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What Are Nintendo's Developers Doing?

by Neal Ronaghan - January 25, 2012, 9:59 am EST
Total comments: 12

We break down each of Nintendo's internal teams in an effort to make sense of the future.

Nintendo has a large roster of internal teams, ranging from the famed EAD Groups to their Western friends at Retro Studios. You can usually guess at what might be coming next from Nintendo by looking at what studios have been idle for a while. So come with me, as we go through each Nintendo studio, one-by-one, and figure out what they could be doing right now.


syrindigoJanuary 25, 2012

I thought there was an article not too long ago in Nintendo Power where Retro themselves hinted on them doing a new Starfox!

As much as Id like a new Zelda. Im confident that the EAD groups can handle that...

Id rather see a Starfox game that reminds us why we fell in love with the franchise in the first place.... Because honestly... Its been far too long.

I'd rather have Q-Games do that since one of the creators of the SNES game runs the show there. And they made Star Fox 64 3D.

If I did this for every Nintendo-affiliated developer, you would have seen that prediction, but that may or may not happen.

TJ SpykeJanuary 25, 2012

Quote from: syrindigo

I thought there was an article not too long ago in Nintendo Power where Retro themselves hinted on them doing a new Starfox!

It was UK magazine Official Nintendo Magazine (published by Future Media, not Nintendo) which hinted at it in their rumor column. Retro themselves did not hint that they were working on a Star Fox game.

the asylumJanuary 25, 2012

As long as one of them is working on new F-Zero I'm happy

Chozo GhostJanuary 25, 2012


what studios have been idle for a while.

I don't think any studio sits idle for any significant length of time. We may not always know what they are up to, but they are always doing something because it would be a waste of money to pay salaries of studios doing nothing. What we see as "idle" is really just the period of time between the completion of their last project, and the revealing of their next. It takes time to get something polished off enough to have impressive screenshots or videos or demos put together for public viewing.

CericJanuary 25, 2012

I always considered Idle being the time when the decisions are made on what to work on next.

alegoicoeJanuary 26, 2012

great article, i found it to be very informative.

Quote from: Ceric

I always considered Idle being the time when the decisions are made on what to work on next.

I'm sure some studios (for example, Sora is going from Kid Icarus to Smash Bros. We know that for certain) have things lined up right away, even if we don't know what it is. For example, whatever Retro's working on was likely shored up before or right after DKCR came out. We know DKCR was set into motion right after Retro worked on Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Also, with Nintendo's way of doing things (with all the experimentation and the prototypes), an idle studio might just be making a bunch of concepts and not following through with them yet. Though that's more likely to be an EAD or SPD studio than a Retro or an Nd Cube.

Chozo GhostJanuary 26, 2012

The decision of what a studio works on might not even be made by the studio at all. Doesn't Nintendo have the authority to tell its studios what they are going to work on? I'm sure they have some varying degrees of autonomy, but as Neal just said their projects are probably lined up for them and decided on even before they finish their current project.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)January 26, 2012

How many of the internal teams are involved in hardware development? I feel like this topic comes up a lot (just what are Nintendo's studios doing?), and I know that Nintendo's software and hardware studios are supposed to be synonymous e.g. Hideki Konno, the director of the Mario Kart series, was in charge of the team that designed the 3DS. I figure that must have something to do with it.

I don't think they've outright said what group is working on Wii U.

However, I didn't mention a few of their other in-house branches, such as SRD (Systems Research & Development), IRD (Integrated Research & Development), and more. They likely handle more of the hardware load.

With 3DS and Konno at the helm of it, it was said at the time that Konno's involvement wasn't expected. It was the case of the higher-ups (Iwata? Miyamoto?) wanting to have a software dev's perspective on hardware.

Chozo GhostJanuary 26, 2012

Konno is the one to blame for the oversight of the 3DS not having dual analog built in? If that's the case, then its probably for the best if he wasn't the one in charge of designing the Wii U.

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