Developer Interview

Delve into the behind-the-scenes of the upcoming game “Wabisabi: Sushi Derby” with an exclusive interview featuring the developer ゅゆゆ. This game offers a unique concept where players nurture sushi and enter them into races. In this interview, we explore the inspiration behind the game and uncover the development process. Join us as we delve into the world of game development and discover the allure of this exciting new game.

Game Concept and Theme

Could you tell us about the concept and theme of “Wabisabi : Sushi Derby”? How did the idea for the game come about?

Wabisabi is a game where you nurture sushi and race them on the counter of a sushi restaurant. Originally, I was working on a mock-up for a game where you raise and race monsters, but I felt like I needed a central theme. Then, while eating sushi at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, it struck me that it would be interesting to race sushi.

Thank you! Yes, the concept of nurturing sushi and racing them is indeed innovative and sounds like a lot of fun. It’s interesting how the idea came to me while eating sushi at a conveyor belt restaurant, isn’t it?

Game System

In this game, players nurture sushi and enter them into races. How do players nurture sushi, and what elements are involved in the races?

The game operates on a turn-based system, starting with selecting sushi ingredients and rice to prepare sushi. Players then train the sushi, enhancing their speed or boosting abilities. These trained sushi are then entered into races, competing to be the first to cross the finish line. Races feature various courses, ranging from traditional sushi counters to upscale restaurants with nighttime views, each with its own theme.

The simple system of selecting training menus and choosing items to enhance acceleration or boost effects is easy to understand and fantastic for players. The ability of sushi changes based on choices, directly impacting performance in races, which adds enjoyable strategic elements for players.

It’s also great that the results of enhancing sushi abilities through training are immediately visible. This direct reflection of player choices in outcomes enhances immersion in the game.

Now, could you please tell us more about the races? Could you provide details about different courses, competition rules, and other aspects of the races?

The race courses vary, with some featuring circular tracks while others are straight counters. Obstacles may be present on the courses, requiring sushis to navigate them skillfully. While players cannot directly control the sushi during races, they can temporarily boost the sushi by pressing the support button. Boosting consumes stamina and temporarily increases speed, but it cannot be used repeatedly, so timing is crucial.

Another important element is the sushi restaurant setting of the courses, with customers wielding chopsticks. During races, if an order is placed, chopsticks may approach and snatch away the running sushi. When this happens, the sushi is lost, and the player receives compensation in the form of money, representing sales. However, the race ends in retirement, so if players wish to avoid being eaten, they must boost at the right moment to avoid the chopsticks and reach the finish line.

I understand the details of the game, including the various race courses, obstacles, and boosts available to players. Players aim to race sushi to the finish line by avoiding obstacles on the course while using boosts to increase speed. Additionally, the inclusion of customers with chopsticks, reflecting the atmosphere of a sushi restaurant, and the strategies required to avoid them, adds an interesting dynamic.

The risk of sushi being taken during races is also intriguing. Players must strategize, timing their boosts to avoid this risk. This adds further tension and strategic depth to the races.

Could you please tell me about the innovations in sushi-making? Specifically, if there are any innovations in the shape or arrangement of ingredients when making sushi, please share them.

When making sushi, players choose sushi ingredients, and in the game, there are seasonal variations, so certain ingredients are in season at different times. Selecting seasonal ingredients enhances the parameters of the sushi. Additionally, since sushi is a perishable food, it reaches its expiration after about four turns. As the parameters decrease, players may become unable to win, so they need to decide when to remake the sushi to maintain freshness.

It’s fascinating how the selection of sushi ingredients and the management of freshness are integrated as important elements in the game. The idea of enhancing sushi parameters by selecting seasonal ingredients is an interesting concept that adds a sense of realism. Additionally, incorporating the characteristics of perishable foods, where parameters decrease as the expiration date approaches, will likely encourage players to think strategically.

The need for players to remake sushi as the expiration date approaches to maintain freshness is another realistic element. These features not only add depth to the gameplay but also provide players with a more immersive experience, simulating the role of a sushi chef more realistically.

About Team

In the development of this game, how do you consider the expectations and reactions of players? Specifically, how do you maintain the balance between the enjoyment of gameplay and its challenges?

I see. In our team, we brainstorm ideas and develop the game based on what we find interesting. Additionally, we participate in gaming events to showcase our game and gather feedback from various players who try it out. One common feedback we receive is "how cute the sushi looks!". We've put a lot of effort into the appearance and "adorableness" of the sushi, so it's really heartening to hear such positive comments.

Furthermore, we are receiving support from Kodansha Game Creators Lab. Originally, it was just the two of us working on the game, but we wanted some objective opinions, so we consulted with Kodansha. We regularly discuss ideas with their representatives and incorporate their feedback into the game development process.

Sharing ideas and exchanging opinions within the team, as well as actively incorporating feedback from players at external events, is a fantastic approach. By brainstorming ideas among team members and utilizing feedback from players, we can continuously improve the game and provide a better gaming experience.

Additionally, collaborating with Kodansha and the Game Creators Lab is crucial in the game development process. Through regular exchanges of ideas and sharing of expertise, we can incorporate diverse perspectives and specialized knowledge, ultimately leading to an enhancement in the quality of the game.

The team’s collaborative effort in creating the game will positively impact players as well. When players feel that the team is genuinely listening to their feedback, they are more likely to become immersed in the game. This collaborative attitude contributes to fostering a deeper engagement with the game among players.

Could you tell us about the meaning and story behind the account name “ゅゆゆ”

There's no deep meaning behind the string of characters, but I heard a story once that the character "ゆ" can look like a fish to non-Japanese speakers, so I use it as an emoji-like representation. It represents myself, my partner, and the small one on the left represents our child. I apologize if it's hard to read.

Thank you for explaining the meaning and origin behind the game developer name “ゅゆゆ”. It’s fascinating to learn about the emoji-like elements and the imagery of yourself, your partner, and your child associated with it. Understanding this background adds depth to the account name, and it’s clear that there’s a unique charm to it. Don’t worry about readability—this name has its own allure, and what matters most is that you’re actively contributing as game developers with a deep understanding of its significance.

Lastly, I’d like to express my respect to you and your team for understanding the importance of teamwork and feedback in game development and putting it into practice. Keep providing enjoyable gaming experiences to many players in the future!

After the interview

As you may know, I used ChatGPT to create this article, as explaining things myself isn’t my strong suit. I’m surprised by the amount of content that emerged.