It seems Miyamoto is once again attempting to broaden the target audience for Zelda games. In an interview with Wired.com, he explains that if he has his way with the game, the upcoming Zelda title for the Wii will require the use of the Wiimote peripheral known as the Wii Motion Plus.
LOS ANGELES — If Shigeru Miyamoto has his way, the next Legend of Zelda game for Wii will require the Wii MotionPlus add-on.
In a roundtable press conference last week at E3, the head of Nintendo’s game design department told the press that the game would use the $20 add-on, which adds greater motion-sensing capabilities to the Wii Remote. But he said it wasn’t yet decided whether the MotionPlus would be required or optional.
Speaking exclusively to Wired.com, however, he said that he’s pushing the game’s developers to create a Zelda experience that requires the extra features.
“The goal at this point is that we would make Wii MotionPlus required in order to play Zelda,” he said.
It’s reasonable to assume that Zelda’s use of MotionPlus might depend on how many of the devices Nintendo sells between now and the game’s far-off release date. But Miyamoto says that’s not actually the case.
“The bigger hurdle for us is not really whether people have a Wii MotionPlus or don’t have it, it’s whether or not the experience is one where people will think they want to have a Wii Motion Plus in order to experience it,” he said.
The standard Wii remote controller can only detect its own rotation, but with the $20 Wii MotionPlus, which was released on Monday, it can also detect linear motion. In July, Nintendo will release Wii Sports Resort, a collection of sports games that will illustrate various ways the MotionPlus features can be used.
In an archery game, for example, you can aim your “bow” by moving the controller in a straight line up and down.
Link, the main character of The Legend of Zelda, loves to shoot arrows himself. Might we see a deeper archery mechanic in his next game?
If Nintendo has already committed to including Wii MotionPlus support in the game, it’s quite unlikely that it would make it optional, especially as it can just bundle the MotionPlus in with every copy of the game so that every player has the device.
Miyamoto realizes that Zelda players might not want an excessive amount of motion controls in their adventure game, which has typically been about puzzle-solving and storylines rather than too-intricate action sequences.
“There may be a group of people out there who look at people playing motion control games and have a hesitancy to try to play those because they’re worried that they might not look so cool, swinging a Wii remote around. But in watching people play New Super Mario Bros. Wii, even though it’s just a simple shaking motion, I’m watching people play (it) with a big grin on their face.”
“So I’m hoping that we might be able to create a similar-feeling experience for Zelda,” he said.
Miyamoto went on to say that the game is still in a rougher state of development, which is why Nintendo declined to show any of it at E3.
“The development of Zelda has been focused strictly on the gameplay structure at this point. We haven’t devoted much in the way of efforts to things like graphical representation, and story, and those types of production elements,” he said.
Miyamoto said at E3 that although the current goal is to release the new Zelda in 2010, it could be pushed back. With two heavy hitters, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: The Other M, already on for next year, it seems most likely that we’ll have to wait until 2011 to play Link’s next great adventure.
It seems Miyamoto, contrary to popular opinion, is more than aware of the uneasy, and possibly ominous, rumblings from the Nintendo community, a large section of which appear to eschew the motion controls on the grounds they replace viable game mechanics with gimmicks; however, the gaming guru appears to be ignoring them, thinking he can deliver what gamers need, rather than what gamers want.
So, what does this mean for Zelda? Stay tuned over the next few months and we’ll find out!