Nintendo's Iwata Talks Mario Galaxy And Miyamoto

A Wii recipe for success or a bland dish of (re)hash?

Posted by Staff
Iawata: Wii!!!
Iawata: Wii!!!
Nintendo in Japan has posted a discussion between Nintendo's president and CEO, Satoru Iwata, Super Mario Galaxy producer, Takao Shimizu, and director, Yoshiaki Koizumi. In the event that you don't speak or read Japanese, we've got the entire interview translated below.

In it you'll read about how Miyamoto ('The Great Man')came up with the idea of a spherical play-area five years ago; how the SMG team had disagreements with the TGM, and how fields are sold, and how cooking metaphors can go totally uncontrolled.

Enjoy...

Satoru Iwata: I think it's fair to say that many people around the world see Wii and a 3D Mario game as something of a mismatch.

Mario Galaxy has been made by Nintendo's Tokyo team, so let's meet the game's Producer and Director…

Takao Shimizu: I'm the Producer of Super Mario Galaxy at Nintendo Tokyo. I've mainly been in charge of creating a good development environment.

Yoshiaki Koizumi: And I'm the Director of Nintendo Tokyo. I've been responsible for conveying Miyamoto's words of instruction to the Tokyo team.

Satoru Iwata: So first, let's talk about how this project came about.

Koizumi: We have to go back to the year 2000, when the GameCube was first announced. We showed the Mario 128 demo, and I was the Director of that. I really wanted to use the Mario 128 system in a real game, but I was thinking that maybe it wouldn't actually be possible to do so.

Satoru Iwata: Why did you think it wouldn't be possible?

Koizumi: The problem was a technical one. At the time of Mario 128, we effectively had Mario walking on a saucer, but to get him moving around a spherical object demanded a really great deal of skill. I was thinking that, unless the staff's motivation was extremely high, we wouldn’t be able to get past this obstacle to development.

Satoru Iwata: Regarding the use of spheres in a Mario game, by the way, I remember hearing from Miyamoto about this concept five years ago, but I couldn't understand how the development of spherical play areas could be a revolutionary technique. But that's precisely how Mario Galaxy has turned out, and at last I fully understand the significance of the concept.

Koizumi: I was thinking the same thing at that time [five years ago]. "It seems interesting," I remember thinking, "but does it have any real value?" I think all the staff felt the same. But Miyamoto kept on saying, "One way or another, I want to make a game in this style."

Shimizu: And then, two and a half years ago, after finishing Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, we had time to think about our next project. We were planning to do a completely original game, but Miyamoto looked sad and told us: "I want you to make a game featuring a Nintendo character." (Laughs)

Koizumi: To begin with, because the Tokyo team had only been established in 2003, we felt at that time that we didn’t have the ability to produce a major title. We told Miyamoto that we wanted to make a compact game, but he said, "Don't you want to do something big?" And then a voice came back from one of our staff members: "Let's make the next Mario game!"

Satoru Iwata: But the development didn't go perfectly smoothly, did it?

Koizumi: No, it didn't. With Mario Galaxy, we feel as though we've played the role of chefs. We showed people our recipe and said, "Look, we want to make this kind of Wii dish,” but our staff weren't really sure what type of meal would result from our efforts in the kitchen.

Satoru Iwata: They just saw the recipe and didn't know if it would be tasty or bland, then?

Koizumi: Miyamoto said, "It looks tasty!" But most staff members were of the opinion that we couldn't make a great meal. Anyway, we decided to at least try our hand at some sampling food, and within three months we had made a prototype. With spherical objects, planets are the most easily understood forms, so we decided on a space setting and introduced gravity to come up with the basics of Mario Galaxy. It's from there that the real development work began.

Satoru Iwata: Even if you show someone what seems like a fantastic recipe, it's best for them to taste it if they want to understand what it's actually like...

Koizumi: That's right. I feel as though I've rented a field from Miyamoto. We've said, "Please, Miyamoto, rent your secret field to us; we're sure we can grow some good fruit and vegetables there." And the staff together has been planting seeds in that field. But the first time we cooked something with ingredients from that field, we wanted Miyamoto to have a taste. He is, after all, the owner of the field. Countless times we sent the food we'd prepared to Kyoto and Miyamoto replied, "This is a bit too spicy" or "This has become really tasty.” And when we were finished with development, we invited Miyamoto to our Tokyo 'restaurant' and he ate until he was stuffed.

Shimizu: We were cooking and making him eat all the time. He was probably mortified! (Laughs)

Koizumi: Once the owner [Miyamoto] was satisfied, we concentrated on giving tasters to the public. That took a lot of time, but we were able to alter the taste while listening to the public's comments.

Satoru Iwata: At any rate, you were pretty extravagant in your use of Miyamoto. (Laughs)

Koizumi: It was really helpful as cooks to have Miyamoto taste our food. (Laughs)

Satoru Iwata: With Mario Galaxy, I just said to Miyamoto: "Please do what only you can do." It's been a long time since the last 3D Mario action game, and I just wanted something that would come to represent Wii.

Shimizu: That's why, even on holidays we received emails from Miyamoto saying, "Do this like this” – and sometimes very early in the morning! (Laughs) We were working apart from Miyamoto, but we didn't really feel any sense of distance. We had a setup where what we were doing in Tokyo could be seen in Kyoto, anyway. Towards the end of development, Miyamoto did visit Tokyo a lot, though, and for that we're really grateful.

Satoru Iwata: But you did have differences of opinion with Miyamoto?

Koizumi: Of course there were such differences. But he explained why he had certain ideas, and he listened to our ideas and at times gave in to us. And on the occasions when he wouldn't bend, he just said: "Listen to the experience of the old man!" (Laughs)

Satoru Iwata: He does have that method of persuasion at his disposal. But he hasn't used that tactic on me. (Laughs)

(SPOnG translation by Jonti Davies)

See the interview in Japanese (!) over here.
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Comments

SuperSaiyan4 4 Oct 2007 13:26
1/20
Oh look its yet ANOTHER Mario what a load of crap.
Br0wn Tr0ut 4 Oct 2007 14:24
2/20
I registered on here yesterday, but after my short time spent perusing various threads I have already come to a single conclusion....

you are a bell-end
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Hark 4 Oct 2007 14:26
3/20
Lol this interview is great! So mario a game? or special dish? They really have got a way with words..

hark
Daemon 4 Oct 2007 16:03
4/20
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
Oh look its yet ANOTHER Mario what a load of crap.


I'm thinking that when you were younger, you were molested by an Italian plumber with a mushroom fixation. Am I right?
mrAnthony 4 Oct 2007 17:54
5/20
ha!

and also the bell end comment: ha!

i actually laughed. i never have a huge dislike for anyone really, esp when they havent done anythign to me, but this guy, gawd. hes some piece of work.
Stwey Phalntombungesrtergunshuntonflummingsburgenster 4 Oct 2007 18:48
6/20
Another "Mario"? You do realize this is only the 3rd 3d Mario? =|
LUPOS 4 Oct 2007 19:10
7/20
Stwey Phalntombungesrtergunshuntonflummingsburgenster wrote:
Another "Mario"? You do realize this is only the 3rd 3d Mario? =|


Second! I like the think of Mario sunshine as more of a spin off... like Mario strikers. In that context its brilliant. Plus it comes with those hidden real Mario levels mixed in and they where fab. Like the lost levels of Mario 64 or something.

Also galaxy looks brilliant and I want it like a fat kid wants cake.
______________
config 4 Oct 2007 19:35
8/20
Br0wn Tr0ut wrote:
I registered on here yesterday,

welcome!

but after my short time spent perusing various threads I have already come to a single conclusion....
you are a bell-end

lol. it's easy to see how one could draw that conclusion.
deleted 4 Oct 2007 22:57
9/20
Thats-a One Spicy meat-a-ball!!
Tim Smith 4 Oct 2007 23:08
10/20
Br0wn Tr0ut wrote:
I registered on here yesterday, but after my short time spent perusing various threads I have already come to a single conclusion....

you are a bell-end


Personally I want a lovely world where everybody always agrees and everybody is always right and... oh, s**t.

I'll exit quietly.

Ta ta

Tim

PS: I do hope everybody has their various irony, sarcasm, anger, happiness filters turned to 5.34.
deleted 4 Oct 2007 23:23
11/20
Tim Smith wrote:


PS: I do hope everybody has their various irony, sarcasm, anger, happiness filters turned to 5.34.


5.32 sorry i missed that one
Hypnotoad 5 Oct 2007 00:26
12/20
Bah - Miyamoto couldn't even find the time to be hands on with this project himself? Too busy counting his mountains of cash & pissing time into wii fit I guess... *sigh*
Tim Smith 5 Oct 2007 00:52
13/20
haritori wrote:
5.32 sorry i missed that one


Explain.

Ta

Tim
Tim Smith 5 Oct 2007 00:56
14/20
Hypnotoad wrote:
Bah - Miyamoto couldn't even find the time to be hands on with this project himself? Too busy counting his mountains of cash & pissing time into wii fit I guess... *sigh*


Well, at least he gave us all his youth and imagination.

Fair play to him.

Pip-pip

Tim
Captain Chaos! 5 Oct 2007 12:40
15/20
great recent in-depth interview with Iwata here -

http://www.1101.com/iwata/index.html

no wonder Nintendo have done so well since Iwata took the top job at ninty
Tim Smith 5 Oct 2007 15:02
16/20
Captain Chaos! wrote:
great recent in-depth interview with Iwata here -

http://www.1101.com/iwata/index.html

no wonder Nintendo have done so well since Iwata took the top job at ninty


Excellent tip-off. Cheers for bringing that one here.

Best regards

Tim
Captain Chaos! 5 Oct 2007 15:54
17/20
More tip-offs next week
ASD 5 Oct 2007 15:58
18/20
Shut it idiot!
Tim Smith 5 Oct 2007 15:59
19/20
Captain Chaos! wrote:
More tip-offs next week


Sounds horribly like one of those reality-'based' TV shows set in a male surgical ward.

I shall leave quietly now

Tim
Tim Smith 5 Oct 2007 16:06
20/20
ASD wrote:
Shut it idiot!


Who let Ray Winstone in? Muppet.
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