Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has been busy in the US this week, promoting the December 15 release of Nintendo’s next mobile game Super Mario Run by making TV and public appearances.
Miyamoto hasn’t always been the most public of game designers, but we’re seeing more interviews with him than ever which give an interesting insight into his life working at Nintendo and who he is separate from his famous creations.
In his latest interview with Glixel, Miyamoto opens up about a variety of things, including what it was like to work with Apple on the development of Super Mario Run and what kinds of games he likes to play himself.
As far as working with Apple goes, Miyamoto said the timing of the partnership was “really fortunate” for both companies. According to Miyamoto, though Nintendo had decided to move into the mobile space, the company hadn’t settled on making a Mario game for smartphones.
Once his team had settled on a base idea, Miyamoto said it made sense to take it to Apple as they’d be able to provide the development support required to bring it to life.
Miyamoto also says Apple was also a good partner for Nintendo as both companies think “about how people will use their products.” He thinks they share a focus on “simplicity” as well as a willingness to take a “different approach.”
They share a commitment to “really taking the user into account, making it easy to use and then having an environment that's safe and secure that people can work and play in. They're the areas where Nintendo and Apple really see eye to eye.”
Interestingly, Miyamoto discusses how Nintendo pushed for Super Mario Run not to be a free-to-play title despite Apple’s belief it’s a good model. Nintendo’s reasons for a one-off payment absolutely make sense, though.
By making Super Mario Run a flat $9.99, Miyamoto said that parents would be able to hand their phones to their children to play the game without the need to worry about microtransactions.
Considering there have already been lawsuits against app retailers to reclaim purchases accidentally made by children, the most recent being associated with Amazon's apps, it makes sense to avoid this.
Outside of his own games, what kind of titles does a great designer like Miyamoto like to play? Neko Atsume and not much else, apparently. When asked by Glixel what games he loves playing, Miyamoto said that beyond the cat collecting title, he doesn’t really play games. Instead, the designer is more interested in gardening, carpentry, and playing guitar.
That said, he did admit to liking Minecraft. Not because he enjoys playing it, though. Rather, because he feels “like that's something [Nintendo] should have made.” In fact, if all had gone according to plan we might have seen a Minecraft game appear on N64 first as Miyamoto says the company had “actually done a lot of experiments that were similar.”
Outside of Super Mario Run, what has Miyamoto been working on? Well, he’s not really been involved in the Nintendo Switch development. Instead, he says, the lead has been taken here by “younger people in the company” who have “really shepherded it through the process.”
This has freed Miyamoto up, he says, to really concentrate on Super Mario Run and the development of the upcoming Super Nintendo World theme parks that will be built in Universal Studios Osaka, Orlando, and Hollywood in the coming years.
Super Mario Run will be available on Apple’s app store from December 15 for $9.99/£7.99, but we got a chance to go hands-on with it last week. Head here to see what we thought.
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Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.