Nintendo press conference
Howard Lincoln conducted Nintendo's E3 1998 press briefing. Lincoln claimed that Nintendo's game lineup was the best they or anyone has ever had. He said that the most important thing in a game is its quality, and said that when it comes to Nintendo and its partners, most notably Rare, Nintendo exceeded in this department. Lincoln also discussed the formation of Nintendo Software Technology, a game development studio within Nintendo of America that, at the time of the conference, hadn't opened up yet. He explained that the goal of this new studio was to hire graduates from Digipen.
The most talked about news of the show was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which was introduced by Lincoln and Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto commented on the game, saying "I first imagined the world of Zelda many years ago. I imagined it as a place different from the real world, a place where you can do things you could never do in the real world, where you could go places you could never go in the real world, places you have only dreamed of, or had nightmares about. The N64 let me realize this goal. With the dramatic graphics, I hope you feel like you have become Link. I hope you can feel his curiousity, his fear, his sense of danger. I feel the Zelda games are a great adventure book that combines the imagination of the author and reader. I hope you will start turning the pages of this book on the show floor. We are very proud of this game and hope you enjoy it."
Shigeru Miyamoto interview
The following is a the Shigeru Miyamoto Q&A session that took place at the show.
The following Q&A session took place at Mr. Miyamoto's press briefing.
Q: How much of your original design is in the game?
A: I'm the Producer of this game so I can't say that 100% is mine. The core game and main system is about 70% mine. The system engineer developed my ideas. However, the scenario and game modes are only about 50% my idea. There are a lot of excellent artists working on this project. At least 50% of the game is created by these artists, though I take full responsibility for the final game content!
Q: How long have you been working on this game?
A: Three years have passed since we started working on it. In the beginning, I only spent about 20% of my time on Zelda, but in the last few months I've spent about 50% of my time. Now I spend about 100% of my time on Zelda. So I have to go home (from E3)! (Laughs.)
Q: Is there anything that you want to add to the game but won't be able to due to technical limitations?
A: I always have some problems with games when they are complete. But with Zelda, I am unusually almost satisfied with the game so far. But what is still lacking is the feeling that makes this game a Zelda game. I'm still thinking about what makes this (Zelda 64) a genuine Zelda game.
Q: Do you think this game will increase sales of the hardware in Japan and other parts of the world.
A: I try not to think about the business side of things, and of competing with other game makers. But I do feel the pressure of making this a success in Japan. I hope more companies will make games for N64. I think Zelda 64 will help sales in Japan. We are also going to release Ogre Battle, Banjo-Kazooie and F-Zero X. Unfortunately, these were supposed to be released last year... All of these titles will contribute to the success of N64 in Japan.
Q: How long will this game take to get through?
A: Frankly, we have the parts but we haven't combined them yet so we can't say. If you follow the story of the game you should have about the same play time as the SNES game. But since you can go anywhere in this game, it has a huge volume of game play. It should take about 40 hours to finish the game, but a good tester could finish it in 5–6 hours if they know where everything is.
Q: How much voice is in the game?
A: Navi (Link's fairy companion) won't speak a lot. I don't like Navi's voice in the current version. She'll eventually speak less.
Q: Will there be a 64DD sequel?
A: We are working on 64DD Zelda. After finishing everything in the cartridge, you can enter the new world. We are working on it.
Q: How about Game Boy Color?
A: We have been thinking about it. We are working on a GB Color version that is different from the N64 game. Also, we are creating an update of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for Game Boy Color. There are some people who have never played Zelda so we want them to play on the more popular system, Game Boy.
Q: Are you still working on Jungle Emperor?
A: This probably won't be introduced this year. It might come out Spring or Summer of next year. We're trying to finish it this year, though. Makato Tezuka (Osamu Tezuka's son) is the director of this game. He's not a game designer. He has been having some hardships and trouble, but we're helping him and giving him a lot of advice, both helpful and silly.
Q: What percentage of the objectives in Zelda 64 will be necessary and what percentage will be optional secrets?
A: Roughly speaking, 70% will be necessary, 30% will be exploring, secrets, etc. But it's difficult to say for sure in the current version.
Q: What is your favorite secret that you've ever put into a game?
A: It's difficult to objectively pick my favorite secret. I really liked the things we put in the original Zelda games, where you had to move rocks and burn trees to find hidden things inside. I liked the guys who said "Please don't tell anyone and I will give you something secret."
Q: Have you consciously decided to make things like jumping automatic in Zelda 64?
A: We always try to make a game that simulates reality. However, sometimes it is not good to make things too realistic, or the game will be difficult to play. Golf is a good example. It may be impossible for you to make par in real golf, but in a video game you can usually make par. Many realistic 3D environments are difficult to explore. The more realistic, the more we have to help the player. So, we made the jump in Zelda 64 automatic. In the final verision, I think you will find the actions easier to complete.
Q: What do you think about the AIAS Hall of Fame award?
A: I am glad to be the first to receive this award. I just hope that I can continue to contribute to the video game industry. I want to continue to make the industry larger.
Q: How linear is the dialog in Zelda 64?
A: Until the game is complete, I can't say for sure. I personally don't like scenes where yo9u just sit and watch or read dialog. It's a game, not a movie! I think the dialog scenes in Zelda 64 will last about 30–40 minutes. Altogether, there are about 800 messages in the game (NOTE: Mr. Miyamoto looked at me as he said this—cringe!) I try to avoice sequences that repeat.
Q: Is Zelda 64 your greatest accomplishment? Will there be another Zelda?
A: I hope this will be my greatest accomplishment, but whenever I'm given a new platform I can think of new tricks. I don't know about the future. I hope someone will take my place someday and make games for me to enjoy!
Q: What about Metroid 64?
A: I'm not working on it. I hope someone from our PR department can answer this. I have no info.
Q: (To Mr. Tezuka) What is Mr. Miyamoto like to work with?
Mr. Tezuka: He's just a normal person. He's not bossy of hard on anyone. He's like working with a friend. Mr. Miyamoto: That's the kind of atmosphere I try to create. But some of the new guys think I'm terrible (laughs).
Q: Do you ever bring prototype games home for your kids to play?
A: No I try to separate work from home. But I might have to bring home Pokémon Stadium for my kids!
Q: Have you ever spoken with other media creatives (like Spielberg or Cameron) about interactive entertainment?
A: I have met some people from other industries but I've never interacted on game creative.
Q: What do you think about Rare's progress and development?
A: I think Rare is terrific and wonderful. Banjo-Kazooie is outstanding. We hope the sequel to Super Mario 64 can approach it. I hope I can make a game together with Rare someday.
PR: 1998: The Year of Nintendo
The following is a press release Nintendo released following their conference.
"1998…THE YEAR OF NINTENDO
Unprecedented Industry Strength, Nintendo Product Breakthroughs Highlight Second Half
ATLANTA, May 27, 1998 – Debuting a revolutionary "prime-time" lineup, Nintendo of America Inc. today pronounced this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) as "Must See E3." Nintendo unveils unparalleled video game miracles involving for the first time ever, enough power to have 30 characters simultaneously moving on the screen, unprecedented four-player racing at 60 frames per second, a game machine that magically transforms into a digital camera and game characters whose facial expressions and gestures tell YOU how to proceed.
At the forefront of the extraordinarily healthy $15 billion video game industry is the most anticipated video game ever, The Legend of Zelda®: The Ocarina of Time, created by Shigeru Miyamoto. The legendary video game designer this week will also become the first recipient of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame award.
Banjo-Kazooie™ and Twelve Tales: Conker 64™, two brilliantly designed games developed by the world-famous designers at U.K.-based Rare Ltd., debut unmatched graphic quality and game play. Rounding out this stellar Nintendo 64 library are Waialae Country Club™: True Golf Classics®, F-1 World Grand Prix, F-Zero´â X and Cruis'n World™.
In addition, Game Boy will double its revenues and solidify its dominance in the handheld category with the introduction of Game Boy® Camera and Game Boy® Color. Tagged as the hottest craze in Japan captivating more than 8 million children, Pokémon™ makes its U.S. premiere in September with the launch of a Game Boy game, a dedicated animated television series and a multitude of licensed products including Pokémon Pikachu™, a virtual pet monster that inspires its owners to take a stroll in the park.
No matter what Nintendo product line you choose, you're getting innovation, quality and variety," says Howard Lincoln, chairman, Nintendo of America. "Entering the second half of '98, we're firing on all cylinders and further stretching the definition of video game play."
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time leads the technology stampede in new software. Using 256 megabits of memory — the largest in any video game cartridge — this title delivers a sequel inclusive of all the elements that has made the Zelda series beloved by players of all ages around the world. Through The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Nintendo begins to explore another generation of the Nintendo 64 platform with features like in-depth adventure; state-of-the-art graphics; immersive audio and sound effects; brilliant and imaginative game play; and the continuing saga of Link and Zelda in the world of Hyrule, which can only be realized on the world's most powerful home video game system.
Banjo-Kazooie features Rare's first character-based Nintendo 64 platform game, and the largest
Nintendo 64 game to date. Twelve Tales: Conker 64, published by Rare, showcases cinematic quality graphics to create an animated wonderland full of responsive and reactive characters, as well as a two-player simultaneous option — a first for action/adventure games.
In the Nintendo Sports arena, Kobe Byrant in NBA Courtside and Major League Baseball® Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr. recently hit store shelves, both offering unparalleled graphic beauty and game play experience. Next on the tee is the beautiful, highly detailed golf game Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics.
New technologies and cultural phenomena carry the torch for the Game Boy system as it nears the 10-year mark, shining as brightly as it did when first released in 1989. With the June 1 launch of Game Boy Camera, a swiveling large-eye lens that fits into any Game Boy unit and serves as a digital camera, Americans will learn the secret of "FUNtography." When accompanied by the Game Boy® Printer, camera images can be printed as stickers. Also launching this year is Game Boy Color, which contains new, proprietary technology that displays sharp and vivid color graphics on a new type of color reflective screen for play indoors and outdoors.
Pokémon, the latest Game Boy craze, has already achieved unprecedented popularity in Japan and Nintendo is bringing it to the United States in September. It is the first title ever to combine adventure game play with new challenges of traveling through an engrossing role-playing world, raising a virtual pet monster and linking your Game Boy to a friend's Game Boy for combat-based character battle or trading.
In addition to Nintendo's "prime time lineup," aggressive marketing campaigns are currently underway for the second half of 1998. Expanding its reach, Nintendo has partnered with Tommy Hilfiger, Coca-Cola's Surge, Keebler and Kraft Food's Kool-Aid to roll out national promotions campaigns that will showcase the Nintendo brand to its target consumers.
Continuing its promise to support the 16-bit market, Nintendo will re-release several million-unit selling games as part of its Player's Choice Series for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System."