At last month’s E3, rather than revealing new IP’s, Nintendo focused on its existing franchises. During the expo, the publisher showcased multiple sequels for Wii U, including Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze. And this has lead people to wonder whether Nintendo is working on brand-new IP’s for its latest console.
Game Informer had the chance to ask Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto whether the company feels the need to create all-new franchises as well as new characters. Miyamoto responded by saying he doesn’t think new characters are what make a new game. According to the video game designer, a new game is one that offers new gameplay and new interactions.
Game Informer: The game’s that you’re showing today – Pikmin, Mario Kart, the Zelda games, Mario 3D World – they’re all definitely part of your core franchises that have always carried Nintendo forward. Internally, do you guys feel the need or have the desire to create new franchises and new characters to add to that stable of the Marios, Links, and Donkey Kongs?
Miyamoto: Certainly within Nintendo, we have people internally who are saying, “Well, we have our old characters from our old games, and that’s old IP, and we should think about creating new IP.” But the question that we always ask is: “Does a new character really make it a new game?” And to me, the answer to that is, “No.” What makes it a new game is new gameplay and new interactions. So when we’re creating a game, we’re always looking at it from, “What is the gameplay, and how are making that gameplay new?” And then, “Who is the character that is best suited to that gameplay?”
By taking this approach, for us, we feel like even when we’re creating new installments in existing series, we’re creating new experiences, because the gameplay that’s in there is something that’s entirely new. And in some cases, we may even end up creating new characters. Pikmin was an example of how we ended up creating new IP, because we created this new style of gameplay, and it really needed a new character in order to have that gameplay work, and that was the approach we took. We created the gameplay mechanic first, and then created the characters afterwards.
What we always stress, when we’re working with our development teams is, “Focus first on creating fun and new gameplay, and then we’ll figure out what the character is or what the IP is that’s going to go with it.” In the future, we may see that that will bring us some new characters and new IP, but what’s important to me is that, even with the existing IP that we’re releasing games for, they’re all new gameplay experiences.