Miyamoto slags off God of War III shock!

No, of course he hasn’t, but I’m surprised this little quote didn’t really get picked up by the more excitable hit-hoovering news websites and spun into a similar headline. It’s from CVG’s (pretty damned excellent) series of interviews with the little big man himself, where he responded to a question about “hardcore Nintendo fans [feeling] let down by the last couple of years on Wii”.

This year’s going to be really great for the hardcore Nintendo player, especially with Super Mario Galaxy 2. It’s action-packed software and when I say action-packed software, it’s not just going to show you [pre-set] action movements in the 3D format. Rather, this is action-packed software that you can manipulate with your own will and your own control.

It’s a shame this wasn’t picked up by the interviewer, as it would have been interesting to hear Miyamoto explain exactly what he meant by “pre-set action movements in the 3D format”. It seems to be referencing more story-led games where the most spectacular actions are either left to cutscenes or QTEs rather than allowing the player direct control of the action at those key moments – the two most recent examples I can think that he may have been referring to were God of War and Final Fantasy XIII (though he could just as easily have been referring to Heavy Rain or Uncharted 2, or indeed any other game where any key actions are performed automatically rather than by the player.

What’s particularly interesting about this is Miyamoto’s attitude towards Mario Galaxy 2’s development. In the past he’s spoken out about how he felt it took too long for players to get into a level from the hub world and was apparently adamant that the sequel wouldn’t have much of a story (seemingly against the wishes of the game’s director Yoshiaki Koizumi).

Personally, while I thought the hub in the original Galaxy was the weakest of the 3D Marios, I think it’s a shame Koizumi’s story ideas are being ignored by Miyamoto. The storybook in Galaxy featured some exceptional writing, and offered a more interesting and moving side plot to the usual rescue-the-princess-and-save-the-world guff that’s been the framework for pretty much every Mario game since time immemorial.

While streamlining what might seem extraneous to Miyamoto may seem like a good idea to many, some players like the motivation of a story to propel a game’s action. Though it’s hard to argue with the track record of the most recent recipient of the BAFTA Fellowship, it’d be a shame if Nintendo overlooked the potential of narrative-led gaming. Though in handing over the reins to Team Ninja for Samus Aran’s next outing, it seems Satoru Iwata is happy for some of Nintendo’s big franchises to explore its characters a little more deeply…

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