Nintendo Switch

Shigeru Miyamoto On The Switch’s HD Rumble And Iwata’s Involvement



Nintendo’s launch of the Switch is just around the corner, and Shigeru Miyamoto recently sat down for an interview with TIME to talk a bit about the upcoming console. In the interview, Miyamoto mentioned the late Satoru Iwata’s involvement with the system, his thoughts on the HD Rumble feature, as well as his thoughts on the role of stories in videogames.


First off, after mentioning that Iwata had provided feedback during the Switch’s development, Miyamoto went on to further describe Iwata’s involvement with the console:


“I mentioned that Mr. Iwata, Mr. Takeda and myself provided feedback and made decisions, but ultimately Mr. Iwata was the head of development, so he put a lot of thought and time into Switch. I think that the idea of Nintendo Switch being a device you can take out and anywhere, and the idea of it being a system that really allows networking and communicating with people, I think that’s something Mr. Iwata put a lot of emphasis on.

Because Mr. Iwata was tech-savvy, a lot of our discussion involved trying to figure out how to make the technical things like network capabilities or servers or whatever fun. For example, think about when we added the ability to use a browser on the DS [Nintendo’s two-screen gaming handheld—the browser was added to North American systems in 2007]. As time goes on, all of these services become more and more advanced, and so we need to think about “How do we incorporate mobile devices or new browser features that come up?” That’s something Mr. Iwata and I discussed a lot, really trying to decide what to do and what not to do in our hardware.”


Next, Miyamoto shared his thoughts on the Switch’s HD Rumble feature:


“First of all, I can’t say for certain that HD Rumble is going to create something completely original, but I can say that the sensation HD Rumble provides is completely new. When we first created the Rumble Pak [released in 1997 for the Nintendo 64], at that time we were trying to just think about cost and performance. What could we make that was cost-efficient to create a rumble sensation?

Within Nintendo, there’s a group of people who just focus on researching rumble features and capabilities. For many years, they’ve been bringing different kinds of rumble and vibration features and putting them into games and testing them. What’s incredible is that it’s not just this monotone vibration, but you can feel the taps. So when you put your pen on the screen, it’s not just this dull vibration, you can feel the tap that the tip of the pen makes on the screen. Right now there’s this idea that 60 frames-per-second graphics is the standard [speed for modern video games]. If you were, for example, to make something that ran at 20 frames-per-second, someone would get mad at you.

For anything interactive, the response time is very important. So like with virtual reality, the latency makes a big difference in the experience. And with HD Rumble, the latency is different, so it provides a unique experience, and with that unique experience, I think new ideas can come about.”


Miyamoto then went on to explain the role of story in Breath of the Wild and how important he feels story is to a game:


“Let me start off by saying that Mr. Aonuma [Eiji Aonuma, the game’s producer] and his team, instead of creating a game where you’re playing the story, you yourself are embarking on an adventure, and I think they’ve found a unique way to strike a balance between the story and the fact that you’re on an adventure. It’s not that I don’t like story, that I’m denying the importance of story. I think after someone has played a game, it’s important that a story lingers in their mind. But what I do think is a challenge, is to cut down on playtime to set up and explain a story that’s already been set.

I think what’s important, especially for the Zelda series, is for the person to be able to think it through for themselves, and to really live the story. I think that’s the challenge we’ve been working on through the many iterations of The Legend of Zelda. And so in this game, while you’re playing, you start to kind of dig the narrative out and see the overarching story that lies in the background.

And so I think the story in Breath of the Wild still doesn’t break the balance that’s been established in previous Zelda games. But we also wanted to make a game where, after someone is done playing, their own experience in that game is what the story is, and I think we’ve been able to accomplish that with this title. And really in this game, everybody can take very, very different routes and approaches. How long it takes to beat the game has a huge range.”


To read the rest of Miyamoto’s interview with TIME, you can visit their official website.


The Nintendo Switch will release on March 3rd, 2017.