Miyamoto Shows Off Zelda 64
Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto answers questions about Zelda 64, the future of Nintendo, and his life a

May 26, 1998 - Nintendo today invited select members of the press to a Q&A session and special presentation with Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto. During the one-hour presentation, Miyamoto introduced key features of the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and presented several new sequences in the game to show off the game's depth.
Miyamoto prefaced the meeting with an apology:

"I'm very sorry that we're late in introducing the Zelda game to the market. This time ? seriously ? we're going to make it. We are trying to avoid making so-called 'big games.' We are always trying to make interactive videogames in a realistic style. But this game has become rather big, so I just cannot tell how long it will take for the debugging.

I'm here today with Mr. Tezuka. Mr. Tezuka has been working with me on Mario and also Zelda and he also finished Yoshi's Story late last year. He noticed that I looked so terrible back then because I was so busy... So I can say that Zelda is on track thanks to the help of many volunteers, such as Mr. Tezuka.

In fact, Mr. Tezuka is going to demonstrate Zelda today and perhaps tomorrow at the show. Please feel free to ask him for any kinds of tricks or cheats so that you can see how good the game is. However, Mr. Tezuka is terrible when it comes to playing the game." (laughs)

Prior to the Q&A, Mr. Tezuka accessed several locations in the game from a debug menu and played through them. In one scene, Tezuka navigated Link along the walls of Hyrule Castle while avoiding being seen by guards that patrol the area. To make navigation of the hedge mazes and spotting the guards easier, the view point switched to a high angle during those scenes, almost like in the classic Zelda games. When Link finally entered the castle (thanks to some ingenious debug cheating by Mr. Tezuka, who was caught by the guards several times), the audience was treated to an encounter with Zelda in the courtyard.

Miyamoto also addressed the sound (or lack thereof) and was quick to note that the current melodies were not final and will be tweaked before the game is finished. Nevertheless, some of the tunes in the game were impressive and reminiscent of the classic Zelda melodies, including the fanfare and xylophone sounds when discovering items or finding secrets.

After the presentation, the panel was open to questions.

Q: How much of your original design made it into the game?

Miyamoto: I'm the producer of this game, so I cannot say that 100% of this game is made by me. When it comes to the core or main portion, I think more than 30% comes from me or my ideas. When it comes to the main game system, it's 100% -- so my ideas have been fully realized and recognized. When it comes to the scenario about 50% reflect my ideas.

As I said before, there are lots of different people working on this project. I am responsible for the direction of the game, but more than 50% of the game is created by the game's many artists.

Q: How long have you been working on the game?

Miyamoto: More than three years have already passed since we started. About 20% of my working hours were spent on Legend of Zelda. But for the past month, 50% and now almost 100% of my time has been spent on The Legend of Zelda. I have to go back home. (laughs)

Q: Was there something that you would liked to have done in the game but couldn't because of time constraints?

Miyamoto: I often have some problem about a game whenever it's complete. Whenever I finish a game I feel something is lacking. When it comes to The Legend of Zelda I'm almost satisfied. On the other hand, I still feel something is lacking: What makes Zelda 64 a game of Zelda. It's a little difficult. I'm now going to spend most of my time to make Zelda 64 a genuine Zelda game.

Q: Do you think the release of Zelda 64 will increase the sales of the Nintendo 64 in Japan ? and the rest of the world?

Miyamoto: I'm always trying not to think about the business side of the game industry and not to be involved with the competition with other makers of games. But unfortunately sometimes I have to and I have to feel the pressure. And I hope that more and more third party developers can join us. I think that the introduction of Zelda 64 will contribute to a larger installed userbase of the N64 in Japan. And also, we're going to have such big titles as Ogre Battle and Banjo-Kazooie and F-Zero X. Unfortunately, these titles were supposed to be released last year, but anyway, these good games are coming out in Japan soon and should contribute to the sales of the N64.

Q: From what we have seen, the game looks huge. Can you tell us in comparison to previous Zelda games how long the game will be?

Miyamoto: Frankly speaking, we have all these different parts of the game but we have never combined everything together, so we honestly can't tell you how long it will take to finish the game. If you are following the ordinary story line, I think you will have the same playtime as with the Super NES Zelda -- at least. But this new Zelda game is going to have a lot of liberty for you to explore, so it's much larger in terms of volume as compared to the Super NES version. Ordinarily, these kinds of games require you to play for about 40 hours and very good staff members can finish them in five or six hours.

Q: The fairy in the game, Navie, was speaking. Will there be a lot of voice in Zelda 64?

Miyamoto: I think that Navie will not speak a lot. I don't like Navie's voice that's included with this version. There will be less speech in the final game.

Q: Will there be a 64DD Zelda or an add-on?

Miyamoto: I don't know if "add-on" is the right terminology. For the 64DD, we are working on a Zelda game, which we call "Ura Zelda," where you first play the initial disk version of Zelda -- after finishing everything, you can enter into the world, into the basic design of the same. This sort of WaZelda is now in the works for the 64DD.

Q: Are there any plans for a new Zelda game for the Game Boy or the Color Game Boy?

Miyamoto: We are working on some Game Boy game that is different from the N64 Zelda, but we have the original Game Boy Zelda and Mr. Miyamoto's team is now working on a color version. Basically, the story is the same but it's being re-programmed so that it will be in color. There are people who don't know Zelda or haven't played Zelda and we want them to become accustomed or familiar with The Legend of Zelda. That's why we are making this color version.

Q: Are you still working on Jungle Taitei [Kimba the White Lion]? What type of game will it be?

Miyamoto: We won't be able to release the game by the end of this year, but hopefully between spring and summer. As for Jungle Taitei, Mister Makoto Tezuka is now working as the director. As you may know, he is not a game designer at all. We appreciate the fact that he is not a game designer, but it must be pretty hard to make something that's not in his field. I understand that he is faced with a lot of trouble and hardships nowadays, I can say that. But we are seeing many good ideas that are being incorporated into the game.

Q: What percent of the game are objectives that the gamer must do to beat the game, and what percent are added secrets?

Miyamoto: I cannot say exactly because I haven't finished the game yet, but I think it will be about 70% for the objectives and 30% for exploring the secrets that are not necessarily needed to finish the game.

Q: What is the best game secret that you ever put in a game?

Miyamoto: Hmmmm, I'm not sure... In the original Zelda, you had to move rocks and stones and you could find hidden stairways. Oh, and you could burn trees and someone was hiding inside and you could get items and gems.

Q: Mario and Zelda are very close in terms of design specifications. I noticed that there is an auto-jump facility. Obviously, for Mario, jumping and platform movement is very significant. Have you consciously decided -- in terms of making Zelda more of an adventure ? to remove the ability to actually control the jumping from platform to platform

Miyamoto: In this type of game, we are always trying to make a 3D miniature realm. We are always trying to make it closer to reality, but sometimes it's not very good to come too close to reality. In the Legend of Zelda, we added so many realistic 3D environments that it has become really difficult to play in this virtual world. So the more realistic the game gets, the more help we have to offer for the players to enjoy themselves. That's why we have decided to make such a basic action as jumping automatic. I hope that the action can be more easily controlled with some of the changes.

Q: What are your thoughts on your nomination for the Interactive Entertainment Award?

Miyamoto: I am very glad that I will be the first to receive this kind of award in the history of videogames. I just hope that I can make further contributions to the videogame industry and that I can sleep. (laughs)

Q: Dialogue is very important to a game like Zelda. I did notice that you have "yes/no" responses in some of the dialogue. How much is actually linear dialogue and how much do you influence the story with your decisions?

Miyamoto: Until the end, when we complete the game, I can't say how much will be dialogue and how much just monologue. But I don't like sitting in front of the TV and reading dialogue without doing anything. I try to avoid that so that people have to do something rather than just sitting and waiting, until the one-way monologues are finished. This is not a movie; this is a game. Now that we have put together all the scenes in the videotape that you are now seeing, I think in those 40 minutes there is one where you set the course by answering yes or no, and for the communications with other characters you will see different communication patterns. There are 800 different communication patterns to be included. I always want to avoid that you have to see the same sequence of the movie again and again.

Q: Do you think this is your greatest achievement so far ? and will there be another Zelda for N64?

Miyamoto: I'm making the game right now, but I hope that this will be my greatest achievement so far. As for this platform, I can't think of any other tricks I can incorporate so we have invented the 64DD so that we can increase our capabilities. I don't know about the future, but I hope that someone else can take my position there and make games. (laughs)

Q: Considering the fact that Nintendo is making sequels to its most successful games, are there any plans of a Metroid or Punch-Out for N64?

Miyamoto: I'm personally not involved in a Metroid sequel and I hope that there is some other developer who will make one. I just have no information about it. I'm sorry.

Q: Mr. Tezuka, what's it like to work with Mr. Miyamoto? What is he like?

Tezuka: I think he's a normal person. He's not bossy, he's not hard on anybody.

Q: Do your children ever bug you and want you to bring the latest version of Zelda 64 home?

Miyamoto: Well, I strictly separate business and personal life, so I never bring sample ROM cartridges home. But with Pokemon Stadium, which comes out on August 1, I think I can make an exception. I will show it to my kids.

Q: Were you ever approached by other famous people in the entertainment industry, like Steven Spielberg or James Cameron and interacted with them?

Miyamoto: I have met some of them, but I didn't have the opportunity to interact with them.

Q: What do you think of Rare's titles?

Miyamoto: Rare's does great work. For example, Banjo-Kazooie is so good and we can only hope that the Mario 64 sequel will be as complex. Rare is a good company and I wish that we can make a game together some day.