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The FULL Miyamoto Roundtable transcript

by Billy Berghammer - September 24, 2001, 2:39 pm PDT
Source: The GIA

CVG put some of it in their mag, but not all, and poorly written. Fortunately we've gotten our hands on a much better copy. Eat it up! Shiggy is GOD.

Our good friends at the GIA posted the full transcript of the Miyamoto roundtable at Spaceworld 2001. Since I knew only three people there by name, I'll change the names to make the people happy. And to clarify a few things...I'll fix my own personal question. Heheheh. Here's the juice!

Press: Mister Miyamoto, why did you decide to change the direction of the Zelda game?

SM: Yes, as I already told you on the stage, I was not ready to say more about the Legend of Zelda. We want to talk more about the games that are coming out shortly before the end of this year. As you know, I asked you not to take pictures and publish them, so if you're going to include pictures of the Legend of Zelda, I going to know who you are. (laughs)

Joking aside, the media which we showed at the E3 show was almost identical to the one we showed one year ago at the SpaceWorld show. Actually, we weren't lying to you about what we were doing. As a matter of fact, at the time of the E3 show we were hiding the secret, but one year ago at the SpaceWorld show we were seriously working on that project for the Legend of Zelda. Well, actually, about a year ago, we were repeating so many different experiments , and we were trying to decide what direction the new Legend of Zelda should take. After that, as you know I've been working on some other projects, including the Legend of Zelda GameBoy versions, and during that course I was starting to wonder what was actually the ideal age for Link. It's really something I want to pursue: the grown-up Zelda or even more grown-up Zelda.

As you know, if you visit the arcade game sectors, for example, if one product receives rave reviews and becomes a hit, then next year there will be a number of very similar games following the trend. And look at the movie industry, and typically the animation industry made in Japan, they are following a similar trend: there's one hit, somebody else follows, and in the end only the very enthusiastic, avid movie-lovers can tell the difference. But the general public can never tell them apart.

In more detail, what we are making emphasizes on making something better than the others instead of in the same direction and ignoring the importance of making something different. As a result, in this community called the industry, the people who are most sought after is the people with the better technology and skills, rather than the people who love to challenge something very fun by making breakthrough ideas, but rather the people who are sought after are the ones who have better skills in certain fields which are booming in the R&D and creative works; that kind of situation I really hate.

So that's why I told you my staff you should have more freedom in creating anything you like. At the same time I've been telling to other people that my ideal, that I want a Link this way and that way, and we have repeated several experiments and as a result, now I think that the video we have shown you today is the course we should take with the next Zelda.

So I can tell you now that the title is under very good progress for now. One thing I'm afraid of that is that, of course, people already saw the Link in the older graphics and they are looking forward to the better-proportioned, much more sophisticated Link figure in the next Legend of Zelda. I do not want to hurt their expectations and feelings, so what we are working on doing now is to make Zelda as unique as possible because whenever we areproducing a new Zelda, uniqueness is something they are always looking forward to. So I think I can say that we are ready to make that unique Zelda. But that's all I can say about the Legend of Zelda.

Press: Animal Forest and Kirby were both GameBoy games. Will the GameCube version be a stand-alone version, or will the GameBoy Advance send the program to the GameCube? It seemed like you needed the game to play the Advance part of the game.

SM: Well, what we did today was on the GBA side there was no program, you know, it had some special cartridge with a tilt function but nothing else. No game contents, the game contents were sent from the GameCube, and that's what we are working for, so the final production will be GameCube.

You know that the original verion of Kirby's Tilt and Tumble, the GBC version was already unique enough, and you know we are going to make more beautiful graphics and better sound with the GBA. We don't think people will be tricked by this kind of new feature, so other than that I thought it would better for us to have the GC make much more changes like what you saw today. The GC in Kirby's Tilt and Tumble can rolling on the upon the holes or something like that, and also for those who are walking and moving and would like to have a sequel to the GBC version, the data can be transferred to the GBA so you can take and play with it. So that's why we are doing so, and also it's not decided yet, but I think the parallel version of Kirby's Tilt and Tumble should probably include a communication function with the GBA so when you leave you can play it on GBA. Between the GC and GBA, you can have other communications and kinds of communication games.

As a matter of fact, some of you have already noticed that it's going to be the cartridge including the tilt function, as well as the link, so it can be used for other games. Of course, it won't be so popular at the moment, but once Nintendo starts selling this game with the tilt function, third parties will also be able to use this cartridge. For example, they may have some extra data that can always be transferred to this tilt cartridge. And also, as you know, the GBA itself contains a RAM area, but it's relatively small, you can do for example one cartridge four-player mode, and the RAM holds the game data, which is wonderful. But by inserting this tilt cartridge, there is additional memory that the GBA can use, so there me be some new types of communications games.

Press: For Animal Forest, you download to the GBA texture information using the data port and then put it into sleep mode, do you have to transfer that data back and put it into the game in order to play anything like Mario Kart, or ... ?

SM: Yeah, during the course of sharing data while you are out with your GBA, you can design your own clothes or something else, and if it's put into the signal, it can be uploaded, but I don't really understand what you mean about Mario Kart…

Press: Once you do your graphic changes, but you're not close to your GameCube so you can upload what you've done, can you still plug in a different game and play it, or will all the memory on the GBA be cleared?

SM: Yeah, if you're going to play a new game on your GBA, that data will be erased. Yeah, in that case, the tilt cartridge we just mentioned may be handy, but we are getting into a discussion that's very complex and complicated, so we should rather not at this time.

Press: Nintendo is not making any big announcements about online games. Will this change? Why is this; why are you not making big announcements?

SM: Well, of course, Nintendo is in this industry and we are well aware of the latest technologies and so forth, so because of this Nintendo is very skeptical of the business side of the online business, and now I know that many people are saying that online is the wave of the future are starting to wonder just as we have been wondering the business side of the online aspect. I myself as a game creator cannot say I'm not interested in the online game at all. There is some charm and attraction to the future of online gaming, but looking at the current situation very calmly or quizzically, I have to say that many of the people who are just saying "online online online," they are stuck with the current situation. They cannot find out any new way of creating games, so by saying online is the future, they are trying an excuse already. Having said that, of course, Nintendo is always ready to expanding to the online. In fact we are making the preparations for that, but once again, we cannot say there is an established business aspect right now. And for me as the creator, what are the online aspects? The communication aspects of gameplay is more interesting. I think online is just the power of communication which is much larger. And, for example, the Animal Forest, which we were saying today, is a type of communication game. At least Nintendo, and I myself, has characterized or capitalized on other communcation games because it encourages the communication among family members and among friends.

THE GIA: Nintendo has already shown its involvement with Retro's Metroid project by making it a priority within the company, but I'm curious to know how Nintendo is directing the design of the Metroid project.

SM: Well, how to make the game between the two different companies is a rather complex subject. If we say that we are going to direct, and so we are going to dictate the direction of the gameplay, then we have to send out directors from Nintendo to some other company. And what I am doing about this Metroid Prime project is between Retro and Nintendo, the development has been working pretty well, so we are already in the stage of fine-tuning and finishing touches.

As a matter of fact, we were about to present it to the SpaceWorld show, but unfortunately, we had not enough effective sound, and I make much of the controller ability of the game, meaning that how it will feel to touch the controller; I could not be fully satisfied, so I decided that we should not bring it to the spaceworld show. And also, I was actually thinking about showing you today the video footage of the Metroid and actually the video tape is inside of my bag, but the guy sitting next to me (points to interpreter) said that if we were going to show the Metroid video, the whole one hour would be occupied with talk, so he discouraged me to do so.

So what I can tell you is that, yes, we are on the right progress, and probably will be ready to launch it within one year time of now, and the directors are located in the United States, and we as the game producers are giving suggestions almost every weeek, and at least every other week, we have conferences. And also in once every month or two we have face-to-face meetings.

Press: Three questions, two of which related to the connectivity of the Game Boy Advance and Game Cube, and of course I want to point out again after discussing the two patterns of connectivity I said there were much more capabilities, and I'd like to have some examples of these. And the second one is the things which we've shown today are somewhat difficult, especially for the people who only have one system like the GC or GBA. So for those who are going to get the one system, what kind of steps will Nintendo take to persuade them this is a good enough game for a one-console user? Finally, about Zelda, some has already been explained today, but what's become of the new Mario, especially, what are the features that are enabled only by the GameCube this time.

SM: First of all, as for the other uses for connectivity, one way is to insert some cartridge into GBA, and there is the way not to insert anything into the GBA. About one that needs the cartridge to be inserted, I was showing today the motion sensor cartridge, so of course if we put some other cartridges, there are different ways to use different functions for this specific activity.

And also by utilizing the cable, lots of data can be transferred. One use is that you can change the design of something by making use of the GBA. Today I was showing you only one example using one GBA, but we can use for example link up to 4 or just a couple of them. A couple of people can use a couple of GBAs and one GameCube. I just wanted to demonstrated the most simple way of connecting today.

And also some other game makers or maker could be making some announcement of the connectivity like they can use the common backup data between the GBA and GC.

So once more you'll see that the game is available from only one console. Of course, the ideal situation is that they're going to buy both, that's part of the marketing ploy we have in mind by doing this kind of system, but to start with when only one system is available, and it's kind of hard for people to own both, I think we are going to introduce more of standalone game, and then if you have both systems and the link cable, there is something special you can do.

I'm sure that many other third party companies are interested in this connectivity, and I'm sure many companies are going to want to introduce same or similar software for GBA and GC from now, so they will be making use of this system.

Of course, I'd rather not explain about Mario, as I said in the presentation, but as I said, I was careful in choosing to show images that do not tell a lot so you won't know the secret and other companies do not imitate. But because we have eliminated this kind of footage, I think you are wondering what's so interesting about the Mario game.

One thing is for sure: it's called Mario Sunshine, so as long as it's Mario Sunshine, we really have to sell it during the summer time.

Mario was shouldering some mysterious machine, so yeah, of course, it contains some secret. You remember the Koizumi who went with me to the States introducing the Zelda and Mario 64, he was actually one of the persons mostly responsible for the animations of Mario 64 as well as Zelda 64, I mentioned he is now deeply involved in Mario Sunshine and the new Zelda, so what I can say is that yes, we are going to take the right direction for what we're doing.

Ravi Hiranand - CNN: I've got a question about Luigi's Mansion: most of your games are very easy to pick up and play; you just pick up the controller and it's very apparent how you play the game, but Luigi's Mansion is very complicated; a lot of people get disorientated at first. Why have you done this with that particular game? Why is it not as pick up and play as other Mario games?

SM: That's really a tough question. I hope at least that you'd appreciate we have incorporated very simple kind of maturation. Luigi's Mansion has gone through many monitors of difficulty level of the controller ability. And as you know we've been repeatedly saying that the ideal situation for a game is for gamers to be able to use just A button and the main stick, that's all, but of course Luigi's mansion is a bit more complex, so you have to use other buttons on the controller (I'm paraphrasing from memory here; that part is completely incomprehensible.) We make games with very simple use of the control, but we know that you're going to have games with more complex useage of the controller. But yes, you're right, had we released Mario Sunshine first, you wouldn't be disturbed by the complex useage required by Luigi's Mansion's gameplay. But once again, we used the simplest way of controlling Luigi's Mansion, and it has passed the test of our monitors about controllability.

Justin Keeling - BBC: Following along with the Mario discussion, Mario Sunshine is obviously the next main Mario game, then what is Mario Net or 100 Marios; I've seen those names thrown around. Are those real games?

SM: So many projects and so many experiements are being carried out at Nintendo R&D, for example the 100 Mario, 128 Mario, some of the power of which had already been integrated into Pikmin. Having said that, some other parts are still going on because we are always looking to 2 years later, 3 years later, so maybe later some part of 100 Marios will show up elsewhere.

As for Marionette, it's still under product improvement; it's not a Mario game to sell, which is either a Marionette game which is why we call it that, and then I'm hoping to make something both complicated and simple together, something of an in-between concept. But already, there are some problem with the experiments, and once again, sometimes in the future, I may be able to show you something about it. That means we are always working on so many different projects, and wherever, there is a new aspect, we are always trying to make new experiment or integrate some of the good aspects of projects into other games. That's how Nintendo is able to make such good games.

Press: Why didn't we see a new Pokémon title?

SM: The main focus of today was the production of software to be released in this calendar year, that's why you didn't see Pokémon and other projects, but in the future, we are going to show you something about a GameCube version of Pokémon.

Yeah of course, we've shown it once or twice, and today we did not show, so in that case please suspect that there are some things which are not decided. And some things not yet ready to be shown, but when that something is ready, we'll be ready to show it.

Billy Berghammer - PlanetGameCube: Luigi has his game, and Mario will have his game with Luigi's Mansion and Mario Sunshine, but is there any chance that we'll see the return of the Mario Brothers together?

SM: If what you wonder about is just a more complicated or more better graphics version of the past Marios for GameCube, well of course, in Luigi's Mansion, in the end you are going to see Mario. And technologically it's possible that Mario and Luigi will be together, it's something we always talk about, that's what I can say.

Adam Krause - TendoBox: It's known that you've been making minor changes to the GC controller for a while now and I was wondering if you're finally completely satisfied with the final product, or if you would change something had you the time.

SM: I'm fully satisfied with the design, so in the very near future there won't be any changes, and in the far future there may be some changes like some buttons will become bigger and some will become smaller, but the basic layout of these buttons, they are not going to be changed. Likely the basic layout is cutoff already; the perhaps perfect or perhaps extremely well-done design of the controller.

Press: I was wondering if Mr. Miyamoto is disappointed that there will not be a Mario game at launch, whereas with the last 3 Nintendo systems there has been.

SM: Well, you know that some members really wanted to release Luigi pretty bad, so that's why, and of course, if possible I wanted to release MS first, but at the time I was devoting most of my time to Pikmin and the aspects I wanted to make. And there's got to be something big in the launch schedule, so this time it's going to be Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin, Mario Sunshine, and Zelda, but yes, I was a bit dissapointed by the fact that Mario was not the first game for GameCube.

Press: Can you say anything else about Link's new design?

SM: At the beginning of the game, Link shall be more of a child rather than an adult, that's my image, and after that we were trying to make Link with somewhat better computer graphics and sophistication.

I went by a gut feeling; it was an emotional issue, not the number of polygons. We had Link beginning to wear piercings, and things like that, and I just started to dislike these kind of ideas, so it was mainly an emotional issue and that's all.

But its interesting for you to know that the new Zelda images you've seen and the older ones, they are created by the same artists.

Press: The GBA is an excellent piece of hardware, but there's been some dislike expressed of the screen; it can only be used in bright conditions. Is Nintendo planning to remedy this?

SM: Yeah, we've heard some complaints about that, in Japan too, and what we are telling is that its a kind of offset between low pricing and better gameplay, but having said that, however, by making doing some tricks on the software side, you can have much brighter images. And actually, that's what we're encouraging makers to do. So we believe that from now on more games will have bright images. There are some simple rules, like don't use a dark color in between dark and so forth, so there are many ways to deal with the lightness of color. But that said, its a matter of making it affordable, so there have to be some factors. If we attached a backlight, some would be satisfied, but the number of people who could afford it would be smaller.

Technologically speaking, the GBA has an even lighter screen than the GBC, but only when you insert the GBC software into the GBA, the people may find it much darker when than they are making use of the clear line on the GBC screen. And these kind of things as we pointed out can be solved by some software tricks, so we'll make some progress from now on.

Press: The GC is pretty powerful hardware, so can we expect any other uses of it?

SM: In the future there may be some talks because of the GC hardware, it's such a powerful machine, but at this point in time theres no such plans to release the GC hardware for anything but gaming.

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