To commemorate the release of the Super Nintendo Classic Edition, Nintendo interviewed key developers responsible for some of the console's most celebrated games--and of course Super Metroid was among them. What follows is a neat little peek at the rigors and triumphs of game development during the golden era of console gaming.
The interview, which sees Metroid creator Yoshio Sakamoto and sound director Kenji Yamamoto revealing neat little tidbits about the development experience, offers a brief look at what it was like to make Super Metroid. The classic was made by a team of only 17 people, and like any other major release, the team had to crunch to get the project done. The game would take considerable effort from this team across two years before it was done. When the game was finally finished, Yamamoto-san actually burst into tears--the project he'd spent two and a half years on was complete. Super Metroid was done, and would go on to become one of the most beloved games ever made. It was an overwhelming experience for everyone, especially the sound director.
On the toll that crunch took on Super Metroid's small team, Yamamoto-san said: "It really was hard. Back then, we had a nap room with lots of futons lined up, and staff members took turns sleeping." Sakamoto-san recalls that the team were often so dazed and absorbed they forgot about sleep--it became a distant memory. "Sometimes we didn't know when we had last slept," he said.
Sakamoto also shared a little tidbit of whimsy about Yamamoto-san. "On Christmas night, we were-of course-working, and when Sakamoto and I had a late meal, we saw people having a good time on the TV news. We wondered why we couldn't do that too," he said. "Yamamoto got angry at the television. And he was angry at people on the news who were taking ski trips at the end of the year! (laughs)"
As you load up Super Metroid on your new snazzy Super Nintendo Classic Edition, I hope you remember that the game--like every game--is the result of massive hard work from people who love and cherish their creations. Check below for some choice snippets from the interview, and don't forget to check the full length interview here--it's jam-packed with more retro development awesomeness.
You mentioned how those were busy times. Apparently, the end stages of development were pretty hard work.
Sakamoto: Yes, very hard! (laughs)
Yamamoto: It really was hard. Back then, we had a nap room with lots of futons lined up, and staff members took turns sleeping.
Sakamoto: Sometimes we didn't know when we had last slept.
Yamamoto: On Christmas night, we were-of course-working, and when Sakamoto and I had a late meal, we saw people having a good time on the TV news. We wondered why we couldn't do that too!
Sakamoto: Yamamoto got angry at the television. And he was angry at people on the news who were taking ski trips at the end of the year! (laughs)
You poured yourselves into development, but the day comes when you must create the master.
Yamamoto: For the longest time, we couldn't see the end. Then one day, Kano-san suddenly shouted, "Let's master this up! We're done! We're done!" When I heard that, I was stunned and later burst into a flood of tears.
Why was that?
Yamamoto: You know how the members of the losing high school baseball team cry as they collect soil to take home from the Koshien field*? I felt a desolation similar to that.
*Hanshin Koshien Stadium: A baseball park located in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The finals of high school baseball tournaments in Japan are traditionally played here, and members of the losing teams have been known to keep a pouch of the pitch's soil as a memento.
Every day was grueling but fulfilling, so you felt empty when that was over.
Sakamoto: For that reason, I felt a strong sense of accomplishment at having seen it through to the end. I was incredibly satisfied at how everyone had given it their all and created something good.