Wattam and Katamari creator talks being canceled by Sony, poop, and embarrassment

Wattam is finally coming. Well, sometime soon at least. While we went hands-on with the game at a recent preview event and liked what we played, we also got to talk to one of its creators, Keita Takahashi. He’s known for his bizarre titles like Noby Noby Boy and Katamari Damacy, and Wattam looks like it will continue that trend. And while he did speak about poop, he also talked about his embarrassment over his work and the guilt he experiences from making video games.

(Funomena is helping with Wattam and we also spoke to Funomena CEO Robin Hunicke last year.)

Takahashi on why he makes games about poop

wattam interview Keita Takahashi

GameRevolution: I noticed there was a lot of poop in this game and Noby Noby Boy. Why is there so much? Do you think poop is pretty funny?

Keita Takahashi: It’s one of our natural things. We always see our poop, right? Always. Every day.

GR: Most days. Probably around five days a week.

KT: [laughs] Most days, yes. At least twice a day.

GR: Twice a day? You must be eating a lot of fiber. Anyway, I just think it’s funny. I didn’t know you were looking at it as a natural way of life.

KT: Yeah. For me, why don’t other games do these things? Like show poop or show farts? It’s a funny thing, right?

GR: Yes, it is. I’ve never looked at it like that. Did you play Donut County at all?

KT: Yeah. A little bit.

On why “it’s embarrassing” to inspire other devs

katamari Keita Takahashi

GR: When I talked to [creator] Ben Esposito, he said it was sort of an inspiration to him so I wanted to see what you thought of his game since it lightly takes in aspects of Katamari Damacy.

KT: It’s embarrassing. I’m still uncomfortable. I don’t have any confidence about my games or sense of my design. Maybe it’s true that if other people say Donut County got influence from my old games. I don’t know? Maybe. I hope so. Maybe… I don’t care. [laughs] I’m not sure if I’m happy about that.

GR: I like how your games feel like toy boxes without harsh rules. Do you wish more games were like that?

KT: I still can’t define what a “game” is and what a “toy” is. For me, there is no barrier between toys and games. So when people ask me about my games feeling like a toy box, it’s always tough to answer for me. Thank you, but I’m not sure what is a toy and what is a video game.

On the guilt of making money from games

wattam katamari Keita Takahashi

GR: I’ve read that you think that video games feel unimportant in the grand scheme of life. Do you still feel like that?

KT: I still feel guilty for making money by making video games. [laughs]

GR: I understand because I write about video games and not things that actually change the world. But there is a value in escapism. So with that in mind, do you still feel a bit guilty?

KT: Once if I have the confidence and say “I am doing the right thing” and that makes me crazy.

GR: That game we just played made us happy and I think there is value in that.

KT: I’m glad. [laughs]

On being canceled by Sony

wattam sony Keita Takahashi

GR: Wattam has been in development for a long time. Are we in the final stretch here?

KT: Yes. Almost. [laughs]

So do you know what has been holding it up for so long?

KT: I don’t know. [laughs] One thing is that we got canceled like two years ago so that is one of the reasons. We got the cancellation from Sony so we had to make the game from the beginning. But that was good for me because the previous one was so bad because Unity was so old. It’s not capable to make this happen and my core ideas happen. I’m kind of glad. I’m happy and unhappy.

GR: Besides the engine change, what did you take from it personally?

KT: I was uncomfortable and upset. To earn money by making video games, it’s kind of a miracle and lucky. So the cancellation was an unhappy thing but making the video game and having this life is lucky and special.