You worked extensively on the Mario Kart series. Mario Kart is obviously a lot different from Arms, but I was wondering if there are any surprise lessons you brought over from Mario Kart into arms?

Yabuki: For Mario Kart Wii we had the steering wheel attachment so players could use motion controls, but you could also play with the motion controller and more traditional controls so that really offered players the freedom to play however they wanted to in Mario Kart. For Arms, we kind of carried this lesson over. Motion controls are a big feature of this game, but players can still use pro controllers or traditional controls like in handheld and choose the way that they would like to play. That’s one of the lessons that we learned from Mario Kart.

The motion controls in Arms actually allow for more fine controls; the two gyros allow for some fine adjustment of left and right on the punches that you can kind of use it to curve your punch. So when it really comes down to it, when you really don’t want to lose, we really feel that motion control offers more precise control than traditional controls. So, unlike any game before, we feel that the motion controls in Arms really allow for deeper technique and strategy than really any game before it with motion controls.

What are each of your favorite characters?

Ishikawa: My favorite character in this game is Spring Man, but also I have to throw in a vote for Min Min. For Spring Man, he is kind of the simplest expression of the unique features of this game, of Arms as a whole. But for Min Min, she’s got a kind of a sharp face, you know sharper features, and she wears this badge on her chest protection that is the Japanese character for ramen noodles and so I think just as a Japanese person, she feels the most relatable out of all the characters.

Yabuki: My favorite character is also Spring Man, but somebody went ahead and took that one. I’m gonna go with Twintelle. There’s a lot that’s been said about her lately, but she’s a pretty rare character for Nintendo to put out there. She’s got a really strong build and I think that’s really appealing in the world of arms where these fights get really intense, so the characters are naturally gonna have a more muscly build.

Twintelle has really taken off. What do you think of the fan community latching onto her?

Yabuki: We weren’t really expecting the fans to be so taken with her, so that was a very pleasant surprise! And like I just mentioned, she has that really strong build to her and that seems to be something that the community has picked up on so I’m glad that we were able to create this new character design.

Are you surprised by the amount of fan art that has already appeared for Arms after only one beta?

Ishikawa: As for the fan art, we’ve seen a lot of that come through social media and as a character designer I feel pure joy at seeing what the fans are creating. Looking at the fan art and how the artists draw Twintelle with different poses and how they match her with other characters, there’s a lot of variety and vibrance to that art and I love looking at that. I see a lot of it.

Can you talk about or tease the post-launch plans?

Yabuki: I can say this as it was shared in the Nintendo Direct that we just had: We do plan to add new characters, arms, and stages for free going forward.

Screenshot from One Piece Pirate Warriors 3

Can one of those characters be Luffy from One Piece? He seems like he would fit in that universe.

Yabuki: I guess now that you mention it, Luffy’s arms do extend huh? I didn’t really think of that. But unfortunately, the world of Arms and the world that Luffy lives in are different worlds, so I don’t think he will be in this game.

This is a broader question I have about Nintendo games in general. Mario Kart is an example of it, Breath of the Wild is an example of it – Arms is only 2.2 gigabytes big and it looks great. How does Nintendo make these games so small?

Yabuki: A lot of effort and technique goes into limiting the size of the games and we really think it improves the user experience by shortening the load times and making it quicker to get into a game. And we take into account the animations as well and make those fit into the smaller size to make it more enjoyable for the user’s experience.

Ishikawa: In development, we discuss all sorts of detailed elements, but we also talk about the first things that the players are gonna notice and we focus our resources there, so I’m really happy when people appreciate that and we create good art as a result.

For more on Arms, head here for 17 takeaways from our extensive hands-on with the game.