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? (1)

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.


First off let’s take a look at Nintendo’s main internal development studios in Japan: the Nintendo EAD studios! There are 7 EAD studios, 5 of them are located in Kyoto, 2 of them in Tokyo. We will take a closer look at all 7 of these studios in the coming paragraphs.


EAD 1

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 1 Mario Kart 8 May 2014 Mario Kart series

Nintendogs series

(?) New Nintendogs

Mario Kart 8

What are they working on?

EAD 1 has been working on updating the Mario Kart 8 experience after the original game was released in May 2014. The latest DLC pack was released not so long ago, about a year after the release of the original game. No further DLC packs have been announced.

Since I can’t imagine the whole Mario Kart team having worked on the DLC packs for a year, production of the next Mario Kart must be at least a year underway by now. The new Mario Kart will release on NX, as Nintendo is in the habit of releasing 1 Mario Kart per system.

EAD 1’s second team, led by producer Hideki Konno (who is also the producer for Mario Kart) and director Yasuyuki Oyagi, is most likely working on the next Nintendogs, which will probably be released together with Nintendo’s next handheld – whether that be the rumored “Fusion” project or not.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

EAD 1 is probably not actively producing a WiiU game. A small team may still be working on Mario Kart 8 updates, but since the game is more than a year old right now, chances are slim that we will see more big content updates (like 200cc). A small team may still be working on DLC in collaboration with studios in charge of other Nintendo IPs, but also here chances are slim. If more Mario Kart 8 DLC was incoming, E3 would have been the perfect time to announce it.


EAD 2

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 2 Splatoon May 2015 Wii Sports series

Nintendo Land

Animal Crossing series

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Splatoon 4

What are they working on?

EAD 2 has been working on two Animal Crossing spin offs that will be released in 2015: Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival. These games reuse assets from New Leaf (released in 2012) and Plaza (released in 2013).

Although both games are directed by Aya Kyogoku, it is most likely that only a small part of the Animal Crossing team is working on Happy Home Designer and a small part of the “party games team” (Nintendo Land, Wii Sports) is working on Amiibo Festival, meaning that the remaining members of both teams have most likely been working on the next major installments in the Animal Crossing and Wii Sports series since 2013.

While the next Animal Crossing will probably be a cross gen game (on WiiU and on NX), the new Wii Sports game will be a launch game for NX.

The third team working at EAD 2 just finished Splatoon and will continue supporting that game for a while, while most likely starting to work on the blueprints for Splatoon 2 for NX.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

We may still see a full-fledged Animal Crossing game after Spring 2016 on WiiU after the release of Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival in the Fall of 2015. The other two teams will not be making new games for WiiU. The team behind Wii Sports and Nintendo Land is most likely making a release game for NX (one that shows of the new system’s capabilities) and the Splatoon team will have started working on Splatoon 2 for NX. A small part of the Splatoon team will create DLC for Splatoon until May 2016.


EAD 3

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 3 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds November 2013 The Legend of Zelda series The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

A Link between Worlds

What are they working on?

EAD 3 has been working on The Legend of Zelda for WiiU since 2013. No release date has been announced, but it will most likely release in 2016 for WiiU (and some say for NX as well).

A small team is working on Tri Force Heroes for the Nintendo 3DS, which reuses a lot of assets from A Link Between Worlds, and which is set to release later in 2015.

While it is possible that another spin-off is in the works, it is most likely that most of EAD 3’s work force is working on the next big Zelda game and that no other projects are in the works.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

The next big Legend of Zelda game will be on WiiU. Whether it will be exclusively on WiiU or whether it will be a cross-gen game like Twilight Princess was, remains to be seen. No other games (unless a possible Zelda spin-off) will be produced for WiiU by EAD 3.


EAD 4

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 4 Pikmin 3 July 2013 Pikmin series

New Super Mario Bros series

Super Mario Maker

Pikmin 3

What are they working on?

EAD 4’s New Super Mario Bros team has been working on Super Mario Maker since 2013 at the latest. The game will release in September for WiiU. While it is unlikely that the New Super Mario Bros team was working on anything but Super Mario Maker during its development, work on a New Super Mario Bros game for NX may have started by now.

A smaller team may have started working on another Maker game or DLC for Super Mario Maker. Looking at internal assets, most likely candidate would be Yoshi’s Island Maker, which may or may not be (standalone) DLC for Super Mario Maker on WiiU.

The Pikmin team has probably started working on the next Pikmin, which will most likely not release on WiiU, but on NX.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Super Mario Maker will release in September for WiiU. Depending on its success DLC may still be created for the WiiU game, most likely incorporating Yoshi. No new game from EAD 4 will be coming to WiiU after that.


EAD 5

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 5 Steel Diver Sub Wars February 2014 Steel Diver series

Wii Fit series

Star Fox Zero

Steel Diver Sub Wars

What are they working on?

EAD 5 is currently working on Star Fox Zero, Project Guard and Project Giant Robot, which are all projects helmed by Shigeru Miyamoto and are supposed to be released by the end of 2015.

EAD 5 has a history of co-developing games with other developers/developing groups. This isn’t different for Star Fox Zero, as it has been announced during E3 that Platinum games (of Bayonetta fame) is co-developing the title.

EAD 5 has become Miyamoto’s playground in the last few years (he also created the original Steel Diver which is being handled by the studio) and is more of an experimental development group.

On the other hand, EAD 5 also works on the Wii Fit Series, and most likely it has begun working on Wii Fit for NX as well. Will the next Wii Fit be related to Nintendo’s upcoming Quality of Life project? Only time can tell.

What does this mean for WiiU?

With three games still slated for release on WiiU by the end of 2015, chances are slim we will see any of EAD 5’s work on WiiU after those games are released.


TOKYO EAD 1

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Tokyo EAD 1 The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D February 2015 Super Mario Galaxy

The Legend of Zelda remakes

Nintendo (3)DS guide

(?) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess remake

 Majora 3D

What are they working on?

Tokyo EAD 1 once developed Super Mario Galaxy, but that was in 2007. Afterwards they haven’t produced a single big title anymore, which means that they have been working on the next big Mario since 2007 or that they have been demoted.

Since Miyamoto has been working more closely with EAD 5 in Kyoto ever since the release of Super Mario Galaxy, and Tokyo EAD 2 has developed Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World in the meanwhile, the latter seems more likely.

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).

They have also created several guides for Nintendo DS and 3DS (including the Louvre Guide).

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 2012. 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.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Although Tokyo EAD 1 has not made a single WiiU game (apart from the app: WiiU Panorama view), it is not impossible that they are working on a Twilight Princess HD remake together with Kyoto EAD 3 and Grezzo exclusively for WiiU. The exclusivity of this game may help soften the blow for the fact that the next big Zelda will not come exclusively to WiiU, but will be a cross-gen game. A September 2016 release seems to be possible.

The other possibility is that they are working on Four Swords Adventures Anniversary for News 3DS (and maybe) WiiU.

There’s a chance we may see some of Tokyo EAD 1’s work on WiiU, but this may be more wishful thinking than anything else.


TOKYO EAD 2

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Tokyo EAD 2 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker January 2015 Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario 3D series

NES Remix

(?) SNES Remix

Captain Toad

What are they working on?

Tokyo EAD 2 has been in charge of Mario’s 3D outings ever since Super Mario Galaxy 2. They have made some smaller side games, like Captain Toad: Treasure tracker and the NES Remix games, but their main focus is on 3D Mario.

Their next big game will most likely be the next big 3D Mario and the release of that game will most likely coincide with the launch of NX.

It may be Super Mario Galaxy 3, but it may be something entirely new as well. Time will tell. There’s a chance that before the next big Mario we will see something smaller from them, like SNES Remix or something similar though.

What does this mean for WiiU?

We may see a smaller project from Tokyo EAD 2 still come to fruition on WiiU (like SNES Remix), but their next big 3D Mario game will most likely be skipping WiiU for NX. Although, it isn’t impossible that we may still see Super Mario 3D World 2 or Super Mario Sunshine HD before that happens on WiiU, we should not get our hopes up too much. Just like with Tokyo EAD 1 this may mostly be wishful thinking.


All in all, it doesn’t seem likely that we will be seeing many more WiiU games from the EAD studios after Spring 2016. The Legend of Zelda will still apear on WiiU, and maybe Animal Crossing will as well, but apart from those two big games, the EAD studios will have shifted their focus to the next generation of Nintendo consoles. We may still get an HD remake or two and a smaller game or two as well, but that’s about it.

But… Do not fear yet, Nintendo fans, because next time we will be taking a look at what Nintendo’s SPD studios are most likely working on. So, as Marie and Callie would say: until then, stay fresh!

Game Review: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (Nintendo 3DS)

Majora 3DDeveloped by: Nintendo EAD Tokyo and Grezzo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release: February 13th 2015 (Nintendo 3DS)

Play Time: 31 hours; February – April 2015

Bought @ GameMania Antwerpen for €229,00 (preinstalled on the New Nintendo 3DS XL: Majora’s Mask Limited Edition)

Videogames can be scary. They can be scary because they are suspenseful or horrifying in what they present. Or they can be scary because they do something completely new. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D falls within the latter category, though its atmosphere is rather creepy as well. Of course, Majora’s Mask 3D isn’t entirely new. The 3DS release is the updated version of a game that originally came out in the year 2000. That it still feels new to me has two reasons: (1) there’s still no other game out there that as much as resembles Majora’s Mask; (2) Though I’ve had a copy of the original game in my possession for over ten years, I’ve never had the courage to start it up. Yes, I was that scared. But, boy, was I wrong to wait…

By M.C.J.F.

Majora 3D (1)

Three days to save the world

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D isn’t like any other Legend of Zelda game. It isn’t like any other game, period. Yes, it can be described as an action adventure game, because you run around wielding a sword, explore dungeons and talk to people who ask you to do things for them (preferably you do this last thing without shoving your sword up their noses). What makes this game so different is that you only get three days to finish it. Why? Because that is the exact moment the world will end.

That’s what scared me all these years. That I had to finish the game in three days. The idea that if I didn’t finish the game in time, I would have to do everything over again, made me not want to play the game at all. I only thought of the wasted time. Having to try to beat a game several times…

Of course Majora’s Mask’s three day system doesn’t work that way. It is much more ingenious. When your reach the end of a three day cycle, you do not lose all your progress. Yes, it will seem like everything gets reset, but all the key items you acquired in your previous play troughs, you will get to keep. If you defeated a dungeon, found all the hidden fairies inside and defeated that dungeons boss you will not have to go through that entire dungeon ever again. You may want to, but that’s an entirely different thing.

Two kinds of stories

Termina isn’t a humongous world, but it will take you quite a while to see every nook and cranny of it. What makes Majora’s mask such a big game are not the dungeons (there’s only four of them), but the side quests. Throughout the world you will encounter dozens of side characters who all have their own story to tell and who are all a little bit freaky in their own way (why yes I will help you by looking for some toilet paper, mister creepy hand sticking out of the crapper!).

Majora 3D (5)

You will want to influence the stories of these characters, however, since it can net you a decent reward (mostly a health upgrade). But you will find yourself not doing these side quests for the reward only. Many of them are interesting enough for the stories they tell. The Anju-Kafei side quest is one of the most beautiful, bittersweet love stories I have ever had the privilege of experiencing in a video game. The story of two lovers trying to find one another becomes much more powerful when it is a race against the clock, when you know the world will end whether they find each other or not.

While time is ticking away, you will also notice the moon getting closer and closer to you. Yes, the reason the world is about to end is because the moon is going to drop right on Termina’s main hub, Clock Town. The main story is you trying to stop that eerie moon from falling by confronting the one responsible for it. It might not seem like much of a story, but because it so subtly integrates themes like loneliness, friendship and betrayal, it becomes a tad more interesting. Those craving a story driven experience, will have to find satisfaction in the aforementioned side quests.

Majora 3D (3)

One definite system to play it on

Majora’s Mask 3D looks beautiful and plays beautifully on my New Nintendo 3DS XL Limited Majora’s Mask Edition. It uses the same engine as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D which came out for the original Nintendo 3DS, meaning that it looks a lot better than the original on Nintendo 64, but doesn’t necessarily make use of the New 3DS’s added raw power – which makes sense, since the game is also playable on the regular 3DS (XL) and 2DS.

Majora 3D (2)

The game does make use of the New 3DS’s added C-stick, allowing for much smoother camera control. While I overused the L-button in Ocarina of Time 3D to get the camera behind me time and time again to get some sort of idea what was happening in front of me, I now only used it for targeting enemies. The C-stick really makes a big difference for playing this game.

First I was skeptical about the New 3DS’s super stable glasses free 3D. I am one of those people who doesn’t notice the difference between 3D and 2D effects 90%  of the time, but the New 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D amazed me in this respect. I literally squealed of joy when seeing that giant turtle swim up to me at Zora Hall in full on 3D.

Majora 3D (4)

Sigh… I notice I haven’t even talked about the music yet. Let’s just say: you’re in for a treat. The Song of Storms has been in my head for two months now, and my best guess is that it will never leave it again. Just like the experience of playing this game will never leave my memory again.

I am never letting a game scare me out of playing it ever again.

Whom should play this game?

Everybody. Though you may want to play Ocarina of Time before you play this game. Not because of a continuing story or anything. Just because it came before, because so you would already have a feel of how to play a 3D Legend of Zelda dungeon, and so you would get most of the references in Majora’s Mask.

9 out of 10