The following is a translated digital print of an interview conducted on Nintendo of Japan's official website under the Nintendo Online Magazine banner. This interview has been translated from its original Japanese language to English by Kyoto Report. We also include the original Japanese document alongside; June 2004, Issue 71 . This interview features Ryuichi Nakada, Takayasu Morisawa, Nobuhiro Ozaki, and Takaya Fujii from the Software Planning & Development Division of Nintendo Company Limited. The development staff discusses the creation of Metroid: Zero Mission.
Kyoto Report - Translation - Nintendo Online Magazine Vol. 71: Metroid: Zero Mission
Please explain the development process
Ryuichi Nakada: We were discussing other possible concepts after finishing our previous work (Metroid Fusion). We really felt there were several advantages that could benefit future installments of the game. There was an idea of making a additional episodes, ultimately we decided to recreate the original Metroid first.
Takayasu Morisawa: The mechanics were set in place, and the question was what visual direction would we take. What graphics should represent this game.
Ryuichi Nakada: I began transferring the template of the original over to the Game Boy Advance. We upgraded Samus movement with the agile movement we developed in Metroid Fusion. Other questions were raised, with every improvement there was also a question of balance. Then the issue of item placement and map configuration.
Takaya Fujii: It was different than creating Metroid Fusion. This time we had to extend the original game and place additional elements. I played the original a lot, and this was a special feeling.
Did the entire staff play the original Metroid game?
Nobuhiro Ozaki:: I was playing it ever day. It became a routine for me to play until i eventually cleared the game. There is a unique sense of tension in the game very different from say a Mario title.
Takaya Fujii: I had my struggles in the game, I was once caught behind a wall and could not find the path. Unfortunately my battery was cut off from the Famicom Disk System and I lost my progress.
What areas where you most concerned over?
Takayasu Morisawa: When it comes to graphics, it was the differentiation over the previous work. Being in communication with the director, we analyzed how Metroid Fusion was very colorful and we decided on limiting the use of several colors for Zero Mission. The color black was used much more intricately.
Ryuichi Nakada: In comparison to the map design of Fusion, Zero mission is much less linear and actually thrives on a sense of freedom. Adjusting and adding various paths was very exciting and nerve wrecking .
Takaya Fujii: My main concern was raising the overall sound quality. The difficulty is not changing the atmosphere while doing so.
What is the essence from the original that makes this important?
Takayasu Morisawa: There are several elements like Samus being an adult female, and the balance of being a somewhat more serious game with some cartoon character elements.
What is the reason this long time fans of the series remain enthusiastic?
Nobuhiro Ozaki: I think besides the story, the element of replayability because of earning completion times and encouraging speed runs is a very important feature.
Takayasu Morisawa: I think there are several elements that are importanbt. One that I would like to mention is the completion rating. Earning a completion rate of only 50-60% will not satisfy every gamer. There is a hunger for several enthusiasts to earn that 100% completion rate. It is also important for many people to clear the game in the fastest time possible. There are a various incentives for fans to be excited about this game.
Ryuichi Nakada: There are some things that have not changed throughout the series, but there are always new challenges that have to be presented. In the second-half of this game, we are introducing Zero Suit Samus, alongside a new style of gameplay. This new element is every challenging.
What challenges presented themselves during the development?
Takaya Fujii: Thankfully none of the archives on my computer were deleted. That is my biggest concern during development.
Nobuhiro Ozaki: My job in programming requires a long intense dedication where problems and short road blocks are a common thing. I tried to convince the team to provide me a copy of the Famicom Mini: Metroid for research purposes, but they did not give me the money. (Joking)
What was it like working with the instructions of the director?
Ryuichi Nakada: It was fine, the most difficult work was perhaps the second portion of the game. Considerable trial and error was involved in order for us to achieve the quality we wanted.
Takayasu Morisawa: With each new element and design change, there was a huge focus on not breaking the original. So i experienced more pressure on the remake portion, while more freedom with the new elements.
How was finishing development?
Takaya Fujii: Adding significant new elements was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. It was interesting studying the original so closely.
Takayasu Morisawa: While more of our senior developers were involved in Fusion, responsibility was delegated more towards our younger veteran team. It was uneasy because of the missing people from our previous work, but at the same time it was very empowering. The freedom was very enjoyable and it really shows in the end product.
Ryuichi Nakada: There were so many things I wanted to do, and had to ask permission for previously, but this time it was more of a matter if i thought the groundwork was possible and if i could find the solution for the problem. I think it turned out good. I definitely felt good about my work at the end. (Laughs)
Any final words from the development staff?
Nobuhiro Ozaki: Even if you played the original Metroid, there are several new things to enjoy. We added new scenarios, like the stealth mission which is a lot of fun. (Laughs)
Takayasu Morisawa: I want everyone who was a fan of the first, to try this new version.
Takaya Fujii: The additional elements are quite frightening, I think the experience will prove very fresh even to people who played the original game.
Ryuichi Nakada: Many people have not been able to enter the Metroid universe, and we want to give them a chance to start the series fresh. For veteran gamers, please take part in the time attack challenge, we will be hosting an event on the official site.