Interview:IGN June 5th 2000

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IGN June 5th 2000


June 5, 2000





Miyamoto and Aonuma speak about upcoming hardware & games, along with some general questions.



During Nintendo's E3 show in 2000, IGN64 sat down with Nintendo's legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and the lead director for Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Eiji Aonuma, for a few words. The two Nintendo figures spoke on the difficult development process for Majora's Mask, and many other topics including future N64 software, the Game Boy Advance, the Dolphin system, what to expect from Space World and flying machines.

IGN: What time do you wake up in the morning?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Well, it's about the time that the company opens, or shortly before then.
IGN: Take us through your work day.
Shigeru Miyamoto: Probably I come into the office and say, "I'm sorry I'm late." [laughs] Then I check the e-mails and take a look through all of the sample cartridges piled on my desk. If I find any problems I immediately contact the respective teams
Eiji Aonuma: First thing in the morning I have to finish up the game specifications that I failed to complete the night before. Then I bring the new specifications to the programmers and, at the same time, check on how they have made everything based on the specifications I gave them the previous day, and I repeat this procedure until noon.
Shigeru Miyamoto: I of course have the same experiences. At Nintendo it is often custom that we never make the whole game specifications at the beginning. But rather, we are making something, and depending on that we are making some other things. If you change one element, you have to change many others. Many directors work overtime and rewrite the design specifications at night. Even if you cant' work the next day, you still have to finish the specs and place a memo with the chances on the programmers desks.
IGN: Do you get a lot of fan e-mail?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Well, we have the firewall system so that we're shut out from the rest of the world, but as a matter of fact sometimes we get some truly frightening e-mails.
IGN: When making Majora's Mask, what were some of the problems you ran into? What was most difficult?
Eiji Aonuma: Originally we were going to make Majora's Mask Game Time last one week. Later we decided to make it shorter so that players could enjoy only three days, but could repeat the same day again and again. We had to come up with all kinds of ideas to make this scenario work. Losing certain items when you travel through time may seem unreasonable at first. But limitations like these are actually the result of many delicate modifications. In the end, that's what makes the game work. So, even though it may seem like a mean limitation, it's actually the outcome of many long and heated discussions.
IGN: What kind of boss is Miyamoto? Is he a strict boss or lenient?
Eiji Aonuma: He knows of everything about gameplay and game-making so he's a person that we can never cheat. If we are going to make any mistake and try to hide it, he becomes very persistent.

[Aonuma and Miyamoto laugh]

Shigeru Miyamoto [to Aonuma]: How come you didn't tell them whether I'm strict or generous?
Eiji Aonuma [laughing]: He's a generous person.
IGN: For Majora's Mask you have reused a modified version of the Ocarina of Time game engine. Is this a philosophy that Nintendo wants to continue with in the future?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Gamers like the fact that we use a familiar engine, don't you think? I believe that the gamers won't feel as if they are playing on the old engine. As a matter of fact, when it comes to game design, we have come up with many new ideas. And in the future too, once we have established a 3D action game engine, we may use it again. It is possible that even for Dolphin we may use a similar type game engine from now.
IGN: Is Majora's Mask Mr. Aonuma's last N64 game? Are you moving on to a new platform?
Shigeru Miyamoto: For Aonuma it is the last game for Nintendo 64, but there are other teams still working on the console.
IGN (to Miyamoto): How did you contribute to Excitebike 64?
Shigeru Miyamoto: I was involved on the outline and final design. I was just giving them some comments during the final phase of development. If it were NCL's in-house game, I would have the final say about the product. But this time it's the United States' game so I gave some advice, but did not follow-up on the final results.
IGN: What else do you have planned for Nintendo 64?
Shigeru Miyamoto: I'm hopeful that our team can introduce a couple of new games for Nintendo 64 by the end of the year. These are not standard action-type games. We are calling them "communication games." I haven't told the details to the mass media in Japan just yet, so I'm not in the position to elaborate.
IGN: NCL displayed a running demo of a game called Catroots on the E3 show floor. What is Catroots?
Shigeru Miyamoto: It was originally made under the Marigul management. Now Nintendo is taking responsibility for producing the title. It's a rather unique concept. I just don't know kind of product it will finally be, but please look forward to the outcome.
IGN: What do you think of Rare's lineup at the show? How about Dinosaur Planet?
Shigeru Miyamoto: It looks really nice, doesn't it? I wish they would Star Fox characters so that they could use the title Star Fox Adventures. Maybe I should call the team and talk about it [laughs].
IGN: Are you as involved with the Game Boy development as much as you are involved with the N64 development?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Are you talking hardware?
IGN: Software.
Shigeru Miyamoto: Oh, software. In the case of the Nintendo 64, we were pretty much involved with the hardware design when developing the software. In the case of the Game Boy Color, no, we weren't involved in that design. But when it comes to games, yes. We are always in the process of having at least one title for the launch of a system, and that includes the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance. In the case of the Game Boy Color, we were involved with the color version of The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Deluxe.
IGN: How long have you been working on the Game Boy Advance hardware?
Shigeru Miyamoto: The Game Boy Advance isn't an exception towards our team's involvement in any new hardware product. I, for one, have been involved in the kind of circumstantial layout of some key games, like working with the team responsible for Pokémon Gold and Silver... for example, we made it more colorful and interesting not only for the Color display but also for the monochrome. Of course, we are working on several ideas and titles right now. I am right now in the process of deciding what titles and ideas are appropriate for the Game Boy Advance hardware.
IGN: What is your opinion on the Legend of Zelda trilogy in the works for Game Boy Color?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Mr. Okamoto from Capcom is the producer on the games for the Game Boy Color, and he has been giving me the materials for the games. And what we have now is the games are becoming late, especially because of the "link system". With the link system, we're thinking about letting the gamer play whatever game first, and what happens in one game affects another game. And with that, the variable scenario is just increasing the work, and that's why we are late in schedule. But we can release the games later this year.
IGN: How does the link system interface work?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Well, for example, there are similar events in all cartridges. So if you've already finished one event on one cartridge, it makes the quest in another cartridge a little easier. Another example is if you find a specific item in one cartridge, then something special will happen on another cartridge.
IGN: But how does that information get from one cartridge to the other?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Password system.
IGN: What are you most excited about on the Game Boy Advance hardware?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Some day in Japan we are going to have a conference for third party developers, so until then I cannot explain to you in detail. But here's an example...when they were working on the Game Boy Color, I was thinking, what's so good about making the Game Boy into color? But after playing it, I realized, it's good! For no specific reason I said, yes, it's good to have the color display. And then when they were working on the Advance, I thought, yeah, it's a larger LCD screen, better graphics and such and such, and then when I played it, I thought, oh, yeah, it's good! I thought that it's good for no specific reason. Also, it's going to be 32-bit, and you can program in C language, so it'll be easier to make games for it.
IGN: Space World is this August. What can we expect to see there this time?
Shigeru Miyamoto: I'm sorry I cannot tell you the specifics just yet, but we will have titles for the Dolphin, Game Boy Advance, the cell-phone application, and several other things that we have never announced at all.
IGN: How far along is Dolphin game development at NCL? In the US, no companies have working hardware development kits yet and are still in prototyping stages. What is NCL's situation in this respect?
Shigeru Miyamoto: There are several different stages of the development tools and until the final one is ready we just cannot mass produce them. Even at NCL we're still dealing with simulation and emulation, but very soon we're going to have the final development kit ready. In the interim, we're working with incomplete setups. But soon the final kits will go out.
IGN: So any chance of Mario or Zelda Dolphin titles at Space World?
Shigeru Miyamoto: [laughs] I cannot tell. I was told to show them, but I just don't know.
IGN: Do you know the real name of the Dolphin system?
Shigeru Miyamoto: I'm not in the position to tell. [Turns to his translator and adds]: And you cannot tell either.
IGN: A question for both of you: if you had all of the funding and time in the world, would kind of game would you like to make?
Shigeru Miyamoto: [ponders] That's a tough question. [To Aonuma:] What do you think?
Eiji Aonuma: It's never really come up for me. [laughs]
Shigeru Miyamoto: It's hard to figure out what you would spend your money on if you don't have it.

[Both laugh]

Eiji Aonuma: I would definitely want to make a kind of Zelda-game.
Shigeru Miyamoto: I would like to make some system that would enable me to float in the air as if there was no gravity.
IGN: In real life -- not in a game?
Shigeru Miyamoto: Yes. A game machine -- a huge game machine. It could have plugs that attach to your head.
IGN: Like the Virtual Boy?


Shigeru Miyamoto: Yeah -- a real Virtual Boy. [Pauses] Brain Boy.
IGN: What concerns you most about the Dolphin system?
Shigeru Miyamoto: If it becomes too popular, we just cannot produce enough consoles. [laughs]