In an exclusive interview with Edge Magazine, Jez San, founder of Argonaut Software, reveals what it was like to work with Nintendo phenomenon Shigeru Miyamoto.
Argonaut worked with Nintendo in developing the original Star Fox in 1993. “We were the tech team for Star Fox and did the programming, and Nintendo were the creative team, handling the characters, the story, the audio and the level design,” San recounts, “That was how the partnership worked and they learned a lot about 3D from us, but we learned from them too, about how to create characters and a narrative – the Nintendo way of making games.”
San tells Edge more about Miyamoto’s somewhat chaotic creative process, disclosing that “there was not one level in Super Mario World that was designed up front which he didn’t completely change.”
When developing Star Fox with Miyamoto, San admits that “he would play his guitar during meetings, go outside for a smoke – we all smoked back then. A down-to-earth guy. Everything is hands-on with him and nothing is done in advance. He’ll ask you to do something, play it, and then say, ‘Right, let’s throw that away and try something else.’”
“He plays everything and changes everything – it’s an iterative process,” San says, “That methodology of designing games only works when you have limitless budgets and no deadlines. In the real world, you have fixed budgets and deadlines and very few people can tell the publisher, ‘Sorry, it’ll be ready next year. Or the one after. Look, we’ll give it to you when it’s done’. Nintendo could.”
The full interview with Jez San will feature in Edge #375, available in stores and via Magazines Direct (opens in new tab) from Thursday.