Developer Staff Interview

Red Entertainment Corporation Artdink M2, Ltd. Nintendo
Planning Director Producer Character & Dinosaur Design Development Director Development Producer Chief Programmer Producer Director Assistant Director
Shunichi Ii Ai Ito Naota Watabe Takaaki Seki Akiko Hattori Jun Okada Hitoshi Yamagami Genki Yokota Shingo Matsushita

An RPG That Packs the Fun of Three Games into One

Nintendo: How was the plan for "We Are Fossil Diggers" conceived?

Yamagami:
Hitoshi Yamagami
The plan itself goes way back. The plan was proposed to us by Red Entertainment in the summer of 2004, back when Nintendo wasn't selling Nintendo DS systems yet. The content of the game consisted of digging fossils, cleaning them, and then waging battle with the revived dinosaur, so whichever of those parts you selected, it seemed as though it could become a game in itself. We initially turned it down on the grounds that although the game had a grand scale, it was lacking in concreteness.
Ii:
Shunichi Ii
We had no sense whatsoever of having been rejected; we just figured that the timing was a little too early. (laughs) It was before the DS hit the market, and we really didn't know how sensitive the stylus and microphone would be just on the basis of the information that was given out in advance of the release. So, we just moved forward with the plan, thinking, "Well, won't it be able to do about this much?"
Yamagami:
Hitoshi Yamagami
We thought the concept itself was interesting from the very beginning. But the thing that worried me initially was that the scale might just be too big to pull the whole thing together. I was concerned as to how much time would be required, as well as about the cost of development. I mean, after all, itselfs three games in one. The reason that the plan began to take shape concretely was because the idea for the battle - which we thought would ultimately hold the key - began to surface in a viable form.

Using the plan proposed by Red Entertainment, we had Artdink handle the actual development, and then, because the scale was so big, we got M2 involved in programming. The first thing we worked on was the prototype for the cleaning part, which seemed interesting to us in terms of game elements. We were able to work an extremely good feel into this prototype version, so in terms of form, it was with this that the actual development began. The time that elapsed from announcement to release for sale was very short, but this RPG took an extremely long time to complete - over three years from initial conception and two years and several months from the start of production.
Ito:
Ai Ito
Mr. Yamagami has said that the scale was too large, but we initially proposed fifty dinosaurs. It was actually Mr. Yamagami who said, "Let's make it over one-hundred dinosaurs," in effect, making the scale even larger.
Ii:
Shunichi Ii
Yes, yes. He said, "This has got to be three digits here, right?"
Yamagami:
Hitoshi Yamagami
If you think in terms of making it interesting as a game, you need at least one-hundred. What really impressed us, though, was that the basic elements of play did not diverge from the initial plan. I think that just shows how extremely good the original idea was.

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