"To be honest with you, I really wanted, at this E3, to announce a Zelda game for Wii," he said. "But, we've already shown you a Zelda on Wii, and rather than try to think of something to bring here to show you, we really wanted to focus on actual game development.
"However, I didn't want to come empty-handed, so I did bring the main illustration for the next Zelda title."
"Now, this illustration does contain elements that are central to the storyline, and it really does, I hope, prove to you that we are quite far into development of the title. And I would like to say here that we hope to bring it to you next year ... it may take a little longer." He added that the game will probably be MotionPlus-compatible, and may become MotionPlus-only -- depending on the sales of Wii Sports Resort.
Before that, however, Miyamoto and Nintendo of America Treehouse staff spoke about and demonstrated New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Sports Resort and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and showed trailers for Wii Fit Plus and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
"What I've been wanting to do for so long," Miyamoto told the crowd of press, "is to recreate the single-play gameplay that you get with a Mario game with multiplayer." He said that in every Mario game, he begins with experiments for this kind of mode, and they've never made it into the final game. After watching some Treehouse members play together, Miyamoto took a controller and played through a couple of levels himself, demonstrating the new, adorable penguin suit -- and admitting that he was "cheating" at the developer version of the game to grant himself the suit, which allows Mario to shoot ice balls that travel just like the trademark fireballs, but turn enemies into ice blocks that can be used as platforms.
It was clear that Miyamoto enjoys his own games -- as he played, he involuntarily made little exclamations at difficult or exciting moments. "Ahhh!" "Woo!" As if people didn't think of him as charmingly elfin already. Disappointingly, Miyamoto said that New Super Mario Bros. uses too much of the Wii's processing power to allow for online play.
During a showing of the Super Mario Galaxy 2 trailer, Miyamoto said that the game was originally intended to be a "Super Mario Galaxy 1.5," essentially a set of new levels using existing assets, with remixed versions of original levels. The team kept adding content, however, until the game became about 95% new material, with some remixed, remade, and rebalanced versions of original levels, with "different enemy placement, different item placement, and different play rules for those levels." He said that because New Super Mario Bros. Wii was coming out this year, Galaxy 2 would be on schedule for next year, "as long as there's none of my traditional overturning of the tea table."
Miyamoto said that Wii Fit Plus wasn't a traditional sequel, but a version of Wii Fit that added necessary refinements he discovered as he played the game daily. Critically, "we have dogs and cats, and I wanted to be able to weigh my dogs and cats along with me." Also added: the ability to track calories.
Once again demonstrating his own delight in Nintendo's game designs, he spent a long time setting up a shot in the Wii Sports Resort golf minigame, then finally nailed it -- and hopped in excitement. Like Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports Resort takes place on an island known as "Wuhu Island." Miyamoto expressed his desire to make Wuhu Island a franchise character of its own, setting multiple games on the location. He described a hypothetical murder mystery game that takes place on a hotel in the game, which would allow players to explore locations they'd played in previous games. "I've just become enamored with the idea that this one location would be central to a lot of different events," he said, "and I hope there's something I can do with that idea." He joked about buying an island and making Nintendo's own Wuhu island, adding "I don't know that the stockholders would approve of this idea."
The next game to be demonstrated was The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. "At least in Japan, Trains are something that young men have an affinity for," Miyamoto said. He then started imitating the sound of train wheels: "tatatatatatatatata," which interpreter Tim O'Leary translated as "train sounds," eliciting laughter from the crowd. "If you study trains, or you are interested in trains, or fascinated by them like I have been, and I think a lot of people are, you will find that there are a lot of events that you have imagined as a child on a train line are incorporated within this game." Miyamoto described his goal with Zelda games as creating something so "impactful" that players would have his or her own memories of Link's travels, as if the events had occurred in their own lives. "I think it's important to stress that these would be your own individual memories of how you played the game and what your experiences were." Initially this plan involved an "image movie" of the game, but that idea was dropped.
During the Q&A session, for which we were asked to "concentrate on games that were going to be sold this year," Miyamoto fielded a question about his feelings on the new motion control announcements from the competition. "Our policy is to do development, to get the device playable, to make adjustments to the hardware, to have how that will be implemented within gameplay, then make our announcements." He did say that "anything that gets game players to use their entire bodies, to become more physical in gameplay, is something that we're all in favor of -- it does nothing but expand the market for us."
Another question asked how he felt about last year's showing and its response. "Last year I didn't uphold my part of instrument-playing on stage, which is why I didn't make an appearance this year," Miyamoto joked -- or so we thought. He continued to criticize his own Wii Music performance, which led us to doubt that he was joking. He also expressed his feeling that many Nintendo products just don't demonstrate well, requiring people to try them on their own.
In response to another question, Miyamoto revealed Will Wright's SimCity as an inspirational game. He also cited manga and rakugo as inspirational. Another attendee asked how often he felt held back by the Wii's processing power, and Miyamoto said "with every single project that we do, but that's part of being a developer." Later, Bill Trinen came up and clarified the answer, stating that processing power had been an issue for developers since the 8-bit days, and it wasn't a Wii-specific issue.