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Shigeru Miyamoto's Island Initiative

Why does Wii Sports Resort take place on an island? Inquiring Nintendo nerds want to know.

There may be more to Wii Sports Resort than a bunch of mini games.

Nintendo posted the latest installment in its "Iwata Asks" series yesterday. This time, the CEO's questions were all about Wii Sports Resort.

Midway through the session, Shigeru Miyamoto himself showed up and fielded a question that I'm sure has been on the minds of exactly two people: why does the game take place on an island? His answer ended up providing some insights into Nintendo's future games lineup.

According to Nintendo developer Takayuki Shimamura, the choice of location came after the development of a Wii Motion Plus prototype game. Nintendo's staff thought the new peripheral would be a good fit for Wii Sports.

Miyamoto approached the development staff, although not about a Wii Sports sequel. He discussed something that became referred to internally as "The Island Initiative."

As explained by Miyamoto, the "Island Initiative" idea is something he'd had for ten years. "Nintendo engages in the business of making a variety of characters and licensing them," he said. "However, seeing as how we're a company that makes games, I had the idea for the longest time about converting a game stage into a character."

"Something we could license," said Miyamoto, to which Iwata laughingly replied, "An Island License."

Continued Miyamoto, "So, we were talking for the longest time about 'Shall we make a Dream Island,' and so forth, and with Wii Fit, we tried to make a large island."

Miyamoto, featured in Nintendo's latest Iwata Asks series.

The island in Wii Fit is called Wii Fit Island (Wee-fee Island in the Japanese version). In Wii Sports Resort, the island is called WuHu Island. "In terms of image, they're basically the same," explained Miyamoto. "We've further polished this island, made it into a resort island, changed the setting into a character, and later various island series...."

Here, he was interrupted by Iwata who said, "There will be a variety of series?"

"For example," continued Miyamoto, "an adventure game, a role playing game, a land development game -- wouldn't it be enjoyable if a variety of things come out afterwards?"

Iwata summed it up: "In other words, later, games of a variety of genres would come out set on the same island."

"Once you've played Resort, you'll get to know the land," explained Shimamura. "So, when you buy a new game, even if you're dropped somewhere on the island, you'll immediately know where you are."

Development staff member Yoshikazu Yamashita stepped in here, saying "We were told by Miyamoto to make symbols. If there are symbols and landmarks on the island, you'll be able to more easily know where you are."

"With that in mind," said Iwata, "Wii Fit's island certainly had notable landmarks in various locations." This, according to Miyamoto, was intentional.

When you pick up Wii Fit on June 25, take a close look at the game's environments. It's possible that Nintendo's next big adventure game will be set there.

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