Nintendo’s Sultan of Creativity, Shigeru Miyamoto, has recently announced that he will be working on a brand new project for Nintendo that is eluded to be a new franchise. There’s no word as to when this new idea of his will be revealed, but I don’t have a lot faith in his projects anymore. He is no doubt one of the most iconic, recognized, and genuinely creative game designers in video game history, but the ideas I’ve seen him presenting in the past decade have been little next to gimmicks in my opinion. Pikmin was the last franchise he created which debuted on the Nintendo GameCube, but beyond that, while I wouldn’t consider games like Zelda or Mario Kart failures, the releases of those games in recent years have been not very innovative. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was a nice treat for the Nintendo Fan Boys two years ago and did benefit to a number of new gameplay mechanics that made the game a whole new experience. Still though, it left nothing spectacular in my mind about it. It wasn’t memorable. It was just….cute. It was definitely a step above his E3 debut in 2008 with Wii Music. I don’t know a single person that bought that game, not even used.
Miyamoto is no doubt a lifetime Nintendo native. He’ll be praised wherever he goes like Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, or British Football player Ryan Giggs or David Beckham. Regardless of his contributions to the industry, his time for marvel seems rather past its prime now. Not that Mr. Miyamoto should be as they say… ‘put out to pasture‘, but I think his box of ideas is running on empty these days. If there was a franchise of his influence I’d love to see resurrected, it would be F-Zero or new Excitebike, though this is to be a new IP so it leaves us other questions. Will it be a new Nintendo Icon Character? Or will it be another one of his characters we’ve run into before in other games that will be brought to the forefront such as Luigi and the Luigi’s Mansion franchise?
Given his recent history, I would have to speculate that it would be something to that nature with an already established character given their own title such as something like Princess Peach’s Bakery Bash. A new Star Fox might be nice, but seeing how his recent record is more towards something newly engineered in its mechanics, it would lead me to believe he would consider a flight or driving game too limited on what he wants to do. Miyamoto enjoys immersing players into the game worlds he creates. While Pikmin is not really my style of game, it definitely put players in a different role and made a world so small feel so big.
There’s little, next to no chance in my mind that Miyamoto will not develop something rather ‘cute’ or ‘glamorous’ for the Nintendo masses. I imagine something colorful, bright, cute and fun to be spawned from Miyamoto’s mind, but I certainly hope he drops the pandering to these ‘great new’ Nintendo technologies such as the Wii balance board and the Wii Remote Plus which are not the reason why people bought the system. The Wii U is a nice console but it made no great leaps forward. Super Mario Brothers U had the novelty of allowing a second player use the GamePad screen if desired and I could see Miyamoto going with some sort of function on that, but again it should not be the determining factor of what the game should be built around.
Nintendo themselves to me has lost a lot of its core with me where it use to bring solid story driven titles and given me nothing more than a box full of peripheral devices and attachments that we will only ever used once. Metroid Prime didn’t have some silly control attachment or simplistic button mashing movements. It had content, stories to read, a wide range of environments, numerous enemies, huge boss battles, replay value, it had it all. The only thing in my mind that the Prime series was missing was voiceovers which for some reason I feel Miyamoto has something against for his titles. It seems he likes to make everyone read in his games and in the Metroid Prime series, oh my God was there a lot of reading. Nowhere near to the amount of reading in the Elder Scroll: Oblivion title and congratulations to you if you read every single book, page for page, that you could find in that game as some of those books had over 80 pages to read.
I envision some poor player out there might have done that thinking there was some Xbox Live Achievement for doing just that and then utterly crushed when he found out there was none after reading that last book. But back to this Miyamoto new project situation.I don’t like to think of Mr. Miyamoto as a one box of ideas kind of guy, instead a man that has a labyrinth of ideas with many boxes stocked on shelves. But some of those boxes I feel he’s only opened once then just put them back on the shelf never returning to them. Frankly one such box of ideas I feel he really surprised me with was being a part of the game, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem released in 2002 on the Nintendo GameCube.
Now if you’ve never played this game before and you still have your Nintendo GameCube proudly plugged into your television set ready to go at any minute, I would suggest playing this game. This game was a survival horror of sorts but it played crazy tricks on your mind. It had you guessing so much as to what was real and what wasn’t that it really put you on edge. There was even a great ‘gotcha’ moment in the game where it would flash what would looked like a game crash screen, similar to Microsoft Windows Blue Screen of Death, making you believe the game crashed but then would revert back to the game. Sometimes not even where you last left off, adding to the confusion even more. It was the first time I had felt that I saw Miyamoto in a new perspective. No longer did I see him as this cultivator of cute, fluffy, forever happy looking characters. Now he was not the Lead Designer of this game, that credit goes to Steve Henifin of Silicon Knights Studios, but the fact that he was affiliated with this game as a Producer definitely gave me the impression that he could go beyond and expand past his normal wheel house of ideas.
I’d love to see Miyamoto do something very out of the box if possible. The development of the character Wario was something really genuine as it catered to villain side of the Mario World. But I would love to see something deeper and a little more mature. If he is to develop a game for an established character, perhaps something with Ganondrof’s story line towards a prequel of how he rose to power. A story of his corruption as to why he is the way he is. We were teased over a decade ago with screenshots of a completely different Zelda game where both Link and Ganondrof were in these Hi-Res positions battling it out where in turn we were greeted with Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. I doubt very much that Mr. Miyamoto cares about anything I have to say in regards to his work because he really has nothing to prove as he is one of the foremost accomplished video game creators of all time, but I so wish that he can feel my thoughts urging him, ‘Please…something really different this time, please.