After Nintendo’s exclusive reveals from E3, some were left feeling a little deflated that the company had chosen not to reveal a new IP and instead expanded their list of sequels for their power-house franchises. Nintendo came under criticism when the, somewhat controversial, publication Kotaku previously said they felt Nintendo’s games were “fun but felt safe” this year, so to set the record straight legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime sat down with Kotaku to talk about whether they really were “playing it safe”.
When speaking to Kotaku, Miyamoto stressed the differences between a brand new IP and a new game, as well as explaining that creating a new character does not necessarily mean the game will be fun to play for the user. However, he recognised why some wished they had brought newer ideas to E3:
“So I don’t look at this as us playing it safe, because, whenever we make a game, we’re striving to create new experiences for people. Certainly from outside the company and even internally we have a lot of staff members who are talking about, we should create new [intellectual property, as in characters or series]. To me the question really comes down to: What is new IP and, by definition, what is a new game? And I think there’s a lack of understanding about the difference between the two.
“And so, from my perspective, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, you should make new characters and those would be fun games,’ but creating a new character doesn’t necessarily mean the game is going to be fun. You really need to be focusing on creating a new gameplay experience that’s fun and unique.
“I guess I understand there are some who wish we brought something new or some different ideas to E3, but at the same time, I also feel that people don’t tend to recognize what we have done that is new. Because even something like Nintendo Land that I thought was very fresh and offered unique ways to play games, people don’t recognize as being a new IP or taking a risk simply, because we didn’t build a new story around it or introduce a new character around it. Whereas if we had taken that gameplay and had done it that way, people would have recognized it as a new IP. So I guess to a certain degree that is a little bit of the frustration.”
Reggie also brought his thoughts to the table when it comes down to Nintendo “playing it safe”, and firmly disagreed by saying it was a “superficial analysis”. He explains the level of detail that goes into making a new game, even if it is a sequel, is still viable and is also incredibly rich when the user begins to play the game. Reggie also points out Nintendo has new franchises ready to launch, and completes his interview by saying The Wonderful 101 is “magic in a bottle”:
“I think that’s actually a superficial analysis. And here’s why I say that. When you look at the depth that’s in Super Mario 3D World, the use of the different characters, the fact that different characters have different capabilities, the fact that it’s a multiplayer game in a 3D space that EAD Tokyo does so well… that experience is a phenomenal experience. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, I think it’s superficial to look at that game and say, well, it’s just Donkey Kong Country. No it’s not. New levels, new enemies, new ways to player underwater, I mean there’s a lot more richness in that game. I could literally go through point by point.
“All I can tell you is that, first, we’ve got some new franchises that we’re about to launch. The Wonderful 101, I think, can be magic in a bottle, and we’re continuing to work on other new franchises.”