Kanye West once pitched Miyamoto a videogame

Kanye West in sunglasses.
(Image credit: Stephane Cardinale-Corbis via Getty)

Former IGN journalist and current Twitch employee Zachary Ryan has shared an anecdote about an E3 meeting of minds between two great creators: videogame legend Shigeru Miyamoto and musician Kanye West.

It's been known before that the meeting took place—former Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aime has mentioned it in previous interviews—but this is essentially Miyamoto's account. It should be taken with appropriate caveats of course: Ryan's recounting an eight-year-old story here, and Miyamoto's thoughts were delivered via translation. So don't take it as a word-by-word recreation of the scene, but as the fun insight it is.

"Here's a little story about one of the funniest moments I had in games media," writes Ryan. "In early 2016, I flew to NY to shoot an interview with Miyamoto for Star Fox Zero. It was a totally normal interview and then as we were packing up our gear, someone mentioned Kanye's new record. 'The Life of Pablo' had just dropped and our Nintendo rep knew I was a music nerd and asked if I was listening to it. 

"'Kanye!' Miyamoto exclaimed and started emphatically telling a story. His translator sprung into action. Miyamoto was telling a story about the previous E3. He said that Kanye had shown up at the Nintendo booth unannounced and asked for an audience with Miyamoto specifically, right then and there."

We can say for sure that Kanye was at E3 2015, because there are plenty of pictures like the below.

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"[Miyamoto] went on to say that Kanye showed him the prototype for a video game," writes Ryan. "In it, you played as Kanye's late mother flying to heaven, set to a soundtrack conducted by Kanye himself. He was shaking his head as he described it, not like he thought it was a bad game but more so in the way that he just sorta couldn't believe that Kanye West was pitching him a video game."

Shigeru Miyamoto in a kart.

(Image credit: Bob Riha Jr via Getty)

"[Miyamoto] described, incredulously and in great detail what the game looked like and how it played," writes Ryan. "I was laughing because I sorta of couldn't believe it either. At the end of the story, he nodded and said 'it was very interesting.' There was a long pause and he added 'it was very moving.'

"Then he laughed REALLY hard and said 'Kanye West wanted to make a game with Nintendo' and then, in English, 'Wow!' and gave me two thumbs up.

"I fucking lost it. I laughed so hard. What an absurd turn of events. not only that it happened but that the story was relayed to me in this VERY SPECIFIC way. Kanye announced 'Only One' like two weeks later."

West's game 'Only One' would be announced in February 2016, and featured the musician's late mother Donda West making a journey to the heavens, set to West's music (Only One is also the name of a song about her). It was being developed by the LA studio Encyclopedia Pictura, but has been in limbo ever since announcement and remains unreleased.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."