are always limits, and if there aren't, there will never be closure, will there.
Nomura: That's very true. It's actually part of the fun, working out how to make the game as interesting as possible within those limits. Even within growing constraints, I'm thinking of better ways to enjoy it.
Iwata: Ah, I understand entirely. If you think about how to have fun with limits, as they increase there will definitely be difficult sides in a practical sense, however, we can't tell you are having difficulty at all. Well, that difficulty is something you naturally don't want your customers to see, isn't it?
Nomura: That's right.
Iwata: It sounds like you think that limitations are a part of the process of craft, and if it absolutely must be put in, then it has to be fun, right?
Nomura: Yes. And that's why it's a lot of fun to make happen. And then, there is the person who was the advertising producer of the first generation Kingdom Hearts, Mr (Tadashi) Nomura (※18). He taught me many things, and in those days, he would always say 'the customer doesn't want to see the difficult places'.
※18 Mr Tadashi Nomura = He was in charge as advertising producer for various games for the former company Square. Presently, he is a board member at the split-off company Monolith Soft.
Iwata: That's just what we've been talking about, isn't it.
Nomura: I was always told 'don't talk about your hardships', and perhaps that had an influence.
Iwata: You agree with it too, don't you.
Nomura: Yes, I do. I think it's more fun to talk about which parts were interesting. There are a lot of things like that that my seniors would say back in the day, that remain with me even now.
Iwata: And included in that is the culture of Square's craftmanship, isn't it?
Nomura: I do think so. When Mr (Kōichi) Ishii (※19) left, he told me, 'take care of Square's craft,' and I knew I wanted to treasure that feeling.
※19 Mr Kōichi Ishii = Worked on Final Fantasy series 1~3 and XI etc. Currently, he is the representative director of the company Grezzo.
ที่มา : Nintendo