The man behind Noby Noby Boy and Katamari Damacy delivered one of GDC's most fascinating sessions this week, full of behind-the-scenes insights into the creation of the PlayStation Network game and off-message rants.
Let's take a look at some of the most enjoyable quotes that will likely have Takahashi meeting with his more buttoned down superiors at Namco Bandai when he returns to Japan.
On his early concepts for Noby Noby Boy: "I showed one programmer [my drawings], and he said ‘Yes, I've been thinking about these kinds of things as well.' He showed his wife, and she said ‘You should work on this as though your life depended on it.' We have a collection of crazy people working on it."
On Noby Noby Boy's design: "I wanted to show an ironic point of view about our consumption-based society. But I wanted to make more objects. If [the game] were empty, I would feel empty or lonely. When I made Katamari Damacy and objects were rolled up into a ball, they were gone. I felt empty. I feel this way about our disposable society."
On disappointment with games having rules: "Katamari Damacy had rules, meaning you wanted to have a huge katamari. So there was a size goal and a time limitation as well. I didn't want that. The stages increased in size [as the game went on], something I didn't like."
On unforeseen Noby Noby Boy development: "I wanted to create a game where even the developers couldn't see what was coming. Of course I wasn't thinking about debugging at this point. The people who did the debugging asked me what was a bug. I couldn't answer that."
On players on a train: "In Japan, everyone on the train is playing a Nintendo DS or PSP. They're always looking down at their consoles, bleeping and blooping. Of course, that's good for the people who make games, because we make money from it. But is this how we want people to look?"
On users versus players: "Hiyao Miyazaki, the film director, says that children today are not playing, they're consumers. I think that's true. In Japan, people who play games are called 'users.' I think games should be played. Perhaps it's minute, but that bothered me. We just throw around the term users and that bothers me."
On workplace violence: "People who come to the company call them users and I that makes me so mad I want to bonk them! Sometimes I think they should die."
On sales: "Maybe I should make sure that Noby Noby Boy should only be available on PlayStation 3 and only available by download. That way, maybe it won't sell that much. It's only been available for a month or so, but I was right! It's not selling that much. That's probably not a good thing."
On Noby Noby Boy's homegrown physics engine: "I was going to use Havok physics, but I if you use it, you have to show their logo. I didn't want to do that. I thought it would be awful to have to put a logo on the game every time. We used physics from SCE instead. But I still had to put the Namco Bandai logo [on it]."
On the game's long development cycle: "People higher up were really mad at me. Some of them really glared at me if they saw me in the hall."
On goals in Noby Noby Boy: "Despite the fact that I said there are problems with having definite goals, Noby Noby Boy has a definite goal as well. That goal is to take this character, this space Girl, this huge character and make her longer by communicating to her the size of the Boy. The goal is to connect the solar system. Why did I create a goal like this? Because it's such a huge goal, I thought it might be hard to reach."