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Yesterday at 8 p.m. Japan Standard Time, Kyoto-based video game giant Nintendo broadcast a brand new episode of its unique Nintendo Direct online presentation series, which the company uses to showcase new games and bring fans news on upcoming releases. Last night’s broadcast was somewhat unusual, however, in that popular Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto joined industry legend and creator of Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, to play a little of the highly anticipated upcoming Wii U title Pikmin 3. Today, as well as with discussion of the beautiful new Pikmin outing, online bulletin boards are abuzz after the conversation between the two men both raised eyebrows and got a surprising amount of laughs from viewers at home.

  • Pikmin lover

Before we get to the funny (in both senses of the word) dialogue between the creator and the comic, it has to be said that we’re positively champing at the bit to get hold of a new Pikmin title. And we’re certainly not alone–comedian Matsumoto may not be as hardcore a gamer as the majority of the RocketNews24 team but the man still knows a good game when he sees it, having reportedly become quite obsessed with the likes of Team Ico’s Wanda to Kyozou (Shadow of the Colossus in the West) when it first appeared on the PlayStation 2. And any man who loves Fumito Ueda’s epic, giant-felling romp certainly gets our seal of approval as a worthy gamer.

pikmin 3

  • Getting to know you…

Considering their very different personalities and lines of work, Miyamoto and Matsumoto get on surprisingly well during the broadcast, with Matsumoto teasing that he had taken a look at Miyamoto’s entry on the Japanese Wikipedia and taken note of the creator’s reputation for ‘chabudai gaeshi‘ (lit. ‘flipping over the tea-table’) and being notorious for asking his staff to start again when not completely satisfied with the form a project is taking. After talking briefly about their individual working styles, Matsumoto goes on to describe how, since he played through Pikmin 2, there have been a number of changes in his life, such as getting married and becoming a father, and so hasn’t had much time to play games. Reaching for the Wii U controller and loading up the game, Miyamoto assures the comic that “even people who haven’t played before can pick it up fast.” We certainly hope so–it’s been a while for us too!

pikmin 3

  • “I can skip this part, right?”

“Wow, this got pretty!” Matsumoto exclaims as the Pikmin 3 title screen appears. Based on the adventures of pint-sized astronauts and tiny, coloured creatures that can literally be plucked from the ground, the Pikmin series is played almost from a bug’s-eye view in natural, open expanses, tasking players with light puzzle solving and battles between otherworldly creatures. Giant bugs fly by and tiny puddles of rainwater become enormous lakes to circumvent, with everyday objects acting as obstacles or, with a little teamwork and organisation, stepping-stones.

Beginning the story mode, Matsumoto notes that the game now offers a choice of three different protagonists to play as. With the comic already familiar with the series, Miyamoto tells him to go ahead and get stuck in. Seconds later, however, the comedian offhandedly asks Miyamoto, as perhaps any enthusiastic gamer might, “I can skip this part, right?” as text telling the game’s story appears on-screen. Slightly abashed but just about managing to force a smile, Miyamoto fidgets as he somewhat awkwardly replies, “Well, I did put a lot of effort into writing those lines, so…” Possibly realising that asking an artist whether it’s okay to breeze through even a second of their work probably isn’t the best form, comedian Matsumoto vehemently agrees with the Nintendo boss before getting straight back to the game.

pikmin play

  • Coming soon!

Thankfully, the moment of mild awkwardness between the pair was incredibly short-lived and they soon get back to enjoying the game, with Matsumoto playing through some 20 minutes of the opening section and joking that he’d love to be left alone with it. Unlike many of Nintendo’s previous broadcasts, yesterday’s Nintendo Direct gave viewers an uncharacteristically long look at one of the company’s new games in action, with a multitude of play mechanics shown in real time. It’s been a long time since we last ordered a squad of red Pikmin to charge a giant-mouthed bug, so we’re certainly very excited to pick the game up and get back into the cute puzzle-solving action, and last night’s video, with its very Japanese setting, was definitely something of a treat for us too.

Pikmin 3 will be available to buy July 13 in Japan, with European and Australian releases arriving on July 26 and 27, respectively. Unfortunately for North American gamers, the title won’t arrive in the US and Canada until August 4, but as someone who grew up in the often-neglected UK where Nintendo’s games usually arrived months after US releases or sometimes not at all (the very mention of Earthbound and Super Mario RPG still saddens me to this day…), I can’t help feeling just the tiniest twinge of satisfaction about that. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person–you can leave any hate mail you have for me in the comments section below. In the meantime, here’s yesterday’s Nintendo Direct broadcast in full. Enjoy!

▼ And if that wasn’t enough Pikmin for you, here’s the official E3 trailer.

Nintendo Direct video via NintendoJPOfficial Pikmin 3 video via Nintendo