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Nintendo Film Studio is a Go

by Michael Cole - November 29, 2004, 4:48 pm PST
Total comments: 24 Source: Nikkei Net Interactive

Nintendo is running with its former president's proposal for an animated film studio.

Nikkei News confirmed Thursday that Nintendo is internally making an animated film for 2006.

Hiroshi Yamauchi announced his plans to found a new film production studio in September; it appears his proposal last month garnered support from Nintendo's major investors.

The initial story drafted plans for a movie based the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu poems. Nikkei now reports that Nintendo is considering a movie based on one of its own game franchises instead.

The new Nintendo team will also be responsible for executing a cross-promotional program for the next Pokémon movie and Nintendo DS, announced by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata in October. Movie watchers with Pokémon games in their Nintendo DS systems will receive special content wirelessly.


Tunnelvision456November 29, 2004

Let's hope they are better at bringing their properties to film than whomever they've got doing it now.

Ian SaneNovember 29, 2004

My knee jerk reaction is that Nintendo should stay away from anything not game related. I get visions of Square's Final Fantasy movie bomb. Plus I naturally fear a change in company focus. I don't want effort that could be put towards games being used for movies that will probably not even make it outside of Japan.

nickmitchNovember 29, 2004

I sense good things to come from this. Good TV? More money for Nintendo perhapps? I still have a good feeling either way it goes.

KnowsNothingNovember 29, 2004

Well, Nintendo HAS stated that they really would like the movie to come to America too, so I think it will. I don't mind Nintendo making animated films, as long as they continue to produce games like they do now. If it doesn't make a difference in the quantity, or more importantly the quality of their games, I don't feel the need to complain about them putting forth efforts into a movie.

just to make it clear, this is in response to Ian's post which gave me the idea that even if they still come out with great games they COULD have used the expenses/talent over at the film studio to make them BETTER.

DjunknownNovember 29, 2004

Hopefully its something that can easily localized to the West; The big N should take a page out of Square's book and just go DVD. But since we don't even know what type of animation it is, who's to say that they're spending a fortune on this? Added to the fact of their standard tight lips, we may know nothing for a long time.

I wonder how this Pokemon movie to DS system work? Some magic box carefully hidden in the movie theatre beams top secret information?

Bill AurionNovember 29, 2004

The point of this is so Ninty isn't so specialized that they can be completely taken down by some odd circumstance...Both Sony and Microsoft don't rely singularly on the videogame industry(well, it could be argued in Sony's case) so they don't have this possible scenario. I really see nothing wrong with the decision...

LoknoNovember 29, 2004

I'd just like to see some original anime with one of the franchises. A Paper Mario cartoon would be awesome; Tons of likable characters, the plot’s already laid out for them, and they'll have a field day with the paper gimmick!

DasmosNovember 29, 2004

I could see a donkey kong cartoon working but i guess it's just hopeful thinking

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 29, 2004

The Donkey Kong Country CG series was short lived.

Squiggles the ChaoNovember 29, 2004

Well, in all fairness, the DK CG series sucked to begin with.

Infernal MonkeyNovember 29, 2004

Wario Ware movie. GO.

Spak-SpangNovember 30, 2004

I am really upset Nintendo didn't chose the poems first. I think it would have helped give them creditability as film makers to do something cool and artist first.

However, I have believed for along time that a Mario or Zelda anime movie could be very cool. Actually for both they would need to be either OAV or television series to have the length neccessary to be very cool.

I believe this is an important step for Nintendo. They need to branch out and use their talents in other areas. They are the best game designers, but you can make money in other artist endeavors as well. This will help spread the Nintendo brand and the Nintendo name. Hopefully, the company will create movies that are not viewed as childish. If they do I can totally see their movies changing the public image of Nintendo.

NephilimNovember 30, 2004

It will sell If it is released in the western world
All the wannabe japanese white kids will buy it, and the fanboys will
Double sale!
Im pretty excited about this movie thu...
Even if it is a book of poems, It should be great, using Hal technology and there smarts...should be wicked

JonLeungNovember 30, 2004


Originally posted by: Dasmos
I could see a donkey kong cartoon working but i guess it's just hopeful thinking

Yeah, the DK Country cartoon wasn't the hottest. I guess at the time it was still groundbreaking to use CG in a TV show but nowadays CG animation is all over the place, and many major animated films are that way too. ReBoot was the biggest, though, where's my Season V? Or did Nintendo kick them in the crotch because they were using purple "Game Cubes"?

Several properties have been tried on the small screen...

-Captain N: The Game Master, featuring various NES heroes, including a few non-Nintendo ones, and later, the Game Boy was a character
-Super Mario Bros. Super Show, with The Legend Of Zelda on Fridays
--also followed up with Super Mario Bros. 3 and the probably short-lived Super Mario World cartoons
-Donkey Kong Country
-Pokémon, still going, enjoying the most sucess of all of these shows
-Kirby: Right Back At Ya!
-F-Zero: GP Legend

And then there's the craptacular Super Mario Bros. movie, seven or so Pokémon movies, and the oft-fuzzy Metroid movie possibility.

So several hundred hours on non-interactive Nintendo entertainment have been made already (a good deal of it being Pokémon). It might take a bit more effort to do it all on its own and a lot more marketing to get non-Pokémon type franchises to the big screen, but it doesn't seem like a HUGE stretch for Nintendo. And hey, I doubt Nintendo would anytime soon shift its focus so majorly, if whatever they put out bombs, they're not going to continue and stick with just the games.

KDR_11kNovember 30, 2004

The problem I see is that Nintendo's franchises aren't geared towards storytelling. But maybe we'll see new movie franchises that will eventually get turned into games.

Bill AurionNovember 30, 2004

Fire Emblem? That series is perfect for story-telling...

Spak-SpangNovember 30, 2004

I disagree several of Nintendo's properties are geared really well towards story telling.

Metroid (Bounty Hunter gets wrapped up in a War against Space Pirates and the Federation with a mysterious creature seeming to turn the tide to a Space Pirate win.)

Super Mario Brothers: Two Brothers find themselves in an enchanted world where nothing is as it seems.

Pokemon: See current television series

The Legend of Zelda: This would be a great adventure series. Bringing back the old fantasy adventure animations from our childhoods. (Perfect time too since the big hit of the LotR triology.

F-Zero: See Speed Racer in the future.

What has been the biggest problem with all video game to show or video game to movie projects is a lack of respect and understanding of the franchise. Too often they look at the franchise and think lets use these characters and do put them in this situation because it will sell.

Instead you need to look at the themes of the games, the moods, the characters, and original stories and form a truly living breathing world. Once you do that then you can start forming stories to take place in this world.

I am not sure Nintendo would be able to do this successfully, but I have faith that a video game company would understand this much more than Hollywood.

couchmonkeyNovember 30, 2004

Donkey Kong Country wasn't the only sucky cartoon though. In my opinion, Earthworm Jim is the only really great TV show to ever come out of a videogame. The current Sonic and Nintendo animes are all pretty average, better than DKC, but nothing special.

However, that's not to say nothing good can come of this. Personally, I have always enjoyed Nintendo Power's old comics from the early 90s. If something like that were done it might be okay. How about arcing storylines that tell the entire (or semi-entire) story of the Super Mario Bros? That could be fun.

I think this is an okay move for Nintendo itself, but I'm not that enthusiastic about it. Diversification seems to be good, but I don't want the company to lose it's focus. I hope this pans out for Nintendo in terms of better presentation in its games. I'd really like to see detailed animation and full voice acting in more Nintendo games.

To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if half of this new team's time went towards cut-scenes for Nintendo games. Miyamoto has never been big on prerendered cut-scenes for games in which he has a more significant role, but Super Smash Bros. Melee shows that Nintendo as a whole is not against FMV.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 30, 2004

mETROID pRIME 2: eCHOES tried to fool us with FMV. One scene did a commendable job of looking realtime (way better than Mario Sunshine's efforts) but in reality it wasn't.

JonLeungNovember 30, 2004


Originally posted by: TheYoungerPlumber
To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if half of this new team's time went towards cut-scenes for Nintendo games. Miyamoto has never been big on prerendered cut-scenes for games in which he has a more significant role, but Super Smash Bros. Melee shows that Nintendo as a whole is not against FMV.

Well, the opening sequence was tasty, as were those in Namco's Soul Calibur II, Tales Of Symphonia, and Baten Kaitos. The James Bond game Everything Or Nothing had a sweet opening sequence too, and Resident Evil and Resident Evil 0. Ah, yes, and SSBM's "Special Movie". (My brother made a "Special Movie 2" featuring the hidden characters which can be seen on VGMaps.com, but I digress, as I always seem to do.) But I haven't yet seen too many large FMV cutscenes in-game in a game for a Nintendo system, though they tend to create this annoying shift of reminding you that you're just playing a game. That is, if it's a prerendered cutscene that doesn't use the in-game engine. Still, either way, a more cinematic approach helps the story-driven games, though I can understand Miyamoto's hesitance for using cut-scenes when he likes to keep games simple. When playing something like Xenosaga or MGS2, it's kind of like, "let me put my controller down and make dinner and come back to actually playing after I've eaten".

The most FMV seen in a Nintendo game seems to be F-Zero GX, which is by Sega, actually. It may be blacklisted as one of the few games I can't finish, but the Story Mode's story sequences worked well. And it's a racing game, the last kind of game you'd expect to have a story.

I imagine that the media for the next Nintendo console will have lots more space to spare, meaning that FMVs won't take up an obscene percentage of space, so they'd be more common. So more games, including Nintendo-made games, will have them, and more of them, so why not make them of high quality, with a studio devoted to such a thing?

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorNovember 30, 2004

I want a new Captain N series.... face-icon-small-sad.gif

KDR_11kDecember 01, 2004

I want a Captain N game.

ProcoprioDecember 01, 2004

ever heard the old saying "dont keep all your eggs in one basket ehmmm industry, SEGA!!"

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