by Jill Scharr

What comes after the Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS? Whatever Japanese video-game company Nintendo has in store is already in the works, says Nintendo manager, producer and designer Shigeru Miyamoto.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Miyamoto gave hints about the next generation of Nintendo’s game consoles, as well as plans for the Amiibo toys and for beloved game series such as The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox.

“Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems,” Miyamoto said, in remarks translated by Nintendo product marketing director Bill Trinen in the AP interview. “While we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.”

Miyamoto also seemed to suggest that Nintendo’s next Mario game will be for a new console, saying:  “From early on, I wanted Mario to be that character in the digital world, so that with each digital evolution, he was there to usher in the next era. I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role or in a new game.”

Any new hardware won’t be coming for another year or so, however; Miyamoto says Nintendo’s focus is on new titles for its Wii U console.

He spoke briefly about the new Star Fox game he’s producing on the Wii U: “The story might not be too different from past Star Fox games, but the gameplay mechanics are going to feel very different because of the two-screen system of the Wii U with the GamePad and TV screen. It’ll make for a very fun and unique way to play.”

Miyamoto also touched on Nintendo’s upcoming Legend of Zelda game, scheduled to release in 2015 for the Wii U, touting its expansive and ever-changing game world.

That’s all Miyamoto would say about future hardware plans, but earlier this month the Japan Times reported that Nintendo’s successor to its 3DS handheld console might have doughnut-shaped LCD screens, thanks to a rumored partnership with Osaka-based manufacturer Sharp Corp.

Nintendo may be the first company to adapt Sharp’s new Free-Form Display LCDs, which have bendable bezels. Production of the LCDs will begin in 2016, the Japan Times reported.

It’s Amiibo, Mario!

One of the hottest Nintendo items this holiday season have been its Amiibos, small collectible toys in the shape of Nintendo’s classic characters, which that can interact with games via built-in NFC chips. Some Amiibos, such as Marth from Fire Emblem and the Villager from Animal Crossing, have already been discontinued, but future Nintendo games might still support connectivity with them — at the individual game developer’s discretion.

“We’re not making promises for certain figures, but the way Amiibo is designed is that certain games can have ‘amiibo’ specifically for that game,” Miyamoto said. “Other games can take advantage of past Amiibo that developers want to make their games compatible with.

If you’ve missed out on a discontinued Amiibo, Nintendo may re-release that character “in card form with the same functionality,” Miyamoto said. 

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