The lights are on
Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto is the most famous and acclaimed game developer in history. By now, you know his resume, which includes creating such storied franchises and Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. At E3, we had a chance to talk to Mr. Miyamoto about Wii U development, the Mario and Zelda franchises, and Pikmin 3.
I know that your role within Nintendo has changed in recent years. I was curious, what's your day-to-day role with Nintendo?
Shigeru Miyamoto: So I guess the only real change is that I'm probably working fewer hours. But that's just because I used to work a lot of hours before. I still oversee a number of different projects. The two projects that I'm most equally involved in right now are Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on Nintendo 3DS. But in addition to working directly and deeply on those two games, I'm also overseeing several of the other projects we're working on.
You have a new hardware system; how has the adjustment period for your teams dealing with new technology been? Do you feel that there's still a lot more, in terms of horsepower, that you can get out of the unit as you learn more about the system and its architecture and technological capabilities?
Of course, any time that we shift from one generation to another there are things for people to learn in terms of development and when it comes to developing the software itself. But when it comes to the hardware at Nintendo, we're a little bit unique because we're developing a new hardware system, we're doing that in conjunction with the software teams and there's communication going on about what types of games the software development teams want to create. So the hardware development and software development early on go pretty hand in hand. But certainly, as you spend more time with the hardware itself, and you get better at leveraging the hardware, you learn ways to draw out more of its power. So certainly I think that there's still more possibilities in terms of what we'll be able to do with the Wii U.
So far, what's been the experience with your engineers and programmers? Have they found that the Wii U is, in comparison to past systems, easier to develop for or more challenging to develop for?
I don't think it's a difficult system to develop for. Certainly, because it's Nintendo's first HD system and we're using a lot of shaders and things like that there's certainly things to learn from that perspective. Overall, in comparison to previous hardware I think it's actually pretty easy to develop for.
A lot of Nintendo's new Wii U games don't seem to use the touch screen in a very integral way. With Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, they encourage you to play with the remote and nunchuk and Pikmin 3 is actually better with the original Wii controllers. they actually had me play with the Wii remote and nunchuk. Do you have games in development that use the touch screen as a more important part of the game or is it just a side feature?
Well certainly I think that when it comes to touchscreens- and obviously not just gaming but a lot of other devices, are taking advantage of touch screen technology- and from an intuitive use standpoint, I think it's very integral to video gaming just because of the ease with which you're able to design the games in a way that anybody can play with just the touch of a finger in terms of menu selections and things like that. But, really for Wii U where we look at the benefit of the gamepad screen, is we really look at it as sort of a requirement in terms of how we're handling menus and sub-screens within the games. Just to make the games more convenient and easier to play.