NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams details

Takashi Iizuka, a designer for the original 1996 NiGHTS, and designer of the upcoming Wii sequel NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, is about as interested in things like "motion control" and "gameplay elements" as he is in "Carl Jung" and "archetypes." Earlier today we relived our introductory psychology classes as he discussed the game's inspiration, which, if you hadn't guessed, is the world of dreams. His goal is to give us the feeling that we're flying, and to amplify our personal dream experiences, which he says enlighten our spirits.

The game looks very similar to the Saturn's NiGHTS into Dreams, but we've been assured that it is not a remake. It will include new characters (aside from, of course, NiGHTS) and a new story. The basic elements, however, appear to be the same - two kids and the rebellious jester battle Nightmarens in Nightopia. Simple enough.

Nightopia will comprise seven dream worlds, full of strange elements that can only appear in dreams. As Iizuka put it, hitting a switch in a different game opens a door, but in NiGHTS, you may hit a switch and not know what it did. We hope they at least do something, because a bunch of useless switches would be a little frustrating.

Next door to Nightopia is Nightmare, where the Nightmarens (the bad guys, if you need to be told) reside. Nightmare won't contain your typical "shoot until they die" bosses, says Iizuka. Rather, each one will present the player with entirely different gameplay mechanisms. The example we saw was a rubber ball boss that needed to be bounced to be defeated. But how will we bounce it? Good question.

Back in '96, the designers had to deal with a new control issue: the analog stick. Today they're designing for the motion sensing Wii remote and dealing with a new set of challenges, but Iizuka sounded confident, saying that the remote will become like part of the player's arm, and will be an easy way to control the game. However, he also stated that for players who prefer the old control style, the nunchuck's analog stick will be usable. It was a little unclear as to whether the analog stick would be used in conjunction with remote-swinging, or if only one or the other could be used at a time.

The original music producer is on board for the game, so presumably we can expect the tracks to be of the same quality as those in the first game. We'll have a trailer for you as soon as Sega releases one… the one we saw today was very sparkly and Disneyesque, so we sort of hope they tone that down a bit first.

May 10, 2007


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