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Back to Round 1:


Punch-Out!! shipped for Nintendo's Wii not so long ago to much acclaim.  And we get to know the title better in this Post Mortem interview with developer Next Level Games that examines what was left out, the useability of the Wii Balance Board, how the the project came together, and so much more.






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Round 2: Character


Did Nintendo give you free reign in regard to the characters that were included in the final game?

BH: Nintendo allowed us to use any character we deemed appropriate since the characters are what make Punch-Out!! great. We wanted to focus on the fan favourites. The big personalities are a lot of the fun in the game so we chose the better developed archetypes and the ones we’d found fan fiction of or that had appeared in multiple games. We also went into character selection knowing that we’d do a Title Defense Mode (harder versions of Characters rematch Little Mac) so that influenced the actual number of boxers we could create. It was a collective decision with Nintendo to add more depth to a smaller set of boxers, rather than have all of the old boxers represented.


There’s been a lot said about Punch-Out!!’s stereotypical characters and a lot of the criticism of the game has been tied directly to those stereotypical characters.  Was there any pressure within the team to take a step back and make the boxers more “politically correct” or less like caricatures?

BH: We were cautious about diluting the characters and we talked a lot with Nintendo about the nostalgic feelings people would get as they went up against



each boxer. They agreed, within reason of course, as some of the stereotypes in the old games wouldn’t play well today. Throughout the development of the game both Nintendo and the NLG team constantly revised and edited voice sessions, dialogue and text. We rarely scrapped an idea; we simply found another way to say the same thing.


An aspect of Punch-Out!! that I really like


is the art style and being able to pull from existing characters must have cut down on the amount of time spent hammering out the look and movement of each character.  Was this the case?  What directive did the team have in re-imagining the characters?

BH: The old sprites gave us an outline of a boxer’s personality and movement style. This was the jumping off spot for design and through research we were able to come up with a loosely fitted plan for a character. As well, our art direction was developed early on with the idea of having a 3D game that looks like sprites and makes people reminisce about older versions. We’ve always been committed to tight gameplay controls and beautiful animations so we added this aspect into the design and the result was a smooth, but loose, pose to pose animation style that plays to each boxers personality.


king hippo          glass joe


What was the process of selecting the characters that made it into the game?

BH: It came down to name recognition, breadth of their current personality, and lastly, the fact that we wanted to have believable boxers (in the cartoon sense) rather than gimmicky caricatures.


I’m sure there are people that still don’t know about the secret boxer, so I’ll avoid mentioning who the boxer is, but were there any other characters in the running to be included as the bonus boxer?  Many long-time fans figure it should have been Mike Tyson.

BH: There were plenty of options for the secret character, we just put them all into the “Special Bonus Character Generator” machine and out it came! Seriously though, since our secret character was in the crowd of the older games, it seemed logical he would have to challenge Little Mac to see who the real Champion is. Why else would he have been watching all those fights?


Do you expect the Punch-Out!! characters to make a push into the “Nintendo Pantheon” games, like Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart?  Or possibly the Ice Hockey game you’re no doubt working on? (Bear Hugger seems a logical choice.)

BH: Ah ice hockey, we Canadians dream about making hockey video games. I’ve done two tours on the big titles in the market – if one of the big three publishers was Swedish, I think we’d see a lot more hockey titles.


I think King Hippo was in the Captain N TV show when I was a kid and Little Mac has had some cameos over the years so to ask if they will be added, I would say some already are. If the fans find our version of the characters endearing enough I’m sure we will see them again at some future date.


During the pre-match cutscenes, why aren’t there subtitles for the boxers? But whenever Doc says something, in English, it’s subtitled?

BH: Having no subtitles was a conscious decision. We wanted to encourage people to ask their friends worldwide about the little proverbs, insults and sayings the bosses are saying. Doc is subtitled because he has useful information for the players (although sometimes he may just ramble on) and it needed to be localized for other countries. Also, Doc isn’t the most articulate person so there is a subtle joke in subtitling him, like when American TV news subtitles Brits and Aussies.


Many will remember Mario as being the referee of the Punch-Out!! games but he’s absent in this one. Was he just too busy being a doctor, plumber, sports star, kart racer, side-scrolling action star?  Why isn’t he included?

BH: He was simply too busy to appear in this version of the game, I hear he has starring roles in two upcoming titles.


Round 3: Gameplay & Miscellaneous >>>>>>


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