I don’t know if any of you guys and gals have been following this, but about six months ago Satoru Iwata and Shigesato Itoi, Iwata’s “old friend” from Hobonichi, sat down over take-out for an eleven-part discussion on Nintendo, video games, and everything in between.
Today’s segment, “Don’t do the easy,” is something I should have read before posting my rant on shallow games becoming the norm. They almost go hand-in-hand.
Take this exchange about Wii Sports sequels, for example:
Itoi With Wii being such a big hit, I’m sure you’ve been asked many times what new sports will be included in the sequel of Wii Sports.
Iwata Many times. (laugh)
Itoi It’s probably the traditional way to release a sequel, but I suppose Nintendo isn’t planning to do that. Maybe a sequel may be released sometime in the future, but probably not soon, and probably not by simply adding a couple of new sports.
Iwata We’re not going to take such an easy way, not by including seven new sports in the game since Wii Sports has five. We’re not closing our doors to the possibility of a sequel, but it’s definitely not coming out soon.
Itoi The contents will be so predictable if it came out soon..
Iwata Yes, like “let’s improve the graphics a bit more”.
Itoi Or, “let’s stick the controllers to our feet and play soccer”.
Iwata Or maybe sign contracts with professional athletes and create Mii that looks just like them.
Itoi Why not? (laugh)
Iwata If you start making such decisions without thinking, you start doing the easy stuff. You disengage yourself with the pursuit of true entertainment.
Itoi Nintendo won’t do the easy.
Itoi Why is that? It’s so common to do the easy. It’s not totally incorrect to think of the extension of the product that sold well.
Sorry to compare us with a huge company like Nintendo, but I feel the same when I look at my staff. If I tell them that what they started seems the same as something they did before, they agree. Instantly.
If you don’t think Iwata is a visionary yet, frickin’ drink the Kool-Aid already. Take Nintendo out of the equation on this one — if you simply apply this philosophy to all of gaming, then we the consumers win hands-down (and the developers win too, because they get to create new content and make more money).
Iwata also revisits the Nintendo strategy that says it must surprise people if gaming is to continue expanding into new genres and worlds. Of course, it is “EASY” to say these things, because, as Iwata himself notes, Nintendo is making mad profits right now.
A nice concluding remark about Nintendo’s current philosophy:
Iwata Here’s what happened when creating Wii. The director of “Brain Age” and “Brain Age 2” didn’t create another sequel but was assigned to the team that was developing built-in software of Wii console. What he did there was creating the Photo, Weather and News Channels of Wii.
Itoi Wow… If you had assigned him to make the next “Brain Age”…
Iwata Wii wouldn’t have been what it is now.
Hopefully, there’s more to come!