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.