Miyamoto: New characters aren’t needed for new franchises


Legendary game creator Shigeru Miyamoto has shared his belief that the creation of new franchises doesn’t necessarily require the introduction of new characters, instead placing importance on crafting new experiences for players.

Whilst many criticise Nintendo for relying on recognisable characters such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong, Miyamoto defended the company’s development by pointing out that they new franchises are present through nintendogs, Brain Age and Wii Fit, which each saw success at retail.

“At E3 this year, some said that Nintendo is always showing the same series of games, but this is because we mainly featured the characters from our franchises in our exhibition booth,” Miyamoto explained to shareholders.

He continues, “There were six featured areas of our franchises in our booth, including Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong, and the visitors were able to take commemorative photos with these characters. Considering that visitors will not enjoy less well-known franchises in such areas, we did it in this way, which resulted in such a criticism, I think.

“On the other hand, I think it is one of our advantages to have such franchises. When some young in-house developers come up with an idea of a new franchise, I say that creating a new character does not necessarily mean creating a new franchise. In my view, a new way of playing or new use of media is necessary for a ‘new product’ and creating a character is not the first thing to do.

“In this sense, nintendogs, Brain Age and Wii Fit are all new franchises. Few people see it this way because these games have no symbolic ‘character’ like the existence of Mario, but they are actually contributing to our sales. I would like to continue developing video games with the view of entertaining a wide variety of people including the existing video game fans.”

Comments 1
  1. Whilst the master is right in saying that a new idea is required and not just a new character, it is pretty obvious that the three “new franchises” he named were lightweight titles aimed at casual gamers rather than the people who Nintendo rely on to be their consoles consistently.

    I have no objection to Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong etc but the latest titles are just unbelievably unimaginative. We need NEW ideas for proper games. I certainly won’t be buying the new Mario, Windwaker, Wii Fit U or Donkey Kong. There is nothing new there despite how good they are.

    Maybe Nintendo are just too set in their ways and their insistence on micro-managing even the likes of Retro means that no new creativity is introduced into the company from the outside.

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