Game Industry's Creativity is Still Immature, Says Miyamoto

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Game Industry's Creativity is Still Immature, Says Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto E3

Miyamoto was disappointed with the violent showcase presented at E3 this year, stating the industry suffers from creative immaturity.

During the Q&A portion in Nintendo's 74th annual general meeting of shareholders, beloved Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was very forward about his thoughts on this year's E3 showcase, particularly Nintendo's biggest competitors Sony and Microsoft.

"This year, the majority of what the other developers exhibited was bloody shooter software that was mainly set in violent surroundings or, in a different sense, realistic and cool worlds." He goes on to say that the industry itself is suffering from a lack of creative growth, "[T]o some, it might have seemed as though there wasn't a wide variety of software at E3, and as though many people followed the same direction to make their video games. I believe this is a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry."

Miyamoto believes the violent theme comes from competitors copying one another because of prior success in the realm of 'bloody shooter software,' "Because so many software developers are competing in that category, it seemed like most of the titles at the show were of that kind."

He understands the general public may misinterpret his comments, "But in the digital content field, I think that our creativity is still immature," at least when compared to the other creative industries. "In the world of comic books and movies, there are people who are challenging themselves to be even more creative than before in creating their content. I believe that we (those who are creating digital content called video games) are still in a transitional period and will eventually step up into the phases where we expand and enrich the substance of our creativity. If we can manage Nintendo without losing sight of this challenge, I believe we might be able to create new entertainment that dominates the industry."

Source: GamesIndustry

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I totally agree, but isn't it common knowledge that the games industry is still smack-dab in its adolescence? Girls are still synonymous with cooties (e.g. reduced sales) with marketing execs, and the sales figures speak for themselves. People have a ridiculous amount of attachment for violent power fantasies.

That said, that's just a teensy bit hypocritical, coming from someone whose next big piece of kit is Splatoon; which happens to be a bloodless TPS-like that basically plays like an unhinged version of Paintball?

He's right, but a major market for videogames are adolescent boys, and when that market is cut, all of the other audiences suddenly condemn the game for some odd reason. I'd like more Miyamoto level game designers, because way too many game designers are just steaming piles of shit who have no fucking clue ehat they're doing. But when the consumers are equally as bad, I don't see much growth in the near future.

Welcome to the team Esmeralda, here's hoping for some quality journalism to the Escapist.

OP: Miyamoto may be pointing out the obvious to us, but it's nice to see that someone who has huge influence in the industry can see that there is a problem, and hopefully lead (again!) the industry to the next stage of maturity.

Can't think of anyone better suited for the job.

Dexterity:
I'd like more Miyamoto level game designers, because way too many game designers are just steaming piles of shit who have no fucking clue ehat they're doing. But when the consumers are equally as bad, I don't see much growth in the near future.

This. Haven't played it yet, but I feel like the level design of the new Rayman is up to par. Also, I just picked up Guacamelee and I have to say the level design is really really well done.

Bottom line: They are out there

Zelgon:
Haven't played it yet, but I feel like the level design of the new Rayman is up to par. Also, I just picked up Guacamelee and I have to say the level design is really really well done.

Bottom line: They are out there

I adored Guacamelee. It took an old formula, refreshed it, and served it up in something I couldn't stop playing. It was all perfectly Metroidvania, but not in any sort of frustrating or obtuse way. I'll totally agree that quality game designers are out there, there's just being hampered by the culture of "If it's not in the player's face at all times, it doesn't exist."

That said, I really do miss those old and chronically dumb map layout designs from the old Quake and Duke Nukem titles. There was no rhyme or reason to anything in terms of room or level placement, but the Rule of Fun was in full effect. I'd like for a designer to find a nice medium between "This is an awesome environment!" and "We have to funnel our idiot players in precisely one direction and never deviate from said path."

Edit: come to think of it, I've been playing Sniper Elite 3, and the level design is pretty awesome. It's all big, nice, expansive and colorful, and there's plenty of ancillary paths to explore. What's big and obvious, though, makes sense in relation to where this or that level takes place.

Miyamoto has a point. many games have not changed or improved themselves to be less "mature" and be more actual growth to maturity.

I just don't know how the industry is going to address it. It seems like a lot of the publishers are kicking and screaming that they just want things to stay the same. they see that they made money on "game X" and keep thinking that they can make a newer shinier copy and the consumer will just eat it all up. as a consumer of video games for many years, I can say that I am getting fatigued of the same games over and over again. that may be a reason why I buy many indie titles, or older fleshed out titles.

than again, what makes a game more mature? is it the story or the actual game-play? is it the interactions between characters, or how the player much control the player has to conduct themselves(choices or actions they take)?

Games industry is still young. Reference Movies and Comic Books all you want, but they have 60+ years of development, movies having been around for almost a century by now.

I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.

I also think he'd be the perfect person to play Spec Ops The Line. He's fed up with all that violence and immaturity, and that game is agreeing with him wholeheartedly. Someone at Nintendo needs to introduce him to that game.

I agree with him. I thought Sunset Overdrive looked like Attention Deficit Disorder: The Game. Let's look at it:

"In your face" main character.
Explosions.
Words popping up in the middle of explosions.

And before people say shit like, "Coming from a guy who works at a company who rehashes", Miyamoto said Nintendo is guilty of this as well.

Dexterity:
He's right, but a major market for videogames are adolescent boys, and when that market is cut, all of the other audiences suddenly condemn the game for some odd reason. I'd like more Miyamoto level game designers, because way too many game designers are just steaming piles of shit who have no fucking clue ehat they're doing. But when the consumers are equally as bad, I don't see much growth in the near future.

While i do agree, i'm not entirely sure that it's lack of competence. I think the major problem stems from over reliance on focus testing and executives having a bit too much control over the creative proess. It often seems like they start with the best of intentions but end up with a watered down and unfocused product that might have mass appeal but lacks quality. Just look at Tomb Raider, when it was announced they pitched it as a survival game in a open world where hunting was an important part of the experience, in the final product you hunt to get skill points which are borderline useless and only really there to create an illusion of depth (something that might have had a greater importance in earlier builds). Or maybe i'm just naive and most of the designers ARE clueless when they keep throwing stuff together that doesn't fit and doesn't add anything to what the game is trying to accomplish, essentially creating bullet points for the sake of creating bullet points.

And parts of the industry does seem to be aimed at the same people, most of the games destined to be huge blockbuster hits are mostly violent in nature and more often than not they involve shooting with the same basic formula for better or for worse. Actually the violence seems to be getting worse recently, maybe because the games are as over the top as they have always been, but now presented in a somewhat realistic package?

Sigmund Av Volsung:
[...]
I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.
[...]

This was also my first thought.
He's not necessarily right though. If you look at gaming as a whole, which includes indies and mods, you'll find much more creativity. It's just that the big boys are all stuck where they are now.

TheSniperFan:

Sigmund Av Volsung:
[...]
I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.
[...]

This was also my first thought.
He's not necessarily right though. If you look at gaming as a whole, which includes indies and mods, you'll find much more creativity. It's just that the big boys are all stuck where they are now.

He was talking specifically about Microsoft and Sony. Whilst the latter is trying to focus more on indies, the presentations still weren't short of modern military shooters either. I am not about to dismiss AAA gaming as just a conglomeration of generic brown shooters, but they do get more of the limelight, than say, something like The Witcher 3, or Sunset Overdrive.

And whilst indies are significant, the degree to which they determine the industry can be argued. At the end of the day, we are still going to get Call of Duties because Call of Duties sell the most. Minecraft was cumulative, and at most, it has only affected other indies(now that practically everything in Early Access has crafting/survival elements).

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Games industry is still young. Reference Movies and Comic Books all you want, but they have 60+ years of development, movies having been around for almost a century by now.

I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.

I also think he'd be the perfect person to play Spec Ops The Line. He's fed up with all that violence and immaturity, and that game is agreeing with him wholeheartedly. Someone at Nintendo needs to introduce him to that game.

I think he admitted that they were guilty of it as well. Though i don't think it's entirely correct that they haven't done new stuff in 13 years. They've had stuff like Rhytm Paradise, Wii Sports, Brain Age, Wii Fit (Unless they aren't Nintendo), and a lot of other stuff throughout the years, people just tend to forget these games because they aren't as obviously associated with Nintendo as the zeldas and marios.

What do you mean the industry isn't really evolving? Just look at how pretty the graphics are in recent games. They're so good you could count the individual hairs in a guys nose while you slit his throat.

(end sarcasm mode)

MrBaskerville:

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Games industry is still young. Reference Movies and Comic Books all you want, but they have 60+ years of development, movies having been around for almost a century by now.

I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.

I also think he'd be the perfect person to play Spec Ops The Line. He's fed up with all that violence and immaturity, and that game is agreeing with him wholeheartedly. Someone at Nintendo needs to introduce him to that game.

I think he admitted that they were guilty of it as well. Though i don't think it's entirely correct that they haven't done new stuff in 13 years. They've had stuff like Rhytm Paradise, Wii Sports, Wii Fit and a lot of other stuff throughout the years, people just tend to forget these games because they aren't as obviously associated with Nintendo as the zeldas and marios.

Fine, major new IPs then.

Although I do not consider Wii Fit nor Wii Sports as games. They're more fun little diversions that exist to sell to the non-gamer market. Also their DS titles kind of fall by the way-side, but that is more of a subjective problem.

I will say that it's less about "nintendo don't make games unless it's the usual suspects", but those are the games they focus on. I mean, Splatoon felt a bit underdone to me as is, and they focused a bit too much on hyping that new Zelda thing. They make new games sometimes, but they don't give them the attention they deserve. Instead they focus purely on Mario/Zelda, sometimes Metroid and sometimes Donkey Kong but that's it. A company with as large a marketing budget as Nintendo should be embracing their new stuff. Not making it a 'fun little extra'.

Also, why the hell can't they make a Wario Ware Sequel?

Morality through violence
Masculinity through violence
Femininity through violence
Sexuality through violence
Race through violence
Inequality through violence
Equality through violence
Fear through violence
Freedom through violence
Individuality through violence
Art through violence

It's not about things that say, it's about things that sell. Fear of staying financially afloat is a stronger motivator than fear of opinion through art.

Video games is the most immersive media forms to date, and one that can potentially help change a lot of faults in perceived culture. So long as it has an acceptable profit margin and weapon skins.

kuiper:

I just don't know how the industry is going to address it. It seems like a lot of the publishers are kicking and screaming that they just want things to stay the same. they see that they made money on "game X" and keep thinking that they can make a newer shinier copy and the consumer will just eat it all up. as a consumer of video games for many years, I can say that I am getting fatigued of the same games over and over again. that may be a reason why I buy many indie titles, or older fleshed out titles.

than again, what makes a game more mature? is it the story or the actual game-play? is it the interactions between characters, or how the player much control the player has to conduct themselves(choices or actions they take)?

This. That's something I've been noticing as well about myself the past few years too. The vast majority of stuff that comes out just....reeeeks to me on sight as so outdated at this point in concept. FPS? spatial corridors and boring colors. Open World? MMO without the interaction.

and a lot of times what irks me more is when I see things that look interesting, the rest of the industry goes out of its freaking mind poo-pooing it. and while some things do have problems, there's a fair number that are more fun (differing by opinion of course) than the majority of the rest of the releases for months at a time. a recent-ish example, people absolutely slammed lords of shadow 2. sure it had some issues but as a re-imagining of the game history, and bringing back the map exploration of curse of darkness (first 3D castlevania I played), it was still a lot of fun. the same goes with a LOT of indie stuff......it may be mixes of older styles, or newer ideas with old gameplay...but when done right, that old gameplay, with the new mechanics, can be tons of fun. and if its a good story? even better.

the answers may not be any one particular thing that makes a game more mature....and honestly the word itself is so loaded at this point.....do we REALLY want games to be more "mature".....or are we looking for more innovation? because, personally, as the industry defines things now.....I don't want "Mature" games. I want Fun ones.

Man has a point, BUUUHHTT, seems a bit rich coming from a fellow that is an important figure in a company notorious for wanking old franchises, and chastising other companies being lacklustre in creativity. So, whilst the statement is very TRUE, it would be better if the statement didn't come off as being so dang hypocritical.

Now if you don't mind me, I'm just gonna pop into the back and check to see if my Flame Shield still works.

well, when is as far stuck up its ass at it is now no wonder he's able to see that. As I've said before, we seem to be in that awkward transitional phase where gaming is too old to be considered young but also isn't old enough to be considered mature. Thus we have this phase where the medium is in its insecure, angry 90s American comics period where too many creators have a stick up their ass and their products come off as juvenile, shallow, and staid. They copy stuff from other mediums in an attempt to seem "grownup" but fail to grasp anything that isn't surface-level. They mimic, but have no idea what the nuances are. As such, most of the things they make come off as cheap copies instead of homages. Maybe once game designers drop that high-school level chest puffing and shilling we can start getting somewhere. Until then, gaming will continue to be an a very immature state.

I kind of want to pretend that Miyamoto went British on us and was swearing when he said "bloody shooter software" and such.

But, yeah, as far as the E3-featured AAA game development industry goes, I definitely agree. Too many of the top decision-makers are creatively bankrupt people who'd rather stand there with a checklist than trust the developers to make something fun and interesting.

Huuuu, wait. Are we really going to take lessons on creativity from someone that has so many successful franchises and series at his disposals to use but he only always bets on the usual two horses? *looks at Metroid and Starfox* Yes, I agree that most developers nowadays are trying to up each other on the usual same grounds, trying to put shooter elements anywhere -see Dead Space 3 for bad effects- and ignoring other genres -which indies are taking up by storm- but creativity is also feeling confident in making new IPs or making new games for your own ones that you have left sitting in the dust for years.

See what happened to Capcom, Miyamoto. You sure you shouldn't be taking lessons in creativity too?

MrBaskerville:

Dexterity:
He's right, but a major market for videogames are adolescent boys, and when that market is cut, all of the other audiences suddenly condemn the game for some odd reason. I'd like more Miyamoto level game designers, because way too many game designers are just steaming piles of shit who have no fucking clue ehat they're doing. But when the consumers are equally as bad, I don't see much growth in the near future.

While i do agree, i'm not entirely sure that it's lack of competence. I think the major problem stems from over reliance on focus testing and executives having a bit too much control over the creative proess. It often seems like they start with the best of intentions but end up with a watered down and unfocused product that might have mass appeal but lacks quality. Just look at Tomb Raider, when it was announced they pitched it as a survival game in a open world where hunting was an important part of the experience, in the final product you hunt to get skill points which are borderline useless and only really there to create an illusion of depth (something that might have had a greater importance in earlier builds). Or maybe i'm just naive and most of the designers ARE clueless when they keep throwing stuff together that doesn't fit and doesn't add anything to what the game is trying to accomplish, essentially creating bullet points for the sake of creating bullet points.

And parts of the industry does seem to be aimed at the same people, most of the games destined to be huge blockbuster hits are mostly violent in nature and more often than not they involve shooting with the same basic formula for better or for worse. Actually the violence seems to be getting worse recently, maybe because the games are as over the top as they have always been, but now presented in a somewhat realistic package?

a lot of what you said boils down to lack of competence. Any designer who pitches a large open world game design is generally a fucking moron and they need the publishers to step in and explain that they're actually on a budget. The pinnacle of bad game designers are the ones who use skyrim for a comparison to their "innovative open world game".

Seriously, there's a reason that those huge titles are so watered down, and that reason is that the designers are complete shit. Photorealistic guns universe crime sandbox simulator 2014 will NEVER be a good game because the artists, animators and programmers will never be able to produce that product in their given deadlines.

Miyamoto was disappointed with the violent showcase presented at E3 this year, stating the industry suffers from creative immaturity

Well there's your problem Mr. Miyamoto. Never, never, ever look to E3 as a sampling of what todays modern gaming industry has to offer.

It's like judging the entire worldwide automotive industry by watching a single Nascar race.

Zelgon:
Welcome to the team Esmeralda, here's hoping for some quality journalism to the Escapist.

Thanks so much for the kind welcome!

Agreed, Mr. Miyamoto. Might I suggest that you start leading by example too, please? I would love to play a Zelda game where you play as Zelda. Perhaps if Nintendo starts stepping out of their comfort zone with their franchises, Sony and Microsoft will do the same. It would be nice to play a different style of game, because I must admit that I saw only three games this year at E3 that caught my interest.

Complains about lack of creativity in the market, continues to release sequel after sequel of the same game with minor changes. Nice one.

Asinine observations aside, I'd say its not so much the market provider's fault as it is the market consumer's fault - as a group, we devour games that conform, that are the same as what we're used to, and take great time to adapt to new ideas. On a singular level, we're happy to chatter on about obscure games and what not but ultimately our money goes to the things we know will be good.

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Games industry is still young. Reference Movies and Comic Books all you want, but they have 60+ years of development, movies having been around for almost a century by now.

I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.

I also think he'd be the perfect person to play Spec Ops The Line. He's fed up with all that violence and immaturity, and that game is agreeing with him wholeheartedly. Someone at Nintendo needs to introduce him to that game.

I guess Nintendogs, Wii fit, pushmo, Dillons rolling western, Elite beat agents, etc. Didn't count as new IP? Or are we talking about ones you care about?

Dragonbums:

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Games industry is still young. Reference Movies and Comic Books all you want, but they have 60+ years of development, movies having been around for almost a century by now.

I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.

I also think he'd be the perfect person to play Spec Ops The Line. He's fed up with all that violence and immaturity, and that game is agreeing with him wholeheartedly. Someone at Nintendo needs to introduce him to that game.

I guess Nintendogs, Wii fit, pushmo, Dillons rolling western, Elite beat agents, etc. Didn't count as new IP? Or are we talking about ones you care about?

Best to remember, Dragon, that a lot of people think character IP are the only IP that matters. When there's also gameplay IPs, UI IPs, controller IPs, and more that most people don't account for. Which is sad really. Heck, can just look at Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, and Mario Galaxy to see Nintendo's use of IP. Characters? Same, but gameplay, UI, and how the games control are all different. The Miis are a different IP as well, but not one (If any at all) will say it is, or say the Xbox Live avatars came first. Or the difference between the Metroid games in how they play, their genres, and such are different as well. Original Metroid being a side scrolling puzzle adventure, while Prime was a first person shooter with puzzles and more, and Metroid M... was their attempt at giving one of their games to a western(ish) developer.

Nintendo does make new IPs, but their development style means characters are secondary to everything else. Heck, the developers of Splatoon laid it out. Gameplay, controls, and visual design come before characters. While everyone else seems to do characters first, then setting, then gameplay.

Water is indeed wet, folks!!!

The writing is still at B level movies, the characterization and pacing is mediocre at best in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The only thing that's evolved in the past decade is marketing. Soon it will be subtle enough to even influence the best of us.

Sigmund Av Volsung:
I will say that whilst I do agree with Shigeru, the whole "everything was same-y" statement might've been hypocritical from company who haven't released a new IP for 13 years up until Splatoon.

WarioWare, Eternal Darkness, Xenoblade Chronicles, Baten Kaitos, Pandora's Tower, The Last Story, Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Play, Soma Bringer, Legend of Starfy, Elite Beat Agents, Rhythm Heaven, Fluidity, Endless Ocean, Chibi Robo... the list goes on.

The market is viewed as immature because the Dude-Bro shooters still sell millions. That phenomenon has been getting worse since Hollywood has surrendered some of the 12- 25 year old male market share over to the video games industry, making up for it by green lighting more romcoms and getting more female movie goers to spend money.[1] It doesn't help that the games without shooter mechanics still rely on assassination style kills and general bloodletting to appeal the broadest market. As long as there is a huge market, that demographic will be a stereotype of its entire industry and its customers. For example, SUVs are seen as a way for a soccer mom to look tough and successful while being able to carry a lot of kids without driving a minivan(lotta dads hate driving minivans, too), where as people who really make use of their SUVs want a vehicle that can haul a good amount of cargo (covered) or 4-7 more people, occasionally tow trailers and might have 4 wheel drive for sticky situations.

Really Nintendo does have some of the most mature messages underlining its games that are really simple and kiddie looking on the surface. Pikmin is all about gathering willing slaves to do heavy labor and fight to the death for their masters. Pikmin 2, especially late-game, even made their efforts purely to feed greed. Majora's Mask had the player coming across dead and dying characters and assuming their likenesses, giving those characters' friends and families 2-3 more days to be with their loved one and giving the dead comfort knowing they leave the world without unfinished business. There's even the theory that Link is dead and the entire game is his final vision/dream. (Which, if Escapist is posting more Game Theory videos, you will soon be able view without even leaving the site.) Twilight Princess might not have touched on the implications as much as it could have, but it did go out of its way to kill the queen Zora showing that the villain is serious enough to leave at least one boy motherless. Metroid is much simpler yet its back story is basically about a woman who fights a pirate organization the made her an orphan twice over and will continue to make orphans if she doesn't intervene.

Maybe that's the angle Miyamoto it coming from. His company's games might have cartoonish violence on the outside, but many of Big N's works have a deeper meaning to their violence than just space marines going "hughh, enemies spotted. Shoot. Kill. Remove spine with Spine RipperTM DLC." Nintendo sure doesn't make games where 8 or more gruff commandos run out into the open, die in a storm of bullets and blood, then respawn to do it over again for the entertainment of guys drinking Mountain Dew "Game Fuel" and eating Doritos with the Master Chief emblazoned on the bag. Hopefully (and probably), this is just Miyamoto expressing opinion of what he saw at just E3 and we don't find 4-Kids level censorship with the next Star Fox, Fire Emblem, Zelda, or Metroid titles.

[1] Someone even coined a term for it a couple years ago. I thought it was called the xbox factor but that only rings up ten million links talking about the X-factor and a few about MS's business plans for the 360.

So hes comparing gaming to movies and comics. Okay. gaming is what, 30 years old. lets see where movies were when they were 30 years old. Oh, right, slapstick comedy. How about comics then? war propaganda and sexism. Yeah, id say games are much better off in comparison.

Jim Trailerpark:
The writing is still at B level movies, the characterization and pacing is mediocre at best in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Guess what? You can say the very same thing about movies when compared to books. A media that has to focus on more aspects than another form of media is obviously going to have to spread itself more thinly. Unlike movies and books, games have to also focus on gameplay and the overall interactivity of the experience, on top of writing, characterisation, (voice) acting, visual design, sound design, musical score etc.

This is what is wrong with the games industry, every game now has to be the equivalent of Shakespeare where is the fun. I am so sure in a few years we will only have "real" characters where we have to go through there boring lives(brushing your teeth in game anyone?).

Why in all the 9 worlds would you want a game that simulates what you do when you get up in the morning(i am looking at you Heavy Rain).

What happened to blowing up space Nazis with a rocket launcher while driving a car at the speed of light?. Why should i have to care about the characters moral baggage?

Jim Trailerpark:

The writing is still at B level movies, the characterization and pacing is mediocre at best in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

This is only true if you look at overplayed mainstream garbage like CoD. There are vast numbers of games that have objectively good writing, pacing, and characterization.

OT:
I'll admit, he has a point in terms of AAA games. Indie games on the other hand are still exploring most possible video game ideas.

Also I feel the need to be "that guy" and point out that Nintendo is the last one that should be complaining about the lack of new aesthetics. Sure, they're very innovative in terms of gameplay, but that isn't what he's talking about here.

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