Saturday, 6 April 2013

2. IwataAsks: Being the Mayor

Iwata
The player becomes the mayor, undertakes public works project and enacts ordinances. 
Where did these ideas come from, and how did they all come together?
Kyogoku
Well, I would often come home late from work only to find that Tom Nook's shop 
was closed.
Iwata
So you'd come home late thinking, "I'm going to play Animal Crossing!" but then
 be disappointed to find the shop was closed.
Moro
I'm sure there are plenty of players who have fiddled with the clock when playing
 the game, but this is a shame as a really nice aspect of Animal Crossing is the sense of unity that comes from time passing in sync with the real world. It means that everyone gets to share that sense of the seasons and the time passing, so we were keen to retain that element of the game.
Kyogoku
I wondered if we could make it so the game adjusted itself to the player's 
circumstances, meaning that players would'nt need to adjust the clock. But if all the shops were open twenty-four hours a day, there would be no difference between day and night, defeating the whole point of having time in sync with the real world. Anyway, we put that problem on hold for a while, and then the idea of the player becoming the mayor was raised and it occurred to us that the player could use his or her authority to adjust business hours.
Moro
This time, you can adjust things to fit your own lifestyle, so shops can open 
early in the morning or stay open until late at night.
Kyogoku
The mayor has the authority to enact these kinds of ordinances.
Iwata
Of course in the real world, ordinances are enacted by a local council, so the
 mayor can't simply do things entirely on their own authority! (laughs)
Moro
Ah, yes, that's true! (laughs) And mayors don't pay for things out of their own pocket
 either! (laughs)
Iwata
Wait! So the mayor makes the rules, but has to foot the bill?
Kyogoku
Yes! (laughs) The mayor raises funds for public works projects. The animals that live
 in the town will contribute a little money, but every little request goes to the mayor, so you end up using a lot of pocket money.
Iwata
So you use your own pocket money for public works projects?
Kyogoku
Yes, you do! (laughs)
Iwata
When I hear terms like 'mayor' and 'ordinances', I can't help but think in terms of
 the real world. But it makes sense in the game to make it this way. Once you hit upon the idea of making the player the mayor, it provided a solution to a range of issues.
Kyogoku
That's right.
Iwata
Do you think that some players will feel a burden of responsibility when they are
 made the mayor?
Moro
Ah, there's no need to worry! (laughs) Even if you don't fulfill your duties as the
 mayor, no one will complain.
Kyogoku
No one's going to say: "Come on, Mayor. Get your act together!"
Iwata
So you don't get an approval rating?
Moro
No, you don't.
Kyogoku
At first, there is one tiny hurdle to overcome, where you have to gather support from
 the town residents in order to begin work on developing the town, but once you're past that, an easy-going life as mayor awaits! (laughs)
Iwata
Come to think of it, you'll always have the example of the previous mayor to compare
 yourself to, won't you? (laughs)
Kyogoku
That's right. (laughs) When you remember that you're taking over from Tortimer, 
well...
Takahashi
... It makes things pretty relaxed! (laughs)
All
(laughter)
Moro
But when we had Eguchi-san play it in the later stages of development, he said it
 did'nt feel much like you were really mayor.
Kyogoku
Yes, that's right. He said that when you actually played the game, you did'nt really
 feel as if you were the mayor, so we decided to add some elements that would enhance your sense of being the mayor.
Iwata
What exactly do you mean when you talk about this 'sense' of being the mayor?
Moro
Well, one example is at the beginning of the game, when you plant a tree in the 
event plaza. That's an event we put in to enhance the feeling of actually being the mayor.
Iwata
Ah, I see. So the problem was that although you had become the mayor, it did'nt 
feel like you were recognized as such by those around you.
Moro
Right. For example, we had initially made it so that when you completed work on
 a bridge, it ended there. So we decided to hold a ceremony upon its completion.
Iwata
At this ceremony, everyone sets off firecrackers and celebrates, which is really 
satisfying for the player.
Kyogoku
Scenes like that really bring it home that you're mayor, and I felt really glad we 
included them. I mean, its not like putting in this kind of thing fundamentally altered the gameplay, but...
Iwata
... It does feel different.
Kyogoku
That's right. Now you really feel like the mayor.
Takahashi
You can refuse to hold a ceremony, though.
Moro
That's right. (laughs) When you finish a public projects works and return to 
your office,  your secretary Isabelle will ask you if you want to hold a ceremony.
Iwata
Ah, yes. You have a lovely secretary who always lends a helping hand.
Moro
That's right. Anyway, you can select 'No' and refuse to attend a ceremony. 
She'll then become so dejected in the way she speaks and acts that you'll feel really sorry for turning it down.
Takahashi
I'd like players to witness this themselves, so they should refuse to attend a 
ceremony at least once!
All
(laughter)
Iwata
You have cute characters like Isabelle in the game, and then you also have characters
 like your old friend  Mr. Resetti, who appears from under the ground when you reset the game.
Kyogoku
We really were'nt sure about Mr. Resetti, as he really divides people. Some people
 love him, of course, but there are others who don't like being shouted at in his rough accent.
Iwata
It seems like younger female players, in particular, are scared. I've heard that some
 of them have even cried.
Kyogoku
That's right. That's why we were a little unsure about including the Reset 
Surveillance Center at first. But just around that time, the Japanese government's budget revision process was attracting much attention, so we decided to have Mr. Resetti's department go through the revision process too. (laughs)
Moro
I heard that the assembly member in charge of the review asked Mr. Resetti, 
"What's wrong with a little reset every now and then?" "We don't got the funds for this nonsense!" and that, in the end, it was phased out. (laughs)Editors Note: This is a parody of real-world events in Japanese government, but with an Animal Crossing twist.
Iwata
Is that true? (laughs)
Moro
Well, in the end, we made it so the Reset Surveillance Center was a public 
work project, so we left it to the mayor to decide whether or not to have one.
Iwata
But would anyone really want to go to the trouble of building a Reset 
Surveillance Center?
Moro
Well, some people want to meet Mr. Resetti! (laughs)
Iwata
They want to get in trouble sometimes, right? (laughs)
Kyogoku
That's right. And there are also some things in the game you won't be able to 
see unless you build a Reset Surveillance Center.
Moro
We put a lot of effort into the interior of the center, and there's a bit in which 
the player will get their hands on a microphone.
Takahashi
So we don't want every player to veto this public works project!
All
(laughter)





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