Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Shigeru Miyamoto clarified Nintendo's position on new IPs versus re-using existing IPs, explaining that Nintendo prefers to create game mechanics first and decides upon the context later rather than purposely setting out to build new series.
There are always requests to see Nintendo tackle new topics and release games with fresh worlds and characters, with the company accused of leaning too heavily on popular franchises such as Mario's stable of games in recent times. However, Miyamoto believes that the company does not need to create new IPs unless there's good reason behind them, arguing that many new intellectual properties still rehash ideas. The important thing to Miyamoto is that the gameplay is unique, not the series.
[...] Certainly internally at Nintendo we have people on the teams who say, “Wouldn't this be better if we created a new IP around it?” But to me, the question of new IP really isn't whether or not [you have a new character]... I look at it from [the perspective of] what is the gameplay experience in the game you're playing? For a lot of people, they would say if you take an old game and wrap a new character around it, that's a new IP, but that game is still old, and the experience is still old. So what we're doing is we're always looking at what type of new gameplay experience can we create, and that's the same for whether we're playing with one of our existing IPs or we're doing something new.
The Mario creator highlights Pikmin as a prime example of when a new series is needed – a gameplay idea that did not fit in with any of the existing franchises at Nintendo's disposal. While designing the game and planning mechanics, the team decided that new characters were needed to take advantage of the idea, and thus the Pikmin were born.
So from my perspective, it's not a question of just how can we create a new character and wrap it around an old game and put that out and call it a new IP. It's always about starting with a new gameplay idea and a new experience that's unique from an interactive standpoint and then finding a character that's best suited with that. In some cases, it may be an existing character, and in some cases it may lead us to a new IP at some point in the future.
What are your thoughts on Miyamoto's approach to new IPs?