Interview:Nintendo Power June 1997

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On "Creator's Day" at the Tokyo Game Show, some of Japan's top game designers joined in a panel discussion, which included Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo, Yu Suzuki of Sega (creator of the Virtua Fighter series), Yoshiki Okamoto of Capcom (designer of Street Fighter 2 and Darkstalkers) and Koichi Nakamura of Chun Soft (programmer of Dragon Quest). Here are some highlights from the discussion, especially the answers from Mr. Miyamoto.

MC: Can you tell me about your primary focus in game development?

Mr. Miyamoto: My background is in industrial design. When I'm developing a game, I always think about how to surprise people. When I was a young boy, I used to set traps on the door to my room when I left for school. My mother was always surprised by them when she opened the door! It's important to me that people be surprised when they look at my products.

MC: I guess you must have been under extreme pressure when you were developing Super Mario 64. Failure was not an option.

Mr. Miyamoto: Developing that game, I had a new tool, the Nintendo 64, and I was only thinking about creating the best thing possible using that tool. I was more worried that people would complain that we were just developing another game in a series. That was the kind of pressure I was feeling. Since I am not a good game player, I try to create a game that even I can play. Eventually this concept makes my product different from others. When I started to work at Nintendo, Space Invaders had already been released. My challenge was to create something more interesting than video games. That is still my challenge because I still have not made something like that yet! Last year, I was shocked by the success of the "Tamagotchi" [the small electronic pet created by Bandai], because I had a similar idea that was actually in development However, our product required a player to sit down in front of a TV, so there was no way it could compete with Tamagotchi. I would like to plan products in a wider variety of categories. By the way, as for my hobbies, I like to take walks, so I don't use a taxi much. I also like to practice swimming and playing guitar.

MC: Can we say that you had a lot of involvement with Star Fox 64?

Mr. Miyamoto: Yes, you can. Originally, I was supposed to take the position of "Producer" of this game, but I really got involved in the actual game development in the second half of the development cycle. I am most proud of the cinematic feeling of this game, in that players feel like they are seeing a movie as they play. This is different from the so-called "Interactive Movies" that are out there. And, I believe that the Rumble Pak will make this game feel more like a "toy" and will expand the audience of this game.

MC: You seem to rely heavily on the Control Stick in Star Fox 64.

Mr. Miyamoto: Yes. As you could see on the video, you can do a variety of aerial maneuvers and "somersaults" in Star Fox 64. These moves are controlled by the N64 Control Stick. There is a mission where you need to dog fight with over one hundred flying enemies, and using these somersaults is very fun! I'm really happy with some of the new N64 titles that make good use of the N64 Control Stick, like Turok.

MC: When will Zelda be released?

Mr. Miyamoto: You promised me you wouldn't ask that question! (Laughs) I want you to ask Mr. Suzuki when Virtual Fighter 3 will be available for Saturn! Anyway, development on Zelda 64 is going very well. We will release the game as a cartridge first. We made that decision because the playability of this game is more important than incorporating a writable feature at this time. However, the 64DD development is also going very well. I think you'll have a chance to play it this fall. We are developing some interesting games that will take full advantage of the system's writable capabilities.

Questions from the audience: Q: What sort of game do you dream of making?

Yu Suzuki: I am interested in developing a real interactive movie. It would have high quality graphics, just like a movie, with sophisticated game play. Also, you would be able to play outside, with multiple players! This is my dream.

Mr. Miyamoto: I partly agree with Mr. Suzuki. I would like to come up with a new type of game which does not require you to sit in front of a television. I don't like the dimensions of current television screens. I also have some background as a comic book artist. In comics, I can use different layouts on every page. If I could use a similar technique for games, it could be very exciting.