In video game development, there is almost always an “overlord” person in the dev cycle that most other developers try to “please” with their hard work and the quality of the title itself. After all, if the company’s higher-ups are happy with a dev team and their games’ success, they’ll get asked to do more things in the future. For the Pikmin 4 team, that “overlord” was none other than Shigeru Miyamoto, who is widely credited with the creation of the franchise, even though it’s a little more complicated than that. However, despite his star power, the team wasn’t “afraid” of him or seeking his approval.
The game’s chief and programming director, Yuji Kando, talked about Miyamoto’s ” impact ” on the title with Game Informer, especially after the Nintendo legend noted in a recent interview that his words “carry a lot of weight.” He had some unique words to say on that topic:
“I always feel honored to be able to work with Mr. Miyamoto. With that said, I hope people don’t take this the wrong way, but we don’t work on a game with the goal of “to make Mr. Miyamoto happy.” The important thing is how deep of a discussion we can have about the game, and those discussions are the times when we see how thoroughly we thought through the game design. So in that sense, yes, we do get nervous going into a discussion with Mr. Miyamoto.”
And being nervous is totally fine so long as it doesn’t turn to fear and things shift because Miyamoto isn’t pleased with what he sees. While it sounds harsh, some of Nintendo’s biggest “disasters” or ‘divisive’ titles were because of Miyamoto’s interference. Such as how he changed the entire nature of the Paper Mario franchise because he felt it was a “bad idea” to keep using the same RPG mechanics repeatedly. Or how an entire game’s visuals were changed because he looked at the main character and went, “That looks like Star Fox!”
Thankfully, such changes didn’t happen to Pikmin 4, or at least not on that level. The game did go through changes, but they were ones that the team wanted/needed to do to appeal to gamers on certain levels. Sure enough, the game has been given the “seal of approval” by fans and has greatly outsold all the other entries in the franchise so far. We’re sure Mr. Miyamoto is happy about that.