Tech TV January 8th 1999
Shigeru Miyamoto sits down with Lauren Fielder of Tech TV to discuss Ocarina of Time. The interview was published in January of 1999 but it took place prior to the release of Ocarina of Time.
Lauren Fielder: Zelda hasn't even been released, and people are talking about it being the best game ever made.
Shigeru Miyamoto: Well I really don't know. The people who have played a little bit of Zelda and the game magazine people have all liked it. I am very glad to hear the initial response was so very good.
Fielder: You've also said that you believe that Zelda might be "the best game I've ever made." Is that so?
SM: I must tell you that I had the most difficult time in making this game, and so I hope it will be my best game ever. But at the same time, I will try my best on the next game, and I hope the next game will be even better.
Fielder: A lot of game journalists and people in the industry believe that it takes years for developers to really learn how to use the system to its full capacity, yet Super Mario 64 was shipped with the Nintendo 64's launch, and it's still considered one of the best examples of what the Nintendo 64 is capable of. Do you think developers have really learned to use the capacity of the 64-bit system?
SM: Yes, that may be the case. I can tell you that Mario 64 used about 60 percent of the total power of N64, and Zelda is using about 90 percent, so we still have 10 percent to explore. And there are a lot of things we can do and share with our licensees and developers, so there will be a lot more things that we can do with N64.
Fielder: One of the largest and most frequent complaints is that developers are focusing on graphics, and that is preempting game play. Your creations are a prime example of excellent graphics and excellent game play. If you could give the developers one bit of advice, what would you say?
SM: Well I am not in the position to give any advice to any other developers, but what I can say is that we are working with interactive media, and we are always trying to make something new, and so we are always encouraging developers inside our team to welcome more interactivity. Because there are now many people who are accustomed to prerendered, computer-generated, beautiful CD-ROM graphics, Zelda or other games may not be satisfactory to them in a graphics sense. Therefore we encourage the development of more interactivity in the games, but we still hope that the developer will create an environment that he is able to walk inside. That is the key to success, I think.
Fielder: What is the difference between a game concept that is a trend and is very popular the first time around and a game concept that builds a lasting enterprise, like Zelda? What is the key creative element that makes something last?
SM: Well, in fact, we are always making constant efforts to create something new. Even though, for example, Mario 64 belongs to the so called Mario series, it is actually quite a new type of game. Using the technology of N64, we were able to develop a 3D world and install, or incorporate, quite a few new types of camera actions. So Mario 64 was quite a new game, although it's in the series called Mario. And this time, with The Legend of Zelda, we have kept the same concept and the same theme as the preceding Legend of Zelda games-- you are going to encounter similar problems, issues, and riddles, and you've got to think for yourself, you've got to find a way, you've got to find similar items and weapons in order to make your own way through the difficulties-- yet we implemented many different elements into it. For example, in the case of Mario, especially the N64 version of Super Mario 64, the point was that your Mario character is doing many unique movements. On the other hand, in the case of Zelda, you are not playing Link, but you become Link and are looking around and seeing the dynamic scenario of the world through the eyes of Link himself. I think we could achieve that kind of concept with the N64 technology for the first time in this newest Legend of Zelda game. We kept the same concept in it, yet we have adapted quite a new approach so people who are accustomed to playing the so called movielike games may say that this is not that kind of game-- that it's a new concept for a game. It's an action, real-time 3D adventure type of game. Keeping the same concept but adding new technology has always been an important element and policy that Nintendo intends to keep.
Fielder: Where do your ideas for the games and the characters come from?
SM: I wish I could find somewhere where I could get ideas, but unfortunately, I don't have any specific place. Rather, in my case, I often come up with ideas while I am talking with my programmers and creators.
Fielder: What have you found to be the ideal size team to work on a game? The ideal number of developers, programmers, and artists?
SM: Well, I believe the ideal number would be around 15. When it comes to Zelda, we started with about 25 people, and during the last eight months or so, we had about 50 people. I think that's too large a number of people to take care of.
Fielder: What are your favorite parts in the Legend of Zelda?
SM: Oh, there are many parts I like, but if I had to pick, I would say riding on the horse because Link is riding on a horse and riding across a huge field, and while riding on the horse, the sun rises, the sun sets, and there are shifts of time, and you feel the weather changing and so forth. I like that best. I also enjoy a lot of parts that are not actually necessary things you have to do in order to get to the end of the game. There are many events that are incorporated in the game which you find yourself doing and are a great joy to do, such as the fishing games, playing the musical instrument, and many others. So several people can complete this same game but will have different memories about the game. It's not a multiscenerio, or a multiending game, but it's a game that will give you different memory depending on where you have been and what you have done in the game.
Fielder: Are there plans for future games that you can tell us about? What are you working on?
SM: We boast among ourselves that we are always trying to make something new-- something unprecedented. Specifically, I am working on the Mario Artist series. The game players will be more actively involved in the creative process. We are also working on other RPG games, like Mario RPG II and Earthbound. We are also not working only on these N64 games, we are working on some other experiences, like connecting the N64 with a Game Boy and conducting many other trials.
Fielder: One more question. You are a master of creating a game world experience. What do you think about the future of the technology leading away from strictly audio and visual and perhaps bringing other sensory features into the games?
SM: Well, I really have no idea what kind of things are going to happen in the future, and I have to tell you that I am not sure when it comes to the creation of interactive entertainment media like video games what will happen, because every day there is some new discovery. And every time there is a new discovery, there's got to be some new way for us to explore, and so we are just going to keep going on to what's new. Technology is going to lead us to more unknown areas, and that's where we will we head. So I honestly don't know, but of course, with the evolution of the technology, the graphics will get even better, clearer, and yet that's not the only cause we should aim for. Rather, we should put more emphasis on the ideas-- new ideas-- unprecedented, unique ideas. Ideas that aren't connected to the available technology. I would like to encourage everybody to think that way, otherwise we will not find a new way to further explorer and adventure in this unprecedented media called video games.