Formerly rumor and now confirmed, Left Field Studios is no longer working as a Nintendo 2nd Party.
For those that suffer through the crazed rumor reporting of Louie the Cat, you would have caught the rumor last month that Left Field’s 2nd Party Contract with Nintendo is no more and that the development studio is moving on to develop projects for 3rd Parties. Earlier this evening, IGNCube ran a story confirming that this is indeed what has taken place. For whatever reason, relations with Nintendo have changed and the company is no longer a second-party.
It is possible that Left Field was still active shortly after Courtside was released, helping tweak the game for its upcoming release in Europe & Japan. Yet whenever the split occurred, it has certainly taken place now. According to IGN’s sources, following completion of Courtside 2002, a large portion of the team at Left Field quit and went to work for Sega / Visual Concepts. These former team members are now allegedly helping develop the GameCube port of NCAA College Basketball. The remainder of Left Field is now working on a series of Backyard Sports kid games for the Humongous / Infogrames label which will appear on next-generation consoles.
Louie also predicted that Nintendo would invest in other second parties… This has also turned out to be true. Brownie Brown is now a second party, a Nintendo Canada development team has been formed which is also a second-party. There is also word of a former Rare member now heading a party called Zoonami, though its role in relation to Nintendo is as of yet unknown. There may be other things happening behind the scenes too…
As for Left Field’s other known GameCube project, the sequel to 1080 Snowboarding, it was confirmed some time ago by Left Field it was no longer working on it. A bit later, came news that another development team (still unknown) is now handling the 1080 sequel.