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Yet, another Miyamoto Interview

Boy they do get around, don`t they? Yet another interview from Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata. This one`s from Nintendo Power.

This interview was conducted in Las Vegas at the first annual D.I.C.E. Summit, an interactive design summit hosted by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. The previous evening, Mr. Miyamoto received an Interactive Academy Award for Pikmin, which won in the Innovation in Console Gaming category.

Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto attended the D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit to participate in a round table discussion which focused on creating games with the power to appeal to a global audience. After the discussion, Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto kindly took the time to answer the following questions from Nintendo Power Magazine.

Nintendo Power (NP): Mr. Iwata, will we see any changes to Nintendo's global strategy after the global launch of Nintendo GameCube is complete?

Mr. Iwata (I): The basic idea won't change. Really, Nintendo's idea is that our software is made for everyone in the world. We're going to take the software that we've developed in Japan and provide it to the world. Throughout the launch, our message has been that we're different than other companies. We're different because we focus on software and try to include everyone as potential customers. So that basic message remains the same.

NP: You both made some very interesting points in your discussion about developing games for a global market. What factors do you consider when deciding which games to localize for the North American market? It may help us to understand better if you use a specific game as an example, such as Dobutsu Bancho [roughly translated as "Animal Leader" in English, Dobutsu Bancho is a creative game which challenges players to help a cube-shaped creature evolve. This game also features a very unique visual style. It currently does not have a US release date].

Mr. Miyamoto (M): Well obviously, the opinion of Nintendo of America is one of the most important things which determines whether or not we localize a game. We gather input about a game, then make a decision. With a game like Animal Leader, it's hard to understand the content of the game while it's still in Japanese. So, we're at a stage where we have to decide how much English we want to have in the game before we start the process of gathering feedback from users in the United States.

The basic idea is that once you've obtained a certain level of fun in the gameplay, you don't have to spend too much time rearranging the design or redrawing the characters. The core reason that people will want the game is its level of fun. Because the graphics in this game are created by an artist who has a very unique style, it has a certain distinctness. It's the role of designers and artists to bring this unique quality to games. So in the case of Animal Leader, it may be that its strange graphics serve as a barrier to some players. Or, it could actually become very popular because it is so distinct and looks so different than other things.

NP: Do you always trust the opinion of adults in the game industry, or do you ever try to get the opinions of actual American game players?

M: Well, I listen to all opinions that I'm able to listen to. Nintendo of America has done focus tests on games, and actually we also do tests with children in Japan to try to gather opinions. But really, what we look at is whether or not they really understand what's going on in the game. With kids, the only thing that matters is whether or not they think it's fun.

I: When I was working on Pokémon Snap, Smash Bros. and the Kirby games, we would do focus tests with young kids in Japan. But really, we think that there is greater value in watching them, and seeing where they get stuck and have problems. Then we can fix the game based on that information. Just because someone gives an opinion about what they think will make the game more fun, it doesn't necessarily mean that the suggestion will actually make the game more fun. We find that just observing people playing the game is a lot more helpful.

NP: Now we'd like to ask a couple questions about the Triforce [The Triforce is a 3D computer graphics board for next-generation arcade game systems which applies the architecture of the Nintendo GameCube. Namco and Sega have teamed up with Nintendo and plan to use this board to power a new wave of arcade games]. What is it about the Nintendo GameCube hardware that made it so appealing to Namco and Sega, and what advantages do you think this project will bring to Nintendo?

I: Really, the thing about Nintendo GameCube that attracted them was its power, its developer-friendly architecture and its affordable price. Essentially, we had gone to them to talk about developing games for the Nintendo GameCube as third-party developers, and we introduced them to the system at that time. They looked at it as said "Wow. This is really great. We could really use a board and an architecture like this for making arcade games." And so at that point they contacted us about actually using the Nintendo GameCube architecture for this Triforce board.

So, when they came to us with the idea of using this architecture as the basis for an arcade machine, we agreed to cooperated with them on a technological level to help achieve it. Since these games will be created specifically for our hardware, it will be very easy to port successful arcade games directly to Nintendo GameCube. What we'll see is a broader library for the Nintendo GameCube. Also, since these are companies which Nintendo hasn't worked with much in the past, we'll be cooperating together in this and thereby creating content together which won't be overlapping. So we'll see a lot of variety, and it's going to be a big plus for Nintendo.

source GameCube Europe

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