Nintendo's Creative Crisis

#1NealPPosted 3/31/2013 3:49:48 AM
Does anyone else sense Nintendo is having a creativity crisis right now? I specifically am thinking about the Mario series, with which I am most familiar of their franchises. I am sure this could apply to Zelda, Kirby, et cetera.

Perhaps it is specifically Shigeru Miyamoto's influence, but I am noticing a disturbing trend with their recent games:

the removal and/or simplification of original characters
the overuse/growing use of existing characters
a shrinking overall cast of characters in favor of a small subset, with many older characters/fan favorites being completely ignored
the simplification of storyline, often to the point of near nonexistence

Here are some examples:

Super Mario Galaxy - Miyamoto was displeased with the Rosalina storybook. Also the baby luma was originally named Tyke, not Luma. The sequel's story was largely a rehash.
Also, The Observatory and the Mario FaceShip were both significantly smaller hub worlds than Isle Delfino (Mario Sunshine) and Princess Peach's Castle (Mario 64).

Paper Mario: Sticker Star - originally allies were created for every stage, and a deeper RPG-led storyline was in the works until Miyamoto encouraged the developers to toss out the story and allies and start over. He told them not to create new species, only to use characters/species already existent in the Mario world.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon - while in my opinion this is an extremely worthy successor to the original, the portrait ghosts in the original game were fun and colorful characters who were replaced by one of only a few ghost types in the sequel (who are kind of generic, in my opinion) and the game seems to have lost some charm as a result

New Super Mario Bros. series - there has been a lot of discussion as to why we do not have four distinct playable characters or why we have unnamed toads. There have been various conflicting excuses from Nintendo as to why there has not been a wider cast in these games. First, because it would be too much work to animate four distinct characters (they said Peach's dress would be tough). Similarly, another reason was because toads move like Mario and Luigi and they didn't want to create characters who'd move differently, so all four players would be equal. As for Wario, Miyamoto made fun of the character and said his only move was farting so he'd be worthless. Most recently, Miyamoto has said that Wario and Daisy were created for the Super Mario Land series and their artwork is styled differently and only recently would they look appropriate alongside the rest of the characters... until recently they looked too different to be included. (um, what?) He also mistakenly thought Wario was only playable in multiplayer in Super Mario 64 DS.
As for the toads, there is that rumor that Nintendo developers wanted to call them Bucken-Berry and Ala-Gold but were ultimately not allowed.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team - Preliminary screenshots/videos are showing a world stylized very similarly to Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Super Mario 3D Land, fans are worried that the originality of locations may be affected. Also, Starlow is back - marking the first time in the history of Mario RPGs that a partner returns.

Plus there is the ongoing complaint that Bowser is way overused. He has been the main villain in all Mario games released in the past few years across all the series (Galaxy, Land, Mario&Luigi, Paper Mario, New Super Mario Bros.).

It seems Nintendo believes fans want less story and characters. Instead, they focus on innovating their gameplay mechanics over expanding their game worlds.

I know this has been discussed before, but is anyone else worried this is going to become the new norm... or is this a trend, and Nintendo will change with time? It seems they are hearing some of our negative feedback.

Again, perhaps it is largely Miyamoto taking too much ownership over his Mario series and he needs to loosen up and let other creatives continue his world.
#2SocranPosted 3/31/2013 4:03:42 AM
NealP posted...
Instead, they focus on innovating their gameplay mechanics over expanding their game worlds.


In all fairness, pretty much every developer in existence is doing the opposite. Somebody needs to put the gameplay first, as much as I'd like to see some more variety in Mario's worlds. The fact is, "milking" the Mario franchise is what allows Nintendo to push creative gameplay that wouldn't be given a shot by gamers as an original title.

That said, Miyamoto has stated that he's taking a much more hands-off approach with most games right now, to help transition to the point where he's not around anymore (even if he doesn't plan on leaving any time soon).
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#3NealP(Topic Creator)Posted 4/4/2013 2:16:41 PM
Well, he continues to muck stuff up though:

Originally Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon was to have different bosses than the final version. Do you think these would have been closer to the portrait ghosts from the original game? It isn't made clear, but the developers sound rather neutral about it:

http://mynintendonews.com/2013/04/04/next-level-games-say-miyamoto-scrapped-the-original-bosses-in-luigis-mansion-2/

"At one point he threw out all the bosses of the game and made us start over. From our angle that was kind of a tea-table-flip. But maybe it just had bad legs and was wobbling or something. He often challenged us to not go with our first idea, or to experiment further on different things and then cherry-pick our best ideas."

"We had only completed one boss. We had designed the other ones, but we hadn’t implemented them yet. What he wanted for that was, he wanted bosses that could only be in Luigi’s Mansion. If you saw a boss, you’d say, “That’s a Luigi’s Mansion boss!” I think that was the right choice. It allowed us to be very creative."

I think some of the charm lost was because the bosses had less distinctive personalities in this game.
#4ADHDguitarPosted 4/4/2013 2:20:06 PM
Of course.

Innovating game mechanics >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> making big worlds.
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Still waiting for Diddy Kong Racing 2
#5BuretsuPosted 4/4/2013 2:23:57 PM
NealP posted...
Does anyone else sense Nintendo is having a creativity crisis right now? I specifically am thinking about the Mario series, with which I am most familiar of their franchises. I am sure this could apply to Zelda, Kirby, et cetera.


Name an IP with more than 1 or 2 titles in it that isn't.
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no i tried resetting game i even start violent slamming cartridge on wall but all it does make static noise when i put into DS, the problem not fix! -ReconUnit
#6kingrafa12345Posted 4/4/2013 2:24:55 PM
some very nice sources you put there
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Smile, there's always a reason to...
#7kazoka122Posted 4/4/2013 2:26:27 PM
NealP posted...
Plus there is the ongoing complaint that Bowser is way overused. He has been the main villain in all Mario games released in the past few years across all the series (Galaxy, Land, Mario&Luigi, Paper Mario, New Super Mario Bros.).


galaxy-yes
land-yes
mario and luigi-no
paper mario-only 2 games
nsmb-i agree completely, all games feel repetitive.
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!Kazoka Ownz!
#8ArabrockermanXPosted 4/4/2013 2:35:48 PM
SMG now shut up.

Seriously I don't see how Mario would get called out for lack of creativity SMG was probably one of the largest changes in gaming...
#9MetalKirbyPlushPosted 4/4/2013 2:36:30 PM(edited)
When you're a man who has been making games since the third generation of gaming and throughout the advent of three-dimensional gaming, I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. I love a lot of Miyamoto's core game philosophies, but I think he's been getting in the way of things that would not have hurt the game at all.

Galaxy 2 from a gameplay standpoint is still incredibly creative and the story would have not affected this. The Rosalina backstory was nice in SMG1.

Sticker Star... tried to be creative and really failed in execution. It also tried to innovate in a series that fans would have been more than happy to accept a TTYD successor. IS was well on their way to this and I'm actually upset with Miyamoto's intervention in this one.

I hear the charm sentiment about Dark Moon a lot. I haven't played it but I absolutely know what people are getting at with that comment. I'm glad to hear that it's still a massive joy to play either way.

NSMB is the opposite case in that it's incredibly polished and nothing else. The fans don't want a huge changeover, they simply want major signs that new 2D Mario games can actually have new and interesting ideas within the same genre rather than the same ol' every single time. The first four (five if you count SMW2:YI) Mario games brought tons of new ideas in which is why it's jarring to not see similar advancements now.

M&L: Dream Team, not sure about good or bad. I think like with Paper Mario, people just want it to stop trying out big ideas and give them a game like SSS before going off and doing some more ideas again. I for one don't want to see repeat after repeat, but I also agree that jumping ship (even if fairly successful in such) is just an odd approach.
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Samus ruined Metroid forever. She keeps killing them. ~CTsChoco
#10_Sovereign_Posted 4/4/2013 2:46:26 PM
Hasn't he taken more of a supervisory role? I would think that the newer games faults and issues are a result of a misunderstanding when talking to someone else about his ideas.

I mean, you can only misinterpret something you don't clearly understand, this isn't in reference to say SS's story, but rather specific innovative ideas or creative uses that don't seem to pan out correctly.
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