Shigeru Miyamoto Famitsu Interview Part 3

The third part of our translated Weekly Famitsu interview with Shigeru Miyamoto who talks about his appreciation for Apple’s design, talking to Apple regarding Super Mario Run, the ‘Nintendo-like’ term, thoughts on people uploading gameplay videos, which Pokémon his wife asked him to catch in Orlando, talking about the movie project, meeting with Chris Meledandri from Illumination, and much more.

Look out for the fourth and final part very soon. Part 1 is posted here and Part 2 here. Many thanks to BlackKite for translating this for Japanese Nintendo. Please credit if posting elsewhere. Buy Weekly Famitsu here (use the code JPNINTENDO for 5% off all physical orders above $20). Please consider buying me a coffee and to help support future translations.


Designing GameCube and Wii interfaces

Miyamoto’s team thoroughly made the interface for GameCube, but they redid the controller scheme from scratch as all of them wanted to start playing from zero again – that ended up becoming Wii’s concept. Some parts in the Wii U were also made with such a concept, but they had a task to make the usability good.

Miyamoto’s appreciation for Apple design

The Switch came at the timing when smartphones have become ubiquitous with everyone wielding similar devices and pack all information there. So Miyamoto thought a hardware made with a single architecture would be more easily acceptable, because with mobile devices one would have to make sure it works on all versions of various hardware, and one wouldn’t be sure either on what else are included there – including possibly malware. That’s why Miyamoto likes Apple for prioritising customers’ usability with well-set limitations.

Nintendo’s accessibility

Going back to the past again when storage media for games just shifted from cassette ROMs to optical discs, Nintendo tried their best to protect customers’ comfort, but they were troubled when seeing some developers out there did not mind about load times for game data. There were also times where people said “Nintendo is childish”, but by setting their priorities straight and steadily following through them, customers were able to get a clearer image of Nintendo being ‘relieving’ from the Wii era, for example “It’s making us safe and relieved even when connected to the network”.

Talking to Apple regarding Super Mario Run

When they were releasing Super Mario Run, Nintendo talked with Apple that they “want to make something that will make customers feel ‘I can safely play this because it’s a Nintendo game’ including the payment method”. Of course Nintendo is aware though that the gameplay method they proposed may not be desired by all of their customers.

The ‘Nintendo-like’ term

This brings us to what Nintendo thinks about the “Nintendo-like” term, which is to really think on consumer standards instead of market standards or current trends. They prioritised customers’ sensation on touching and using their hardware & games including the Switch. And as a result, it has been received broadly and used comfortably by a lot of people in general. Although Miyamoto and Famitsu agreed that their market is just a small portion of the worldwide market since nowadays it’s not just about America, Europe, and East Asia.

A lot of Nintendo TOKYO visitors don’t own a Switch

Miyamoto also noted that a lot of visitors to Nintendo TOKYO store at Shibuya PARCO still don’t have a Switch; they came only because they are interested in Nintendo. Miyamoto wonders if all of them can be persuaded to buy a Switch; it’s going to take a very long time to sell the Switch in the entire worldwide market. He hopes he can recommend people to buy Switch and its games before other character goods like figures.

“I want you to first buy two games instead of figures”

“In America, there is a strong demand for development of figure products like the one sold in dedicated stores. But if possible, I want you to first buy two games instead of those, like ‘we shouldn’t do too much licensing’ (laughs).” “There are also fans who buy both games and goods so it’s complicated (laughs).”

Miyamoto’s thoughts in people uploading gameplay videos

Miyamoto also shares his own comment on the recent trends of people uploading gameplay videos: “I think it’s good that there’s a variety of ways to enjoy things. In the ROM era, we preferred to have [customers] play for a long time with materials created with very miniscule memory without publicising them. At that time, it would be problematic if the whole game content were to be revealed. But it is now an era where customers that bought [the games] publish videos broadly, and I think that may pique interest about those games to other people who watch it. I think I would also watch walkthrough videos of [games] made by someone else.” “Honestly, I don’t want to watch my own [games], but if it’s made by someone else it should still be okay (laughs).”

Miyamoto on playing Pokémon GO

Miyamoto also reveals that he’s been playing Pokémon GO a lot recently. His grandchild and daughter-in-law started first last year, then his wife followed suit to catch up with their talks and eventually asked Miyamoto when he was going to Universal’s HQ in Orlando “If you visit Orlando, please catch a Heracross which is region-exclusive there.”

Thoughts on real life gatherings of game fans

He also noticed that there is a place nearby his house where middle-aged people would gather and trade information about games. Miyamoto sees that both gameplay videos and IRL gatherings let people have much fun in playing games while trading information, which he thinks is a good thing. He even joked that if there are so many videos, developers wouldn’t have to make tutorials anymore.

Wanting to give children Nintendo’s sense of ‘safety and relief’

Miyamoto noted that making large-scaled games recently take three to five years; that means children currently in the lower elementary grades would’ve already graduated by then. This is why Nintendo wants more opportunities to get in touch with them, to give them Nintendo’s sense of ‘safety and relief’, hence the creation of real-life venues like Nintendo Tokyo and the Super Nintendo World attraction in USJ Osaka.

Giving guidelines to Universal

Speaking of the latter, Miyamoto has been working closely with Universal to develop the attraction. Miyamoto would give guidelines on using the IP, while Universal would handle the safety details for attractions like equipment durability and daily handling thousands of visitors. When Miyamoto first discussed about the project with Universal at the latter’s HQ in Orlando, it was decided that the device structures would be made in Orlando and manufactured in Hollywood, but Universal suggested that it should be run in Japan first, especially since the Tokyo Olympics will be held soon.

Talking about the upcoming movie project

The talks then moved to the movie project. They used to think that Nintendo could make a movie on its own with the same amount of staff and materials needed to make a game, but Miyamoto was against it because it would be a rude thing against movie directors, and also because he feared Mario wouldn’t be used to his own liking in movies. But as Nintendo brought old games to be playable in newer hardware through the Virtual Console, Miyamoto gradually saw more similarities between games and movies and eventually opened up to the idea of making movies related to Nintendo and Mario.

On meeting Chris Meledandri from Illumination

When Miyamoto started working with Universal, he would eventually meet Chris Meledandri from Illumination. While they were talking, Chris revealed that he had gathered quotes from Miyamoto’s past interviews and noted that they have similar ways of making and thinking. When Chris opened up about his past failures, that’s when Miyamoto decided that he can be trusted to work together and thus entrusted him to make an animated movie.

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