Shigeru Miyamoto Video Interview

Recently we spoke with the legendary games designer to discuss Zelda, Metroid and other stuff.

Since the creation of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto has gone down in history as the most famous video games designer alive. With credits such as Zelda, Pikmin and Metroid to his name, he remains the hottest property at Nintendo Co. Ltd., and his franchises continue to capture the imagination of gamers everywhere.

With the launch of Mario Sunshine out of the way, focus now turns to the titles that look set to make GameCube owners very happy this year and next - The Legend of Zelda and Metroid Prime.

Kikizo: Mr Miyamoto, it's a pleasure to meet you again. You've talked about your children a few times in the past; when you started to develop games, your children weren't a part of your life - now that they are, has it changed the way you make games?

Miyamoto: I don't really think it has changed my perspective a whole lot. I guess you could say that, because now we do play a lot together and spend a lot of time together, that has maybe given me a more parental perspective on things, but I don't really think it has changed my game design a whole lot.

Kikizo: Now that you oversee projects at Nintendo, does that take away from the role you used to play, when it was more hands-on?

Miyamoto: Well, of course, when I have really talented directors working for me, there are times when I don't have to get involved in a project at all, and it really kind of goes along on its own until it comes to fruition without much of my help. But, you know, there are also a lot of times when the directors do need my help and I do get directly involved with the games. I like it a lot, because I get involved, deeply, at different points in each of the projects and I get to experience a lot more than if I was just focusing on one game.

"The game directors often need my help, so I still get directly involved."

- Shigeru Miyamoto

As you can see, over the last couple of years, we've been working on Metroid, which looks very realistic; we've been working on Mario, which looks very colourful and classic Mario style, and we've been working on Zelda, which looks very cartoony this time around. So I've able to work on all these games and be directly involved in all of them, and it's been really fun for me.

Kikizo: For those who haven't seen Metroid yet, please explain how the structure of the game compares with previous Metroid games?

Miyamoto: Actually, the team that is working on Metroid - they are huge, huge Metroid fans that are making this game, so we think that it will end up being very similar in style to Super-Metroid. We've added the scan visors and things like that and the weapons, but really, you know, it is going to be this idea of still having the freedom to come back and try new things later, so I thing you're going to find it will have a very similar feel to it.

Kikizo: How do you think Japanese Metroid fans will accept the new first person perspective view in Metroid Prime and what is your direct involvement with this project?

Miyamoto: Well, first of all, I think that Japanese Metroid fans will think it's a very cool game [laughs]. You know, when I first met the Retro team, I knew that they were the ones I was going to want to have to create Metroid, so I've actually from the very initial stages of this project, been directly involved with the producer and actually at EAD in Japan, I have three staff members who are almost kind of half directing the game, in cooperation with Retro Studios. So our level of involvement is very, very high on the project.

Kikizo: You've come up with ideas for games in the past, around your house and whilst doing the gardening. How did the idea for Animal Crossing come about?!

Miyamoto: [Smiles and turns to Mr Tezuka on his right] The actual discussion began long ago, when Mr Tezuka and some of the other directors who worked on Yoshi's Island sat down and started to talk about what type of a game we could create, that would be new and unique and that was kind of the beginning of that project.

Kikizo: I think I'm right in saying that the new Zelda takes place before the previous Zelda games - is that right?

Miyamoto: I'm actually not all that deeply involved in this other project, but that is actually the case. We have decided that the setting for the game is that it is kind of the very beginning.

Kikizo: Right, because one question we have was that Link apparently has a sister in this game, and therefore where did she go to in later games?!

Miyamoto: [Leans back in chair and laughs, looks sheepish and consults Tezuka at length. After lengthy discussion, hesitation and more laughter from all present...] Right, maybe we should wrap things up here! [laughter]

Well, actually, another time, we can talk more about the storyline and the setting for all that, but, for this game, I had a talk with the director and we felt that it was very important for Link's sister to appear in this game, so ... [air of desperation!] ... Link wanted someone who was going to call him big brother! [laughter]

Kikizo: Why does there seem to be a lot of emphasis on cooperative play in your games?

Miyamoto: Well, I think that there are a number of different things that a player can experience in a game, that they can get fun out of - and different ways to elicit fun - and to me, I think that those are two methods that really do elicit a great deal of fun for the players. I guess that violence is one way that you can elicit emotion and give entertainment to players, but at the same time, I think it's almost an escape route and that maybe people go that way when they have a hard time coming up with other ideas for creative fun in games.

Kikizo: Miyamoto-san, thank you very much for your time, and we wish you all the best.

Adam Doree

Video Coverage
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Video Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto - oh how we laughed at the Link's sister question... 6.50min 13.9MB WMV

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