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Wii

Iwata Asks: Wii Party

by Andy Goergen, Pedro Hernandez, and Matt Walker - August 22, 2010, 7:17 pm PDT
Total comments: 18 Source: Iwata Asks

The Nintendo president discusses the challenges developing the latest game in the Wii series.

In the latest edition of "Iwata Asks", Nintendo President Satoru Iwata talked to the development team of Wii Party, the latest game in Nintendo's Wii series. The team is composed of Hiroshi Satou and Miyuki Hirose, both part of the Development Planning Division, Shuuichirou Nishitani, Nd Cube Engineering Development Division Manager, and Jun Ikeda, CEO of Nd Cube.

Nd Cube, a former subsidiary of Nintendo, has been completely absorbed by Nintendo and is now being considered a research and development department.  The company was founded in March of 2000 as a GameCube and Game Boy Advance developer with 78% of the company owned by Nintendo and the remaining by Dentsu, an advertising firm. After several key employees left, Nintendo purchased the remaining shares and is now the sole owner, expanding the studio by opening new offices in Sapporo and Tokyo near Nintendo's branch offices.

It was also revealed that several key staff members from the Mario Party development team have left Hudson to join NdCube. Mario Party was originally a joint venture between Nintendo and Hudson called Monegi, but with Wii Party having strong sales in Japan and the loss of the Hudson developers, it is likely that Wii Party will replace Mario Party in that game space.

Iwata asks what it's like working on a franchise that comes out almost yearly, noting that he's only worked on franchises that don't have as many installments such as Kirby and Smash Bros. The production team replied that they had so many ideas for mini-games that they took stock of them to use "next time".  Another reason they were able to keep up the pace is that they assembled new people into their team for each title, leading to more ideas.

The team revealed that the reason behind the development of Wii Party was the desire to create a party title with Miis. Miis became an integral part of the game, as they wanted to create interesting activities featuring the characters. One challenge the team faced with the game is that they had to be careful with how they presented the Miis. One member wanted to change the look of the Miis in to make the game more entertaining, and found out there were rules to using the Miis within the company. The rules exist because "Mii's are made based on the people that created them, and you have to be careful not to make those people feel bad with how you're handling them". The team contrasted Wii Party to Mario Party, a game series in which they implemented fantastical elements such as volcanoes that shoot magma in both land and space.

Development of the title took longer than expected. Being part of the Wii brand, Wii Party had to introduce never-before-seen challenges while remaining accessible to all players regardless of age or skill. The team thought that if they couldn't come up with something new, they might call the game "Mii Party" instead.

Another aspect that slightly delayed its development was that the team worked to define what "Party" was, and how to implement it in the gameplay.  In 2009, during what should have been the wrap up phase of development, they realized that they had only been focusing on the board game aspect of the title (Mario Party was developed under the working title "Mario Board"). They thought of it not as the party that was going on behind the screen of the television, but rather the party players would be having with the Wii Remotes on "this" side of the TV.

Since Wii Party is part of the Wii series, the developers had to consult the teams behind titles such as Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort for their input. They confessed that some of the comments were strong, with comments on pacing and difficulty being important in shaping the title. Entire minigames deemed "low in quality" were removed altogether.

Wii Party was designed from the beginning to appeal to a larger audience than that of Mario Party.  However, the segment concludes with Iwata stating that rather than creating a game series out of Wii Party, he wanted to create a game that is a strong seller like the titles before it.

Wii Party is scheduled to be released in North America on October 3, 2010.

Talkback

MorariAugust 22, 2010

Yeah. I'd feel awfully bad if my Mii was misrepresented. :'(

Mop it upAugust 22, 2010

Quote:

It was also revealed that several key staff members from the Mario Party development team have left Hudson to join NdCube. Mario Party was originally a joint venture between Nintendo and Hudson called Monegi, but with Wii Party having strong sales in Japan and the loss of the Hudson developers, it is likely that Wii Party will replace Mario Party in that game space.

It looks like I got my answer as to why there haven't been any Mario Party games in almost three years. And it looks like the series is done, as I had worried. I'm sad to find that out, but at least now I know.

Quote:

Wii Party was designed from the beginning to appeal to a larger audience than that of Mario Party.

To whom do they think Mario Party appeals? I can't see someone with no interest in Mario Party suddenly become enticed by a game that lets them use a Mii. But maybe they know something I don't.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterAugust 23, 2010

Quote from: Mop

Quote:

Wii Party was designed from the beginning to appeal to a larger audience than that of Mario Party.

To whom do they think Mario Party appeals? I can't see someone with no interest in Mario Party suddenly become enticed by a game that lets them use a Mii. But maybe they know something I don't.

The way I interpret it is that Mario Party appealed to the fanbase that knows and loves Mario. You have to remember that the first Mario Party game was released on the N64, back when there wasn't such a huge need to appeal to a wider audience and Nintendo was franchise focused. It was a party game for experienced players.


The audience definitely grew after the first three titles were released, but it was still composed of fans of Nintendo and the Mario franchise.


But it's still weird considering that one of the biggest blue ocean hits on the Wii is Mario Kart Wii, a MARIO franchise title. It certainly didn't stop anyone from enjoying the game, so why is Mario Party any different?

StratosAugust 23, 2010

Watch: Mario will be an unlockable character in the game or something. If not people will just use Mario Miis to play the game.

Ian SaneAugust 23, 2010

I'm wondering if Nintendo's logic is that they want their non-game casual titles to be a clear focused brand.  Mario Kart Wii had mass appeal but core gamers bought it as well.  Same with NSMB Wii.  But these weren't designed to be casual titles.  But this is and switching it to Wii Party instead of Mario Party means they can fully embrace the casual audience and design it with only them in mind.  With Mario Party they probably assume that they have to please core gamers as well.  This gives them to the freedom to not bother.  Also no fans can complain that they "dumbed down" Mario Party.  Nintendo did get accused of that with Mario Kart Wii.

Plus if this bombs they can always re-introduce Mario Party with no damage to the brand.  I wouldn't be surprised to see a Wii Kart someday that's more of a Mario Kart for non-gamers.

Luigi DudeAugust 23, 2010

So back in 2005, all everyone would say is when is Nintendo going to finally stop making Mario Party games.  Mario Party was considered a disgrace to the Mario series that needed to be killed off and never seen again.

Now in the year 2010, Nintendo has officially killed off the Mario Party series and turned it into something that's no longer related to the Mario series.  And yet all the haters have nothing to say and now everyone is suddenly a big fan of Mario Party again.


Oh internets, stay classy.  ::)

Art_de_CatAugust 23, 2010

Heaven forbid they make a Wii Kart.  If they are going to use the Miis more, they need to update the customization of the Miis.

ThomasOAugust 23, 2010

I quit the Mario Party series at number 5 when it started to add new game play concepts that made the game more complex than it needed to be. Mario Party 8 was a big disappointment, in my opinion. I played it for the first time last year and it was terrible from a technical standpoint-- no widescreen support, 30 fps for much of the game, some noticeable slowdown, motion controls that felt tacked on. Also, the boards that felt watered-down compared to the boards in previous iterations. It could've been better if there was more experience in developing for the Wii (but GC and Wii hardware are very similar and probably equally easy to develop for, nonetheless...) and more time taken to develop upon the game concepts.


The videos I've seen of Wii Party make the game look as if it will answer that; it looks very promising. Maybe this says that removing Mario from the Mario Party formula is what was needed all along to revitalize the series... I'm not saying that Mario is the problem, but you can only go so far before the Mario-based concepts and ideas grow too foreign for new players (or maybe too familiar with fans). Even though Mario seems to have "done it all" and always has potential for new things, the Mii just seems to be more flexible and easier to design with.


But Mario aside, I like the direction Wii Party has gone with the formula. Board Game Island is probably the closest thing to Mario Party-- 4 players on a board, roll the dice, move, play a mini-game. However, moving on the board is more like a race to the finish rather than "get as much stuff as possible in 20 turns." And, I've noticed in the mini-games is that one person won't necessarily monopolize the game (that one player who repeatedly wins and gets 10 coins every time); all players are rewarded based on performance with new dice to roll. The player in 1st place gets a golden die (this die gives a chance at rolling higher numbers to progress), the player in 2nd a silver die, 3rd a bronze, and 4th nothing. You can say that it's like the Battle mini-games in Mario Party. The mini-games I've seen are very diverse, and they appear very easy to understand and get into.


But I digress. Wii Party looks like it revitalize the experience that was beginning to wane in Mario Party. I look forward to it, and plan to buy it the week, if not the day, it's released.

Mop it upAugust 23, 2010

Quote from: ThomasO

But Mario aside, I like the direction Wii Party has gone with the formula.

There's no reason that Mario Party couldn't have done all of that, and it could have been more of a "bridge game" like Mario Kart if they had added in features like online play. But I think Ian Sane is right in that, whereas Mario Party has appeal to the "casual" and "hardcore" crowd alike, Wii Party is targeting only the "casual" players.

Also, I've played all eight console Mario Party games and 8 is easily my favourite. Sure it has some issues (as all eight games do), but I found it to have the best designed boards and biggest variety of fun minigames.

Quote from: Luigi

So back in 2005, all everyone would say is when is Nintendo going to finally stop making Mario Party games.  Mario Party was considered a disgrace to the Mario series that needed to be killed off and never seen again.

Now in the year 2010, Nintendo has officially killed off the Mario Party series and turned it into something that's no longer related to the Mario series.  And yet all the haters have nothing to say and now everyone is suddenly a big fan of Mario Party again.

What a disgusting sweeping generalization. I think we're seeing opinions from different people, there's nothing to show that those who didn't like Mario Party now suddenly want it back. I've always liked the series and own every home version, and I'm pretty sure neither Pap64 and Stratos ever wished the series would go away. Ian Sane would probably be glad to never see another one, he was simply rationalizing Nintendo's decisions. So I'm not sure who you're referring to when you say the haters became fans of the series.

Quote from: Art_de_Cat

Heaven forbid they make a Wii Kart.

There's no reason to do that when Mario Kart Wii allows the use of Miis; I see more Miis online than every Mario character combined. I figured that's what we'd be seeing is just the use of Miis in Mario games, since Mario Kart Wii has them, and Mario Super Sluggers and Mario Party 8 also have them, albeit halfheartedly.

Quote from: NWR_pap64

The audience definitely grew after the first three titles were released, but it was still composed of fans of Nintendo and the Mario franchise.

I don't think I agree with that. It may have started out that way, but I don't think it is any coincidence that Mario Party 8 is far and away the bestselling Mario Party game.

Quote from: Stratos

Watch: Mario will be an unlockable character in the game or something. If not people will just use Mario Miis to play the game.

A Mario Mii is not Mario! Does he say "It's-a-me, Mario"? DOES HE?

StratosAugust 23, 2010

Quote from: Mop

Quote from: Stratos

Watch: Mario will be an unlockable character in the game or something. If not people will just use Mario Miis to play the game.

A Mario Mii is not Mario! Does he say "It's-a-me, Mario"? DOES HE?

You've heard my Mario impersonation in Tri before. ;)

Ian SaneAugust 23, 2010

Quote:

A Mario Mii is not Mario! Does he say "It's-a-me, Mario"? DOES HE?


So NES and SNES era Mario is not Mario? ;)

jimwood27August 23, 2010

It is interesting to see the response to this game being mainly positive as all we heard from years is that the Wii has nothing but casual mini-game fests.  Guess we needed the experts to show us how it can be done right.  This looks to be the ultimate social game for the Wii.

DAaaMan64August 23, 2010

Quote from: Luigi

So back in 2005, all everyone would say is when is Nintendo going to finally stop making Mario Party games.  Mario Party was considered a disgrace to the Mario series that needed to be killed off and never seen again.

Now in the year 2010, Nintendo has officially killed off the Mario Party series and turned it into something that's no longer related to the Mario series.  And yet all the haters have nothing to say and now everyone is suddenly a big fan of Mario Party again.


Oh internets, stay classy.  ::)

The internet is not one man. The internet is many men, who can each be loud at different times.

Mop it upAugust 23, 2010

There are a few brave women on there as well.

DAaaMan64August 23, 2010

No, thats just Michael Moore.

Mop it upAugust 24, 2010

I don't know who that is.

SundoulosAugust 24, 2010

Quote from: Mop

I don't know who that is.

Trust me.  It's for the best that you don't.

Bring back horrible, early 80s Mario!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKHSJA_9EiI&feature=related

TJ SpykeAugust 24, 2010

Quote from: Sundoulos

Quote from: Mop

I don't know who that is.

Trust me.  It's for the best that you don't.

Wrong.

Mop, Michael Moore is a great documentary film maker. He made one of the most successful documentaries ever in Fahrenheit 9/11 (which was about the wars in Iraq). He also made a movie showing the underhanded tactics HMOs use to screw consumers in Sicko. He also went after the gun industry with Bowling for Columbine. His most recent film was Capitalism: A Love Story, which went after the financial industry.

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