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GDC - Miyamoto keynote

by rawmeatcowboy
08 March 2007
GN 1.0 / 2.0

We are sitting here waiting for the keynote to begin. Go easy on refreshing, the site has a cache so refreshing a lot won’t help. Wait a few minutes, and then give it another look. We don’t want the site to go down! No matter how much hardware we get, you guys always manage to bring GoNintendo down to its knees. I really appreciate all the traffic, I just wish it didn’t happen! Hang in there everyone, you have about 15 minutes before anything starts.

I will try to keep posts to just new info. The keynote has finally started.

Mr. Miyamoto is taking us through the start of his career, all the way up to the Nintendo 64. He is talking about the changes in games from the N64 to the top games of 2004. (Halo, GTA, Madden)

Miyamoto questioned if his style of games would still interest the gamers of today. He is moving into Nintendo’s vision of gaming for the future. Miyamoto’s ideas go hand in hand with Nintendo’s vision. The first part of this three part vision is expanded audience. Nintendo is trying to reach out to absolutely everyone. Mr. Miyamoto judges how well a game can sell based on his wife’s interest in the title.

Miyamoto has moved onto the second key element to Nintendo moving forward, which is dedication. Nintendo can focus completely on entertainment with the Wii. With such a dedication, a ton of unique ideas can come into play. All of Nintendo’s teams work together and form a balance in game design. Cooperation is key, (even in the bathroom) says Miyamoto. Miyamoto has been involved with the design of every single controller Nintendo has released over the years.

We are going through the different phases of the Wiimote. Prototypes were shown, most of which we have posted on the site in the past. Finally the ideas started to form into what we know as the Wii today. Miyamoto feels it was Nintendo’s resposibility to do something new in the console industry. It was important to move forward, while keeping core gamers happy. Miyamoto says the Wiimote does what he has hoped controllers would do for many years now. New game genres, adapting classics, and a blend of both.

Mr. Miyamoto talks about the museum that uses DS as a virtual tour guide. He goes into the details of how it works, and what the final outcome was. We have reported on this a number of times. This was Nintendo’s way of expanding entertainment, and also expanding uses for the DS. Now Mr. Miyamoto has moved onto the third key point for Nintendo, which is risk. There is obviously a lot of risk going into games like Brain Age and Nintendogs. Mr. Miyamoto believes the Wii is the biggest risk Nintendo has ever taken. GameCube wasn’t enough to expand to a much wider audience. Mr. Miyamoto made a lot of design choice elements on the Cube to try an entice new gamers (big A button on the controller). Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned. Nintendo had to decided whether to continue on the same path of console developement, or try something radically new like the Wii. Even with this decision made, Nintendo was very concerned. Just the nature of a one handed controller was a big hurdle to get over. Nintendo didn’t know if people were ready to take a step like this. The goal was to think about what would be gained from the new controller, not lost. As Miyamoto would sing the praises of the Wiimote to other companies, he himself was becoming a bigger believer, and getting new ideas. Last Spring was when Nintendo finally knew that they had something with the Wii. The reaction of the gamers let Nintendo know that the risk was worth taking. Coorporate vision is important, but developer vision is just as important.

Miyamoto’s primary focus during development is the core element of fun from a game. Graphics aren’t as big a deal. Miyamoto imagines the face of a gamer while they are playing a game as a whole. How they react, what expressions you can see them making from the game experience. Mr. Miyamoto wants the person playing the game to have fun, as well as the people watching. A positive reaction all around, a sense of satisfaction. It is important to have the final result of playing a game to be an extremely positive one. Miyamoto understands that violence and fear are portions of games as well. It is all about the goal of the developer. In Miyamoto’s case, he strives for a positive response.

Miyamoto says that Zelda was a huge inspiration in making Animal Crossing. The idea of communication between the gamer, console, and people in real life was a huge element. Animal Crossing and Zelda are both enjoyed by hardcore gamers, which helped Miyamoto realize that it isn’t always graphics that push a generation forward. These development ideas lead into priorities in development teams. To get enough people together, time, and ideas to put together a project…but figuring out what needs to come first. Miyamoto doesn’t want the gamers to be disappointed in his project, and he takes these complaints to heart. Priority was a huge part of developing Wii Sports baseball. The key was to make the game feel realistic, even without a realistic approach in graphics. It was a goal to reach a new kind of realism through gameplay, instead of through grahpics. Mario characters were once used instead of Mii characters during development, but the Mii characters seemed to be liked more by the development team. Pitching and catching were the main focuse, and helped prioritize the rest of the project. The ease of play is a key element to the game’s success, as well as the ability to pull gamers in.

Miyamoto’s final aspect of his vision is tenacity. He speaks of the facial creation feature on the Famicom disk add-on. You could create a face and then animate it. Miyamoto loved the idea, but many people didn’t enjoy it…so it was left behind. Then the N64 disk system came into play, where the original Famicom idea came back into play. The entire idea was to create your on character with your face, and then outfit yourself with a number of clothing ideas. Once again, this idea did not catch on. Miyamoto moved onto the E-Reader for the GBA, which Miyamoto thought was a fantastic idea. There is also talk of stage debut, which was shown at E3 a few years ago. Stage Debut was a huge hit in Miyamoto’s mind, but the rest of Nintendo said that a full game simply couldn’t be made out of the idea. Then came along the Wii, where Miyamoto wanted to bring the idea back in again. The ideas of Miis were first created on the DS, and Miyamoto was informed of the team that was working on this DS version. Back then they weren’t Miis, but the ideas of a Mii were in play. It took 20 years to turn Miyamoto’s face creation idea into something to use for a full fledged game, or at least part of one.

Miyamoto is working on a new Mii channel that will allow people to compare Miis and hold popularity contests. This will be a worldwide channel.

Miyamoto has moved onto Mario 128. He says he is asked about it all the time. The idea first started on the Cube with a demo shown at E3. It was a demo used to show off the power of the Cube, and those ideas were actually put into Pikmin. Pikmin features one idea from Mario 128…the idea of showing many characters on screen. Super Mario Galaxy features more ideas from Mario 128. The power of the Wii allows for this experience. New footage is being shown. (We have just recorded it as well) Super Mario Galaxy is confirmed for this year once again, no official release date.

Shows over, I need an outlet, and we will get that video to you as soon as possible. Off to the press room!