I've been looking forward to Zak and Wiki: Quest for Barbaro's Treasure ever since it was called Treasure Island Z. I continued to love it through it's questionable name change and now, having played several different builds, I'm still a huge fan. I got a chance to sit down with Zak and Wiki producer Hironobu Takeshita to talk a bit about the quirky puzzle game and why they went with such a ridiculously long name.
According to Mr. Takeshita, Zak and Wiki takes it's inspiration from the old PC point and click adventure games of years past. But they didn't want to create just another retro style game, they wanted to take the formula and improve upon it, allowing the player to do things they previously couldn't do due to the restrictions of a 2D environment. They also wanted to create a game that would appeal to not only regular game fans, but families and kids as well, providing an experience that would allow parents and kids to play together. I asked Mr. Takeshita if he thought the marketing of the game towards kids would turn off a lot of the adult gamers out there (which is admittedly a larger market) and he said that what will really sell the game is not it's graphics or title, but it's content and I have to say I agree. Despite the wonderfully cartoony graphics, the gameplay is solid and the puzzles are fun and more challenging than they would seem on the surface.
Of course I couldn't let the opportunity to go by without asking Mr. Takeshita about the name change. Treasure Island Z was short, sweet and to the point. Why change it to something so ridiculously long and rather juvenile? To start he said that Treasure Island Z was out because they couldn't secure the international right to the name because of the book. They went through almost two hundred other names before settling on Zak and Wiki. They figured that using the names of the main characters made sense and that adding the subtitle would let players know what the game was about. As for the length, he said the first name they settled on was even longer, but was shortened to the one they have now, although he couldn't recall what that longer name was. But ultimately, the name needed to appeal to kids and so was given a name that sounded similar to something one might hear attached to a animated show.
If you've had the good fortune to have played a demo of Zak and Wiki, you know how fun it is. It will be a shame if this game gets overlooked due to it's quirky title and cartoony graphics although if Capcom plays it's cards right, this game will definitely be a great candidate for a new, intriguing franchise. Mr. Takeshita and his team have created an innovative game for the Wii that deserves a life as long as it's title.