The console wars are still going strong between Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's Playstation line of products, but don't count Nintendo out of the running just yet. The Japanese video game legend is hard at work on its next console with the iconic Mario character front and center.
Nintendo game designer and producer Shigeru Miyamoto sat down with the Associated Press to discuss the future of the company, including improvements to the popular Wii U and that anticipated next game system.
"For the time being, our focus is on the Wii U hardware, but Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems," he teased. "While we're busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be."
Miramoto also discusses the importance of Mario as an icon for the company, comparing the little Italian plumber to Disney's Mickey Mouse. "From early on, I wanted Mario to be that character in the digital world, so that with each digital evolution, he was there to usher in the next era. I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role or in a new game."
Whether Nintendo fans would embrace a new role for Mario is still undetermined, but Miramoto seems optimistic. In the meantime, Miramoto says that the company's focus is on the current Wii U lineup for 2015, including the new Star Fox game.
"I like to create gameplay mechanics more than I do stories," the game designer said. "The story might not be too different from past Star Fox games, but the gameplay mechanics are going to feel very different because of the two-screen system of the Wii U with the GamePad and TV screen. It'll make for a very fun and unique way to play.
"We're focused on providing a robust line-up of Wii U software for next year," he continued. "It seems like we've managed to do that this year and people are very happy with what we've done on Wii U."
Following the big Sony leak earlier this month at the hands of hackers, information came out that Spider-Man producer Avi Arad was working on a new animated film based on the Mario Bros that Miramoto created. But Miramoto says that the idea of a new film isn't likely. "What's interesting is that over the past 20 years, people come to us on a fairly regular basis about creating Mario movies," he said. "There are times that those ideas end right when they bring them to us, and other times we'll listen to presentations. It's not very unusual, and it's something we've been doing for a very long time. I don't particularly have a vision that the next iteration of Mario is going to be in film."
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata mentioned earlier this year that the new Nintendo console would only come when current Wii U owners are completely satisfied with the company and the product.
"We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers who already own our platforms are satisfied, and make sure that people will continue to see great value in our software, but I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take," Iwata said.