There is a lot that happens behind the scenes at Nintendo Co., Ltd. This series of articles takes an intimate look at the important news that the headlines often overlook. This first edition examines what the Mario Kart team has cooking, how Nintendo's North American development studio is beefing up its employee base, and much more.
During the 2006 Game Developer's Conference, Nintendo EAD producer/manager Katsuya Eguchi confirmed that Development Group No. 2 was done with the Nintendo DS and completely tied-up with the Nintendo Revolution. Eguchi has not been shy in confirming the existence of Animal Crossing Revolution; however, it is now with certainty that we can scratch it off any rumored "launch list." Development Group No. 2's next project will be a Wi-Fi title for the Nintendo Revolution that Eguchi hopes to fully unveil at the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006 in May. Animal Crossing Revolution is in development; just don't expect any concrete information until next E3.
After a turbulent stretch of game development, Nintendo EAD producer/manager Hideki Konno has been vindicated by producing two highly acclaimed million sellers on the Nintendo DS. Development Group No.1 produced the first million-seller with its pop-hit Nintendogs and followed it up with another platinum hit Mario Kart DS. Konno is enjoying praise and success from his peers and the media for his latest releases after a period of resentment and doubt for his involvement in Mario Kart 64, Yoshi's Story, and Luigi's Mansion. Konno's Development Group No.1 is another faction confirming that Nintendo DS development has ceased in favor of the Revolution. Konno has confirmed that his two teams are both working on Revolution software, none of the two being sequels to Nintendogs or Mario Kart.
The Redmond-based Nintendo Software Technology Corp. is continuing its streak of expanding its team by means of hiring experienced game designers. Originally the group was made up of several college graduates from Digipen and other universities. Nintendo then made a decision to start hiring veteran talent and transferring EAD members to Redmond, Washington. The initial EAD transferees included Shigeki Yamashiro and Yukimi Shimura. The second wave comprised of EAD designer Katsuhiko Kanno. For the development of Metroid Prime Hunters, the third wave consisted of former EAD members Colin Reed and Masamichi Abe. Reed joined Nintendo during development of Stunt Race FX and has programmed other Nintendo classics like 1080* Snowboarding and Pikmin. Abe joined EAD after working for Namco on the Tekken series. He directed 1080* Snowboarding, Pikmin 1, and Pikmin 2 while a member of EAD.
Nd Cube was born as a Nintendo subsidiary with a minority stake by Nintendo-ally Dentsu with the intent of Nintendo video game development. The development team has worked under Nintendo to develop two Game Boy Advance titles in F-Zero: Maximum Velocity and Yakuman Advance (Mahjong). After those two titles, several experiments were conducted that resulted in most of Nd Cube's projects being hired by third party licensee publishers after Nintendo rejected them. With close to two years of undocumented activity, we can now confirm several former Nd Cube staff have migrated directly to Nintendo, Square-Enix, and other third party companies. Does the company still exist? If it does, it may be on its last legs.