TOKYO - "Super Mario Bros" creator Shigeru Miyamoto has produced some of the world's biggest video game hits over the past three decades, and now he has added film producer to his long list of credits.
Miyamoto unveiled his latest project, "PIKMIN Short Movies", at the Tokyo International Film Festival over the weekend - a 3D short-animation film based on Nintendo game characters of the same name.
He said he had balked for years at requests to make films with Nintendo characters but warmed to the possibilities of filmmaking given technological advances, though he has no intention to shift from games to the movie business. "I haven't moved over. But as computer graphics have gotten better, I started to feel that it's something that I could get involved with," he told Reuters in an interview. "Making films in the past was something that was made with a completely different skill set but now I feel that it's rather similar," said Miyamoto, a senior managing director at Nintendo.
Nintendo's "Pikmin" game series, which was launched in 2001, follows the astronaut Captain Olimar and multicoloured plant-like Pikmin creatures as they collect items while dodging obstacles and battling monsters. It is now in its third edition on the Nintendo Wii U gaming console. "PIKMIN Short Movies" is a 23-minute omnibus comprising the stories "The Night Juicer", "Treasures in a Bottle", and"Occupational Hazards".
Miyamoto described the film as a project aimed at expanding the world of video games and giving more life to the Pikmin characters. Theatrical distribution plans remain undecided. "More than making it as a film to put in theatres, I made it as a film to present the footage that was necessary in the game. So that's why it's this length," he said. "I was thinking of how to announce it and there was this film festival, so I was lucky." Miyamoto said there were no plans now for further films based on Pikmin or other Nintendo characters but he left the door open, saying that "technically, there are various things we can do".
Still, video games remain his true love, and after 30 years in the business with blockbusters like "Donkey Kong", "The Legend of Zelda" and "Star Fox" to his name, Miyamoto shows no sign of slowing down. "Every day is still fun," he said with a big smile, noting he was working on various projects for the Wii U with several titles due to come out next year.
And in the years ahead?
"There will be more interactive things in our everyday lives. And I want to be involved in any aspect of that. I don't know if I'll be making Mario but in 10 or 20 years I think I'll still be doing something," Miyamoto said.