Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the most recognizable names in the video game industry. Any topnotch game developer, executive, or bigwigs in the gaming business have heard his name time and time again, and most probably even use him and his work as an inspiration to how they create games.
The Legendary Shigeru Miyamoto
He's a legend, that is for certain. But it's not so much that the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda creator makes great games — that's a given already. He's a legend because he knows how to elevate them, knows how to turn them into quintessential interactive experiences that combine the elements that make up gaming — controls, story, sound, art style, characters — and package it into something that's more than the sum of its parts.
When a person plays a Miyamoto game, they're not just playing a game. They're entering an immersive world quite different from their own, but as emotionally potent as the woes of the real world. In Super Mario, the princess must be saved. In Legend of Zelda, it's more or less the same. There are no princesses to save in the real world, of course. But there's a journey to be taken. That's why Miyamoto is so deft, so astute: he knows that games are little journeys, and he guides players and goads them to discover the world for themselves.
So it's quite surprising that in a new interview, Miyamoto has revealed one of the secrets to making great games: try not to hire gamers all the time.
To Make Great Games, Hire Non-Gamers
"I always look for designers who aren't super-passionate game fans," Miyamoto told The New York Times in a new interview in which he discussed stepping back from the limelight and letting other talents take his place for the new generation.
The reason? People who are very passionate about video games are less likely to try new ideas, he said.
"I make it a point to ensure they're not a gamer, but that they have a lot of different interests and skill sets," said Miyamoto. In fact, some of Nintendo's current stars had no experience playing video games when they were hired, which is a pretty incredible thing if true.
Miyamoto said he wants people who try to think of new ways to play rather than perfect current ones.
"More and more I am trying to let the younger generation fully take the reins."
It seems unbelievable at first, but it actually makes sense. To create games that are diverse, the people behind them must come from different backgrounds as well, because that will enrich their input. A game developer will look at games differently than, say, a person whose primarily a graphic designer. In the end, the product is made better because of their perspectives.
What do you think about Miyamoto's outlook in terms of hiring new people? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!