The Wonderful 101 director Hideki Kamiya has been talking about the development of Resident Evil 2, Okami and Viewtiful Joe in one of the most interesting Iwata Asks interviews ever. Platinum's Kamiya, who worked on The Wonderful 101, discussed his early days as a director with Nintendo's president, admitting that one of his first jobs at the top was nearly a disaster.
Kamiya joined Capcom after sending proposals to major videogames companies, including Nintendo and Namco. Nintendo rejected Kamiya but he received offers from Namco and Capcom and after choosing the latter, he worked under Shinji Mikami as a planner on Resident Evil.
However, when Mikami made him director of Resident Evil 2, things didn't go to plan. "I messed up in a big way," said Kamiya. "As a result of saying okay to everything that came up, it turned out horrible. We had to scrap what we had spent a year and a half making."
As director, Kamiya had to take responsibility: "So everything that didn't work out was my fault as director. Resident Evil 2 was receiving attention as one of Capcom's new big titles, so the news quickly spread throughout the company. I felt like people were staring at me in the company cafeteria and saying, "That's him! That's the guy who ruined Resident Evil 2!" It was a shock, and very hard."
However, Kamiya believes that the experience taught him an important lesson. "I gave a lot of thought to what had gone wrong. I was making decisions without vision, and amidst all the pressures, I had lowered my criteria for giving approval. And, above all, it was important how I personally suffered the disastrous results of that."
He also admitted struggling with the development of Viewtiful Joe and Okami, which started out with realistic graphics before one of his staff members drew a picture of Amaterasu.
"At the beginning of developing Okami, we were using realistic graphics. I was born in Nagano Prefecture, so I wanted to make a refreshing game that soothes the soul. But if you set it in the vast outdoors, you want to run through it, right? Then you need massive stages and the density of content inevitably thins out.
"Just then, one of the staff members drew the design for Amaterasu, the main character, in a Japanese ink-wash style with a brush-like effect. When I saw that, it struck me as a fitting approach to do it all in the style of Japanese art."
Read the full interview to discover how Kamiya got into videogames, his school days spent playing arcade games, and more. Kamiya will discuss The Wonderful 101 in the second part of this Iwata Asks. Worth looking out for.