I managed to grab a quick few minutes with the The Eye of the Judgement
creative designer, Yusuke Watanabe, to find out how the three-way marriage of camera technology, card collecting, and PlayStation 3 all came to pass.
First of all, could you just introduce yourself to our readers, and tell us how you got into the games industry?
My name is Yusuke Watanabe and I work for the Creative Division of the Japan studio for SCE. Basically my time at Sony has been spent on working on Ape Escape
, and various Eye Toy games. The reason I went into the games industry is that I was originally working in the advertising industry, and I wanted to expand my skills as a designer and wanted to go into a different field. I thought ‘Why not become an artist for videogames?’ so that’s what I did.
SPOnG: The Eye of Judgment
is a really original concept from what we can see. Where did the inspiration for it come from?
It all started with witnessing the CyberCode technology at the Sony laboratory. The impact of that was unforgettable and when I first saw this technology I thought of many ideas that could take advantage of this. And when I started thinking of what kind of things could realistically be achieved on such a system, the trading card game turned out to be the best solution to introduce the technology.
And Star Wars
being one of those influences, obviously. (Laughs)
How did Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast get involved in this project?
All of the game development and the project management was actually led by Sony - Hasbro hasn’t been involved in that process. But when we finished production, we realised that we only had the game distribution aspect available to us, and we needed to get involved in the toy distribution industry to manufacture the actual cards for use with the game. We needed this on a global scale, therefore we started looking for partners to work with. We ended up making a deal with Hasbro for the manufacture of the cards.
Once we started collaborating with Hasbro we also started talking to their own game development studios and the people behind games such as Magic the Gathering began suggesting ideas to improve the card element of the Eye of Judgment game also. They also helped with feedback on the game and we used some of their good ideas to tune the game-play of the console version as well.
How difficult has it been to think of new ideas for the Eye Toy? How did the involvement of the PlayStation Eye come to pass in this game?
The Eye Toy really got involved as part of the CyberCode technology that I witnessed – it allows data to be stored on a card and easily readable using cameras with that technology installed that can read the data. That’s really what kicked off the entire project in the first place. At the time I saw the CyberCode being demonstrated, the PlayStation 3 was in development as well, so because the technology is based off of the use of a camera, it all sort of fell into place. And we began sharing information between the PS3 team and the camera team about the idea of supporting this in the new Eye Toy. This is the product that has risen from that collaboration.