With Pikmin 4 releasing nearer to the end of this week, Nintendo has seen to it to make sure Pikmin 4 was the latest game to get the “Ask the Developer” interview treatment. Across the interview’s multiple instalments, we got to hear from the likes of Shigeru Miyamoto, Yuji Kando and more.

During the interview, Shigeufmi Hino, Masamachi Abe, Yuji Kando, Junji Morii and Shigeru Miyamoto, all weighed in creating the gameplay mechanics and features fans know now:

Pikmin Devs on the Developing the Gameplay Loop:

Masamachi Abe: Once the design had been decided, the game design team experimented with ideas one after another as they came up, to understand how to make it fun and interesting to control these creatures. We tried things like forming a squad and making them throw balls or battle. But we couldn’t quite get to the point where we knew how to make it interesting as a game.

Shigefumi Hino: At the time, when we were creating gameplay in which you throw these characters at the enemy like missiles, Miyamoto-san asked us, “What happens after you throw them?”. So I answered that they’d surround the enemy and start hitting it. Then he goes, “Can’t they stick to the enemy after you throw them? I mean, I wonder what would happen if they stuck to the enemy’s back or its weak points?”.

Shigeru Miyamoto: Yeah, I remember. So the team experimented with attaching them to the enemies, and then everyone got all excited like, “Ooh, I threw them and they stuck!”. (Laughs) Also, after defeating an enemy, we thought it would be satisfying if you could carry it back home. So we actually had the creatures carry the enemy, and they looked just like ants carrying a cicada. Once again, a big hit with everyone. (Laughs)

Shigefumi Hino: Lots of ideas were added, like if a creature sticks to an enemy’s back, it can attack it, but if it sticks to its mouth, it’ll get eaten.

Shigeru Miyamoto: Even when a creature gets eaten by an enemy, there were also ideas like not letting it get swallowed whole, but instead having the enemy drag it into its mouth to munch on it. (Laughs) And so we eventually added screaming sounds and ghost effects to depict its dying moments to the bitter end.

Shigefumi Hino: In the end, we settled on a gameplay loop in which the creatures would increase in number as they brought the enemies they defeated back, but right before we had a final product, even Miyamoto-san seemed a bit hesitant and said, “I don’t know, I wonder if it’s really a good idea to have the number of creatures grow with each dead enemy. Is it too much…?”. But we pushed for it in the end, and said, “We’ve come this far, let’s just go for it!”. (Laughs)

Although the character and world design, as well as actions like stick, throw, and carry, had been decided, it took us a while to finalise the gameplay loop. There were various elements floating around and we couldn’t quite fit them together and figure out exactly what the characters should do and what would constitute ‘completing the game’. In Miyamoto-san’s mind, though, there was a plan to announce Pikmin at E3 in 2001, when games for GameCube were going to be revealed.

Shigeru Miyamoto:
So, as the producer of the game, I pleaded to Abe-san, “I’ll join as a director, so please give me three months. I’ll step down if it fails”. (Laughs)

Yuji Kando:
That’s when Miyamoto-san put together all of our scattered ideas – hardly leaving any behind – into a single game flow diagram. By the way, Pikmin were called Piki or Picky back then, so that’s what you see on this document.

Shigefumi Hino: It begins with throwing these characters from the squad to give them orders. The goal is to carry the object home. So the goal isn’t to bring a certain number of Pikmin to the end point, but how it works is that you’ll need to gather enough of them to be able to carry the objects. On top of that, he shared with us the purposes that enemies and plants serve, how a day passes, Pikmin biology, and the mechanism by which Pikmin grow in number.

Shigeru Miyamoto: At first, the goal was to lead Piki all the way to the exit. But I didn’t like aiming for a goal set by someone else, like “You’ll complete the game if you bring 50 Piki to the end point”. I mean, who decided that it has to be 50, right? On the other hand, “X number is required to carry an object” made more sense to me. If you want to carry something that looks heavy, you need more Pikmin. Everyone can understand this concept intuitively. That’s why I started to think about this game in terms of how efficiently players fight enemies, transport objects, and grow their squads. 

For the full interview, why not click here to check out Ask the Developer Vol. 10, Pikmin 4 – Chapter 1Ask the Developer Vol. 10, Pikmin 4 – Chapter 1.

Ask the Developer | Pikmin 4 (Participating Developers)

  • Shigeru Miyamoto | Representative Director Fellow
  • Yuji Kando | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Production Group No.10
  • Shigefumi Hino | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Production Group No.10
  • Masamichi Abe | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Co-Production Group
  • Junji Morii | Entertainment Planning & Development Department, Production Group No.4

By Jack Longman

In 2015, when rumours of the NX and Zelda U were everywhere, my brother and I started Miketendo64 and we've been running it ever since. As the Editor-in-Chief, I have attended video gaming events in three different countries, been to preview events, and penned more than 4,000 articles to date, ranging from news, to features, reviews, interviews and guides. I love gaming and I love all things Nintendo. I also love Networking, so don't be afaid to reach out. Email: contact@miketendo64.com / jack.lo@miketendo64.com Website: https://miketendo64.com/ YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyVMO4QgcniAjhLxoyc9n8Q

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: