The folks over at Popular Mechanics sat down with Zelda mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto and discussed the Zelda series, as well as the upcoming New Super Mario Bros and Zelda Wii. A portion of the interview was recorded and you can watch it at the Popular Mechanics website. Listed below are some translated quotes from Miyamoto himself.
PM: A lot of your characters started out as villainous in earlier games, such as Bowser and Donkey Kong and Wario, and in later games they became more sympathetic and almost goofy. Is there a conscience effort to “de-villainize” evil characters in later games?
SM: One thing I’m not really good at is creating truly heroic characters or truly villainous characters, with the one exception being maybe the Zelda series, where I think we did a pretty good job of defining the roles in that series.
PM: Speaking of Zelda games, they’re obviously very popular in lots of parts of the world, and they have almost a mythological story, that resembles Greek or any old epic you look at. Was there anything particular from Japanese culture or mythology that was put into the story that might go over the heads of Americans?
SM: I don’t really consciously do things like that or consciously sense those types of differences. Partly it may be because, even in Japan, we see lots of different types of movies from America where they have the types of armor and clothing that you see in a game like that. We also see a lot of Chinese movies, and Chinese armor. Ocarina, I think, maybe the visual style drifts more towards a Western fantasy style and art design, but I don’t intentionally ever try to replicate a particular cultural element from a particular country.
PM: Do you create background stories to the characters that maybe aren’t known to the public or presented in the games?
SM: For the most part we don’t create very in-depth back stories for the characters. I think the Zelda games and Ocarina of Time, in particular, may be somewhat different in that, although I don’t write the relationships myself when we created the game, but when we created Ocarina in particular, we did think heavily about who the characters are, their relationships to one another, and how that plays out in the story.
PM: What’s your dream type of game that takes advantage of the Wii-mote?
SM: Right now I’m focusing on creating the next Zelda game.
PM: Can you tell me anything about it?
SM: Not today!
So what do you make of Miyamoto’s latest statements? To me, after reading the entire interview, it really seems like the Zelda series is the exception to Miyamoto and his creations, rather than the typical example. Was nice to hear it come from Miyamoto himself that he believes Link is the most heroic figure that he has ever created. Be sure to head on over to our Zelda Forums and tell us what you think!