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Back to Round 2:

 

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 3: Gameplay & Miscellaneous

 

The speed and reaction time necessary to defeat most of the boxers is very fast.  Is the Wiimote/Nunchuk motion-control combo a viable option? What if itís coupled with the balance board?  Is anyone in the office really good enough to use both methods and beat the upper tier opponents? Even playing with just the Wiimote, I was routinely late with punches and had my timing completely messed up.

BH: Just like using the wheel in Mario Kart it offers a different way of playing. I love the satisfaction of standing up, mimicking Mac's movements and landing the knockout blow. The balance board, motion controls and classic controls schemes are all viable, but they require the user to think differently in each situation. Our legs are not as dexterous as our thumbs therefore you need to look for the Boss' tell a little earlier. It's probably hard to retrain mid-fight or mid-career, but on your next time through the game you should try a different control option.

 

Most recently, Next Level implemented the extra challenges in Mario Strikers Charged and that was continued with Punch-Out!!  Was the goal with the extra challenges to cater to the truly hardcore or just drive the more casual player close to insanity?

BH: Extra challenges teach the player about the layers of difficulty within a given fight. The were designed to communicate to the user there is usually a few

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methods in beating a foe and the game is not truly Ďwoní until youíve solved all of them. To some people it may seem tedious and demanding, to others itís just the type of challenge thatíll have them turning on their Wii for another round.

 

On the hardcore topic; one of the trends that is often brought up on message boards is

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that video games are too easy nowadays.  How did Next Level strike a balance (if any) between being accessible to those unfamiliar with the series and those that had a fondness and a whole lot of muscle memory of the way the original played?

BH: Message board users represent the hardcore fan base of video games so the fact that they are demanding to be listened to is not surprising. Theyíve driven the industry forward during the slow years and are a big part of the growth now. Games should be as hard as the user wants them to be. Some people play game to relax after work or when the kids go to bed, others want tension and suspense from frustration or trying to understand the game. Title Defense Mode and challenges cater to the latter crowd while Contender mode and multiple control methods cater to the casual.

 

punch-out!!          punch-out!!

 

Who performed the voices for the characters?

BH: There were two voice actors in Japan but the rest were local talent here in Vancouver.

 

Piston Hondo or Piston Honda?  What happened there?

BH: No one wants to infringe on big trademarks and Hondo is the Japanese word for the main island of Japan.

 

Why no ring girls?

KY: Nintendo title + casual gamers = no ring girls. Given the target audience and style of game, ring girls just didnít fit.

 

Does anyone on the development team own a pink sweat suit?

BH: Nintendo of America framed an extra-large one for us. It hangs on our wall for inspiration.

 

How many people were working on Punch-Out!! at the height of its development?

BH: At Next Level Games around 40 people were working on the title during its core production months with more testing at Nintendo of America.

 

I canít remember where I heard this so it might be completely off-base, but did Punch-Out!! pretty much fill up the disc?

BH: We were pretty close to filling up a single layer disc without optimizing anything. The amount of voice data, movies, and custom music tracks in the game is quite large even though it is not all visible to a first time user. A player will end up unlocking or experiencing lots of content as they play through the experience two, three or more times.

 

Whoís your favorite boxer and why?

KY: Who else? Bear Hugger because heís Canadian EH?

 

Jamie Ip: My favorite boxer is Super Macho Man. I think he has the funniest lines in the game and his narcissistic attitude is just so over the top, you want to knock him out so badly. Itís also a challenging fight, both versions, he really messes with your timing and you have to be quick to evade his clotheslines.

 

CY: Personally, my favourite boxer is Don Flamenco.  I love how beautifully condescending he is to MacÖ such a perfect motivation to punish him!

 

(August 26, 2009)

 

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