Why Nintendo chose Tatsumi Kimishima to be their new CEO and not Genyo Takeda or Shigeru Miyamoto

Kimishima

Today Nintendo Co Ltd. announced that, former Nintendo of America CEO, Tatsumi Kimishima will be the new CEO of the house of Mario. It’s an interesting decision, to say the least. Many people, including myself, thought that they were going to stick with Genyo Takeda who has been leading the company (together with Shigeru Miyamoto) ever since Satoru Iwata passed away.

Takeda would have been the obvious choice. He is the general manager of Nintendo’s integrated research division, and was, in that outfit responsible, for producing the Nintendo Wii. He also created the Punch-Out!! and StarTropics series. He is a hands-on kind of guy, just like Iwata was, and is credited to be the creator of both the analogue stick and the cartridge battery back which made it possible for NES cartridges to keep save data after the console was turned off (which was first used in Miyamoto’s The Legend of Zelda). Creations which are still very relevant today (could you imagine playing a 3D console game without the analogue stick today? Neither can I). Also just like Iwata, he grew into different management positions as the years went by.

Punch-Out StarTropics

Then why didn’t Nintendo choose Takeda? Well, there’s the language aspect, of course. As far as I know, Takeda’s English is not on the same level as that of Iwata (nor is Miyamoto’s, for the record), meaning that he probably wouldn’t put himself as much in the Western limelight as Iwata did with his Nintendo Direct series of announcements, meaning that in the eye of the beholder Nintendo would once again become this faceless Japanese giant that doesn’t speak your language, nor understands you… which, of course, wouldn’t be good for sales in the Western market. Also, in this respect, I expect that, for a company whose profits are quite dependent of its international successes, having a president who doesn’t speak the international language par excellence is a bit of a hard sell for shareholders as well.

One of Nintendo’s biggest current issues is that, while it has been doing quite well in Japan these last few years, it has been struggling to generate that same interest in the West, and especially in the Americas – although Amiibo are a huge success in the States. Choosing for a president and CEO with a similar track record as his predecessor and whom may have limited knowledge of the West and of the Western market, would probably not change anything to this situation.

Enter Tatsumi Kimishima whom was not only the CEO of Nintendo of America from 2002 until 2006, but whom has lived – and still lives – in the States for more than half of his life (he is currently 65). Unlike many of Nintendo’s other big names, Kimishima wasn’t with Nintendo from the beginning. He joined the company in 2000 after having worked for 27 years at Sanwa Bank of Japan where he was, among other, responsible for corporate planning and international business development. Also unlike many of Nintendo’s other big names, Kimishima didn’t start out as a developer. When he joined the company in 2000 he became the Chief Financial Officer for the Pokémon Company, after which he quickly became the president of Pokémon USA Inc. in 2001.

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co., center right, speaks as Tatsumi Kimishima, managing director, listens during a news conference in Osaka, Japan, on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. Nintendo posted second-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates, helped by a weaker yen that boosted the value of overseas sales and demand for new games including Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. Photographer: Yuzuru Yoshikawa/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Satoru Iwata; Tatsumi Kimishima

Kimishima will be a very different president than Iwata was or than Takeda or Miyamoto would have been. He’s more of a numbers guy, less of a hands on guy. That’s not necessarily a problem. Miyamoto and Takeda will still be there advising him in this respect – as can be learned from the press release – while he makes sure the shareholders are happy. Also, Kimishima probably knows more of the Western market than any other Nintendo employee from Japanese descent. That may be a good thing, but not necessarily either. One of the main reasons I love Nintendo is because their products are so different from what Western companies produce. On the other hand, if Kimishima finds a way to actually attract a bigger audience for Nintendo and still lets them produce these unique experiences, I’m all for it.

Will the appointment of Kimishima lead to a new golden age for Nintendo? It’s hard to say. For, one it’s hard for an outsider to judge what actual power the new president and CEO will have. What power remains with Miyamoto and Takeda after Kimishima becomes the new president and CEO. His knowledge of the Western market may indeed entice Nintendo to walk an new path, but given Kimishima’s age (65) it may well be that he is a transitionary president who’s there to fill in the void left by Iwata’s unexpected passing, until the next generation is ready to take over. Then again, what’s to stop Kimishima from ruling Nintendo for the next decade or so?

The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016 (8)

In this series of articles I look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.

Next up: the last of Nintendo’s other known partners (Koei Tecmo, Level 5, Noise, Sega, Sora Ltd., skip, Square Enix, Vanpool)


KOEI TECMO

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Koei Tecmo Samurai Warriors: Chronicles 3 June 2015 Fatal Frame series

(Samurai) Warriors series

Ninja Gaiden series

Dead or Alive series

Fist of the North Star series

Rygar series

Hyrule Warriors

Pokémon Conquest

Metroid: Other M

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water

Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3

What are they working on?

Koei Tecmo and Nintendo have had a very good working relationship ever since Nintendo became co-owner of the Fatal Frame series (Project Zero series in Europe). While Koei Tecmo owns the franchise, Nintendo co-owns the rights to every installment in the series that appeared and will appear after Project Zero 3. The fifth game in the series (Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water) will release in the Fall. A new Fatal Frame game will undoubtedly be developed, but will not be coming to current gen Nintendo consoles.

Koei Tecmo’s Omega Force (in charge of the Warriors series) developed a cross over between the Warriors series and The Legend of Zelda series, named: Hyrule Warriors. They are currently porting an updated version of the game to Nintendo 3DS, which will be called Hyrule Warrios Legends. Because of the first game’s success, and Omega Force’s track record of developing sequels for and developing updated versions of their successful Warriors games, it won’t take long before we see Hyrule Warriors 2. The game may even still come to WiiU, though with Legend releasing next year on 3DS, it all depends on whether WiiU is still relevant in 2017.

Nintendo also helped Team Ninja in bringing Ninja Gaiden to Nintendo WiiU. Since that game didn’t do as well as hoped for, we may not be seeing the series anytime soon on a Nintendo platform again – although there have been rumors of a Ninja Gaiden 3DS game being in the works for years.

Other notable games Koei Tecmo developed for Nintendo are Pokémon Conquest (a spin-off of the Nobunaga’s Ambition series) and Metroid: Other M (together with SPD 1). While chances of Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja working on another Metroid game are almost inexistent, it isn’t impossible that a new Pokémon Conquest game is in the works for Nintendo 3DS.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water will release on WiiU this Fall. We may still get another Koei Tecmo game on WiiU in 2016, most likely that would be a game in the Warriors series.

LEVEL-5

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Level 5 Inazuma Eleven GO 2: Chrono Stone March 2015 Professor Layton series

Yo-kai Watch series

Dragon Quest series

Little Battlers eXperience series

Inazuma Eleven series

Guild series

Fantasy Life

Little Battlers eXperience

Inazuma Eleven Wildfire

What are they working on?

Although Level-5 started out as a company with a very tight relationship with Sony and the PlayStation brand, they have been diversifying their output and have been releasing different titles for Nintendo systems ever since the success of the Professor Layton series on Nintendo DS. What more: Nowadays Level-5 is mostly known for its fantastically successful series on the Nintendo 3DS, including Inazuma Eleven and Yo-kai Watch, though some of their focus has shifted away to smartphones.

Though none of the series Level-5 works on are owned by Nintendo, Nintendo does publish most of their in the West. The latest game they published (in Europe only) was Inazuma Eleven GO 2: Chrono Stone. The series remains popular in Europe, so it is likely that Inazuma Eleven GO 3 (which is already released in Japan) will release next year in Europe. First we’ll be getting Little Battlers eXperience in September though.

Nintendo (1-UP Studio) also assisted Level-5 in the development of Fantasy Life. Fantasy Life 2 has been announced, but it will be released on smartphones, and from the looks of it, we should not want it to come to Nintendo platforms.

Level-5’s biggest franchises are without a doubt Yo-kai Watch and Professor Layton. The first Yo-kai Watch game will release in Europe in 2016, while Japan will still get Yo-kai Watch Busters and Yo-kai Watch 3 this year. If the first game in the series becomes a success in the West we may still get Yo-Kai Watch 2, Yo-kai Watch 3 and Yo-kai Watch Busters as well. Layton 7 will also release in Japan this Summer. It may come West, but not necessarily. Just Dance x Yo-kai Watch is in the works for WiiU, but chances that we will be seeing it in the West are slim. Maybe Ubisoft and Level-5 are keeping an eye on how well Persona 4: Dancing All Night will be received in the West, and may release it over here if that game turns our to be succesful? Wishful thinking.

Level-5 is also rumored to be working on Dragon Quest XI. Most likely this game is in development for PlayStation 4, but who knows, maybe it will come to Nintendo WiiU as well (UPDATE: the game has been confirmed for PS4 and is also coming to Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix is looking at bringing it to Nintendo NX as well).

What does this mean for WiiU?

Unless Dragon Quest XI also comes to WiiU, or Just Dance x Yo-kai Watch comes to the West, we won’t see Level-5 release a game for WiiU.

NOISE

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Noise Go Go Cosmo Cops!

Gyrozetter: Wings of the Albatross (JP)

August 2009 Custom Robo series (?) New Custom Robo

Go Go Cosmo Cops

What are they working on?

It is not known what Noise is currently working on. They are a small team of developers (21 people) who are focused on creating Nintendo handheld and smartphone games. Their last game to be released outside of Japan was Go Go Cosmo Cops! for Nintendo DS in 2009. It was published by Bandai Namco. They also developed a Gyrozetter game for Square Enix. This game was published exclusively in Japan in 2013. It was not a commercial success and will not be released in the West.

They developed five games in the Custom Robo series for Nintendo. A new Custom Robo game may be in the works, although the franchise hasn’t proven to be too popular. It would most probably be made for a Nintendo handheld console. Maybe Nintendo is keeping an eye on how Level-5’s Little Battlers eXperience will do in the West, before making a decision in the respect?

What does this mean for WiiU?

Noise will not release a game for Nintendo WiiU.

SEGA

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Sega 3D Streets of Rage 2 May 2015 Sonic series

Sega All-Stars series

Sega 3D Classics series

Hatsune Miku series

Yakuza series

F-Zero GX

The Cave

Hatsune Miku – Project Mirai DX

3d streets of rage 2

What are they working on?

After they stepped out of the console business, one time rival SEGA seems to have found a new home for its famous Blue Hedgehog on Nintendo consoles. Although not all Sonic games are exclusive to Nintendo platforms, he has had quite a few outings on Nintendo’s current generation of consoles to say the least. Indeed, at one point Nintendo even made a contract with Sega stating that no less than three or four Sonic games would come exclusively to Nintendo WiiU. With Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games arriving Spring/Summer 2016 (a sports game which does not only have Sonic characters in its roster, but also famous characters from the Mushroom Kingdom) that contract will have been fulfilled. It will most likely be the fifth and final game staring Sonic (made by Sega) on Nintendo WiiU: the other four games are: Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing transformed (the only non-exclusive game), Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter, Sonic Lost World and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.

A version of Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games will also be released on Nintendo 3DS around Spring/Summer 2016. Before that, however, we will still see at least two other Sega retail titles coming to the platform: Hatsune Miku – Project Mirai DX in September and Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice in December.

Sega also releases some of their classics remastered in 3D for Nintendo 3DS in the e-shop on a regular basis. It is not known which game will be next in the series (recently we have seen the release of 3D Thunder Blade, 3D Out Run and 3D Streets of Rage 2), but it may actually still arrive before Hatsune Miku – Project Mirai DX releases.

While HD remakes of Yakuza 1 and 2 for Nintendo WiiU have been released in Japan, it is unlikely that they will be released in the West. Also, though it was rumored to be in the works, chances of another Yakuza game on WiiU are slim.

May we still see another F-Zero game developed by Sega? The studio that developed F-Zero GX under the auspices of Sega, Amusement Vision, has been defunct since 2004, so it is not very likely that the franchise would still be handled by Sega. And although Sega has its own successful race series, most of the games in these series have been developed by independent developers (e.g. Sumo Digital).

What does this mean for WiiU?

While we will still see plenty of Sega’s games on Nintendo 3DS, their retail support for WiiU will probably end after the release of Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games. A port of the Game Freak developed digital only title Tembo the Badass Elephant may still stomp its way over to WiiU.

SORA LTD.

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Sora Ltd. Super Smash Bros for WiiU November 2014 Super Smash Bros series

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Meteos

(?) Super Smash Bros

 Super Smash Bros WiiU

What are they working on?

Sora Ltd. Is the independent company founded by Smash Bros and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai. The company has close working relationships with Nintendo and Bandai Namco, with which they produced the latest titles in the Super Smash Bros series (for 3DS/for WiiU).

Sora Ltd. is currently working on DLC for both Smash Bros titles. Its future after the release of these DLC packs is uncertain. They may start working on the new Smash Bros, but Sakurai has indicated that he may want to work on smaller titles, if he doesn’t outright retire… or become Nintendo’s new CEO (unlikely, but still…)/

What does this mean for WiiU?

Sora Ltd. will keep supporting Super Smash Bros for WiiU with more upcoming DLC. After they have finished working on DLC, they will not release any more content for Nintendo WiiU.

SKIP LTD.

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
skip Ltd. Chibi-Robo! Let’s Go, Photo! July 2014 Chibi-Robo! Series

Art style series

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash

Chibi-Robo Let's Go, Photo

What are they working on?

skip Ltd. is mostly known for its work on the Chibi-Robo! series. The newest game in the series will release this October for Nintendo 3DS. Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is, however, quite different from its predecessors. It is a 2.5D platform game. It is unlikely we will see another game from them on the current generation of Nintendo consoles.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

It is unlikely that we will see Chibi-Robo make an appearance on Nintendo WiiU. But who knows? Maybe we’ll see the little robot do his little thing on WiiU in 2016. Don’t get your hopes up, though.

SQUARE ENIX

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Square Enix Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call September 2014 Bravely Default series

Final Fantasy (Crystal Chronicles) series

Dragon Quest (Monsters) series

Kingdom Hearts series

Theatrhythm series

Mario Sports Mix

Mario Slam Basketball

Boom Street

Super Mario RPG

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Heroes of Ruin

Bravely Second End Layer

Theathrythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call

What are they working on?

While Square Enix and Nintendo cooperated very actively during the previous generation of consoles (for Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii), with Square Enix developing several titles for the big N (Mario sports games and Boom/Fortune Street) and Nintendo publishing in the West and cooperating in the development of several Square Enix titles (mostly Dragon Quest games), the cooperation between the two Japanese giants does not seem to be as active as it used to be – though with the rumors of Dragon Quest X and XI being considered for NIntendo NX this may change once again in the future.

For one, none of Square Enix’ legacy titles have made it to Nintendo’s Virtual Consoles in Europe and the U.S. (they are available in Japan though) and secondly, apart from publishing the first Bravely Default game, Nintendo hasn’t published another Square Enix title in the West so far. The second game in the series, Bravely Second End Layer, will be published by Square Enix itself and will release on Nintendo 3DS in 2016. Although it has been (somewhat) confirmed that the Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII will be published in the West, it is not sure whether it will be Nintendo or Square Enix themselves doing the publishing.

While many Square Enix titles are coming to the current generation of home consoles, none of these titles have been confirmed to be coming to WiiU. The only current generation game that has been announced to also be coming at least one Nintendo platform, is Dragon Quest XI, but it has been confirmed for 3DS, not WiiU. The previous Dragon Quest title (Dragon Quest X) was released on Nintendo WiiU in Japan, but it is unlikely that that game will ever be released in the West on WiiU; because it is a MMORPG and because Square Enix somewhat confirming that the game may be coming to Nintendo NX in the future.

One final straw, Tantalus Media, who ported Deus Ex Revolution to Nintendo WiiU have said to be porting another big name game to Nintendo WiiU. They have also stated that this is not a mature game. So, looking at the companies they have been working with and looking at the non-mature games (that will be releasing) on PS4 and XOne, chances are that they are porting another Square Enix game to WiiU. What game may that be? Because a noticeable portion of the active Kingdom Hearts fan base owns Nintendo consoles, could it be that Kingdom Hearts III will also come to Nintendo WiiU? Wishful thinking, I know. But then again, the Kingdom Hearts series is all about wishing and dreaming.

On the other hand, because we haven’t heard from Tantalus in a while now, and because NX may be coming sooner than thought and Kingdom Hearts III later than hoped, chances are that they are no longer porting this (or any other Square Enix) title to WiiU, but to NX. Or is it that Tantalus is working together with another top Notch developer, and is bringing Minecraft to Nintendo WiiU?

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Square Enix hasn’t been very actively producing content for Nintendo systems this generation. It may be that we will not see another of their titles on Nintendo WiiU.

VANPOOL

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Vanpool Dillon’s Rolling Western: The Last Ranger April 2013 Dillon’s Roling Western series

Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland

Wii Play Motion

Paper Mario: Sticker Star

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

(?) New Dillon’s Rolling Western

DillonsRollingWestern2

What are they working on?

With their last game released beginning of 2013, Vanpool should be almost ready to announce what they have been working on the last two years. Will we see a new Dillon’s Rolling Western? On Nintendo WiiU? On Nintendo 3DS?

They have also worked on Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland, and another Tingle game that was only released in Japan. A new Tingle game does not seem very likely at the moment, with all of the other The Legend of Zelda spin-offs releasing in the near future (or having been released recently).

Vanpool has also developed some mini-games for other games on Nintendo systems.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Unless the game Vanpool has been working on these last two years turns out to be a new Dillon’s Rolling Western for Nintendo WiiU, we will not see  any of their games on Nintendo’s current gen. home console.

The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016 (7)

In this series of articles I look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.

Next up: other Nintendo partners (Ambrella, Arzest, Bandai Namco, Chunsoft, Good-Feel, Grezzo, indieszero and Jupiter)

AMBRELLA

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Ambrella Pokémon Rumble World April 2015 Pokémon Rumbe series

Pokémon Dash

New Pokémon Rumble

Pokémon Rumble World

What are they working on?

Since Ambrella have only worked on Pokémon Rumble games since 2009, chaces are that they just started developing the next one for the next generation of Nintendo hardware.

What does this mean for WiiU?

With the release of Pokémon Rumble U in 2013 we have probably seen all of Ambrella’s work for Nintendo WiiU.

ARZEST

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Arzest Yoshi’s New Island March 2014 Wii Play Motion

Streetpass Mii Plaza

(?) Terra Battle

Yoshi's New Island

What are they working on?

Yoshi’s New Island wasn’t received very well by critics and fans of the series. As such it is most likely that Arzest has not received a new project from Nintendo.

Arzest did work with Mistwalker on Terra Battle, so if that game would make it to WiiU (highly unlikely) we will still see some of Arzest work on a Nintendo platform. For now, however, they seem to be focusing on smartphone games, with Boost Beast planned to release this year.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Mistwalker’s Terra Battle on WiiU? Not very likely.

BANDAI NAMCO

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Bandai Namco Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy Plus February 2015 Mario Baseball series

Mario Kart Arcade series

Donkey Konga series

Project X Zone series

Pac-Man series

Disney Magic Castle series

Tekken series

Ridge Racer series

Tales of series

One Piece series

Star Fox Assault

Project X Zone 2

Project Treasure

Pokkén Tournament

Ace_Combat_Assault_Horizon_Legacy_+_(EU)

What are they working on?

Bandai Namco is working with Sora Ltd. On DLC for Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros for WiiU and Super Smash Bros for 3DS.

Bandai Namco are developing Pokkén Tournament, a crossover between Pokémon and Tekken, for Arcades. This game may still come to WiiU in 2016. They are also developing Project Treasure, a free-to-play multiplayer action game for WiiU which is also set to release in 2016.

Bandai Namco are working on at least two titles for Nintendo 3DS. Disney Magic Castle 2 and Project X Zone 2 (which they develop together with Monolith Soft) should both release in 2016 as well.

No titles from their other big series are known to be in development for Nintendo platforms at the moment, although it is very likely that Ganbarion is working on One Piece Unlimited: World BLUE, which may also come to Nintendo platforms.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Bandai Namco is still developing DLC for Super Smash Bros for WiiU. With Project Treasure set to release in 2016 and the possibility of Pokkén tournament and a new One Piece game releasing on WiiU in 2016 as well, Bandai Namco has all but abandoned WiiU development. Sadly they won’t be publishing Project C.A.R.S on WiiU, since the studio that developed the title was unable to get it to work on Nintendo’s console.

SPIKE CHUNSOFT

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Spike Chunsoft Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains July 2015 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series

Wii Play: Motion

StreetPass Mii Plaza

Zero Escape series

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

Attack on Titan

What are they working on?

Spike Chunsoft are in charge of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. The next installment in the series (Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon) will be released next year.
Spike Chunsoft has also started working on Zero Escape 3 for Nintendo 3DS, the third game in the series, after 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward. They game will be released in 2016

What does this mean for WiiU?

Spike Chunsoft does not develop games for Nintendo WiiU.

GOOD-FEEL

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Good-Feel Yoshi’s Woolly World June 2015 Wario Land: Shake It!

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Wii Play: Motion

StreetPass Mii Plaza

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

(?) New Wario Land

Yoshi's Woolly World

What are they working on?

With 97 employees Good-Feel has become quite the studio. It is, however, unlikely that their next game will still be released on WiiU, though not impossible. Development on Yoshi’s Woolly World has been finished for a while now, and Good-Feel has expressed their willingness to develop a new Wario Land game. With their track record, Nintendo may just grant them their wish.

Good-Feel has also made some smaller mini-games that are part of larger compilations or are part of another game (they did the giant battles for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team). It is possible that they one of their new mini-games releases before their next big platform game.

What does this mean for WiiU?

A Wario Land game may still be in development for WiiU, but a lot depends on when development for the game started. If they just recently begun working on it, chances are that it will end up on NX.

GREZZO

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Grezzo The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D February 2015 The Legend of Zelda remakes

StreetPass Mii Plaza

Line Attack Heroes

(?) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess remake

 Majora 3D

What are they working on?

Tokyo EAD 1 has mostly been working together with external developer Grezzo to remake several The Legend of Zelda games for Nintendo 3DS (Occarina of Time 3D, Four Swords Anniversary Edition and Majora’s Mask 3D).

Most likely they just started working together with Grezzo on another The Legend of Zelda remake, and the most likely contenders in that respect are: Twilight Princess HD (for WiiU) and Four Swords Adventures Anniversary (for New 3DS and WiiU). While the latter may seem the most feasible for the studio, fans have really been dreaming of a Twilight Princess remake ever since the tech demo shown at E3 2013. With some help of Kyoto EAD 3, it is not unlikely that Tokyo EAD1 is working on making this dream a reality together with Grezzo… but most likely for Nintendo NX.

Grezzo may, however, be working on remaking an entirely different N64 game for Nintendo 3DS.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Chances are small that Grezzo is working on a game for Nintendo WiiU. Most likely contender in that respect would be Four Swords Adventures Anniversary, which could release on both WiiU and (New) Nintendo 3DS.

INDIESZERO

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
indieszero Ultimate NEX Remix November 2014 NES Remix series

Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre

Theatrhythm series

DualPenSports

(?) Theatrhythm Dragon Quest

Ultimate NES Remix

What are they working on?

While Theatrhythm Dragon Quest was already released in Japan for Nintendo 3DS, it has not (yet) been announced for a Western release.  With Dragon Quest VII and VIII for Nintendo 3DS having been (somewhat) confirmed for Western release it is not unlikely that we will see the game come to Europe and the U.S. It is likely that indieszero is working on yet another Theatrhythm game.

Indieszero is also a known partner for Tokyo EAD 2. They have co-developed the NES Remix series and Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre. A SNES Remix may be in the works, and could still come to Nintendo WiiU.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Indieszero could be working on SNES Remix for WiiU.

JUPITER

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Jupiter PICROSS e5 November 2014 PICROSS series

Pokémon Pinball series

Spectrobes series

The World ends with You

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

(?) PICROSS e6

Picross e5

What are they working on?

Jupiter is probably working on PICROSS e6, which may still release this year. (EDIT: it was released two weeks ago, well after I originally finished writing this piece. So that’s one good prediction. At the moment they’re probably working on PICROSS e7 which may come to 3DS in 2016).

The only non-PICROSS game they have made for the current generation of Nintendo systems is a Medabots game which released exclusively in Japan on Nintendo 3DS. While a new Pokémon Pinball game for Nintendo 3DS may be in the works, it does not seem very likely, since the series didn’t even appear on the immensely popular Nintendo DS.

Although Jupiter co-developed The World ends with You and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories with Square Enix, they have not worked together with the publisher since the release of those two games.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Jupiter does not develop games for Nintendo WiiU.

 

The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016 (6)

In this series of articles I look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.

Next up: the last few internal Nintendo developers (SDD and NST) and affiliates (1-UP Studio, Genius Sonority and HAL Laboratory).


SDD

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
SDD Streetpass Mii Plaza

Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball (NA)

March 2011

April 2014

Jam with the Band series

Brain Training series

AR Games

(?)Dr. Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused?

StreetPass Mii Plaza

What are they working on?

Nintendo SDD has worked mostly on games in the Brain Training series and Jam with the Band series. While there have been multiple Brain Training games that were released in the West, the Jam with the Band games mostly stay in Japan.

The AR games and Streetpass Mii Plaza games developed by SDD were pre-installed on or pre-packaged with the original 3DS system. None of the three games SDD produced for Nintendo 3DS afterwards have made it to Europe. Brain Age: Concentration Training (which in Europe will be called Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused? if it ever releases) and Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball have been released in the U.S. though.

 

Nintendo SDD is momentarily probably working on pre-installed software for Nintendo’s newest handheld console, which may or may not be a new Streetpass Mii Plaza.

What does this mean for WiiU?

SDD focuses on games for Nintendo handheld consoles. They will not produce anything for Nintendo WiiU.

NST

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
NST Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars March 2015 Mario vs. Donkey Kong series

Crosswords series

Metroid Prime Hunters

1080° Avalanche

Wave Race: Blue Storm

(?) New Crosswords

Cross buy

What are they working on?

Since the internal problems surrounding the development of Project H.A.M.M.E.R. for Nintendo Wii and its cancelation, Nintendo NST has been demoted to a small developer that focusses on smaller puzzle games, including the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. Their latest game (Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars) came out for both Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo WiiU.

Because the development team over at NST is rather small, and they have promised to share two new levels per week for 50 weeks with owners of Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, chances are that they still have their hands full with that.

Though one may hope that Nintendo NST gets another shot at making a game in the Wave Race or 1080° series, chances are that it will not happen in the WiiU’s lifespan. A new game in the Crosswords series may still come to WiiU in the meantime. Maybe.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars will most likely be Nintendo NST’s one and only outing on Nintendo WiiU. A new game in the Crosswords series may still come to WiiU though, but it is not very likely.

1-UP STUDIO

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
1-UP Studio Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker January 2015 Magical Vacation/Starsign

Mother 3

Super Mario 3D series

Mana series

Blue Dragon series

London Life (Professor Layton)

(?) Mother 3

Captain Toad

What are they working on?

1-UP Studio was previously known as Brownie Brown. The name change went together with their new function within Nintendo. They now provide development assistance to other studios, with a focus lately on the Mario 3D series (including Captain Toad). 1-UP Studio will most likely provide the same assistance during the development of the new 3D Mario.

Before it became 1-UP, Brownie Brown was known for its work on some major RPG series (Magical, Mana, Blue Dragon). One of the most illustrious games they probably worked on is Mother 3. Although the game was not released in Europe and the U.S. when it was originally released on Gameboy Advance, chances are that the title may still come to the WiiU Virtual console. Summer 2016 seems to be plausible. Not only has Nintendo been releasing a ton of GBA games on the WiiU virtual console lately. They have also released Mother 1 and 2 for the very first time in Europe through the Virtual Console, meaning that the games were not only ported, but also translated (in the case of Mother 1) for the very first time.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Since 1-UP is mostly an assisting studio, it all depends on which studio they will be assisting in the near future. If they will provide assistance on the next 3D Mario, chances are that we will not see their work again on WiiU. There is, however, a chance that we will still see one of their older games appear on the WiiU Virtual console, namely: Mother 3.

GENIUS SONORITY

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Genius Sonority Pokémon Shuffle February 2015 Pokémon Colosseum series

Pokémon Link! series

The Denpa Men series

Pokemon Battle Revolution

Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure

(?)The Denpa Men RPG FREE!

Pokémon Shuffle

What are they working on?

Genius Sonority has made the only Pokémon RPGs for home consoles in existence. Both games were released for Nintendo GameCube. After their work on Pokémon Battle Revolution for Nintendo Wii, they started working on smaller titles. With 21 employees it is unlikely that they will be making the next big home console Pokémon RPG.

Genius Sonority is experimenting with free to play games for Nintendo 3DS at the moment. Their fourth Denpa Men title (The Denpa Men RPG FREE!) has not yet been released in the West. It may still come. Other than that, they are most likely working on another (small) Pokémon spin-off for mobile phones and/or Nintendo 3DS.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Genius Sonority will not release a game for Nintendo WiiU.

HAL LABORATORY

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
HAL Laboratory Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush May 2015 Kirby series

Super Smash Bros series

Mother/Earthbound series

Adventures of Lolo series

Pokémon Stadium series

Pokémon Snap

Face Raiders

Box Boy!

(?) new Kirby

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush

What are they working on?

HAL Laboratory is one of Nintendo’s biggest studios. They are best known for creating Kirby and (co-)developing every title in the series. Work on the next Kirby title must have already started. This title may still make it to WiiU, but it may as well release on Nintendo 3DS or on a next generation Nintendo console.

HAL Laboratory has worked on the main Pokémon games for N64 before Genius Sonority took over for GameCube and Wii. Currently, however, no internal Nintendo team is assigned to making Pokémon fighting games for Nintendo WiiU – Pokkén Tournament is being developed by Bandai Namco for Arcades and may come to WiiU in 2016.

The last game in the Mother series (Mother 3) wasn’t developed by HAL Laboratory, though they did help on the game. A new game in the series is unlikely to be released because Shigesato Itoi has said that he will not be involved in a fourth title.

Since Masahiro Sakurai left HAL Laboratory and created his own company (Sora Ltd.), HAL Laboratory hasn’t been responsible for the Super Smash Bros series. They did, however, provide development assistance on the latest Super Smash Bros game for Nintendo WiiU and will provide help on the next installments as well (if the series doesn’t actually return to the studio when Sakurai decides to stop working on Smash Bros).

Although HAL Laboratory only recently released two games (Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush and Box Boy!) chances are that we will see something big from them before the next generation of Nintendo consoles arrives. They are far too big a studio to have only one big Nintendo franchise (Kirby) in active development. So unless they are developing all the DLC for Super Smash Bros, keep your eyes open for a new challenger!

What does this mean for WiiU?

HAL Laboratory is too big to only release one small Kirby game on WiiU and play an assisting role in the development of Super Smash Bros for WiiU. Something’s cooking over at HAL, and it may not just be a pink fluff ball!

The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016 (5)

In this series of articles I look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.

Next up: the Japanese third party studios in charge of Nintendo franchises that are coordinated by SPD 4.

ALPHADREAM

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
AlphaDream Mario & Luigi: Dream Team July 2013 Mario & Luigi series

Hamtaro series

Mario & Luigi: Paper jam

Mario & Luigi

What are they working on?

AlphaDream are currently working on Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam for Nintendo 3DS. It is probably the only game they are developing at the moment. Paper Jam has been in development since the release of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team on Nintendo 3DS and reuses assets from that game. The game is a crossover game with the Paper Mario series. As such it also reuses assets from Paper Mario: Sticker Star for Nintendo 3DS.

No Hamtaro games have been released since the anime’s twelfth and final season aired in 2006. Chances of AlphaDream working on a new game in the series are therefore very slim.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

AlphaDream has only developed games for Nintendo handhelds. It is unlikely that they are developing a game for Nintendo WiiU.

CAMELOT

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Camelot Mario Golf: World Tour May 2014 Mario Tennis series

Mario Golf series

Golden Sun series

Mario Tennis: Ultimate Smash

Mario Golf World Tour

What are they working on?

Camelot is currently working on Mario Tennis: Ultimate Smash for Nintendo WiiU. It should release before the end of this year.

Because Camelot isn’t the largest studio (there were 42 people working there in 2010) it may well be that this is the only title they are currently working on. A new Mario Golf game for WiiU may still happen, but it is not likely to release before 2017. Also because in 2016 we will already get another Mario sports game from Sega. As such it will most likely be an NX game.

The Golden Sun series, which for now has only seen releases on Nintendo handhelds, seems to be dormant. I would expect to see a new game in the series after the new Mario Golf game at the earliest.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Mario Tennis: Ultimate Smash will release before the end of the year. It is unlikely that we’ll be seeing another Camelot game on WiiU after that. A new Mario Golf game may still come to the system, but for that to happen, WiiU should still be relevant in 2017.

EIGHTING

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Eighting Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate March 2013 Kururin series

Dragon Quest spin-offs

Castlevania Judgment

Kamen Rider series

(?) Monster Hunter X Ultimate

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

What are they working on?

Eighting is mostly known for developing fighting games (Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Castlevania Judgment). They have also developed the Kururin games for Nintendo and have worked for Capcom on Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for Nintendo 3DS and WiiU and on Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for Nintendo 3DS. They work on the Kamen Rider series for Bandai Namco, which mostly remain exclusive for the Japanese market. A few games in the series have been released for Nintendo Wii, and the latest game was released on WiiU (as well as on Playstation 3).

Eighting is currently working on four (or more) smartphone games. One game is a cross between Tertris and a monster RPG. One game is based on the Kamen Rider franchise and one on the Assassination Classroom manga. These games will probably not make it to Nintendo platforms, nor will they likely be released in the West.

The last Kururin game was released exclusively in Japan for Nintendo Gamecube (2004). The series has been dormant ever since, and will probably remain so for a while longer.

Eighting may be working on new games in the Monster Hunter and Kamen Rider series. These games could (as they often do) come to Nintendo platforms. Whether they will come to the West as well is another thing entirely.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

A new Kamen Rider game may be in the works for Nintendo WiiU, but that game will not likely be published outside of Japan. Other than that, I do not see any WiiU game from Eighting on the horizon. Unless that HD release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on WiiU is still incoming.

INIS

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
iNiS Elite Beat Agents July 2007 Elite Beat series (?) Elite Beat Agents 2

Elite Beat Agents

What are they working on?

iNiS has developed three games for Nintendo 3DS in the Elite Beat series. Only one of those games (Elite Beat Agents) has made it to the West. If we will ever see another of their games come West it would be something like Elite Beat Agents 2, and it would still have to be released on Nintendo 3DS (or on a future touchscreen handheld Nintendo console).

iNiS is currently focused on developing games for smartphones. In the past they have also worked on the Gitaroo Man games (for PlayStation) and the Lips series for (Xbox).

What does this mean for WiiU?

No iNiS games will be released for the WiiU, unless Elite Beat Agents comes to the Virtual Console.

ND CUBE

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Nd Cube Mario Party 10 March 2015 Mario Party series

Wii Party series

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity

(?) Mario Party 11

Mario Party 10

What are they working on?

Nd Cube took over the Mario Party series after Hudson Soft became part of Konami. They also develop the Wii Party series.

Having already developed two party games (Wii Party U and Mario Party 10) for WiiU, it is unlikely that we will see another party game from Nd Cube on the system. Mario Party 11 will probably be released on Nintendo NX, but given the series track record,  it may still appear on WiiU.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Nd Cube is probably working on Mario Party 11 at the moment. It may not come to WiiU anymore, but it may as well.

PAON

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Paon AquaSpace July 2010 DK series

Donkey Kong Jet Race

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

Nothing

 AquaSpace

What are they working on?

Although Paon was given the Donkey Kong franchise to work with during the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS era, they have not made any games for Nintendo systems during the current generation. Their last effort for Nintendo systems were three English course games for Nintendo DS which were released in 2012. Their last boxed release game was a Japan exclusive pachinko simulator game for PayStation 3 in 2013.

Paon currently focusses on developing mobile games and pachinko slot machines.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Paon will not release a game on Nintendo WiiU.

The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016 (4)

E3 has come and gone and all the big players have made some exciting new announcements about their upcoming and future games. Unlike, for instance, Sony, Nintendo decided to focus on games they will be releasing in the coming year instead of in the coming years. For some (including myself) their digital E3 event was a bit underwhelming. Mostly because we already knew about most of their games that will release before the Spring of 2016. Especially when looking at WiiU.

In this series of articles I will look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.

Next up: the Western third party studios in charge of Nintendo franchises that are coordinated by SPD 3


CURVE DIGITAL

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Curve Digital Ultratron May 2015 Fluidity series

Stealth Inc. series

The Swapper

Lone Survivor

Thomas was alone

Titan Attacks

Action Henk

Ultratron

What are they working on?

Curve Digital is known for developing, porting and publishing digital titles. They work on the Fluidity series for Nintendo and develop the Stealth Inc. series, of which the latest title Stealth Inc. 2: A game of clones, came to WiiU before it was ported to other consoles. They also ported Lone Survivor, Thomas was Alone, The Swapper, Titan Attacks, Ultratron and OlliOlli to the current generation of Nintendo consoles.

While a new Fluidity title may be in the works for Nintendo WiiU, it has already been confirmed that they will still be porting Action Henk to Nintendo WiiU. The title will still release this year. Most likely Curve Digital will add other indie titles to their portfolio in the coming months, which may end up on WiiU (and 3DS) as well. A good contender is OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Curve Digital has been very generous in releasing digital titles for Nintendo’s home console. Action Henk and Ultratron will be the sixth and seventh title they release on WiiU. More will definitely follow, with OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood being a very good contender.

KUJU ENTERTAINMENT

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kuju Entertainment Art Academy: Atelier July 2015 Art Academy series

Battalion Wars series

Zumba series

(?) New Zumba game

Art Academy Atelier

What are they working on?

Kuju Entertainment has two studios working for it, namely Headstrong Games and Zoë Mode.

Headstrong Games just released Art Academy Atelier (Home Studio in the U.S.) for Nintendo WiiU. They have developed every Art Academy title so far. It is, however, unlikely that we will see another Art Academy game for current generation Nintendo consoles. Work on a new Art Academy for the next Nintendo console may have started.

Headstrong Games also developed both Battalion Wars games in the past. It is not unlikely that they would be asked to develop Battalion Wars 3, which may still come to WiiU. It is, however, possible that the franchise (together with the Advance Wars series) lies dormant for the moment.

Zoë Mode is best known for its work on the Zumba series which is published by Majesco Entertainment. The series had its most successful entries on Nintendo Wii. Zumba Fitness: World Party was released for WiiU December 2013. No titles in the Zumba series have been released since then. Zoë Mode has also worked on games with the Grease license (for Nintendo systems) and has developed SingStar and EyeToy games for Sony. It is uncertain what games they will still release on Nintendo consoles in the future. Maybe in 2016 we will see the return of the Zumba series of WiiU? Get your dance moves ready!

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Kuju Entertainment just released Art Academy Atelier on WiiU. Chances for another one of their games being published by Nintendo on WiiU are slim. In 2016 we may see another Zumba game on WiiU though, unless Majesco Entertainment doesn’t hold the license to that series anymore.

MONSTER GAMES

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Monster Games Xenoblade Chronicles 3D April 2015 Excite series

Donkey Kong Country series

NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona

(?) Diddy Kong Racing 2

Xenoblade 3D

What are they working on?

Monster Games’ specialty is racing games. They have worked on the NASCAR and Test Drive series in the past (mostly for non-Nintendo platforms), but have been working exclusively on Nintendo franchises ever since the release of Excite Truck for Nintendo Wii in 2006. They have made two other titles in the Excite series (Excitebots and an Excitebike remake) since the release of that game. The Excite series has been dormant for this generation of consoles and it is unlikely we will be seeing another game in the series anytime soon, unless a port (or remake) is in the works.

In 2013 Monster Games ported Donkey Kong Country Returns (a Wii game) to the Nintendo 3DS. They also assisted Retro Studio in the development of its sequel on WiiU, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Most likely they have been given the Donkey Kong Country IP to work with now, so that Retro Studios can focus working on another (or entirely new) Nintendo franchise. Because of their track record in the racing genre, the next Donkey Kong game may not be a Country game, but may be Diddy Kong Racing 2, which has been rumored to exist. They may be working on it by themselves or in cooperation with Retro Studios. The game could be a cross gen game for WiiU and NX.

The last game Monster Games released was Xenoblade Chronicles 3D for the New Nintendo 3DS. They may be releasing another port of a Wii game on (New) Nintendo 3DS in 2016 (or possibly in 2017). Maybe they will get to port one of their own franchises this time around: Excite Truck 3D? Let the race commence!

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Because they have  a WiiU development kit and have only assisted Retro Studios on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for WiiU, it would seem likely for Monster Games to still produce a game of their own for Nintendo WiiU. Diddy Kong Racing 2 seems possible, though the title will most likely be playable on NX as well, and may be a collaborative effort with Retro Studios.

NEXT LEVEL GAMES

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Next Level Games Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon March 2013 Punch-Out series

Mario Strikers series

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon

Transformer: Cybertron Adventures

Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Luigi's Mansion 2

What are they working on?

Next Level Games is currently working on Metroid Prime: Federation Force for Nintendo 3DS. After the big success of Luigi’s Mansion 2 on 3DS it was expected that they would get to handle another big Nintendo franchise. Metroid is definitely big enough.

In 2014 Next Level Games announced that they will be working exclusively with Nintendo from now on. And who knows, if Federation Force turns out to be a better game than people are expecting it to be, maybe they’ll get a chance to develop the next big Metroid Prime game for NX?

Next Level Games is also known to have a development kit for WiiU in their offices. They have, however, not released a single game for the console yet. With a team of 70 people working for them, it is unlikely that the only game they were able to produce in a period of five years is a Nintendo 3DS game. We may thus still see a game from them on WiiU. Most likely a sports game. The next Punch-Out? Probably not. The next Mario Strikers? Far more likely. Super Mario Spikers? The pitch for that Nintendo Wii game was never greenlit in the first place and probably never will be.

What does this mean for WiiU?

A team of seventy people which has a Nintendo WiiU development kit and which only has released one (very successful Nintendo 3DS) game in the last five years? That must mean they have been working on something else as well. Perfect contender: Mario Strikers WiiU which will be released after Spring 2016, and even more likely: around Holiday 2016. As such it will not be released too close to Camelot’s Mario Tennis (Holiday 2015) and Sega’s Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Spring or Summer 2016).

N-SPACE

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
n-Space Skylanders: Swap Force October 2013 Geist

Heroes of Ruin

Skylanders 3DS series

Call of Duty DS series

007 series

(?) Sword Coast Legends

Skylanders SwapForce 3DS

What are they working on?

n-Space is mostly known for developing spin-off games of big name franchises for mobile platforms. They have made, among others, Nintendo (3)DS versions of entries in the Call of Duty, Skylanders and 007 series which are all published by Activision. They have not been making mobile versions of Activision franchises since the release of Skylanders: Swap Force in 2013.

They also developed the Nintendo Gamecube exclusive shooter Geist, which was published by Nintendo itself, and the Nintendo 3DS exclusive RPG Heroes of Ruin, which was published by Square-Enix. It is unlikely that they are working on sequels to these games.

n-Space is known to be working on a Dungeons and Dragons RPG, called Sword Coast Legends which will release on current gen home consoles and PC this September, though not on Nintendo WiiU. It is not likely to receive a port to WiiU, but since it is unlikely that they are producing anything else for WiiU at the moment, let’s just dream that they will eventually port this game to WiiU. Dream a little dream for me!

What does this mean for WiiU?

n-Space will not release any games on Nintendo WiiU.

RETRO STUDIOS

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Retro Studios Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze February 2014 Metroid Prime Series

Donkey Kong Country series

Maro Kart 7

(?)Diddy Kong Racing 2

 Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

What are they working on?

Retro Studios is best known for its work on the Metroid Prime series and the Donkey Kong Country series. All of their games have been praised by critics. They finished working on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze somewhere in 2013. From the credits of that game, it became clear it was not the whole team at Retro Studios that did work on the game. Production of an entirely new WiiU game may thus be well underway. This game may be a third Donkey Kong Country game or it may be another Nintendo franchise (old or new) entirely. A follow-up to Donkey Kong 64 isn’t entirely out of the question either.

Also, because Retro Studios have assisted EAD 1 with the development of Mario Kart 7 (they developed the retro courses and provided the Donkey Kong character assets), it has been rumored that they have been working on Diddy Kong Racing 2. It is possible that they are co-developing this game with Monster Games, who also have experience in the racing genre, as well as with the Donkey Kong franchise. Diddy Kong Racing 2 will most likely be a cross generation game and will have a WiiU and an NX version.

What does this mean for WiiU?

We may still see one more Retro Studios game on Nintendo WiiU. This game will probably be cross gen and will most likely be centered around everybody’s favorite ape. Possible contenders: Donkey Kong Country Returns 3, New Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong Racing 2.

TT Fusion

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
TT Fusion LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin March 2015 LEGO City Undercover series

LEGO (3)DS series

(?) New LEGO 3DS game

LEGO Ninjago Shadow of Ronin

What are they working on?

TT Fusion is a subsidiary of TT Games, which itself is a subsidiary of Warner Bros.

TT Fusion has made two games in the LEGO City Undercover series which were published by Nintendo in 2013. One game for Nintendo 3DS, and one game for Nintendo WiiU. Because the original WiiU game was generally well received and because the engine is already there, it shouldn’t prove to be impossible for TT Fusion to make LEGO City Undercover 2 for Nintendo’s current generation of consoles. Spring 2016? Why not. TT Games has been pushing out LEGO games like crazy!

TT Fusion also develops most of the mobile versions of LEGO games (Nintendo (3)DS and Playstation Vita). Sometimes they get to create original games for these mobile platforms (e.g. LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin) and sometimes they develop the mobile spin-off of a home console LEGO game (e.g. The LEGO Movie Videogame). They will, most likely, produce another LEGO 3DS game before the handheld console’s successor shows up. Possible even 2… or make that 5!

What does this mean for WiiU?

TT Games will still release LEGO Marvel’s Avengers on Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo WiiU and LEGO Dimensions on Nintendo WiiU this year. The next few LEGO games, whatever licenses they may use, will also appear on Nintendo WiiU. Whether TT Fusion will get to make another Lego City Undercover game for WiiU remains to be seen, but here’s hoping! One thing is for sure: there will never be a shortage of LEGO games on Nintendo platforms.

CONCLUSION

Nintendo’s (former) Western partners have mostly been focusing on developing Nintendo 3DS games. From Cruve Digital we can still expect to see some digital only releases on WiiU. From the other Westerns partners we should not expect too much. And if another game from these studios does come to WiiU it is most likely ape related.

The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016 (3)

E3 has come and gone and all the big players have made some exciting new announcements about their upcoming and future games. Unlike, for instance, Sony, Nintendo decided to focus on games they will be releasing in the coming year instead of in the coming years. For some (including myself) their digital E3 event was a bit underwhelming. Mostly because we already knew about most of their games that will release before the Spring of 2016. Especially when looking at WiiU.

In this series of articles I will look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.

Next up: the rest of SPD 2’s Japanese third-party partners

MISTWALKER

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Mistwalker The Last Story February 2012 Blue Dragon Series (?) Terra Battle

The Last Story

What are they working on?

Mistwalker is Hironobu Sakaguchi’s company (the creator of final fantasy). Mistwalker also houses Nobuo Uematsu (the composer of most Final Fantasy games). Mistalker’s team is currently working on the mobile game Terra Battle. Because the game has already been downloaded more than two million times on mobile devices, Sakaguchi should honor is promise of bringing Terra Battle to current gen consoles. Whether WiiU will be one of those consoles, is hard to tell. Mistwalker’s last big production (before they switched to mobile) was for the Nintendo Wii, but I’m not sure if that would actually play a role in their decision to bring Terra Battle to WiiU or not. SPD 2 probably won’t have any involvement in the decision since Terra Battle is not a Nintendo franchise.

Although the studio is best known for some high profile RPG’s (including Blue Dragon and – a personal favorite – Lost Odyssey for the Xbox 360), chances that they will produce another high profile RPG by themselves are small. The studios that assisted Mistwalker (Artoon) or that were created to assist Mistwalker (feelplus Inc.) in producing these titles are now part of Marvelous AQL, who have their own franchises to worry about. A sequel to The Last Story seems very improbable at the moment.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Maybe Terra Battle will come to WiiU, but chances are slim. The Last Story 2? Don’t count on it.

MONOLITH SOFT

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Monolith Soft Project X Zone July 2013 Xeno(blade) series

Project X Zone series

Super Robot Taisen series

Baten Kaitos series

Disaster: Day of Crisis

Xenoblade Chronicles X

ProjectXZone

What are they working on?

Just like Intelligent Systems, they are not really a third party studio anymore (although they still make games that are published by Bandai Namco). Relations with Monolith Soft are still being handled by SPD 2 though.

Monolith Soft has finished it work of Xenoblade Chronicles X which will release in December for WiiU. It has already been released in Japan. Director Tetsuya Takahashi has already confirmed that they have started working on their next big RPG, which may or may not be another title in the Xenoblade Chronicles series, but which most likely will not appear on WiiU anymore.

Project X Zone 2 will be released early 2016, which they are co-developing with Banpresto (a subsidiary of Bandai Namco) and which will published by Bandai Namco on Nintendo 3DS.

Apart from working on their own franchises, Monolith Soft has a supportive role. For instance, they helped EAD 3 in the development of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and have mentioned wanting to work with EAD 3 again on the new Legend of Zelda for WiiU.

Although Monolith Soft has worked on several Super Robot Taisen games, chances are small that they are currently working on a new game in the series, which is published by Bandai Namco. Mostly because there’s already a game (Super Robot Wars BX for the Nintendo 3DS) that will be published by Bandai Namco this year in Japan, and I don’t think Monolith Soft is involved in its development.

What about Baten Kaitos? Around the launch of the 3DS there were rumors about a Baten Kaitos game being in development for the platform (titled Silence of the Mechanized Sun). Nothing has been heard of this game since 2011, so chances are that is has been cancelled – if it ever existed in the first place. Baten Kaitos on WiiU? Not going to happen.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Xenoblade Chronicles X will release in December (if it is not delayed). Monolith Soft may help EAD 3 on their new Legend of Zelda game, but that will be all we can expect from Monolith Soft for this generation of Nintendo home consoles.

PLATINUMGAMES

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
PlatinumGames Bayonetta 2 October 2014 Bayonetta series

The Wonderful 101

Star Fox Zero

Star Fox Zero

Bayonetta 2

What are they working on?

PlatinumGames has been releasing about two games per year the last few years, and have at least four development teams. One team is currently working on Star Fox Zero and Project Guard together with EAD 5. Platinum Games has taken over most of the development effort for these games.

PlatinumGames is also working on Scalebound for Xbox One (published by Microsoft), the newest NieR game for PlayStation 4 (published by Square Enix), and Transformers: Devastation  for every non-Nintendo platform out there (published by Activision). It is unlikely that they have the capacity to be working on another game for Nintendo at the moment, which means that: no, we won’t get to see Bayonetta 3 anytime soon, nor will be getting a Wonderful 102 – if anybody still expects to see a sequel to that game. A port of Transformes: Devastation? Maybe, but not likely.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Star Fox Zero and Project Guard are releasing later this year. Those will be the fourth and fifth PlatinumGames games on WiiU. Not a bad track record for a third party developer. Chance of another one of their games on WiiU? Zero. And I don’t mean Star Fox Zero.

RED ENTERTAINMENT

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Red Entertainment Fossil Fighters Frontier May 2015 Fossil Fighters series (?) New Fossil Fighters

Fossil Fighters Frontier

What are they working on?

Red Entertainment finished working on Fossil Fighters Frontier by the end of 2013 or at the beginning of 2014, when it was released for 3DS in Japan. Although the latest game in the series isn’t a big success, development on the next installment may be well underway. The new Fossil Fighters game will probably release on the next Nintendo handheld.

Red Entertainment has assisted Intelligent Systems in the development of Fire Emblem: Awakening, but they were not involved in the production of its sequel: Fire Emblem Fates. They are probably not involved in another Fire Emblem game at the moment.

Red Entertainment’s  other big franchise is Record of Agarest War which they co-develop with Idea Factory. The Record of Agarest War games have not yet made an appearance on Nintendo consoles, and for the time being, probably won’t.

What does this mean for WiiU?

No Red Entertainment games will be released on WiiU.. unless you would consider a possible Fossil Fighters Virtual Console release as a new release.

SYN SOPHIA

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Syn Sophia New Style Boutique

Style Boutique 3 (JP)

November 2012 Style Boutique series (?) Style Boutique 3

New Style Boutique

What are they working on?

Syn Sophia was formerly known as AKI Corporation, as which they were mostly known for creating fighting games (Ready 2 Rumble Revolution, Def Jam Vendetta and WCW/WWF games). After their name change they have only released two games in the West, and those are the two games in the Style Boutique (Style Savvy) series.

Style Boutique 3 was released in Japan this year. It will probably still be localized for the West and will most likely release after Spring 2016 for Nintendo 3DS. Work on Style Boutique 4 for the next generation of Nintendo handhelds may have already begun.

Syn Sophia also makes Japan exclusive mobile games.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Syn Sophia will not make a game for WiiU. The first Style Boutique may still come to the Virtual Console.

TOSE

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
TOSE Splatoon May 2015 The Legendary Starfy series

Super Princess Peach

Kid Icarus: Of myths and monsters

Resident Evil Revelations (HD)

Dragon Quest Monsters series

Final Fantasy GBA ports

(?)Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D

 Splatoon 4

What are they working on?

TOSE is mostly known for its close working relationships with Nintendo and Square Enix. They handle the Dragon Quest Monsters series. Although two (remade) games (Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D and Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Ira & Luca) in the series have already been released for Nintendo 3DS in Japan, none of the Dragon Quest Monsters 3DS games they have made, have come to the West so far. With the localization of Dragon Quest VII and VIII for 3DS having been (somewhat) confirmed, it is not entirely impossible that these games will still make it West though.

With regards to Nintendo’s own franchises, TOSE has assisted EAD 2 with the development of Splatoon. As such they have shown that they still have a good working relationship with Nintendo, even though they haven’t released a single game for a Nintendo platform published by Nintendo itself that was coordinated by SPD 2 on this generation of consoles.

TOSE also has a lot of experience creating platform games (Kid Icarus: Of myths and monsters, Super Princess Peach and The Legendary Starfy). Since Nintendo has not announced any platform game for WiiU coming in 2016, and I cannot fathom Nintendo NOT releasing a single platform game on WiiU that year (or any year), it may just be TOSE’s turn to show us what they have been working on ever since they have finished working on Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns (for non-Nintendo systems), Resident Evil Revelations HD (for different systems, among which WiiU) and Splatoon (a WiiU exclusive). Super Princess Peach WiiU? Who knows?

TOSE also makes the The Legendary Starfy games for Nintendo, of which four games have been released so far in Japan and only one in the West (in 2008). The series has been dormant for some time now, so maybe it would be opportune for a new game in the Starfy series? For 3DS? For WiiU?

TOSE developed both Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and Resident Evil Revelations for Nintendo 3DS. They also ported that last game to WiiU (as well as other systems). Could a port of Resident Evil Revelations 2, which they did not develop themselves, to WiiU still happen? Probably not, but one can hope.

What does this mean for WiiU?

TOSE may be working on a platform game for WiiU like Super Princess Peach WiiU or Starfy WiiU. They may also be working on a port of Resident Evil Revelations 2 for WiiU. But they may as well be working on nothing at all for Nintendo’s current home console. Time will tell.

TREASURE

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Treasure Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Skies

Gaist Crusher God (JP)

May 2010

September 2014 (JP)

Wario World

Ikaruga

Sin & Punishment series

Gaist Crusher series

Bleach series

(?) Gaist Crusher

Sin & Punishment Successor

What are they working on?

Treasure is mostly known for its shoot-em-up games, with Ikaruga and the original Sin & Punishment being cult classics. Treasure is most likely working on another game in the genre, though it is not certain whether that will be for a Nintendo platform. With them having published Ikaruga by themselves on Steam (which did pretty well there) they may just start publishing more of their games themselves. And even though they would be the go to developer for Nintendo to make a new Sin & Punishment game, most likely they’re letting the series have a little rest at the moment.

Treasure’s last two (new) games were published exclusively in Japan by Capcom for the Nintendo 3DS: Gaist Crusher, and its sequel:  Gaist Crusher God. It is unlikely that these games will come West, but apart from a possible new game in the Bleach series, it is unlikely we will see another game by them anytime soon on a Nintendo system.

Or can we expect to see Ikaruga HD on WiiU?

What does this mean for WiiU?

Treasure won’t be releasing a game on WiiU. The only possibility seems to be Ikaruga HD, but that is unlikely to happen.

VALHALLA GAME STUDIOS

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Valhalla Game Studios none none Devil’s Third Devil’s Third

Devil's Third

What are they working on?

Valhalla Game Studios has been working on Devil’s Third since 2010. It will release in August. No other games are in the works.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Devil’s Third will release on WiiU in August. That’s the only game we may expect from this studio for the console.

CONCLUSION FOR SPD 1 AND SPD 2:

SPD 1, SPD 2 and Japanese third parties supervised by SPD 2 are working on three of the most important WiiU releases still coming to the Nintendo WiiU this year, namely Devil’s Third, Star Fox Zero (including Project Guard) and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Also the only big title announced for WiiU (apart from Zelda) next year is being taken care of by SPD 2, Intelligent Systems and Atlus. Apart from those titles we can only guess whether these studios still have titles in the works for WiiU. Sadly, it may not be much from looking at it. (i) PlatinumGames and Intelligent Systems are very busy with their other projects for the moment. (ii) Monolith has started working on its next big RPG, which we won’t see within the next 2 years. (iii) Many of Nintendo’s known previous partners have shifted their focus from home console development to mobile development (Arika, Mistwalker and Syn Sophia for instance), (iv) while others have worked on less popular/smaller Nintendo franchises which may be in rest for the time being (Ganbarion, Treasure and Tose for instance).

So while I have made some suggestions about possible games these studios are working on, it may actually be that we see none of them release on WiiU at all. The most likely game to release on WiiU of the bunch? Fullblox World/Stretchmo World, and that isn’t exactly the big name game Nintendo fans are still hoping for.