Shigeru Miyamoto – the man responsible for creating Mario back in 1981– has been in the United States promoting the December 15th release of Super Mario Run for iPhone and iPad, keeping a brutal schedule that has included playing guitar with the Roots on The Tonight Show and speaking to a packed crowd at the SoHo Apple Store in New York. His new game marks a massive change of approach for the pioneering company he's worked at for more than 30 years, as it sees its crown jewel property appearing on devices not made by Nintendo.
We caught up with Miyamoto at the end of his big publicity tour and spoke to him about his creative process, his feelings about getting older, whether he's thinking of retiring any time soon and how he sees himself as a creator. He also reveals that he's been able to find the time to work on ideas for Nintendo's theme park partnership with Universal by not leading the charge on the company's upcoming Switch console.
You mentioned in your presentation at the Apple Store this week that your core team has been together for 30 years. How do you keep that relationship together and keep it working?
It's interesting, because people often ask me what I'm most proud of and for the longest time it was a question I always really struggled with. A few years ago, I realized that the thing that I'm really the most proud of is that I've been working with the same core group of people for the last 30 years – and really it's because you just don't see that happen very often.
There's myself, Takeshi Tezuka, Toshihiko Nakago and there's actually a fourth member of our group too: Koji Kondo. Usually it's the four of us that work on things together. There are probably a few reasons for it. I think we're actually somewhat special because we're all Nintendo employees, and that's unique compared to what you'll sometimes see with other creative groups. The other is that in working together over the past 30 years, we've all fallen into these very specific roles in the development process and that's enabled us to work really well.
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