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Miyamoto says is was challenging to move Pikmin 3 from Wii to Wii U, making Pikmin accessible, difficulties with portable Pikmin

Posted on June 18, 2013 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News, Podcast Stories, Wii, Wii U

Nintendo confirmed Pikmin 3 way back in 2008. The game is finally coming out in a few weeks, several months following the Wii U’s launch.

Shigeru Miyamoto told Polygon recently that he had hoped to bring Pikmin 3 out sooner, but doing so wouldn’t have been so easy. It’s true that the title started off on Wii, but moving it to the Wii U was more difficult than people assume.

“I did want to release it sooner. One of the big challenges was that I think that a lot of people, they hear the name Wii U, and because it shares the Wii name, the assumption is, ‘Oh, it would be very easy to take whatever was on Wii and just move it to Wii U.’ But in fact, the jump in a hardware standpoint, both from the development structure and the chipset within the system, it was such a dramatic change from what we had with Wii that development of the game, we had to recreate it to move it over to Wii U. So that was one of the challenges.”

Miyamoto also mentioned how Pikmin 3 was being made alongside the actual Wii U hardware. Nintendo’s resources were stretched thin in order to get the console ready, so the staff were quite busy.

“I look at it less in terms of Pikmin 3 was delayed, and more in terms of our development was shifted. It’s actually always like that for us. In fact, people are always telling us, ‘Oh, you’re so lucky because you’re the first ones that get to work with the new hardware,’ and our response is always, ‘Well, yes, but actually trying to work with a piece of hardware that’s not done yet can be quite challenging.'”

Pikmin 3 is far from Nintendo’s most-popular series. Could Pikmin 3 be the game to break through and reach the masses? Miyamoto has a few thoughts:

“There really isn’t anything else you can compare Pikmin to. I think even the Pikmin characters are really cute and appealing, and I think there may be opportunities for them to appear not just in games, but in movies and animation or something. I really want people to get the sense that Pikmin could appear anywhere.”

“The other thing we’ve done with Pikmin 3 that we feel is very important is we’ve created it in a way that has a very broad entry point. So, people who’ve never played the game before can use the pointer controls, with the simple action of calling the Pikmin and throwing the Pikmin, and that’s the basic action of the game. Using that basic action, even people who are new to the series, they can eventually get through the game using that basic technique.

“Simultaneously, we’ve built the game so there’s a tremendous amount of depth for people who are very avid and experienced gamers, and there’s a tremendous amount of freedom in how you play the game — both in terms of devising your strategies in how you get through it, but also in terms of deciding what your objective is in clearing it. You can kind of set your own goals. Do I want to try to play through the game and reach the end without having a single Pikmin die, or is my focus going to be on trying to clear the game in as few game days as possible, or is it, am I going to limit myself in never going above a certain number of Pikmin?”

Another blockade preventing Pikmin’s success is the unpopularity of strategy titles. There are a few hits here and there (such as StarCraft 2), but by and large, it’s not something that gamers have been attracted to. As a result, Miyamoto says Nintendo labels Pikmin 3 an “an AI action game”.

“Even the word ‘strategy’ makes it seem difficult — that’s why we’re calling it an AI action game. Because in this game, the Pikmin essentially are thinking of half of what needs to be done. So the player is able to look at what the Pikmin are able to do, and then simply assign them tasks so they can do it on their own.

“Actually, I tend to like strategy games. There were a lot of PC strategy games back in the day, but it’s true that until Pikmin I never really managed to take that strategy genre and turn it into a product I thought we could release. I had worked and helped out a little bit on the early Fire Emblem games, which are turn-based strategy, and in terms of the more simulation side of strategy, there was the SimCity port that I worked on, but it’s true that I had never before worked on a strategy game myself.”

We recently heard from Miyamoto that Nintendo considered Pikmin games for the Game Boy Advance and 3DS. However, these projects didn’t get very far. Miyamoto explained the difficulties is bringing Pikmin to portables in his interview with Polygon:

“There’s actually one particular facet of this game that we were very focused in on, which was building bridges in Pikmin 3. If you look at it, the bridges are made out of these little tile pieces, and each tile piece is shaped kind of differently, and each individual Pikmin might pick it up and hold the piece in a different way.

“We could be able to take something like that element of the Pikmin gameplay and try to do it on a portable, probably what would end up happening is you would have to make all the pieces the same size and shape, and they’d have to carry them the same way. But just like ants, when you watch them carrying leaves, sticks and things all at different angles, that’s sort of what makes it cute, and so that was an area that I really focused on in Pikmin 3, and I really tried to bring it to life in the Pikmin. Without that, it really doesn’t feel like Pikmin.”


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