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Filed under: History/Lore, Masahiro Sakurai, Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. Series

“Miyamoto and Sakurai: Investigating the Newest Smash”

Miyamoto and Sakurai

Hey guys! Brando here, bringing you a translation of an old Famitsu article/Q&A session Shigeru Miyamoto and Masahiro Sakurai held during E3 2006, when the Nintendo Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl had just been announced. It’s an interesting snapshot from almost a decade ago, so please enjoy! Big thanks to Soma, and Crane043 for translation assistance.

You can check out the original article here. We did not add pictures in the translation as they do not appear on the original version.

Note: Do not repost the full translation. Please use the first two paragraphs and link to this translation. For additional information, please read this post. This translation is for fan use only, and may not accurately reflect Masahiro Sakurai or Shigeru Miyamoto. If you have any questions about this article, please contact the administrator.

Miyamoto and Sakurai: Investigating the Newest Smash

At Nintendo’s E3 press conference, the audience was stunned when the words “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” (Super Smash Brothers X in Japan) came out of Mr. Miyamoto’s mouth. Later, Mr. Miyamoto took part in a talk show segment featuring special guest Mr. Masahiro Sakurai of Sora Ltd., who is currently working on Brawl. During the question-and-answer session, Mr. Miyamoto mainly answered questions regarding the basic concept of the Wii, while Mr. Sakurai talked about the particulars of Brawl.

Most intriguing of all were Mr. Miyamoto’s words: “We don’t intend to compete within the gaming industry. The Wii is competing with all forms of entertainment across the world.” At Nintendo’s press conference, President Satoru Iwata also spoke similarly, saying the Wii is not a next-generation console. His statement was a clear declaration of intention: the Wii will be diverging from the current flow of game industry hardware up until this point. Naturally, Mr. Miyamoto shares the same vision, and so the Wii utilizes a completely new controller: the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Speaking about the fundamental concept, Mr. Miyamoto said, “Please forget any ideas you’ve had about controllers until now. People who like games, people who previously didn’t play games, and everybody in the world will start from the same place.”

Mr. Miyamoto also had some very interesting comments regarding the games that would be on the Wii. First, about Super Mario Galaxy (working title), he said, “For many years, we’ve wanted Mario to be a game people can enjoy together”, hinting at multiplayer. It’s possible one person will control Mario while the people around him can use the Wii Remote to help out—or get in the way.

And on the Virtual Console, instead of merely distributing past titles, they also hinted at potentially releasing older games like Star Fox updated with pointer controls for a fun, new experience. A video clip shown at the presentation featured a scene with Super Mario music in the background and Mario being controlled by the Wii remote. With just that, hopes and expectations were high, but at the end Mr. Miyamoto simply said, “Even more than past works, we are now bursting with things we want to do with the Wii.” What is Mr. Miyamoto going to cook up first?

Also, when Mr. Sakurai gave everyone a glimpse at Brawl, the theater swelled with excitement again and again. It was at last year’s E3 where President Iwata personally requested to Sakurai that he create the next Smash Bros.

Sakurai: “After leaving HAL Laboratory to go independent, I never thought I’d be making another Smash Bros. (Laughs)”

Nintendo was very supportive, and company elites were gathered under the supervision of Mr. Sakurai. Development began last October, and the movie for this occasion was created with “frantic feelings”, according to Mr. Sakurai. New facts confirmed from the question and answer session are summarized below.

  • New characters: Wario, Meta Knight from the Kirby series, Pit from Kid Icarus, Zero Suit Samus from the Metroid series, and Solid Snake.
  • In addition to  Snake, other characters from other companies may also be included.
  • Snake fights with a rocket launcher!?
  • His cardboard box will also make an appearance.
  • Brawl’s single-player mode is planned to be fuller and more substantial than Melee’s.
  • Simple controls
  • Wi-Fi support
  • To be released in 2007

Doesn’t that make your heart pound? We’ve printed the pair’s Q&A session next, so with that context, try thinking about the whole picture regarding the Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

[Full transcript of the Q&A session]

Miyamoto: So, before we begin talking about the Wii, let’s all go “Wiiii” together (Laughs). Bill** has already given some specifics at the media briefing…I also did a lot, so I think most everything is known, but…

**TN: Referring to Bill Trinen, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Nintendo of America, and interpreter for Mr. Miyamoto

What we really want is for people who have enjoyed our games up to this point to have fun in a new way. And as for people who thought “this is pretty difficult” and don’t play our games, we want to call them back. With the Wii we want to revitalize both of these groups.

It’s not just competition in games or competition between game companies. Rather, it’s about competition between various products in the entertainment world. Therefore, if Nintendo can compete with these other products and sell to many more people, the world of games will grow. This is our fundamental idea—we intend not to spur the advancement of gaming machines, but to create entirely new products.

For example, when using the bow in The Legend of Zelda, some players don’t know whether to tilt the stick up or down to aim. It seems there are two types of people in the world**, so we wanted to straighten out the controls.

TN** Referring to the dichotomy between inverted and “standard” Y-axis controls.

And Mario games have steadily grown more difficult both to play and to comprehend. Even if I think to myself, “Here, over here,” it’s impossible to match that with a controller. When it’s difficult to rotate the camera,  I find myself wanting a more direct way to move the screen, and wanting to create a device that’s easier to use.

That said, I’m used to using existing game controllers, so when I held the Wii controller, suddenly my hands were separated, and it felt very weird. Me being left-handed, I had to switch the controller around to match the movement in Zelda. When I did, Link didn’t move. I said, “Ah, this way” (laughs) But, if you hand the controller over to someone for the first time, they can do it just fine.

Thus, this is a fresh start for player controls. Everyone all over the world will have the same sensation, and enjoy games once again. Well, something like that. Today I’ve talked endlessly about Zelda and Mario, but there is another big thing I’ve come to discuss. The people who’ve lined up to come here today are extremely lucky. Now, let’s look at this.

■■■ Super Smash Bros. Brawl video begins playing ■■■

Miyamoto: There’s another chair next to me… isn’t that suspicious? (Laughs) Is Kojima coming? (Laughs) It’s actually a director I’ve been working with ever since the Kirby days: Mr. Masahiro Sakurai.

■■■ Mr. Sakurai enters ■■■

Sakurai: How was it? Super Smash Brothers (or Smash) was originally developed at HAL Laboratory. I also used to work there, but now I’ve set out on my own. I honestly thought I wouldn’t be making another Smash game, but exactly a year ago during E3, President Iwata directly asked me, “Will you make it?”

I’m just a single designer without a team at my company. I wondered, “What am I going to do?” However, Nintendo prepared a team for me, and even now we’re accepting applications from talented people (laughs). Thus, various people from various places have gathered at our Takadanobaba** studio to create this game. To be fair though, it’s only just started…

TN** Takadanobaba is a neighborhood in Tokyo.

Miyamoto: You’re saying you just started now? (laughs)

Sakurai: No, we started last October (laughs). We just created this movie, and even that was still frantic. But, we don’t have anything more than this. Well, that’s not true, but… (laughs) I think the movie has a lot of mysteries, and there are probably spots that made people think, “Huh? What in the world is going on?”, so let’s move over to the Q&A session.

Q: To start with, this question is for Mr. Miyamoto: do you plan on reviving old franchises?

Miyamoto: Right now, I think there are lots of possibilities. For example, we could make Pit from Kid Icarus in 3D, or bring back the old Star Fox game and implement a new control system for a different kind of fun. Possibilities like that. But more than just that, there are also many new things I want to make, so I’m thinking about which I’m going to work on.

Miyamoto: You can touch and control the screen directly using a pointer. I think this playstyle could also open up new and exciting options for Virtual Console games.

Q: Can we hear about these new ideas?

Miyamoto: Something I can talk about now? Hmm, I don’t think there’s anything I can talk about today (laughs).

Instead, let me explain the idea of “direct control” in the new Mario. For a long time, we’ve wanted to do things impossible with just Mario alone. There would be one main Mario, but other players can use the pointer to do things like help him or get in his way. We’re hoping to implement a system like this.

Q: Mr. Sakurai, how will the Wii controller be used for the new Smash game?

Sakurai: It’s a shame this is coming right after what Mr. Miyamoto just said, but in a practical sense, if we, for example, designed the game to be used with the nunchuk and pointing device, it could become too complex and hard to control—which would be quite a problem. We aren’t trying to make any monumental changes. Instead, we’re looking into what control method is the easiest to use. You’ll be able to use GameCube controllers, so please don’t get rid of yours yet (laughs).

Mr. Miyamoto has talked about other Wii games, which use the controller to it’s full potential. As far as I’m concerned, even though I’d like to incorporate direct control, we’ve decided to do something different. At the very least, it will likely be different from the standard Wii games, so we’re hoping it will balance out the lineup.

Q: Will Wario fight using farts?

Sakurai: Yes, he will! (Laughs)

Q: New characters have been introduced, but will there be other Nintendo characters?

Sakurai: Yes, certainly. There’s also a “certain someone” I can’t discuss here. Actually, I’m quite interested in hearing what kind of characters you’d like to see in the game.

■■■ Various characters’ names start flying around the hall ■■■

Q: Are there plans to use the Wi-Fi connection?

Sakurai: Yes, this will be the first Smash with Wi-Fi. Playing Smash over Wi-Fi has been the most requested feature by both Japanese and American audiences. However, if we limit online play to four-player battles where one person comes out on top, I think that would turn off a lot of players. Instead, we want to make it so everyone is able to play and have fun.

Q: Can you give us any information about the Wii’s resolution and screen size?

Miyamoto: Unfortunately, our standard is 480dpi. If you use a nicer TV, though, I think it will look better than that. Screen size is up to the designer. For example, the GameCube’s original aspect ratio is 16:9. Games like Zelda are more interesting to play in widescreen format, so they use 16:9. The Wii is more powerful than the GameCube, so most games will use widescreen.

Q: Mr. Sakurai, how were the Wii games you tried?

Sakurai: Well, today I only tried Zelda and Mario (laughs). I like the demo series Wii Sports: AIRPLANE.

Q: Is there a difference between the Wii and GameCube versions of Zelda?

Miyamoto: Because the fundamental interface is different, the experience is different as well. I’ve gotten used to controlling the game on the Wii, so now I can’t go back to the GameCube version (Laughs). Regarding the screen size, if you play the Wii version of Zelda on a 4:3 TV, it doesn’t shrink horizontally—it stretches vertically. If you play the Wii version on an older TV, it may feel a little different.

Q: Is Smash a launch title?

Sakurai: No. I’m allowed to say it will come out in 2007, so it will be sometime in 2007 (laughs).

Q: Regarding the Wii hardware, what has been the greatest challenge?

Miyamoto: For me personally, I want to make Zelda play like Zelda, of course.

However, I want to use as few buttons as possible. I don’t want to scare away people seeing it for the first time. “How big should the buttons be? How many should there be? Where should they be?” I’ve given all this a great deal of thought.

Q: What kind of fighting style does Snake use?

Sakurai: When making Snake, the first thing to consider is that he won’t use real guns. For most people, Snake probably calls to mind the image of someone who uses guns, but I’ve decided to ban weapons the average person might be able to obtain in real life.

Instead, for example, I think it’s okay for him to use a rocket launcher in a joking way. When creating his moveset, that gave the impression that he uses nothing but bombs (laughs).

Oh, he also uses his cardboard box (laughs).

Q: The Wii uses motion controls, so what will you do to make that the standard?

Miyamoto: I think it’s important for people to think, “I want to try, too” when watching a game from the sidelines. They watch and observe the player’s overall posture. We want to create a situation where, if you see someone playing the Wii, you think, “I want to play the Wii, too!” When one person watches someone else enjoying the Wii, we want them to be interested in playing, not embarrassed at the thought of “looking like that.”

For a long time, the typical conception of video gaming has been a kid sitting down in a dark room in front of a game with the light of the TV reflecting on their face. That’s the stereotype—and we want to erase that image. We want people to perceive video games as things that everyone can enjoy together.

Q: Why doesn’t the Wii support HD resolution?

Miyamoto: Looking at currently available technology and at our third-party partners, the switch to HD is simple. However, we’re basically looking at things in terms of balance, and going HD right now would upset that balance. Five years down the line, HD might be a given for Nintendo as well. For the time being, though, we’re aiming for the majority of TVs across the world, without changing how the console will connect to them.

Q: Is Super Mario Galaxy (working title) a launch title?

Miyamoto: It’s progressing fairly well. It would be bad to call it a launch title lest something goes wrong and it turns out to be a lie (laughs). That said, I think it will probably come out within half a year of the Wii launch.

Q: For Smash, will the single-player mode be similar to that of the previous game?

Sakurai: There will be some changes. For this single-player mode, I’m hoping to make something players can sit down with and really enjoy.

Miyamoto: This is something Sakurai and I have disagreed on ever since the development of the first Smash game (Laughs) I was telling him, “Forget about single player. Just hurry up and make the game!”, but Sakurai said, “I’m making a single-player mode, no matter what.” I told him to keep the single-player mode short, but Sakurai still worked really hard on it. This time around, since he has such ample freedom, it should turn out to be an amazing single-player mode (Laughs).

Q: Was Snake’s inclusion something Nintendo requested?

Sakurai: The very first thing that happened was, when I was making Smash [Melee], Mr. Kojima approached me and said, “Please put Snake in! Put him in!” (laughs). At that time, I didn’t think I would make another Smash game, so it ended with me telling him, “If only you had asked me sooner…” This time around, however, we both said, “Okay, let’s do it!”

Miyamoto: It was more a matter between creators than a matter between companies. Actually, there’s a similar conversation about Sonic (laughs). I don’t yet know where it will go after this, but right now there are discussions happening between the two companies.

Sakurai: But right now, Snake is truly the only third-party character we’ve decided upon. At the same time, since we’ve announced the first non-Nintendo character, it’s only natural to assume the door is open for more third-party characters to appear hereafter. That being said, the one point I want to emphasize more than anything else is, “Will this character be fun to have in Smash?”

Q: If you happen to make Brawl 2 or Brawl 3 on the Wii…

Sakurai: I won’t (laughs).

Miyamoto: That’s what you said last time, isn’t it? (laughs)

Q: Are there any characters you would want to include?

Sakurai: If I had any idea, I’d tell you now (laughs).

Miyamoto: It might be hard to balance.

Sakurai: People have strong feelings about the characters they’d like us to include, so I’d like to hear what they have to say.

Also, we’ve set up an official homepage for the game. In Japan, it is called “Smash Bros. Fist,”—just as it was with the previous games—and overseas, it is called “Smash Bros. Dojo.” We’ve uploaded the introduction movie and the opening theme, so please have a look.