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Metroid Confirmed?

by Billy Berghammer - May 23, 2000, 12:47 pm EDT
Source: MCV

Sounds like Metroid is definitely in the works. About time!

I think you can almost bank on Metroid hitting at least one of the two next-gen Nintendo systems. It is talked about though here! There's a lot more than just that here. MCV talked to NOA's VP of Marketing George Harrison about why Dolphin or GBA was not revealed at E3 this year. Nintendo looking to focus on teens and young adults as well?! Sounds good to me! Most of this we already knew, but it's a good read if you are still waiting to pick up your copy of Perfect Dark. Hehe. Read on bro!

Here, NoA VP of Marketing George Harrison sheds more light on his company's strategy."With respect to the Dolphin, there are a couple of things going on," Harrison tells MCV. "We have decided we don't want to talk about our Dolphin plans because we don't want to take the focus off our current business. But beyond that, there is a strong belief at Nintendo Company Limited [the Japanese parent company] that they really want to be the ones to unveil these great new game systems. So as a result, they have asked us to wait to release any information until the end of August."

Nintendo isn't that concerned with getting consumers' mind share right now. The company is more focused on getting its third-party publishers and developers excited about developing for Dolphin and Game Boy Advance. Nintendo plans a talent drive and will be visiting all of its third-party publishers and developers within the next 30 to 60 days to recruit developers around the world for the system.

"We are not underestimating our competitors or resting on the successes we have had with the Pokémon part of our business or with any of our other franchises," says Harrison. "Sony has had some success, and Microsoft, which has not yet been in this business, is very aggressive and well-funded.

"I think ours is a 'don't tip your hand before you have to' type of strategy. We have always been very confident that we can develop the games we need to develop our new hardware systems, and that is the most important thing for us at this point."

In the Nintendo tradition, the company is hoping to develop a killer app that showcases its new Dolphin system in much the same way that Mario 64 enticed consumers to purchase N64 by showcasing the leap from 16 to 64 bits.

"We have to deliver that same kind of compelling software at the launch of the Dolphin," Harrison says. "Otherwise we will find ourselves in a similar [situation to] to Dreamcast. Prettier graphics and a moderately interesting lineup of software, which results in hardware sales that started out well but are slowing up now."

Nintendo has had a love/hate relationship with some retailers, but it believes its recent decision to delay the launch of Game Boy Advance to give retailers another year with GBC will help the company when it releases both Dolphin and its next-generation handheld

"We've always tried to work closely with our retail partners. We are not always the easiest people to work with when we are short of product and retailers don't understand why during the holiday season, but the reality is that over the long run, we have been very steady partners. We have very consistent management, and they see the same faces year in and year out. We work very hard with individual retail plans with them. In the case of Game Boy Color, that was true, we talked and talked with them about the prospects. We felt that if we launched Game Boy Advance, we would have had to lower the price of Game Boy Color, and there is no reason to do that as the system is selling very well. They were just as happy to go through this Christmas with Game Boy Color and then come back in the spring with Game Boy Advance.

"This year our message to retailers is: Plan your business to take full advantage of those existing platforms, not only Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color, but Dreamcast and PlayStation 1, because without that 89 to 90 percent of the business, your overall year won't be successful. So with shelf space, advertising and promotion planning, make sure you protect that base of product. The announced price point by Sony of $299 [for PlayStation 2], makes our $99 N64 price point very affordable and palatable to consumers looking to get into console gaming."

Harrison won't disclose what titles will be released for Game Boy Advance or Dolphin, but does say gamers and retailers can expect the core franchises Mario, Pokémon and Donkey Kong to be released, plus Metroid and some others that didn't see the light of day on N64.

Signifying the fundamental change from Nintendo's family- and children-focused positioning, Harrison tips his hand with respect to Nintendo's intent to make more games geared towards teens and young adults.

"One of our goals on the new systems will be to try and get some assets in place that will help us be more successful with gamers over the age of 18," Harrison says. "We have games like Conker's Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark and Eternal Darkness. [That's] not just one [game] as in the case of GoldenEye 007, but a bunch of titles that will help us attract and keep those gamers glued to our system — those types of gamers who are enamored with South Park and that kind of outrageous comedy."

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