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Loco Roco's Tsutomu Kouno wants a world united (in games)

You may have missed this one. At the time of writing, less than 20 people have seen this seen this excellent video interview with Loco Roco's Tsutomu Kouno. It's a fairly lengthy feature, clocking in at over 9 minutes. However, it provides some excellent insight into game design. One of the key points Kouno focused on was the international gaming community, and the reluctance of Japanese gamers to try Western games, and vice versa. (Of course, the recent success of Grand Theft Auto in Japan suggests a changing attitude.)

Be warned, though -- the interview can be a little too telling. I mean, did we really need to know his blood type? (Spoiler alert: it's A.)

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LocoRoco players need something new to play on PSP, reminds creator

There are a few people that purchased a PSP system to play the innovative LocoRoco. To this day, the title stands out as one of the happiest, most original titles on the platform. While there's nothing wrong with the large number of mature games on the platform, gamers that enjoy LocoRoco have been thoroughly neglected by Sony. Tsutomu Kouno, creator of LocoRoco, spoke at the Nordic Game Conference about PSP's lackluster offerings for that demographic: "We have to increase the number of casual games, games that LocoRoco players will want to play."

"There are too many sequels for PSP, only sequels, so I want to make a new game for PSP ... I have five or six new game ideas either for PSP or PS3, but I actually want to make them for PSP - for the people who bought LocoRoco, or bought a PSP because of LocoRoco, and like casual games."

It's great to see a developer want to work exclusively for the handheld. Certainly, we could use some original titles in addition to the stellar sequels that we'll also be receiving. But Kouno ... didn't you also talk about a LocoRoco sequel at this same conference?

Designer gives inspiration for LocoRoco, hints at sequel ideas

Offering a peek into his inspiration for LocoRoco, designer Tsutomu Kouno once again touched base on its concept, design and production during a presentation at the Nordic Game Conference in Sweden. Fearing a "scolding," he didn't give too much away, though he did cite nature documentaries and the animal behavior of his pet fish as inspiration for some of the characters. I wonder what kind of game we'd be playing if he had a sloth as a pet?

LocoRoco was the first game he worked on alone and wasn't initially approved on its first or second presentation. Only when a demo was shown on the third attempt did LocoRoco's approval come through. We can only imagine how frustrating those attempts at describing game play would have been on a mere PowerPoint presentation. As far as the sequel is concerned, Tsotomu Kouno said the sequel would contain, "new game play based on physical calculation and crowd AI" amidst other surprises. Ideally, the "use of color and music" is the central focus for the series, attempting "to create the fun and dramatic atmosphere of a live musical." Sounds great, as long as we don't end up playing Chicago: The Game Based on The Movie Based on The Play. Personally, we welcome new ideas, but prefer more the same game play that made LocoRoco so unique. It it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

GDC 07: LocoRoco makes people smile

Tsutomu Kouno, director of the beloved LocoRoco PSP game, told to an enthralled GDC audience: "I wanted to make a game that was easy to play, so that women and children, and people who have never played games before would be interested in playing it. ... I wanted to use AI to make people laugh. That's why I included actions like the LocoRoco stacking up."

Many of the inspirations for LocoRoco's craziest moments come from observing Discovery Channel-like programming. One character, the Musukusu (pictured), came from watching the antics of one of his tropical fish. He knew that his game was a success when he saw children playing the game, laughing and moving their bodies. Undoubtedly, a PS3 version of the game will meet much success: "I can't tell you now [about a possible PS3 version]. [But] I'm not going to betray your expectations, so you can count on us."

See also:
Joystiq: Making LocoRoco players smile
Gallery: LocoRoco (PSP) design process

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