Shigeru Miyamoto Has Good News For Amiibo Sceptics Like Me

Shigeru Miyamoto Has Good News For Amiibo Sceptics Like Me

I'm optimistic about many things in gaming, but I'm a confirmed Amiibo sceptic. I fear the day a Zelda dungeon or Smash Bros. character is locked out for those who didn't purchase the right $US13 Amiibo figure. Well, at least I don't need to fret about the new Star Fox's use of Amiibos.

"In terms of what I'm doing with Star Fox, I'm really not thinking about there being locked content or there being a mode that you won't be able to play if you don't have one," Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's top game designer, told me last week at E3.

I'd just been telling him about my Amiibo concerns, concerns I'd expressed in an article last May. I see Nintendo selling millions of Amiibo and then tying Amiibo to various content unlocks in games — special challenge map variations in Splatoon, or a cool weapon in Hyrule Warriors, for example — and I wonder just how far Nintendo will go in terms of treating Amiibo as $US13 keys for unlocking content on a disc. Physical DLC, as it were.

What I knew before talking through this with Miyamoto is that this fall's Star Fox Zero for the Wii U will connect at least with the existing Fox McCloud Amiibo and the forthcoming Falco one. It's logical, in that both characters who are featured in Smash Bros. and are therefore destined to have Amiibo to fill out the Smash Amiibo line-up are major characters in Star Fox.

Shigeru Miyamoto Has Good News For Amiibo Sceptics Like Me

That led to this exchange, with Miyamoto's answers provided via a translator:

Totilo: "Mr. Miyamoto... I'm not the biggest fan of the Amiibos. I know a lot of people like them. But I really like the way you guys design games. Ever since you started releasing the Amiibos and connecting some bonus content to them, I began to wonder if that was going to contort the values you have when you design games, that you were going to lock stuff off. Unless I paid extra for an Amiibo I wouldn't get it. I'm wondering if on Star Fox or anything else you have any guiding principles that affect what you would allow to have locked off by an Amiibo and what you wouldn't."

Miyamoto: "In terms of being able to unlock content, I don't really want to go down that path. For this game, I think of it more as, for people who have the Amiibo, they're going to get a little something extra and that's how I'm planning on it with this game. So rather than actual abilities or things like that changing in the game, it would be like getting a different skin for the Arwing or something like that."

Totilo: "The reason I ask is because I see a game like Splatoon, which I've been enjoying, I notice that if I use the Amiibo I get challenges that I wouldn't otherwise get. I think, 'Well, if I just had the game, and I didn't have the Amiibo, I feel like I would be missing out on things.' And I noticed in the Yoshi game, Woolly World, if I have an Amiibo I get an extra mode or ability that I otherwise wouldn't get. I think, 'Oh, Nintendo wants me to buy these Amiibos, so are they going to put really enticing things in these Amiibos that I can't get.' How do you draw the line to make sure it is not tempting you to lock really cool stuff off?"

Miyamoto: "So, I don't really want to talk about Nintendo in general today, but in terms of what I'm doing with Star Fox, I'm really not thinking about there being locked content or there being a mode that you won't be able to play if you don't have one. Since we already have the existing Smash Bros. Amiibos I basically want to put in something so if you already have those Amiibos, I imagine people will try and tap them on Star Fox anyway, and I want to make sure there is something that gives them a nice charge when they do that."

What do you all think? I know Miyamoto was just talking about Amiibo implementation in Star Fox Zero, but I think if that approach was Nintendo's approach across the board for games that aren't entirely based on Amiibo (like the new Animal Crossing spin-offs), I would't cry foul. You?


    I'm still just waiting for any non-Smash amiibos to have any functionality that warrants the existence of an NFC figure. I'm fine with them unlocking minor content in games as a nice little bonus, getting different skins based on the character or whatever. But if that's *all* it does (like the Splatoon ones), it may as well just be a passcode printed on a slip of paper.

    The Smash ones are cool because it creates something that is unique to your personal figure, and you can take that around and use it on other machines, have it "interact" with theirs etc. That is cool. I want the others to be cool too.

      Instead of a passcode printed on a slip of paper, the passcode is on a reasonably detailed little figurine. Many people collect them for this reason alone and not specifically the in-game functionality.

        Yeah, and we already had normal figurines for that. These are supposed to be offering a "new way to play", but for the most part are just tying up what used to be passcodes and hidden extras as $18-a-pop DLC.

          I wouldn't say it's $18 a pop. You only buy them once then use them in multiple games, and the functionality changes from game to game.

            Depends on which figure/game. I mean the Splatoon ones only unlock things in Splatoon. The Chibi-Robo one I can't see getting much use beyond its game. If you only have Captain Toad and want to play the hide and seek mode thing (not entirely sure what it is) you need the Toad amiibo, and I'm not too clear on what game-specific function it provides for MP10 (something about keeping track of a number of coins?) but I don't have or intend to get the game so see less reason to get Toad for the game I do have. So far I think only the Mario-, Zelda- and Fire Emblem-related ones have somewhat widespread "use".

              Let me see...

              The yarn Yoshio's provide double character mode. In my opinion though it is not that good, you control 2 Yoshio's with one button input, but I found they just got in the way of each other and killed themselves. The figures look great, but it's hardly game changing stuff in my opinion. Think of it as Co-op mode for single player.

              Mario Party 10, non-"standard Mario" Amiibos grant you extra coins once a day. A nice small bonus if you have extra Amiibos. I'm not sure what the standard Mario Amiibo's do in that game, I have yet to try it out yet.

              Similarly, non-Link Amiibos give you low level items once a day in the game "Hyrule Warriors". It's not game breaking but it is nice.

              I believe in "Codename: STEAM" on the 3DS Fire Emblem Amiibos unlock those characters in game. I have not tried it out yet though so I cannot comment more.

              In Mario Kart 8, there are 8 main characters that unlock Mii costumes. They were mainly the first wave of Smash Bros Amiibos.

              There is a Wii U download game for free called "Amiibo touch and play", the idea is you place any Amiibo game down, and a 3 minute demo of a random NES or SNES game will come up. Use the same Amiibo to unlock later scenes in the same game, or a different one to try a new random game. The game does not necessarily match the Amiibo, if you use a Mario one you are just as like to get a Kirby game, for example. Again, it's a nice free side reward for existing Amiibo owners.

              I think we now have all the existing Amiibo using games listed now. Someone else will comment if we have missed one I am sure. ;-)

                Nice list, I completely forgot about some of those.

                They have actually added more racing suits in MK8 as unlockable with amiibos via an update, so the total is more like 12 or 16 now.

                Last edited 28/06/15 6:42 pm

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