With Pikmin 4 releasing nearer to the end of this week, Nintendo has seen to it to make sure Pikmin 4 was the latest game to get the “Ask the Developer” interview treatment. Across the interview’s multiple instalments, we got to hear from the likes of Shigeru Miyamoto, Yuji Kando and more.
During the interview, Yuji Kando, Yutaka Hiramuki, Mitsushiro Kida, and Shigeru Miyamoto, discussed creating a more three-dimensional game, whilst giving more realism to Pikmin than ever before:
Pikmin Devs on “Pikmin in the Real World”:
Yutaka Hiramuki: In the first three games, you basically looked down at the ground from up high. But in the fourth game, we’ve created it in such a way that players can get a better sense of what’s around them in this world. For example, players can go under benches and desks or dive into deep water. We wanted players to experience the world from the perspective of these tiny Pikmin, so we’ve given them more control over the camera than ever before.
Mitsushiro Kida: We’ve also adapted the sound to match this change in perspective. When the camera is close to the ground, you can hear Pikmin’s voices and footsteps loud and clear, as if you were listening with your face close to the ground. In contrast, when you zoom out and look down, amidst the ambient sounds, you’ll hear the faint noises from the world of tiny creatures spreading out below.
Yuji Kando: By setting the camera angle at a near-ground level, you’ll look up at the objects in the environment and see things from a Pikmin’s perspective instead of a human’s. We wanted to emphasise how small Pikmin were by showing how the world looks to them. As we developed the first three Pikmin games, we formed an idea of how the environment should look, but over time we became less conscious of how small the Pikmin were, and the environment was often designed to facilitate the gameplay. When we showed Miyamoto-san the prototype, he said, “Something doesn’t seem right”. Then, when we saw the characters pass under the slats of a wooden pallet in another prototype, a ray of light was shining through it nicely… And we finally got a sense of how small the Pikmin really were.
One of the things we wanted to achieve was to make it believable that Pikmin actually exist by depicting them as very small compared to humans.
Shigeru Miyamoto: However, if you show a Pikmin next to a battery, for example, it gives people an idea of its exact size. I don’t feel entirely comfortable with this. While we want to show a good comparison between Pikmin and man-made objects, we don’t want to determine their specific size.Yuji Kando: That’s right. We’ve been careful to convey their smallness as realistically as possible, while making it difficult to tell their specific size.
Mitsushiro Kida: When creating the sound effects, our staff had lots of discussions about what size Pikmin and creatures were, and whether we should make them sound realistic or exaggerated. In Pikmin 3, there was a greater focus on making the sounds impactful, and they had a comical feel. However, Pikmin 4 incorporates sounds that remind players of the smallness of Pikmin and give a sense of reality. It was tough to get the right balance, but we focused on creating sounds that would make it seem like Pikmin exist in real life.
Previously Pikmin didn’t have a footstep sound effect when walking, but we tried adding one in this game. We wanted players to have a natural, enjoyable experience, and recognise that they’re actually guiding a squad of little Pikmin.
We also adjusted the sound of Pikmin carrying objects to reflect the number of Pikmin, their types, whether they’re on the ground or in the water, and so on.
We hope to use the game’s sound to draw in players who haven’t yet discovered the true fun of Dandori and to make them fall in love with it. But I’m still nervous that Miyamoto-san might secretly be thinking we didn’t need to give Pikmin footstep sound effects.
For the full interview, why not click here to check out Ask the Developer Vol. 10, Pikmin 4 – Chapter 1Ask the Developer Vol. 10, Pikmin 4 – Chapter 3.
Ask the Developer | Pikmin 4 (Participating Developers)
- Shigeru Miyamoto | Representative Director Fellow
- Yuji Kando | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Production Group No.10
- Yutaka Hiramuki | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Production Group No.10
- Taku Matoba | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Production Group No.10
- Mitsuhiro Kida | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Sound Management Group