E3 07: Is Nintendo abandoning the hardcore?

Enter Miyamoto

Miyamoto has a way of lighting up any room he enters, especially when he's in front of a bunch of game journos. Real big surprise that the creator of Mario has that effect on those gamer types.

Starting up his half of the roundtable discussion, Miyamoto quips, "Where's the roundtable?! There's not even one to upend!"

Miymoto is currently working closely on two major projects: the newly-announced Wii Fit and Super Mario Galaxy.

Although they're completely different games, Miyamoto claims that "they both have one thing in common: We want them both to be accessible to everybody."

Again, you can almost sense the concern among the veteran gamers in attendance who prefer a challenge.

Miyamoto hopes that Super Mario Galaxy will attract new gamers, so it sounds like difficulty may be toned down a bit from previous installments. But he expects that the satisfaction from playing Galaxy will come from the unique control and gameplay, not necessarily a high difficulty level.

Despite saying this, he revealed that up until recently, the game was quite a bit easier, but he opted to ramp up the difficulty level to the point where people on the development team were becoming concerned that it was too hard.

The team working on Super Mario Galaxy is the same group that worked on Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Miyamoto is directly involved with the Galaxy project as the game's designer, but someone else is directing the title.

He assured the audience that his place on the development team means that he is in fact more involved in Galaxy than he was in the creation of Super Mario 64, which he directed.

The development of the game began with about 30 people on the team, but as it nears completion, that group has been upped to about 50 members, according to Miyamoto.

During the session, he demoed the game, showing off areas not displayed on the E3 show floor. It may be jarring for Mario fans at first to see the plumber flying between spherical planets and being thrown about by gravity, which plays a big role in the game. But it's still distinctly Miyamoto and parts of the game still feature vivid, colorful worlds that define past Mario games.

Nintendo has shown that it can attract new audiences, but in that pursuit of expanding the market, it has found that it must be even more mindful of striking a balance between challenge and accessibility that will please the vets and the soccer moms alike. Finding that center will be difficult, but let's face it - vets are going to buy Phantom Hourglass and Super Mario Galaxy in droves either way.

Even if Super Mario Galaxy turns out to be a walk in the park, though, Miyamoto says it'll be a long promenade, as the game will feature 40 galaxies, 120 stars and lots of hidden areas.

"There's quite a bit of volume to this game," he says.

Source:Next Generation