Nintendo In No Rush For New Characters

In an interview with GameInformer, Nintendo’s Shigeru Myamoto has indicated that Nintendo are happy with their reliance on a few key figureheads. The designer is credited with the creation of Donkey Kong, Mario, Zelda, Star Fox and Pikmin – all iconic franchises with instantly recognisable lead characters.

Miyamoto said that although there are certainly elements within Nintendo who are pushing for new characters and so-called new IP, he doesn’t see it as a priority. When asked if he had the desire to add new characters to the stable of well loved Nintendo franchises he said “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.”

He’s right, of course, just because a game features Mario, it isn’t the same game as Super Mario Bros. But a little variation in the lead role might attract some of those gamers who steadfastly refuse to accept that Mario Galaxy and Mario Bros. are two distinctly different games. Miyamoto doesn’t think so, prefering to let the creation of new gameplay mechanics inform their decision as to whether a game requires a new character or not.

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.

It’s a reasonably lengthy interview that touches on Nintendo’s innovation within the hardware side of the industry as well as the ideas behind some of their big upcoming games like Super Mario 3D World and Pikmin 3. Read the full thing on GameInformer.

via Destructoid


  1. So we can expect Mario vs Zombies, Mario Relic Hunter, Mario Black Ops and Mario ‘s Creed.

    • Only as much as we can expect Nathan Drake in a side scrolling beat-em-up.

      Oh, wait.

  2. Is the man afraid someone else will create a popular Nintendo character other than him? Although I do get his point, it’s not just about new characters, it’s about new styles , new worlds and themes. Bringing variety and new audience’s to a system or company.

  3. so when are we going to see the new gameplay then? o_O

    seriously though, when was the last time Nintendo had any gameplay that was “entirely new”?
    not just a 2.5d rehash of one of their old games.

    • Pikmin was probably the last big new thing from Nintendo (if you don’t count Wii Fit or Wii Sports, and people always try to ignore those) but there have been many little incremental changes to series.

      Depends which angle you look at it from though – what was the last big innovation Sony made, introducing a new key franchise? I might argue it was InFamous but isn’t that just a slightly different approach to the 3rd person action adventure that is Sony’s stock-in-trade? They’ve even attempted to imitate the Nintendo model – LBP Karting, anyone? PlayStation All-Stars?

      Microsoft has iterated on Halo and Forza for years now and Gears barely changed at all across all the games in that series so far (and the countless games it inspired, for that matter).

      So I guess my point is this: I agree with you but I also think it’s a point of view that’s relatively easy to apply to any of the platform holders, if you look from a different angle.

      • You could say every platform is just a different approach to Jet Set Willie or Chuckie Egg, every FPS is just a different approach to Doom etc…

        Then you’re in to an even bigger discussion about what actually is innovation in games. Do we sometimes confuse uniqueness with innovation? Are any games really innovative or are they just iterations?

    • new gameplay? the wii u is full of examples, given the control method.

  4. I’m hoping for a Mario game in which you get to endlessly murder him and his cutesypoo Nintendoland chums.

    Hate them all. And Pikachu, What a yellow electric wanker he is.

    • Throw in Jar Jar Binks and some Teletubbies and i’m in.

    • Please make games.

  5. But a new character allows for a new world and lore. It also eliminates that feeling of the same old thing regardless of the game. Mario has been around for over 30 years(i think) and Ninty need to get more new IPs instead of relying on the same set of iconic characters every generation as people prefer new stuff every once in a while. That and Mario is one lazy plumber. I’ve yet to see him do any plumbing!

  6. Weird to have this talked about in such exclusive terms. Why aren’t they researching both avenues? Look to bringing new IP (and characters) to Nintendos consoles as well as nurturing and (shamelessly) rinsing the well established franchises.

    They can very easily do both. :-\

Comments are now closed for this post.