Miyamoto's Magic

Posted By at 1:58 PM on Tuesday November 9, 2010


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time news, direct from the production area! The Zelda team chosen by Shigeru Miyamoto created Zelda 64 with surprising stubbornness! One part of that stubbornness was to do a stubborn interview. We’ll pass on a small part of that interview from the top of Hobonichi’s nearby tree.

(1-20) Looks Like This Zelda Has the Rumored Miyamoto Magic

Toshio Iwawaki (Program Director): With Miyamoto’s last-minute suggestions, the game changes in an instant. That’s when the so-called “Miyamoto Magic” appears. Prior to this Zelda, I was working on Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo. While I was programming, there were places that got me thinking “Jeez, what should I do here?”

Then Miyamoto would come in and that’s when it would turn into a game. I was thinking “Wow…” Outside of Nintendo titles, there haven’t been a lot of games I’ve been able to think that about recently. The quality of Nintendo games is definitely different.

Even when we were working on Mario, Miyamoto was giving it his all right from the beginning, and when I showed up in the middle I realized that’s how I needed to put my spirit into making things. With Ocarina of Time, we wanted to put in and do so much that we weren’t able to, so of course we have regrets, but more importantly, we just wanted to live up to Miyamoto’s expectations. That’s how much of an impact he makes.

Toshio Iwawaki (Program Director): It isn’t often that we get concrete directives from Miyamoto for the cut scenes, but he’s very picky about the ones that express his ideas.

For example, there’s an owl called Kaepora Gaebora, and there’s a scene where he brings Link from the top of the mountain to the village at the bottom. When you touch the owl, the shot switches to the bird’s point of view. Miyamoto requested that we do it that way, and he was very particular about the little things like direction and timing.

Makoto Miyanaga (Field Design): It’s the little things, like deciding whether to make something wider or narrower. Miyamoto’s sense for things like that, his simple suggestion to do something that way, is what I can’t replicate. I think about what he’s said and give it a shot, and it ends up being just right. That sort of thing happens a lot.

I still get surprised by it. No matter how detailed something is, he understands it on the same level that we do, and talks to us from the same standpoint. This game taught me a lot of things in regards to game design.

Eiji Onozuka (Dungeon Design): I came to do data development in order to make this Zelda, but before that I was in a different position and didn’t know about Miyamoto’s methods of game design. That’s why I was really interested in how Miyamoto would go about making Zelda. There were definitely times in the development process, though, when I wondered whether we should be doing things this way.

That was all I could do, though, believe in the way I’d been making games myself up till now. There was nothing to do but stand my ground on various issues and work to integrate my methods. In the end, I think that everything that resulted from doing our best individually came together nicely.

Takashi Tezuka (Supervisor): At first I said “Do what you like, and as long as you can create something interesting, that’s good enough.” But lately, I’ve been conscious of the fact that my name is going to be attached to the game, so I don’t want to put out anything embarrassing… I often said “I want there to be a horse,” since I’m a fan of them.

Toru Osawa (Script Director): For a little while when I started making the game, we were working on the first Zelda. So, I became the gardener in the garden of Miyamoto’s Zelda, and I felt like I was being allowed to tamper with things. There where times when I restrained myself, wondering if I could mess around as I pleased, but there were also times when I’d respond to “That’s a little too far,” or “The way you cut that tree isn’t good,” with “Ah, sorry.” It’s definitely Miyamoto’s creation, so I as always thinking about how I could meet both the players’ and Miyamoto’s expectations.

What Miyamoto Had to Say

Shigeru Miyamoto: I was a dedicated employee till about 37 or 38, thinking I had to be reliable. When I turned 40, I started thinking “I can’t do this forever!” There was a long period of time from about 30 to 40 where I owned a guitar but never played. For the 5 or 6 years after I turned 40, I started playing again.

The first time I met Mr. Itoi, I was at my most serious. That’s when he told me “You’ve got to play around a bit more!” I realized that was true. It made me wonder whether it was bad for humans to be that dedicated. Mr. Itoi suggested we get something pierced together, but as you can expect, I couldn’t make up my mind. It hurts, you know?I thought “Well, maybe if I do it later…” *laughing* I admire delinquent employees. But my sense of responsibility is too strong. *laughing*

“(1-20) Looks Like This Zelda Has the Rumored Miyamoto Magic” has ended. This series is comprised of 21 interviews. The next interview will be the last! What will we hear? Look forward to the latest installment!



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6 Responses

  1. For a little while when I started making the game, we were working on the first Zelda.

    Is this maybe a reference to reports that early development involved remaking part of the original LoZ?

  2. GlitterBerri says:

    Hello, Robert! Long time, no see. Yes, that seems to be the case.

  3. GlitterBerri says:

    I’m not sure where the original information came from, however.

  4. bobber says:

    Woo! Another article, great work, Glitterberri! Just one more to go, right?

  5. GlitterBerri says:

    You got it! I might circle back and do #15 as well, I think I skipped that one because I was more interested in the others at the time. There’s also a #19 that contains game help which probably isn’t so interesting for everyone who’s beaten it over a decade ago. =)

  6. Galadhatan says:

    Hi! Thanks for this interview. Is it possible you can say where the original interview transcript was obtained, or else where and when this interview took place?


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