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Next for Nintendo's creative leader: 'Something really new'

Mark Milian, CNN
Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's game visionary, says he wants to work on fresh ideas.
Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's game visionary, says he wants to work on fresh ideas.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Shigeru Miyamoto created the Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda characters and games
  • Nintendo's creative leader is looking to explore completely new ideas
  • The company's three biggest game releases in the last month were all sequels

Redwood City, California (CNN) -- Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of beloved Nintendo game franchises including "Super Mario," "Donkey Kong" and the "Legend of Zelda," wants to make something new.

"I am really keen to work on something really new, which eventually is going to be important for the future of Nintendo," he said, through a translator, in an interview here at Nintendo's offices on Thursday. "I would like to try to do something which might be able to expand the boundary or the definition of video games."

Miyamoto spoke with CNN the day after Wired reported that the game visionary would step down as a top Nintendo director and producer overseeing the development of games and products. CNN has a syndication agreement with Wired.

A Nintendo spokeswoman disputed the Wired report, which quotes Miyamoto telling colleagues that he is ready to retire. Miyamoto was being sarcastic, but that nuance was lost in translation, she said.

"Miyamoto's role at Nintendo is not changing," the company said in a statement. "He will continue to be a driving force in Nintendo's development efforts."

The 59-year-old video-game pioneer may spend less time working directly on blockbuster games in Nintendo's biggest franchises, he said. But he will have a senior role, which involves helping to determine the future direction of Nintendo's hardware and software.

"We've got to incorporate something new all the time," Miyamoto said. "Everything starts from something small whenever we are trying to find out something new."

Miyamoto suggested in the interview that he may be tiring of shepherding each new entry into the franchises he dreamed up decades ago. The three biggest games Nintendo launched in the last month are sequels.

As its name implies, "Mario Kart 7" for the 3DS hand-held system is the seventh in the go-cart racing series. There were more than a dozen "Zelda" games before the "Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" for the Wii. And who can keep count of how many adventures Mario was in before "Super Mario 3D Land?"

Here's a telling number: Miyamoto said the word "new" more than a dozen times in the course of an interview that lasted just under an hour.

He suggested that with execs like Eiji Aonuma, who runs the "Zelda" series, Nintendo's most prized franchises are in good hands. Miyamoto said he's instilled in the teams a desire to make big changes often and constantly perfect their products.

Miyamoto declined to describe his new project in depth. He mentioned gyroscopes and wireless proximity communication, both of which are built into the Nintendo 3DS, as technologies he'd like to tap in the future. To demonstrate his wacky thinking, he said he had considered working on a digital globe with a map of the world that people could carry around with them.

Ideas for games often come from encounters in Miyamoto's own life, he said. As legend has it, the idea for Pikmin, a decade-old game in which an alien leads a race of plantlike creatures, sprang from Miyamoto's garden.

"I'm the person who thinks very differently," Miyamoto said. "I'm the guy who believes in the numerous possibilities of video games. Even by looking around and taking advantage of the existing video-game technologies, we can certainly make something brand new."

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