Interview:E3 1996

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E3 1996






Q: Although you've worked on Super Mario 64 for a long time, you've also had to work on many other titles to ensure the system has a good launch lineup. How have you been able to manage the task of working on so many games at once?
Shigeru Miyamoto: I had a lot of trouble concentrating my efforts on Mario 64 working as the game's director. Ever since I completed the Zelda game, my role at Nintendo has been more of a producer, supervising the different works in development. But when it comes to Mario 64 I was actually the main director of the game, so if I stopped at some point all other work stopped simultaneously. This was not as easy task and when I come to think about future projects, I believe I'll have to devote myself to a producing role mainly, rather than directing.
Q: What were the biggest design problems converting Mario from 2D to 3D?
SM: I don't want to criticise other game developers, but I believe that, other than in fighting and racing games, nobody is really meeting 3D criteria. Many games are presented in 3D, but are, in fact, simply 2D experiences incorporating a lot of tricks to fool people into believing they are playing a 3D game.

I think one of the biggest difficulties in creating 3D is the viewpoint. Looking at the way the camera follows you in Super Mario 64, you would think it would be easier, but in fact, when you start a 3D game from the very beginning it's easy to get confused. For example, if Mario is in a maze, you can change the view point to play the game from Mario's point of view, but if the camera is behind Mario and you are walking through a narrow passageway in a maze and you look in other directions, you have to realise the camera would hit the wall. It is frustrating for the player to realise they cannot change the viewpoint freely, even though 3D games must incorporate realistic camera movement - this kind of camera work is problematic when you start creating 3D games.
Q: With Mario nearly finished, on what game will you be next concentrating your efforts?
SM: I couldn't put everything into Super Mario 64 that I really wanted, so we've decided to continue working towards a sequel which will take about a year-and-a-half at least - so please don't write many things about that [laughter]. Of course, Zelda is one of the things I would like to concentrate on, too, but before that we have StarFox, Mario Kart, and more immediately I would like to concentrate on WaveRace.
Q: How do you think Super Mario 64 compares to previous Mario games? Is this its best one yet?
SM: Personally, I'm satisfied simply because we have created something very new and unique, non-existent in the past. Concerning the game itself, I'll have to wait for the actual remarks to be made by the consumers. Talking about Super Mario 64, I believe we have just utilised only 60% of the whole capacity of the Silicon Graphics Nintendo 64 technology.
Q: Now everything is moving into 3D on the Nintendo 64, will there be 2D games on the N64 later on?
SM: Yes, in fact, even though this is a 3D system, if you are careful enough you can make a 2D game - I'm actually working on a Yoshi title.
Q: Since Mario 64 is a cartridge game, was the lack of space a limitation?
SM: To be honest, after working on Super Mario 64 on cartridge, I realised the game would never have been possible on a CD-ROM system. I'm not speaking ill of CD-ROM at all, but this is my genuine sentiment.
Q: Will the sequel use the forthcoming optical-based 64DD? And when you're talking about the speed advantages of cartridges, how will you cope with the slower handling of data by which the 64DD will be restricted?
SM: We have not yet decided what format we will use for Super Mario 64's sequel, but if we are going to utilise the 64DD system for this, yes, we will have to work on some of the problems on the transfer speed. Basically, however, the speed is decided not by the actual disk itself but by the RAM that is incorporated onto the hardware, and if we look at the Nintendo 64 hardware system itself, it has an expansion memory slot, meaning most of the problems colud be solved.

However, I still have to admit that the 64DD would not be as fast as the cartridge-based system and even though we understand the 64DD's loading time will be much shorter than other CD-ROM systems, still it cannot compete with cartridges when it comes to the Mario style of game. I think, however, Zelda would be good for the 64DD, considering the appropriate loading time.
Q: Time magazine recently called you the Spielberg of videogames. What would you have done if you hadn't worked for Nintendo?
SM: I chose to work for Nintendo simply because I thought Nintendo would be the kind of company to give me the opportunity to surprise people. More specifically, when I first saw the Rubik's Cube I was kind of jealous because that was the sort of thing I would have liked to have invented myself.