News Article

Shigeru Miyamoto Outlines His Work Routine and Highlights Splatoon Development Team

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Also says Virtual Reality gives him "quite a bit of pause"

Shigeru Miyamoto's role at Nintendo has changed a great deal in recent years, with the legendary game designer now one of the most senior managers in the company and responsible for far more than developing a game or two a year. Rumours of retirement a couple of years ago transpired to be a mis-interpretation, as in actual fact he's taken a role of development oversight, albeit with some more direct influence on key projects.

In an E3 interview with Mashable, Miyamoto-san has given a little more insight into his current role and work routine, explaining how he assesses and manages multiple projects.

Thirty years ago or so, when I was a director on a game, I would spend all my time focusing on a single game and just developing that. But since that time, generally I’ve been in a position where I’m looking at multiple different titles at the same time, and giving feedback to the teams there. But overall, my day-to-day hasn’t really changed that much. Probably over the past year, the biggest difference has been that I’m actually interacting directly and working directly with individual development teams. So in fact it’s been, for a while now, I’ve been coming into the office a little bit later, but I really haven’t been leaving until 10 p.m. because I’m there every day working directly with the programmers and the designers and working directly on game designs and game development.

One of those teams is that behind potential 2015 hit Splatoon, which has won plaudits for its demo at the LA show. Anyone that saw the Nintendo Digital Event or subsequent Nintendo Treehouse appearance of the development team will certainly have been aware that they are fresh young faces, and Miyamoto-san explained how they came from a variety of different teams.

The team that’s designing Splatoon is actually taken from the core Animal Crossing team, so some of the younger staff within the Animal Crossing team, we pulled about 10 of them together and we decided to begin working on Splatoon with that small team.

We’ve also then added the director who did the StarFox 64 3D remake for Nintendo 3DS, and then one of the directors who worked on Nintendo Land. They’re all very young team members for us, so they’re very energetic. They’ve been working on music and the design and everything for Splatoon.

It’s allowing me to not be heavily involved in the project — they’re able to work on their own. But the overall design is taking a very Nintendo approach, where it’s very gameplay-focused. We designed the gameplay and the features of the game first, and the characters themselves were born out of those features.

One area in which Nintendo is yet to get involved in this current generation is Virtual Reality, though interest is undeniably growing following the Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift and Sony's unveiling of its Morpheus project. Miyamoto-san, echoing shorter but similar sentiments from Reggie Fils-Aime made elsewhere, has expressed doubt over its value, at this point, to Nintendo; he does, however, see potential in the concept.

Very early on, I certainly had viewed virtual reality as having a lot of potential, but at the same time, I look at the appearance of people who are playing virtual reality and it’s something that gives me quite a bit of pause. We work on constantly creating things for a broad audience of consumers, but I look at virtual reality and I see something that can be particularly interesting for a short-term, attraction style of uses. But I wonder if it’s really the type of thing that consumers can use long-term and get long-term use out of. But I do think there’s appeal in the technology.

This E3 has shown a variety of fresh projects and IPs from Nintendo, moving away from a perception that the company is over-reliant on a small batch of franchises. Let us know your thoughts on what Shigeru Miyamoto has said, while we also recommend the full interview.


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User Comments (46)



Yoshis_VGM said:

I can see why Nintendo would be reluctant to jump into the virtual reality realm, especially after what happened with the Virtual Boy. I foresee them waiting it out for now and maybe jumping into the virtual reality realm once Oculus and/or Morpheus release so that they can see how they impact sales.



ekreig said:

Splatoon sounds very promising to me. Here's hoping that they advertise the heck out of it when it comes out.



dinosauryoshi said:

Miyamoto is a hero. I'm sure he'll oversee many future classics. I have a feeling Splatoon will be among them!



jariw said:

Interesting that the sound EAD isn't in charge of Splatoon's music. Seems like a new approach for them?



smbeats said:

Miyamoto is a genius I'm 32 and I've played everything nintendo .. I have Atari 2600 still and own all nintendo games from that's era... I've own and played every nintendo console and handheld... If it wasn't for this guys and nintendo there wouldn't be a sony or Xbox today. Remember sony entered the game Becuase of snes cd add on and Philips .. Xbox came in the game Becuase Sonys threat to DVD and home console ... Nintendo reinvented the business and it all started with this man.



Technosphile said:

I was hoping that photo of him using the Oculus was to be the catalyst for a whole new direction at Nintendo. VR could change the very basis of gaming as we know it; Nintendo better not end up behind on it like they did with online play.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Miyamoto is still remarkably well aware about the directions of game design.
And even though I'm much more negative about VR stuff, he clearly knows that the current consumer base for it isn't neccessarily one Nintendo can appeal to.
If they really ever decide to join the VR technology department again, I can only hope they make something groundbreaking.



EverythingAmiibo said:

@Technosphile VR is popular with the 'modding and minecraft' pc gamer audience, people that nintendo will never reach with their tight restrictions on hacking etc and actualy fun games that don't 'last' a lifetime.



MrGawain said:

Although the technology is better, I can't help but think VR is too heavy, restrictive, dizzying, and expensive to be a long term successful product for video games. People get their knickers in a twist over a 2nd screen, VR is just for a too limited audience.



unrandomsam said:

@PvtOttobot Not just them. My dad tried the galaxy demo for occulus rift (It was part of the stuff you get with the dev kit) and he was pretty impressed. (And he has only ever played columns on the Game Gear in his life on a console). No previous experience shedloads of disposable income. (He is in one of the target Nintendo demographics.) Its not just modding anyway there is a fair number of AAA's you can just use with it. Sony will just wait until the PC guys have worked out what is best with it and copy. I am sure he has stuff he would have liked to have done with the Virtual Boy but couldn't. Sakurai is a fan of it as well.



Zombie_Barioth said:

I'm sure they're just waiting until VR starts to catch on and the kinks are worked out, if they aren't toying with it already and just being really tight-lipped about it.

The thing is at least for now Occulus is focused on PCs, so that will limit its audience to mainly PC gamers and enthusiasts that can use it for a while. Most people won't have a PC that can handle playing games on it, nothing AAA at least, and they certainly won't want to build one for it. Maybe Steam Machines could be the solution, but the good ones will still cost a pretty penny, on top of buying the occulus itself. Same goes for any VR build for PCs.

I don't think many people would see VR as a family thing either, which is a big part of Nintendo's demographic right there.



hiptanaka said:

I think Miyamoto is right to have doubts about VR. It's expensive technology which is far from guranteed to become anything other than a niche peripheral for a small subset of games. A really cool one, but still.



DiscoGentleman said:

I'm really excited about Splatoon, and one of the things that I noticed was how young the devs were. I think that is a very important point, since most nintendo games are made by older devs. It's an important step for Nintendo to take- to trust young developers for that freshness and new ideas.



Dpullam said:

I always love hearing what Mr. Miyamoto has to say. It's very insightful to hear how he handles making games after such a long and star-studded career. I just hope that there will be a good amount of years to come before he finally decides to retire.



Dreamz said:

I can't say I disagree with Miyamoto on the VR issue. I know that for myself, personally, I'm super excited about Occulus and Sony's version. However, like Miyamoto I'm not sure the widespread appeal is really there to make is a ubiquitous feature in the gaming world.



PlywoodStick said:

The crippling hindrances in VR tech today are found in their supremely unergonomic interfaces. Until the VR technology is downsized to glasses or other wearable lenses, (such as in Deus Ex), or perhaps something related to the 3DS and Vita VR viewing screen software, VR will be too unwieldly to be a truly viable interface option.

Honestly, the best of VR today is no different from the earlier attempts. You still just strap a block to your head and get neck cramps. (Look up the Philips Scuba. Look familiar?) The computing power in the chips has improved, but fundamentally, it functions no better. VR ubiquity will continue to wait for the future...



PlywoodStick said:

Interesting to see such a diverse set of people working on Splatoon. I hope the project continues to go well for them! I can tell just from the gameplay videos that the fundamental design of the game is very different from the typical dudebro / cursefest team shooters. Now I know why...



AshFoxX said:

Miyamoto has a very good head on his shoulders. I really do hope that in the coming years that he has the opportunity to take on an apprentice or two to carry on his way of looking at games for the future.

I lose sleep thinking about Nintendo sans Miyamoto. I think we are in good hands, however, as even after Gunpei Yokoi had left the company, and tragically passed away, the company still adheres to his mindset of 'Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology' so even when Miyamoto does eventually move forward from Nintendo, his message will remain vigilant for eternity.



TheWPCTraveler said:

I personally think that he's just waiting for 3D VR.

Because, let's be honest, VR is mainly an audiovisual experience. You may be staring at an Arab battlefield, but you're still holding a controller, it's 20°C, and you're sitting in your soft lounge chair. Same problems that the Virtual Boy had, only more powerful and slightly more comfortable.



Inkling said:

I can't wait for Splatoon.

If there's potential in VR, that could mean...




Dezzy said:

It is quite funny to hear someone from Nintendo being cautious because a technological gimmick might not be around for the long-term. I'll just go back to playing my motion-controlled games in 3D. Oh wait....



Einherjar said:

I love his stand on VR tech. Nice to see that not everyone is jumping on this bandwagon just because.



Sean_Aaron said:

I have zero interest in an Oculous Rift-style experience. Games can be isolating enough as it is without completely cutting yourself off from your surroundings. I prefer the possibility of interaction with other people in the same room at least. Otherwise I may as well live alone!



Ralek85 said:

Splatoon really blew me away. You could literally see the design philosophy behind it. Form follows function, not the other way round which seemed to have become the industry standart. Also Nintendo stepped up just when arena shooting had become an almost completely static genre. For all it's lofty ideas even Titanfall was really just an evolution or advancement of the genre, the core mechanics have remained unchallenged and unchanged since at least Halo in 2001 for the overwhelming part.
I know it won't change that much most likely because of the Nintendo "look" of the game, few people will take notice, even fewer will take it serious which is a shame. But at least those of us who don't mind or don't get colorsick have something to look forward to in terms of mp action games. Something that is not inviting it's own version of sleepwalking because of it's almost ritualistic familiartiy.
I hope there will be a Splatoon bundle available !



TheWeird said:

I think the technology is still not quite there for successful mass-market of VR. The computing power is pretty much there, but the 'goggles' are still too large and heavy, even though Oculus and Sony have made huge improvements in weight and comfort. When they can get them down to something as lightweight as a normal pair of glasses, then they have a chance, and even then the disorienting effects of VR will be a problem for many.



kyuubikid213 said:

I think there will be appeal to Virtual Reality when it's not just a gyroscope headset that you still use a controller to navigate.

And it has to be affordable, so don't bring up that treadmill thing or the dome.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I don't really want my living room to be equipped with a revolving chair. So it's just not very convenient to move the GamePad more than 90 degrees away from the TV screen imo.
With virtual reality you've also got the problem that the person playing cannot easily look away from the game and no one else can see what he's doing. So i'd say virtual reality is neither ideal for the living room nor a portable console right now.



funky_muzic said:

Years ago Miyamoto said in an interview that he would love to turn the whole living room into a video game! I'm sure he still has VR-like ideas...



akaDv8R said:

@VictahVonDoom Hmmm, you are either Sony or Microsoft inclines then. Nintendo a dying company... are you kidding me? Sony had to close 2 offices and lay off over 3000 staff to bring PS4 to the market. They are now selling off all their Sony Centre`s, selling/sold their laptop division, and selling off a lot of their music labels. The only thing making them any money at moment is PS4, and as sales are slowly dropping, the future does not look good.

Microsoft.. ha ha ha. Their console division is loosing Microsoft over 4 million dollors per week, and the Xbox ONE is not expected to start making any profit for at least 3 years. There is talk all around Microsoft about trying to sell the franchise to another company, and the piece of equipment they said was going to change the face of gaming, Kinect 2.0, well they dropped that like a lead balloon.

Nintendo has enough reserves to be able to afford a loss of around 250 million for the next 20 years or so, or though, their investors would never allow that. As of a couple of months ago, Nintendo now makes a profit from every console sold. At an exit poll taken at E3, over 63% of people said Nintendo gave the best showing. It was more exciting, different, the demos played were great, and they were looking forward to the games revealed. How you can say Nintendo is failing is beyond me, and you probably get your info from IGN. If you own an Xbox ONE I would be very worries that in 12-18 months it may no longer be a Microsoft franchise. If you own a PS4, you seriously need to get onto the devs who are constantly putting back the release dates for your games.



WanderingPB said:

And this is why i disagree with Oli Welsh of Eurogamer Miyamoto is not the problem at Nintendo in fact he's nurturing the future…the companies and the gamers…which we can all read about at Nintendo also hosting a Kids Event at E3. Those pictures those smiles…im proud to share this world of gaming with my son.

Im not against VR but am curious to see where it can grow because we all need change to evolve…this is a great time for gamers



Bolt_Strike said:

I'm actually a bit surprised that Nintendo is skeptical of VR. Considering what they've done in the past with "innovative new control schemes" you'd think they'd be all over that.



JaxonH said:


"People get their knickers in a twist over a 2nd screen, VR is just for a too limited audience"

Wow, that's a really good point.

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