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Home » Interview: Dennis Lee of Konami, Discussing Elebits

Interview: Dennis Lee of Konami, Discussing Elebits

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Hide and seek makes its way to the Nintendo Wii in Konami fashion on Dec. 12 when Elebits hits the shelves. Konami’s Wii debut will have players fishing around various environments in pursuit of Elebits, creatures who create the world’s energy, in single-player and multiplayer game modes.

Using the Wii Remote, players will take their place at the helm of a capture beam that will allow them to alter the environment in order to uncover Elebits or lure them out of hiding.

Finding Elebits gives the capture beam a bit of a charge and upon leveling up the gun’s power, heavier items are able to be lifted to find even more Elebits.

For the releases of the game in the United States, Dennis Lee of Konami was able to take a few minutes out of his schedule and explain everything Elebits has to offer as well as give insight on what it is like to develop such a unique concept.

Aaron Auzins: Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer our questions. First off, could you introduce yourself to our readers and briefly explain your involvement with Konami?

Dennis Lee: Hi Aaron, my name is Dennis Lee and I’m a group marketing manager with Konami. I’m in charge of all marketing activities for a number of Konami titles, one of which is Elebits.

Aaron: Of course, Elebits is the first title for the Nintendo Wii from Konami. How long did it take to put together Elebits and how does beginning development for a title before a system is even launched differ from other titles the company releases?

Dennis: Developing a launch title for the Wii is inherently different from creating a game for other new systems because you have to get up to speed with how the controller works and how to integrate it into your game.

You can’t necessarily fall back on your experience with other platforms because they don’t always apply with the Wii. It’s definitely been a great experience for the developers to start working with the Wii early, because they have been able to learn the system and all its quirks and also create an amazing new game at the same time.

Aaron: What has it been like developing a title from the ground-up that utilizes the functionalities of the Nintendo Wii remote controller?

Dennis: As I mentioned in the previous question, the controller is what makes the Wii so unique, and this philosophy carries over to the development side as well. There are just to many ways to utilize it, the developer has to make some tough decisions about what works best and what feels right in the context of the game.

With Elebits, the team has created a control scheme that uses the pointing capabilities of the Wii controller, but doesn’t try to do too much with it to the point where it is cumbersome to control. The game really espouses Nintendo’s belief that games for the Wii should be intuitive and easy to control.

Aaron: Elebits comes to the new system as one of the few new properties on the Nintendo Wii. How did the unique concept of the Elebit creatures come about?

Dennis: Since the Wii is a new system that is so different from all the other consoles, it made sense for us to have our first game be a new property that is totally different from something we had ever attempted.

The development team really wanted to create some memorable characters that would stick with people, so they made them very cute and also gave them distinct personalities so it’s easy to believe that they could be a part of the world with humans.

Since Elebits are the only source of energy in the game’s world, there’s an indirect reference to some of the energy issues our society is facing that is presented in a very thoughtful way when you play the game.

Aaron: What kind of game modes can we expect from Elebits? Will it utilize the system’s online capabilities in any fashion?

Dennis: In addition to the game’s single player story mode, there’s an edit mode where players can create their own stages, a challenge mode where you try to fulfill certain puzzle-based objectives and a multiplayer mode in which up to four gamers compete to collect the most Elebits in a certain amount of time.

While Nintendo’s WiiConnect24 service isn’t yet up and running, Elebits does support the service. Players will be able to share levels they have created in edit mode with their friends and also trade screenshots, adding a very impressive dose of replay value to the game.

Aaron: How will the game unfold in the single-player mode? Are there unlockables and secrets for players to uncover throughout the game or anything else to encourage multiple plays through the game?

Dennis: The single player story mode has more than 25 different stages. The player will be given a rank at the end of each stage, from C to S (the best). Depending on what rank they achieve, they may be able to unlock additional items to use in edit mode or a new challenge mode stage.

You can also unlock background information on each of the Elebits as well as information on each of the objects you have interacted with. The challenge mode stages really test your skills with the Wii controller, so you’ll definitely want to unlock each one.

Aaron: The game will be for up to four players at the same time. How will the multiplayer aspects pan out for a group of Elebit hunters?

Dennis: Up to four players will be able to compete simultaneously in the game’s multiplayer mode, competing to see who can collect the most wattage in a given amount of time.

Everyone’s cursor is on the same screen, so players can decide how often they want to change what player has control of the camera. The action can get amazingly frantic in multiplayer mode, with objects flying all over the stage and capture gun beams shooting in every direction. It’s a great change of pace from the single-player game that puts the players’ reflexes and aim to the test!

Aaron: What types of environments will players be able to seek through during the course of the game? How will the environments change and what kind of interaction can be had as the players capture Elebits?

Dennis: The game begins in the main character’s home, but you’ll also make it outside the house and explore different areas throughout the city. There’s a lot of variation in the levels and even a major twist about halfway through the game that I don’t want to spoil.

Players can interact with different object as they collect more Elebits and wattage. For example, players can put a turkey in an oven, turn it on and watch as Elebits pour out at the temperature increases.

There are a lot of great puzzles like this throughout the game for the player to figure out that push the game’s interactivity in some really fun ways.

Aaron: What was it like for you to work on the company’s first title for the Nintendo Wii? What are your impressions of the system?

Dennis: From my impressions of Elebits and some of the launch titles, the Wii is a great new system. Nintendo has delivered on its promises to create an entirely new gaming experience and I look forward to seeing what new properties and game play mechanics emerge as a result.

Elebits is one of the first games that was created from the ground up for the Wii so I hope people get a chance to try it and find out what the system can really do from a creative standpoint.

Aaron: Once again, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about Elebits by Konami for the Nintendo Wii. Good luck to you and your team as the title releases Dec. 12.

Dennis: Thanks Aaron. I hope you and your readers enjoyed learning more about Elebits.

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