During this time, the game was very simple
and only a single end screen. However, during
the development process, the stage count
grew to 100 stages, and as players progressed
through the game, the difficulty level ramped up
significantly like an action game, so we needed a
sufficiently satisfying ending after clearing such
a challenging game.
Naka proposed the idea, “What if the player
gets to read the storybook when they finish the
game?” We then had a few staff members draft up
a story explaining why Ivy can’t fly, the meaning of
the shell around her, why she’s heading toward the
sky, the meaning of her red feathers, et cetera, and
we ended up with a story about a baby Kiwi being
born without her mother in sight.
As a side note, PROPE turned the ending into
an actual storybook, which is unfortunately only
available in Japan.
5} World Wide SaleS. At this point, Ivy the KIwI?
had enough content to not only be a downloadable
game, but a packaged title as well. Naka decided
to create the title for Wii, DS, and DSi Ware. We
were able to find publishers for various territories:
Namco Bandai Games for Japan, XSEED Games for
North America, and Rising Star Games for Europe.
So at last, the baby bird that started out as a
new employee training program, loved by all of us
at PROPE, was able to fly off to the rest of the world.
What Went WronG
1} the Schedule kept chanGinG. As mentioned
before, this project started off as a training exercise,
and was originally planned as a Wii Ware title. Since
Naka constantly has new ideas on his mind, he kept
on adding new content even after the beta version
was created, saying, “Fun is the justification, right?”
From there, even though we didn’t have any
publishers lined up, we created the Wii and DS
versions, and needed to revise the schedule for all
the versions. When we finally finished everything,
it was months past our original schedule.
I think it took the biggest toll on the quality
assurance staff. They probably thought, “How many
beta versions do we need to play for this title?”
In the end, it was all worth the trouble, but
for the next project, everyone at PROPE sincerely
hopes we know the platforms we’re planning to
make the title available on from the beginning.
2} Super-play footaGe. The producer, Yuji Naka,
was deep in thought after the game was created.
“What would be the best way to show what type
of game this is and how fun it can be?” he asked.
It was determined that the best way to make
the game attractive for action game fans was
by showing gameplay videos. With this in mind,
Naka asked the development members to come
up with a super-play video and to distribute it on
It was hell from there. If you made a small
mistake, you needed to reshoot the entire stage.
After playing the game multiple times for these
super-play videos, one member of the team
became so good that no one else in the company
could compete with him. Others tried to mimic
what he could do but couldn’t pull it off the same
way. In the end, he became the go-to guy for any
super-play videos, even if he was in the midst of
another project. Sometimes being too good can
be a double-edged sword.
3} chanGinG the colorS. The graphics in Ivy
the KIwI? differ between the Japanese version
and the U. S./EU version.
In the Japanese version, it has more of a sepia
tone; however, the U.S. and EU versions are more
colorful due to the publisher’s request. Since the
schedule for the U.S. version was coming up, it
was dangerous to attempt to change the coloring
of the entire game without making it look weird.
In the end, the graphic adjustment went well
and the coloring process was a success, but
we had to re-take hundreds of screenshots and
re-record the super-play video.
4} SynchronizinG the net Work. Unlike the
split-screen multiplayer mode on the Wii, the
DS version utilizes network communication for
multiplayer. This network communication was
the toughest challenge in creating Ivy the KIwI?
For a fast-paced game that rapidly creates and
swings vines, network communication did not
synch well with the gameplay, especially with
four players at once.
5} debuGGinG. At the end of the project, a new
element, the “medal system,” was introduced
to the game. The medal system awards players
various medals for collecting all of the red
feathers in a particular stage depending on
their finishing time. The gold medal, which is the
hardest to obtain, made the QA team cry. Also,
when you obtain a gold medal in every stage, a
feature which shows what medal you have for the
entire game is unlocked.
Of course, this meant that only a select
few testers could debug this function, so every
time there was a new build, these elite in-house
players (including the super-play staff member)
needed to get all the gold medals to make sure
everything was okay.
from miniGame to boxed product
In the beginning, we didn’t think it was possible
to have an action game where the player controls
the character with the Wii pointing system
without becoming frustrated by not being able to
perform sophisticated movements. However, our
three new employees presented their fresh new
idea, and in Ivy the KIwI?, you will be surprised at
how precisely you’re able to control the character
and how freely you are be able to control Ivy
once you get used to the mechanics. We all got
to discover a new type of gameplay by thinking
outside the box, and I think that was the greatest
achievement for all of us.
kohei takaSe, director (Wii) and yuSaku yamanaka,
director (DS). Translation provided by Jimmy SoGa at