If you're a fan of Nintendo, chances are you're also a fan of Splatoon producer Hisashi Nogami, although you may not know it. Nogami joined the famed Japanese video game giant in 1994 and has been an essential member of EAD, the first-party development studio responsible for some of Nintendo's most beloved games, ever since. Early in his career, Nogami worked primarily as an artist at Nintendo, designing some of the iconic imagery in games like Yoshi's Island and Super Mario 64. But it wasn't until 2001 that he got his big break with Animal Crossing, an N64 title he co-directed with Katsuya Eguchi.
In recent years, Nogami's work has focused more on the quiet details that surround the Nintendo game experience, as he's worked on both the Wii U's menus and its Mii avatars. Splatoon, his first major AAA work since Animal Crossing: City Folk in 2008, hits Wii U this week with a splash of messy color and an online component. In advance of the game's release, I spoke with Nogami over the phone (via translator) to discuss the makings of Nintendo's next, breakout IP.