Miyamoto E3 2009 Roundtable Discussion

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Gamespot sat down with Miyamoto and had a roundtable discussion about several items involving Nintendo.

Though Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America executives Reggie Fils-Aime and Cammie Dunaway were on hand, one person was noticeably absent. Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Wii and Nintendo’s most iconic franchises, was nowhere to be seen at the event, after being on stage for the past several years. The oft-honored designer had been in the US as recently as last fall, when he held a series of press roundtables to promote the slow-starting Wii Music.

As it turns out, Miyamoto is at E3 2009. More specifically, he hosted a similar press roundtable behind closed doors in a LACC theater, where a small group of reporters came to hear him discuss his thoughts on the state of gaming and Nintendo’s future.

Here are their live blog notes from the discussion. Remember these are posted in reverse, so start at the bottom.


* Posted 7:31 PST
What he really said was that hardware has limited all developers since the 8-bit days, and it’s a constant struggle for everyone.

* Posted 7:30 PST
Apparently Miyamoto’s comments were not entirely translated.

* Posted 7:30 PST
They are clarifying the hardware limitation statement.

* Posted 7:30 PST
Now the translator is being talked to by a Treehouse guy.

* Posted 7:30 PST
“Will Wright’s Sim City had a really big impact on me. But outside of video games, it’s comic books and naguko, a kind of comedic storytelling in Japan.”

* Posted 7:29 PST
Last question. Apparently Valve’s Gabe Newell said Mario 64 was the most inspirational game he had every played. What game most inspired Miyamoto that he did not make himself?

* Posted 7:28 PST
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of Nintendo product which doesn’t fit with an on-stage presentation or a show floor, where they have to wait for hours to play it for a only a few minutes.”

* Posted 7:27 PST
“I think in many cases with software, we get a lot of questions, but once they play it, they understand it.”

* Posted 7:26 PST
“Last year, I didn’t uphold my instrument playing on stage, so that’s why I didnt show up this year,” he jokes. “When I play music, I get lost.”

* Posted 7:25 PST
Miyamoto’s face grows impassive.

* Posted 7:25 PST
Next question is a two-parter. How does Miyamoto feel about last year’s press conference, and was this year’s conference a response to the backlash from that conference?

* Posted 7:24 PST
“You could say that about every single project we do. But, as a developer, you work with the tools you’re given and try and do your work well.”

* Posted 7:24 PST
Next question is about the limits of Wii hardware–specifically, how often does its limitations hinder game development?

* Posted 7:23 PST
“With New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there’s so much going on the screen that we use up all our processing power, so we simply have nothing left.”

* Posted 7:22 PST
“I’d like to use Wii Speak more,” says Miyamoto. “And every game we wonder if we could use it. But we have so many ideas, that usually gets left on the cutting board.”

* Posted 7:20 PST
Will any new games coming out support it?

* Posted 7:20 PST
Next question is about Wii Speak and its lack of support.

* Posted 7:20 PST
“Within this game, the stamps are more an impetus to play in different ways.”

* Posted 7:20 PST
“Ideally, you’d buy a game that would allow someone to buy a game and play all its content from the start, but you have to follow some difficultly systems.”

* Posted 7:18 PST
“I’m not a big fan of using carrots to motivate people to play. I want people to play because they enjoy playing and they want to play more.”

* Posted 7:18 PST
He responds carefully, “Not in the overall sense, but it was something that really fit with this particular game, Wii Sports Resort.”

* Posted 7:18 PST
Next question is whether Wii Sports Resort will indeed be the start of an achievement system.

* Posted 7:17 PST
“That said, for those people who do require those impossible challenges, we’re working on some ideas, but there will be some areas that are difficult for everyone.”

* Posted 7:16 PST
“We really want these games to be enjoyed by a lot of people, and we are always looking at new ways to keep everyone happy.”

* Posted 7:15 PST
Miyamoto chuckles.

* Posted 7:15 PST
Next question from a Nintendo-centric site, asking if the ultra-difficult version of Super Mario Bros. 2 will ever be released stateside.

* Posted 7:15 PST
“We have quite a few young people at Nintendo who are interested in the same sort of things.”

* Posted 7:14 PST
Where even two guys could get together and create a new Pokemon egg–light laughter.

* Posted 7:14 PST
He then mentions a tech demo he took part in where you can control a robot with your thoughts–he jokes that they thought about doing something similar with Pokemon.

* Posted 7:14 PST
He then makes a crack about a love-tester device which can check couples’ compatibility.

* Posted 7:12 PST
He asks the questioner, “When you are asleep, do you know if you are really relaxed?”

* Posted 7:12 PST
“There are activities like Yoga that help you do that.”

* Posted 7:12 PST
“But can you control your pulse?”

* Posted 7:12 PST
“I think it’s an idea I’ve been very interested in for quite some time. Controllers have always been about interfaces, and have gone from controllers with buttons to something you can stand on and move with your body.”

* Posted 7:12 PST
Next question asks about what kind of game would use the Wii Vitality Sensor, which measures a player’s pulse.

* Posted 7:12 PST
“And I think we’ve created something very natural with Wii MotionPlus at a good price point.”

* Posted 7:09 PST
“But I don’t know what the most perfect approach is to this kind of gameplay, but anything that gets players into full motion gameplay just expands the market for us.”

* Posted 7:09 PST
“Well, the things we’ve seen here are things we’ve seen before.”

* Posted 7:08 PST
“Well, for us, our development strategy is to get the hardware finished and then makes the games, and then make announcements.” BURN!

* Posted 7:06 PST
The first questioner asks for Miyamoto’s reactions to Mictrosoft’s and Sony’s motion controllers.

* Posted 7:06 PST
Miyamoto said they are trying to juggle all the game’s elements. He prefers action games, so he’s into swordplay, but other team members want to focus on RPG elements.

* Posted 7:04 PST
The team is aiming to bring it out next year, and is building in so much Wii MotionPlus capability that it might require it to play.

* Posted 7:04 PST
Up comes concept art for the new Zelda game, which shows Link in his Twilight Princess incarnation.

* Posted 7:04 PST
“To be honest, I really wanted to show off a new Zelda at this E3. However, rather than bring you something, we wanted to focus on development.”

* Posted 7:03 PST
We’re doing repeated experiments with different kinds of games and different kinds of gameplay.”

* Posted 7:01 PST
“How you interpret that dungeon, how you interpret that dungeon, etc.”

* Posted 7:01 PST
“And to create memories of the characters you meet–your individual memories of what you experienced in the game.”

* Posted 7:01 PST
His idea of what a new Zelda game _would_ be is to have players travel to different areas, which would link visits in the game.

* Posted 7:00 PST
“Obviously, graphics have improved, but as a team, we’ve been sitting down to look at the gameplay and what we can do with it to move Zelda forward.”

* Posted 6:59 PST
In terms of the Zelda franchise, in general, they’ve been having discussions back in Kyoto about where to go next.

* Posted 6:59 PST
The game will also have four-person multiplayer, but the version on the show floor does not have that capability.

* Posted 6:59 PST
Now the phantom is clearing the way again.

* Posted 6:59 PST
Now Link gets his own hands dirty, slashing a few opponents who die bloodlessly.

* Posted 6:58 PST
He sends his phantom buddy ahead to clear the way–so far, so good.

* Posted 6:57 PST
Now we’re back underground, where Link finds a magical object with green gems in a chest.

* Posted 6:57 PST
Miyamoto makes “choo-choo” noises to chuckles.

* Posted 6:57 PST
When the game goes above ground, it shifts to the titular railroad action, since young men like trains so much.

* Posted 6:56 PST
It will have tons of traditional Zelda puzzles, but will have new elements as well. In the demo, Link uses a phantom to do his bidding, sending it to disarm a trap.

* Posted 6:55 PST
In it, Link wanders around in a Gauntlet-style dungeon with piles of gold and hazards such as flames.

* Posted 6:55 PST
Now it’s time for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, which is demoed on the DS dev kit on the dais.

* Posted 6:55 PST
For instance, the archery ranges are all over the island, and when a player engages in skydiving and other air sports, they can be spotted from above.

* Posted 6:53 PST
“And who knows, if all goes well we may buy our own island in the South Pacific…but I don’t know if Nintendo stockholders would approve of the idea.”

* Posted 6:53 PST
He is enamored of the idea that the locale can be central to a series of events.

* Posted 6:52 PST
He jokes they could have a murder mystery game set on the island.

* Posted 6:52 PST
He wants Woo-Hoo island to be the geographical equivalent of Mario, a licensed IP which can pop up in–or even be the subject of–other games.

* Posted 6:51 PST
He said he wanted to treat the location like a character.

* Posted 6:50 PST
The game is set on Woo-Hoo island, and previously appeared in Wii Fit.

* Posted 6:50 PST
There is an in-game achievement system where “stamps” are handed out for feats like returning 100 serves in table tennis. There are 100 stamps in all–is this the beginning of Nintendo’s achievement system?

* Posted 6:49 PST
So is cycling and air sports.

* Posted 6:49 PST
Canoeing is another activity in the game.

* Posted 6:49 PST
It will also have a mode called “return challenge,” where players just have balls pelted at them nonstop.

* Posted 6:49 PST
The gameplay looks a lot faster paced and more accurate than Wii Sports tennis. It can also let players put spin on balls.

* Posted 6:47 PST
Apparently table tennis is the top game at the Nintendo of America offices, sparking fierce competition.

* Posted 6:47 PST
He beckons the Treehouse crew back on stage to play table tennis for him. His lordship must be entertained!

* Posted 6:47 PST
He said that while most games require tutorials or cutscenes, Wii Sports Resort just lets players focus on playing it and enjoying it.

* Posted 6:45 PST
The game will offer 18 hole courses, apparently, which go by pretty quickly.

* Posted 6:45 PST
He puts too strong, though, missing the hole by an inch.

* Posted 6:45 PST
He nails it again, landing on the green only a few feet from the hole.

* Posted 6:44 PST
He says he will hook or slice for sure, but then nails it right onto the fairway in a perfectly straight line. Ringer alert!

* Posted 6:44 PST
He said it also would reflect if you held the club straight–Wii Sports Resorts’ power meter will bend according to how the Wii remote is facing, telling the player if they are going to hook or slice.

* Posted 6:43 PST
He said that the problem with golf games in the past is that they could not tell how strong you swung the club.

* Posted 6:42 PST
He prefaces the demo by warning the audience he is not a professional golfer.

* Posted 6:42 PST
Miyamoto is now wielding the Wii MotionPlus-enabled Remote himself. He is wearing a T-shirt with a Mii face of himself on the front.

* Posted 6:42 PST
Oh, and more golf!

* Posted 6:41 PST
Other sports include wake boarding, frisbee, archery, table tennis, bowling, and power cruising.

* Posted 6:40 PST
Cut to “Gauntlet,” part of the nerf-Kendo sword play mode. In this sub-mode, all the Miis stored on the Wii will come after the player never-ending waves. Players will fight them off for 10 stages with only three lives, which Miyamoto says is “very challenging.”

* Posted 6:38 PST
As his underling navigates the menus, Miyamoto calls out how responsive the pointer is.

* Posted 6:37 PST
That allowed them to do the kinds of sports they could not with the regular Wii Remote, like basketball.

* Posted 6:36 PST
While they were trying to figure out what kind of sports to focus on, Wii Motion Plus came along.

* Posted 6:36 PST
He says once Wii Sports was done, they were wondering what kind of sports to take on next. At one point, they even considered a Wii Motor Sports.

* Posted 6:35 PST
He hopes people who’ve stuck the Wii Fit in the closet will dust off their Balance Boards and play it.

* Posted 6:35 PST
He’s now on a tangent about Wii Fit Plus, saying the game will let you weigh your dog as well, and input calorie counts.

* Posted 6:34 PST
However, he feels both have enough content to differentiate themselves from their predecessors.

* Posted 6:34 PST
“I know many people look at this and Wii Fit Plus and say, ‘Oh hey more sequels!’” says Miyamoto.

* Posted 6:33 PST
Now it’s Wii Sports Resort time, and a Miyamoto Mii appears on the screen at the front of the stage, controlled by a minion.

* Posted 6:33 PST
The game won’t be out until next year, since they’re focusing on New Super Mario Bros. Wii coming out this year.

* Posted 6:32 PST
The game is just as expansive as Super Mario Galaxy, content-wise.

* Posted 6:31 PST
As a result, about 90 percent of the game is all-new content.

* Posted 6:31 PST
However, once the project started, the team really got back into the game, and ended up making a slew of new content.

* Posted 6:31 PST
He felt that was kind of wasteful, so he said they said, “What the hell, we’ll just make Super Mario Galaxy 1.5.”

* Posted 6:31 PST
When designing the first Super Mario Galaxy, they made a ton of levels which did not make it into the final game.

* Posted 6:29 PST
Or it would be, but Miyamoto has a few thoughts first.

* Posted 6:29 PST
That’s the same goal as Wii Sports Resort, which will be shown in a bit. First, though, he runs the Super Mario Galaxy 2 trailer again.

* Posted 6:28 PST
One of the big features of New Super Mario Bros. Wii is to have a game which lets beginners and veteran gamers play together.

* Posted 6:28 PST
Mario clears it and comes out of a green pipe to an all-downhill section, where he slides on his belly and hops over chasms collecting coins.

* Posted 6:27 PST
Now Mario is being menaced by an angry penguin, and Miyamoto admits he’s been cheating a little bit to pass the level.

* Posted 6:26 PST
Miyamoto is giving an untranslated running commentary, which has the Japanese correspondents in stitches.

* Posted 6:26 PST
Mario then slides through an icy section on his belly, collecting many gold coins.

* Posted 6:25 PST
Mario dies almost immediately, and Miyamoto jokes that’s the reason there’s no photography allowed–because he’s been playing badly.

* Posted 6:25 PST
The scene cuts to an arctic level, where Mario dons a penguin suit to keep warm.

* Posted 6:24 PST
The game will have 80 courses and is playable on the show floor.

* Posted 6:24 PST
Stages can be revisited, and players can compete to see who gets the highest scores.

* Posted 6:23 PST
When a player dies, he will respawn at the beginning of the next level if he has run out of lives.

* Posted 6:23 PST
On screen, Yoshi disarms one of the Hammer Brothers and spits the hammer back out, knocking him back.

* Posted 6:22 PST
Up to four people can play simultaneously.

* Posted 6:22 PST
The processing power of the Wii makes this possible.

* Posted 6:22 PST
The camera will zoom in to get a tighter view then they go into smaller areas, to get a closer view.

* Posted 6:21 PST
“While the gameplay will seem familiar, there will be a lot of new tricks to incorporate into the title.”

* Posted 6:21 PST
It won’t just be co-op though–in some sections players will cooperate, in others they will compete against one another.

* Posted 6:19 PST
“Usually with every Mario game, we start with multiplayer, only to set it aside and go back to single-player.”

* Posted 6:19 PST
“I’ve been working on Mario titles the past 20 years,” he said. “And there’s been something I’ve been wanting to do the whole time…re-create the single-player gameplay with multiplayer.”

* Posted 6:18 PST
Members of the Treehouse crew take the stage to play New Super Mario Bros. Wii as Miyamoto talks.

* Posted 6:17 PST
Now the subject turns to today’s two Mario games–New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2. The former game is the first title up.

* Posted 6:17 PST
They’ve been doing a lot of testing with the service in Japan, and he will return to it when he goes to Japan.

* Posted 6:16 PST
He’s been thinking of ways to use the DS as a city guide of sorts, where you could download information about locales and even products in stores.

* Posted 6:15 PST
A DS dev kit rests a few feet away on a dais.

* Posted 6:15 PST
He said one project in particular has been taking up much of his time recently. It’s a DS project.

* Posted 6:14 PST
He jokes that Nintendo’s staff is much smaller than usual due to the swine flu.

* Posted 6:14 PST
He said he’s been very busy, and has been spending all his free time here communicating with developers.

* Posted 6:13 PST
He says he’s very relaxed, since he didn’t have to go on stage today. “It’s been the first time in a long time that I was able to watch from the audience.”

* Posted 6:13 PST
After a brief introduction, Miyamoto saunters out to take a seat next to his translator on an unassuming stage.

About the author:

Steve has been a Nintendo fan since the NES. He currently owns a NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, GameBoy, DS, DSi, 3DS, and 3DS XL. His favorite types of games are action platformers and multiplayer “party” games. Overall, he loves a game that is pure fun and pulls him in for hours, and if that can be shared with friends, it is even better.

Steve has been blogging for NintendoFuse since April 2008. He started off as an avid reader, and eventually was asked to jump on the team. Currently, he enjoys writing game reviews and sharing breaking news with the fans and readers. You will also find him on the forums as an admin.

Steve – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.