Miyamoto Apparently Looks For Non-Super Fans As Designers

"I always look for designers who aren’t super-passionate game fans. I make it a point to ensure they’re not just a gamer, but that they have a lot of different interests and skill sets."

Miyamoto Apparently Looks For Non-Super Fans As Designers

Nintendo has been mopping up the video game scene all year. They continue to keep doing so in 2019 with a new sales goal. With such huge successes like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, it’s no surprise to read an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo fame himself regarding the inner workings of Nintendo.

In an interview with the New York Times, Miyamoto touched on when Nintendo moved on from the Wii U to the Nintendo Switch. Regarding the Wii U, Miyamoto said:

“It was a bit difficult for consumers to understand what the system was about.”

Marketing and the generally confusing name lead many unaware potentials to think it was an attachment to the much more successful Wii. The Wii U, while not financially successful, still had notes of Nintendo genius peppered within its timeline. Instead of steering absolutely clear of everything Wii U related, they took what they knew was good and made something new. Regarding the Switch, he stated:

“In it, we combined all of the different play styles we’ve explored through our products in the past.”

With the Nintendo company being over 100 years old, and their video game timeline stretching back to the 80s, Nintendo has seen employees come and go. As such, Miyamoto has let younger designers have the opportunity to create. He served as the General Producer of ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. He also served as the Executive Producer of Super Mario Odyssey and even the supervisor of Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. 

While that seems like a long list for one single year of releases, it’s still a step back when compared to how involved he usually is in first-party Nintendo titles. The actual designers working under him were largely new blood. In the interview, he describes his approach to new talent.

“I always look for designers who aren’t super-passionate game fans. I make it a point to ensure they’re not just a gamer, but that they have a lot of different interests and skill sets.”

While this initially may come as a shock, it makes a bit of sense. Nintendo is known for innovating. The Zelda series is known for a certain type of gameplay. Breath of the Wild changed that formula quite drastically while keeping the same heart and soul of the series (likely thanks to Miyamoto’s position as General Producer). Having developers that aren’t ‘fanboys’ for a particular series likely helps them think outside the box.