Nintendo 3DS

Miyamoto “Mortified” When Capcom Released Steel Battalion


Of all the first-party Nintendo 3DS launch games, the one that seems to be getting the least attention is Steel Diver. Perhaps it’s because it isn’t about a relatable character, or maybe it’s simply because the idea of a submarine simulator is a little hard to be excited for without knowing what the point of the game is.


Either way, Steel Diver can come off as a little confusing. Even Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, thinks that Steel Diver is a “plain” game. Recently, he asked Nintendo managing director, Shigeru Miyamoto, who’s designing the game himself, why he developed it.


Miyamoto reveals that it was because he wanted to create a simulation game that reflected the sensation of learning to pilot a vehicle with challenging controls — the opposite of how his games are usually designed: with utmost attention paid to simplicity of control.


Above all, Miyamoto wanted the vehicles the player would pilot to be huge. He reveals that he was “mortified” when Capcom released Steel Battalion in 2002 because he had been wanting to develop a game with players piloting giant vehicles, but Capcom beat him to it. For Steel Diver, the choice came down to a large passenger aircraft, a battleship or submarines. Ultimately, Miyamoto settled on the last one.


“For Steel Diver, we have included elements where if you’re able to comprehend how it works, it will make you want to keep on playing it more and more even if you do not particularly try to be a better player,” he said to Iwata.


However, in reply to Iwata’s comment about the game being “plain,” Miyamoto believes that a lot of his games could be described that way — including the original Legend of Zelda, which he describes as “a world of swords and magic.”


Wii Fit, too, he says could be considered a “plain” game. Miyamoto encourages his development teams to take on the challenge of developing a “plain” game into something that shows people “what they’re made of.”

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.