Tomm Hulett is interviewed for the upcoming Wiimake Trauma Center: Second Opinion.
Atlus is bringing the first Wii-make to Nintendo’s new console with Trauma Center: Second Opinion, an enhanced and in many ways brand new version of the now-classic DS operating room simulator. The game, which makes full use of the Wii-mote for pinpoint accuracy during surgery, is scheduled to launch with Wii later this year. We recently chatted with project lead and localization master Tomm Hulett about the Second Opinion. Check out our full interview below – and don’t miss a handful of fresh, high-resolution screenshots.
IGN Wii: What’s behind the name Trauma Center: Second Opinion?
Tomm Hulett: Well, the Japanese name for the series is “Caduceus,” so clearly we came up with our own title for the original game, Trauma Center: Under the Knife. This made naming the sequel a bit of a challenge, since we wanted something just as “clever” as Under the Knife, which also communicated that this was the second game in the series. I was struggling to come up with anything when my wife said “How about Second Opinion?” Well, that seemed like the only logical choice, so everyone at Atlus debated with other names like “Trauma Center: Relapse” and such being suggested. In the end, “Second Opinion” was just the best choice. It immediately implies certain features, like the second playable doctor, a second look at the storyline, etc.
IGN Wii: Great. You’ve referred to the game as a “Wii-make.” Would you consider it a port?
Tomm: This seems to be causing a lot of confusion because I don’t think people really all have the same definition of “port.” A port is like, say, MGS2: Subsistence for Xbox, where an existing game is reprogrammed to work on a different platform than it originally appeared on. Some new content might be added, but the two games are virtually identical (barring hardware differences). Ports would be like Mortal Kombat back in the day, RE4 for PS2, or GTA: Liberty City Stories for PS2. Those are ports. A remake is like MGS: Twin Snakes, where an existing game is entirely rebuilt — the story is the same, but voices are re-recorded, graphics are recreated, music is redone, etc.
In a remake, the engine is entirely new code, not just modified code from another version of the game. Remakes would be Final Fantasy III DS, Lunar: SSSC, or Mega Man Powered Up. Trauma Center is a Wii-make, not a port. It features new operations with a new playable character, an entirely new 6th chapter that replaces the previous game’s chapter six, and some new tools.
IGN Wii: So the storyline is more or less the same?
Tomm: As I said above, the sixth chapter is entirely new, and there are a number of missions before that point which are also unique to the Wii version. As for the returning chapters, I went over all that text and tightened it up, as well as tied it into the new stuff so everything felt cohesive and natural. The new doctor adds a new dimension to the plot, and I think the new sixth chapter is far more interesting than that of the original game.
IGN Wii: The sci-fi elements from the DS build are back?
Tomm: Since the overall plot deals with the same things, yes you’ll still be dealing with GUILT, the super-virus. But, I think the new sixth chapter is a lot more grounded in reality / interesting than liberating the boat was in the original game. So there are still crazy sci-fi elements, but I think it makes more sense in context on Wii than it did on DS.
IGN Wii: The DS title featured a linear storyline covered in chapters, like a book. Will Second Opinion allow for storyline branching — changing based on your surgical achievements or failures?
Tomm: The plot still works similarly to the DS version with linear chapters. However, the new operations can be tackled chronologically as they appear, or you can complete “Derek’s” game first, and then go back and play the new doctor stuff. Not very detailed branching, but branching nonetheless.
IGN Wii: In the DS version of the game, you drew a star really quickly to perform the Healing Touch. Does the Wii version have anything like this?
Tomm: You can still perform the Healing Touch to aid in your operations. You hold down a button on the Nunchuk and a button on the Remote, then draw a star to activate it. However, the new doctor’s Healing Touch works entirely differently than Dr. Stiles “time slowing” power. All I can say right now is that the new doctor can “manipulate body energy” using the Healing Touch.
IGN Wii: What new surgical tools do you gain access to in the Wii version?
Tomm: I think the coolest new tool is the Defibrillator. It just seemed like a natural fit for the Wii, so we really argued for its inclusion. You move your controllers forward to place the paddles on the patient, then you see a voltage meter. You have to press the Z Button and B Button at the same time when the voltage is at the right level.
IGN Wii: What procedures and tools have been carried over from the DS version? How have the controls changed for the Wii build?
Tomm: Most of the tools from the DS version also appear in this game. They control mostly how you’d expect on the Wii, my personal favorite being the forceps, which you obviously use to pick up objects or move delicate body parts. Once you select the forceps, you grab things by holding down the A and B Buttons simultaneously — just like if you were using them in real life (pinching). I think that’s the most natural-feeling returning tool. The “Scanner” returns also with its magnification/ultrasound capabilities. In the original game, you could only use one at a time, but in this game you can actually use them both (B Button controls one, A Button the other). Also, rest assured that the magnification is now just a button press–you won’t need to draw a million tiny circles trying to make it work.