Page 1 — The First Foreign Employee of Nintendo
Page 2 — Working on the N64
Page 3 — Snowboarding in 64 Bits
Page 4 — N64DD, Doshin and Prototypes
Page 5 — Rock n’ Roll Wii and VR
Page 6 — Undersea Adventures on the 3DS and Smash
Page 7 — Bringing Tanks Online and Missed Opportunities
Page 8 — The Future of Vitei
Page 9 — Giles, The Enabler
Page 10 — The Future of Vitei and VR
Page 5 — Rock n’ Roll Wii and VR
Let’s move onto the games you worked on with the Vitei Frontroom.
Rock n’ Roll Climber was the only game you worked on for the Nintendo Wii?
How did that come about?
Basically, we came up with a couple of prototypes with the Wii controller. I was quite into bouldering at the time. So I thought it’d be interesting to do that. [Rock n’ Roll Climber] was before the Wii Controller Plus, so it only had 3 DOF… if we had just released it a bit later, we could have had access to the 6 DOF, the one position and orientation, and that would have made a lot of difference with the controls. This is because you couldn’t really get an accurate reading position out of the thing.
You also used the Wii Balance Board.
The entire concept of the balance board was a bit gimmicky as it was too clunky for the games. Too clunky as in unresponsive for the games. Nothing to do with the [build quality] or anything like that…if you are using your weight as a controller, it’s really difficult as an input method. When you are standing up, you don’t really pay any attention to it, but you are constantly moving your weight from one foot to the other. If that’s the only way you have to control things, then the controller is just doing this constantly [waving hands back and forth]. It’s even worse backwards and forwards, as [players] only have a certain amount of room before they start falling over.
With those limited experiences with motion controlling…is that what inspired the Backroom to go with VR?
No, not at all. We went with VR because of the Oculus. The Oculus was so cool, and we had the dev kits. This was Oculus, pre-Facebook, pre-anything basically. The first development kit.
Did you approach Oculus, or did they approach you?
I was part of the Kickstarter, so I got DK-1, and we started playing around with it. We never approached anyone…actually…we approached Sony at E3 one year, and that’s how we started working on the Zombie Taxi.
Rewinding a bit, what actually inspired you to start Vitei?
I’m not sure. It just grew organically, I think. I didn’t make a conscious decision to start a video games company. It just grew.
Did you want to be independent though?
The Backroom is basically a reset, well not a reset. The Frontroom is basically for Nintendo. It’s structured for Nintendo. The whole team is built around Nintendo’s way of working. Where the Backroom is a company I’d like to work at. That’s why it looks like this. That’s why it’s very laid back. There’s no hierarchy, it’s very flat. It’s a very different company.
It’s more collaboration…
Yeah, that’s why it’s also smaller. The Backroom has fewer employees while the Frontroom has 20 people…
So the Frontroom is more structured.
Yeah, it’s structured around Nintendo. They have a [certain] structure they want. If they want more or less people, it happens. We very much match what they require.
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