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I want to challenge myself, says Metroid series director

Sakamoto says new ideas are essential to future work

Veteran Nintendo designer Yoshio Sakamoto has said he would like to "satisfy" fans of the classic franchises he's worked on in the past, but also challenge himself to take them in new directions.

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Yoshio Sakamoto has worked at Nintendo since 1982.

Sakamoto-san, whose latest title is the unique 3DS social sim Tomodachi Life, has worked on nine previous Metroid games, usually as director or producer, including the 1986 original and all the flagship SNES, GameCube and Wii successors.

He has also worked on the likes of Kid Icarus and Balloon Fight.

However, since 2002's Metroid Fusion, Sakamoto has moved predominantly to a producer role, overseeing experimental series such as Wario Ware and Rhythm Heaven, only briefly returning to the director's seat for 2010's Other M.

Speaking during a reveal event for Tomodachi Life, Sakamoto was asked by CVG whether he would continue to work on the franchises he is most famous for.

CVG: In your Tomodachi presentation, you mentioned your mission to 'create a game that moves the industry forwards'. Does that mean you will not return to the more traditional game series that you're known for?

Sakamoto: I do not intend to do so. There might [currently] be various tasks I might be involved in with past series. However, even if so I would always like to introduce new entertainment and new fun to those series.

I would like to satisfy fans of those series, but also working with other talented individuals I would like to create entertainment that's completely different and that brings new emotions. I would like to challenge myself in those unique directions.

This might be indirect, but if we can make new types of gamers enjoy video games for the first time through Tomodachi Life, then they might eventually become interested in the more conventional games. I think we need to ensure that video games remain attractive to consumers, and in order to do so new concepts and ideas are important. I would like to challenge myself to do that.

Despite Metroid and Tomodachi, on paper, displaying wildly different ideas and approaches to game design, Sakamoto insisted his approach to both series is the same.

"I am told by many people that I have developed many different types of games over my career, but I think this is solely because I was able to partner with many different people with many different talents," he said.

"Although the types of games are different, what I think is the same for each development is the process of deciding which kinds of emotions we should bring to players.

"When we think in that manner, many approaches of game development are actually the same over different types of games."

"I think in the end what is most important is hospitality towards consumers. When we develop games we always think, 'what do we have to do to make players happy or satisfied?'"

Tomodachi Life is due for release on Nintendo 3DS on June 6, 2014.

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