Miyamoto: "Creativity Is Still Immature" In Games

Shigeru Miyamoto says developers are still in a "transitional period," but believes they will eventually make more creative projects.

According to famous video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who was responsible for the creation of beloved franchises like Mario and Zelda, "creativity is still immature" in gaming. During Nintendo's recent shareholder meeting, Miyamoto said there wasn't a "wide variety" of games on display at E3, which he says is indicative of "creative immaturity."

"To some, it might have seemed as though there wasn't a wide variety of software at E3, and as though many people followed the same direction to make their video games," Miyamoto said. "I believe this is a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry."

Citing a quote from the late Nintendo executive Hiroshi Yamauchi, Miyamoto said it is the nature of the entertainment business for one company to lead and others to follow with similar products, leading to a certain level of sameness over time. This is no different for video games, he said.

"My comment may be at risk of being misinterpreted, but in the digital content field, I think that our creativity is still immature," Miyamoto said. "In the world of comic books and movies, there are people who are challenging themselves to be even more creative than before in creating their content."

Video game developers are still in a "transitional period," Miyamoto said, adding that he's hopeful that someday game creators will be able to make more creative products. Nintendo hopes to do just that, he said. "If we can manage Nintendo without losing sight of this challenge, I believe we might be able to create new entertainment that dominates the industry," Miyamoto said.

The full Q&A from Nintendo's recent shareholder meeting is available in English at Nintendo's corporate website.

What's your take on Miyamoto's comments? Let us know in the comments below!

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

57 comments
derekscorp
derekscorp

He's absolutely right. The only companies displaying originality at E3 were Nintendo and indies.

bluedeathking
bluedeathking

I agree with him. at this point though people don't want to exit there confort zone. they don't like the wii controller+ nun chuck or the gamepad, touch screen on the ds4 and just want to stick to the 360 controller design which is sad. then they go buy rehash shooters with waves of enemies, with just a new paint job and small changes to make them slightly different from other games in the genre.


personally I a guy who embrace change as long as it is good and innovated. sadly gamers now don't see new thing as innovated but gimmicky and afraid to try them out. I could name a couple great games that uses motion control greatly and add a level of depth but I guess gamers just want halo, uncharted, and assassin creed nothing else :(

Firzenzo
Firzenzo

When is The Last Guardian coming out? That's creative and awesome :)

finalkain
finalkain

I understand Miyamoto's POV, but as far as Im aware, nintendos games havent been bleeding groundbreaking experiences either.

bundleof_sticks
bundleof_sticks

If by "creative" he means colorful and cartoony, then yes, there is a lack of "creative" games. However my views on creativity is improving game design and portraying an engaging story, which is something AAA games now days actually has an abundance of. Maturity and creativity aren't mutually exclusive, as Nintendo frequently seems to believe.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Generally speaking I can't argue with that, but I don't think it's down to a lack of creative ideas.  I think it's down to being pushed around by publishers, the same publishers who won't support anything different from what we're already doing.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

What the hell is he talking about? Today's games are the most diverse in history. Every genre has their hits. I know he's trying to sell his games/platforms, but calling out the entire industry because they don't make games he makes as un-creative is just dumb. Pumping out the 47th new Mario game isn't exactly 'creative' anymore either.

Utahraptor_
Utahraptor_

I agree that the video games industry pumps out too many similar games.  The movie industry does the same thing, though.  It's because lots of people have lousy taste.  They just want to play or watch the same stuff over and over again.  

Video game makers and movie producers underestimate the value of character development, dialog and interactions, unique personalities, values, and themes.  Movie producers and video game makers focus too much on pointless violence, mindless sex, and over-the-top special effects.  For video games, interesting gameplay is also lacking for single-player and multiplayer games.

asulaeagle
asulaeagle

The subject of video games, as a whole, hasn't reached a level of autonomy and individual expression as one could say art and film have and I don't know if it ever will. Even an indie game has to get funded (and well... games cost a lot to make) so their is always that worry of having to please and make a profit. In a way that limits the gaming palette but I suppose one could say that being creative is working with the resources you have and making the best of them.

animaldrumscrea
animaldrumscrea

Says the person with a luigi shirt and the one who created a 3 feet child-like plumber with a moustache ... And keep strugling with the wii u, btw i loved donkey kong by rare on the snes

remoticons
remoticons

He should buy himself some sony consoles cause the creativity is flowing on indies and triple A titles there, just look at the big exclusive titles last year, puppeteer, whole new idea, whole new way of gaming.

Miyamoto is probably directing this to reggie and iwata who keep making the same old same old. i have always said, if the nintendo gameplay can stand on its own, why not create a whole new IP then. Nintendo is as greedy as the others and they shouldnt be talking about everyone like that

pikachudude860
pikachudude860

I understand what he's saying...I think.


I don't think it's that the 3rd party companies are not creative, it's just that most of them can't afford to try to be.

For some reason, games these days cost a LOT to develop. If they try something new, what if it bombs? 

All of that money would be lost. That is why we see so many franchises get milked. 

(COD, Skylanders, Assassins Creed, etc) Those games are almost guaranteed to sell. 


It's sad...But true. Maybe all that can change one day.

Veenox
Veenox

I don't care about Eddie's article, but this must be the best photo ever!!

_Silent_Jay_
_Silent_Jay_

Well, if anybody could recognize immature creativity, I suppose it'd be Miyamoto.

adsparky
adsparky

Creativity is almost dead, and we have to blame the big companies, Nintendo included; but well, at least we can count in indies and the occasional sleeper hit for a small third party.

Stiler
Stiler

Nintendo in creative video games? I might buy that if they didn't just keep riding out new Mario's/zelda's/Mario Karts. 


Nintendo is probably the least mature when it comes to sticking with what they know and have done since the 80's.  A lot of their old fanbase (IE people from the late 80's/early 90's) are adults now and Nintendo is still catering to younger people and don't even have any mature focused video game IP's or anything.


Also I found a lot more games back in the 90's to be more "creative/different" vs todays games where it's mostly the same shooters/mmorpgs done over and over and over and over. 


Take mmorpgs for example, In the 90's the first "gen" of mmorpgs you had Ultima online, Asheron's Call, and EQ. EACH of them offered a vastly different play experience. None of them felt like the "same" game or the same framework. UO was an open sandbox style world, NO QUESTING At all, open pvp, player crafting, etc. EQ was a lore driven quest focused game with what we know today as raids/dungeons and things. AC was a game focuseds on the unique aspect of constantly updating their world each month with new story elements or even just seasonal changes, which were reflected in the actual game. The world felt the most "dynamic" of any mmorpg, even to this day. 



These days? Virtually every mmo is the same thing, quest-focused, go around to the people with the little "!" above their heads, do quests to level up, run a dungeon, do a raid, get uber gear, do non-meaningful pvp (IE GW2/WoW). Rinse and repeat. 



Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

Creativity in video games? Haha, not anymore. With the crap AAA model and the influx of casuals drooling over interactive movies and dumbed down pew pew games, you either make a game that the sheep will like, or you go bankrupt.

sandman338
sandman338

The Japanese developers are still years behind the rest of the world and he is going to have an opinion about the maturity of the industry as he wears a Luigi shirt and has plushies behind him?

lunchbox2042
lunchbox2042

Isn't this the same guy who's been giving us 2-d Mario after 2-d Mario?

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

All those Luigis. Its pretty clear that Miyamoto is keeping his army of evil at bay. 

catsimboy
catsimboy

You can't write off the game industry as uncreative because of what's shown at E3. The companies are showing off their big dumb blockbuster games at E3 because that's what gets the shareholders going and all the creative games are being made and released quietly like Valiant Hearts. People like to think Splatoon is creative but there have already been games where you paint the world like De Blob.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@finalkain

You know his comment was also targeted at Nintendo right? There haven't been much "groundbreaking" games lately either.

asulaeagle
asulaeagle

The majority of AAA games recycle the same game design. The only things that change are the graphics ands thats not innovative. There maybe games out their that innovate but it's in the minority.

I mean a game like the order which essentially has a gears of war/re5 type of game style still has enemy models dissapear in the field when they die. That's a minor thing criticism but it's just an example of how companies don't seem to be pushing anything but prettier graphics.

Even Sony's president commented on the staleness and popularity of AAA games.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Sevenizz

You clearly have no idea what he's talking about, and no, the gaming industry has far less variety now than it's had in the past. Yes the variety is still there, but what's mostly placed in the forefront are a ton of games that don't really distinguish themselves from others, with shooters leading the charge. Back during the PS2/XBox/Gamecube days, platformers, RPGs, shooters, racing games, sports, party, fighting, sandbox, action/adventure, action games were all getting a great deal of attention from the media. 


Actually, it takes a great deal of creativity, talent and innovation to keep a franchise active, fresh and of high quality this long, and Nintendo has done this with around 8 franchises while most developers struggle to keep one going for that long.

Chico86_basic
Chico86_basic

@animaldrumscrea So what? You did have to mention WiiU even though he was just talking about creativity in video game and not systems. Mr. Miyamoto has done so much for this industry I think he deserves at least a little bit more respect. Seriously bro!


PS: Donkey Kong character was also his invention.

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

@remoticons Puppeteer wasn't big at all. I didn't hear of it until I saw video reviews. Everyone, even Nintendo, has indie games, and those aren't that much of a driving force in the grand scheme of the console market. As for using old IPs for new ideas, the point is that the new game play ideas get a better chance of sticking by using familiar faces to promote them.


The real problem is that AA games are nearly non-existent, and AAA games don't stray too far from what everyone else is doing. Most AAA games are shooters these days, or driving sims. That doesn't say much for creativity. Nintendo's the only company who's original enough that when they FINALLY made a 1st party shooter, people were *surprised*.

shinta125
shinta125

@pikachudude860 This is also very true. Ubisoft and Nintendo have released creative smaller budget titles and I think that's where a majority of creativity will come from if the rest of the industry decides to get on board. 

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

@Stiler That last line is what he was talking about though. Look at the type of game play offered by Nintendo games in comparison to everyone else. Most others have a crap ton of shooters coming out, with occasional "other things", whereas Nintendo's the complete opposite, with more varied game play between franchises.

shinta125
shinta125

@Stiler You should pay closer attention to how Galaxy redefined platformers and look at Nintendo's smaller budget titles from Wii to 3DS. There's a lot of creative titles from them ranging in all types of genres. They ride out Mario and Zelda because that's their biggest franchises and people love them but they still do make a lot of one off IPs to franchises (Pikmin, Pushmo) on smaller and mid-tier budgets. 


Maturity comes in many forms and is not limited by the package its in. One example, Majora's Mask and Wind Waker have mature story telling, so did Mario Galaxy with Rosalina. The games are rated E and cartoony but it doesn't detract from its mature narrative and story. They treat you with respect and know you're smart enough to understand despite age. Much like any Disney or Pixar movie that targets all audiences.


As for creative maturity. They are those with passion that still have their child like wonder to create varied things and this is not limited by age. There are people in their 70's and 80's that still create a vast amount of things today because of their maturity in creativity. 



I agree with Miyamoto in saying we're in a transitional period. They're still immature in thought and creativity, and still transitioning to tell deeper stories, build better worlds and creative new mechanics. But if no one allows their creativity to mature and grow then everything will continue to stagnate

Chico86_basic
Chico86_basic

@sandman338 I think you're missing the point but I'm not even going to develop because it's in the article if you read it...

shinta125
shinta125

@catsimboy Erm... De Blob was a platformer though, Splatoon is a 3rd person arena shooter. About the only thing they have in common is paint.

bundleof_sticks
bundleof_sticks

Many, many AAA have the same conventions from previous games but at least they are improving. Dragon Age Inquisition, for example, has improved graphics, art style, and combat, not to mention the open world aspects. Under no circumstance would I say that game is just a graphical update.

The games that are being to static, in my opinion, are mainly COD, Battlefield, and Forza. The rest, I genuinely believe are bringing vast improvements to the table. Although I agree they aren't exactly innovative.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

@chipwithdip @remoticons surprised and they loved it. People expect the same kind of thing based on the genre, and Nintendo turned that on its head. That is the creativity that MIyamoto was talking about. 

Stiler
Stiler

@chipwithdip @Stiler I'm not saying other studios aren't making a lot of the same things (look at my last paragraph), my point is that Nintendo largely still rides on the same gameplay/style that they've been doing since the late 80's, with their platform foucsing in mario and other first-party titles. 

 Meanwhile they haven't really branched off from this, there's no sense of mature related games, I mean look at games like The Witcher, Metal Gear Solid, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Nintendo doesn't really have any of that on their consoles or an IP of a similar focus in terms of it being made for adults with mature themes/stories/characters.

 

The new Zelda looks damn interesting though (going for open world and things) but it's not enough to make me rush out and buy a Wii U for it. 



 

hystavito
hystavito

@shinta125 @Stiler @Stiler  " lot of their old fanbase (IE people from the late 80's/early 90's) are adults now and Nintendo is still catering to younger people and don't even have any mature focused video game IP's or anything. "


I think that's an important point, and just before this in another article I made a similar comment in response to someone asking for more advanced stuff in the next Zelda game.


Hopefully Nintendo will realize they really aren't a big hit with kids anymore, families are not buying up the WiiU, so maybe it's time to stop trying so hard to cater to kids.  I don't fully agree with what @shinta125 says, and I believe that it does hold back their games, or at the very least makes many elements more annoying, like just one example, extremely obvious and simplistic dialogue and delivery of story information.


Oh to be clear, I'm not saying the games need to be higher than E rating, that isn't the important part.  Stuff like my obvious and simplistic example, that can be changed to better suit an adult audience and still be E rated content.

_Silent_Jay_
_Silent_Jay_

@Bellum_Sacrum Difference without distinction isn't difference.

zedetach
zedetach

@bundleof_sticks "Although I agree they aren't exactly innovative." That's exactly what Miyamoto is trying to say.

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

@Stiler @chipwithdip Also, Fire Emblem has mature themes. Not sure why that one just flew under the radar. Shin Megami Tensei IV is straight up rated M, too, although that's not exactly first party. Regardless, mature themes does NOT equal creativity or originality.

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

@Stiler @chipwithdip How many of those you named are first party titles?

The problem gamers have is that they relate THIRD party efforts to Sony and Microsoft, but Nintendo only gets credit for their first party stuff. In this field, it should be first party vs. first party, and THEN you can see how much more varied Nintendo is in comparison to Sony and Microsoft.

I mean, all they've had so far in their years in the business of rehashing the same ideas are 2D platformers, racing games, RPGs, strategy games, fighting games, 3D platformers, action-adventure games, puzzle games, rail shooters, first-person shooters, metroidvania games, life simulators, a Dance Dance Revolution game, multiple sports entries including basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball, and the Olympics, and soon, a 3rd person shooter, all of which being first party games. But yea, no variety and a huge dependence on old formulas, etc. and so forth.

shinta125
shinta125

@Stiler @chipwithdip We should compare studios too. None of the studios that make those games go outside of their comfort zone just the same. Konami, especially was once a very diverse company that gave us variety of different games that all they do now is Metal Gear. Konami used to make games that catered to kids, teens and adults like Boktai, Rocket Knight Adventure, Zone of the Enders but they don't anymore. 


They were once my favorite studio, same for Capcom but they both have fallen hard and followed the trends and tried to be something their not.


I often see the discussion on making more adult games for adult audiences but what about the kids? If they stop buying consoles because nothing is made for them then the market contracts. And the market is contracting because the casual audience that's been with us since forever that had been transferring back and forth between Nintendo and Sony are leaving and giving their kids smartphones games because there are games catering to them there.


This is a problem. Look back at the PS1. That was the first console in existence to literally have a game for every demographic from kids to adults. That's gone now. Wii was the first console to be gender unbiased, equally played by both men and women. Partially gone now.


I agree that Nintendo does focus too much on kids but I'm equally disappointed the rest of the industry does not. The rest of the industry is laser focused on a single demographic of 18-32 and they make no room for anyone else. But I suppose I can't completely blame them when we have so few studios left and so few have actually made or even tried to make a game for kids that even treats them with an ounce of respect (*cough* Ubisoft *cough*).


Everyone in the industry needs to look back and rediscover themselves and rebuild. And maybe we can move forward and gain new found wisdom that brings about good change for the industry. Because right now, no one is doing too well.



(Also for mature content, I'd argue Silent Hill, since Nintendo is the only company in the entire industry willing to fund it. Not even Konami is willing to fund one of their own games. But I agree, they do generally need more to get more adults interested.)

shinta125
shinta125

@hystavito @shinta125 @Stiler I believe a lot of kids aren't buying consoles and that's a problem in general but that's another discussion. When I play games today from most AAA studios I feel like I'm just playing a teenage fantasy with equally shallow stories.


Miyamoto, btw, isn't really excusing himself or Nintendo though. Everyone needs to look back and rediscover themselves and rebuild. I give Nintendo and at least Ubisoft some more credit because they're willing to still try new things on smaller budgets.

lewiston71
lewiston71

@shinta125 @Stiler @chipwithdip I agree with everything that you just wrote except for the part of Nintendo mainly focusing on kids.  That's a huge misconception among gamers in the industry today. The real truth is that Nintendo make games for everyone and anyone to play, there's a significant difference there.  Now while they have been involved with mature themed games in the past(and damn good ones at that) they only invest time in making games in which they have a solid idea for gameplay and direction.  What I love about Nintendo (despite what other gamers think about them milking their franchises)is that they don't just make games for the hell of it, quality over quantity.