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Insight into Nintendo EAD Development

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Zero Revolution
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Insight into Nintendo EAD Development

Post by Zero Revolution on Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:35 pm

A former employee at Nintendo EAD, Motoi Okamoto, was interviewed and gave some inside info on what it was like to work there.

On the pressure EAD would experience due to competition inside the company:

Like the great warlord Oda Nobunaga, Yamauchi wanted his vassals to compete with each other. Nintendo once had three hardware development departments plus EAD. Each of these three departments had its own game development team, and Yamauchi made the leaders of these departments compete with each other. This resulted in successes like the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy, but the departments never shared information with each other.

EAD occupied a special position in the company. If one of our game consoles didn't sell well, the divisions would criticize EAD, saying that the failure was because it couldn't create a home-run hit piece of software. My old boss Miyamoto has continued to bear the responsibility of home-run hitter, especially since the days of the Nintendo 64.

Okamoto said that this old style of having departments compete was taken away by Iwata when he took over, and gave birth to a whole new approach.

On Miyamoto's goals and struggles with Pikmin:

When developing Pikmin, Miyamoto said "The next Mario is Pikmin." ...

When he was developing Pikmin, Miyamoto was facing two problems, ones that arose with the success of certain titles on the Sony PlayStation. First: should his studio make games that felt like movies, or included pre-rendered movie scenes? At the time, his answer was basically "No." (But in 2014, he created the Pikmin animated shorts.)

Second, how to deal with the phenomenon of "interactive art"? As he's mentioned in many interviews, Miyamoto has long been interested in interactive play and creation tools, not just pure videogames. When game consoles like PlayStation and Nintendo 64 introduced 3D visuals, he considered that perhaps these consoles could also introduce fun interactive art that players could continue to touch and play without a clear goal, or creative tools.

I understand what Miyamoto meant when he said "the next Mario is Pikmin." Pikmin was his launch title for GameCube, and is now seen as one of his masterpieces. He'd created a great game with Mario, and was trying to again create the next big thing in games.

On the crunch during Super Mario 64 DS development:

In those days, Miyamoto would come to us at 11 PM, after he finished all of his board-member work, and say, "It's Mario time." At that point, we'd start a planning meeting that would run until 2 AM. At that point, Miyamoto would go home, leaving us with the words, "You should return home soon, for your health." Over the next two or three hours, we'd write the game design documents and summarize the instructions for our artists and programmers.

It was the craziest crunch time that I've ever experienced in my development career. But if the God of Games was working so much, could we give up? Miyamoto had incredible stamina.

On rejected Wii Play games

Yes, there were two. Both were side-view scrollers. One was called Obstacle Course, which was seen at the 2006 E3. Another was a side-view flight action game called Bird. My team didn't have enough time to brush them up. The team was very small, and the Wii Play team shared artists and system programmers with the Wii Sports team. As the working time of artists for Wii Sports increased, the work time for Wii Play decreased. And it was clear that the company should give priority to Wii Sports.

Later, I adopted the level design of Obstacle Course into Wii Fit's Balance Bubble. I turned the course layout for the side scroll 90 degrees, making it a course that went lengthwise. As the team was small, I tried not to waste anything. Later, I found Bird in another form in the Wii U game Nintendo Land, as Balloon Trip Breeze.

This is some really cool information! I didn't realize Super Mario 64 DS was developed within such a short period of time. And I knew Miyamoto has always held Pikmin in high esteem but I never would've guessed he thought of it as the next Mario. I hope that means we'll be getting more Pikmin soon!


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Re: Insight into Nintendo EAD Development

Post by Gameguy1996 on Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:08 pm

They just goes to show you that even remakes take a lot of time and effort with how tight deadlines can be and It's nice to learn about those rejected Wii Play games.


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