CVG recently interviewed Nintendo UK marketing manager James Honeywell to find out what the company hopes to achieve sales-wise, what it thinks of the competition, and to discuss the 3DS launch line-up, upcoming games, and the future of Wii and the original DS… Here is an excerpt of the interview
You’ve got first party games like Nintendogs and Pilotwings at launch. When can we expect to learn more about big hitters like Zelda, Super Mario and Mario Kart?
It’s great that we’ve been able to announce that all of those titles are in development. I know from personal experience of being on the sampling tours that the game everyone ran to was Zelda, to get their first experience of it in 3D, so we know it’s hotly anticipated, and hopefully we’ll be making an announcement fairly soon, so people will be able to find out when they’ll be able to go and get it.
There was a Nintendo advert running in print back in January that said Mario Kart will be out this year.
I think we’ve always been completely open that things like Zelda and Mario Kart are in production. We do hope obviously that those games come this year. That’s certainly what we’re kind of planning on at the moment, but you know, things can always change, and until we actually make a firm announcement about the release dates, obviously it is good to wait and see what that date might me.
The DS had Brain Training and the Wii had Wii Fit, both of which were new properties that helped the systems achieve mass-market success. Is new IP equally important to 3DS and do you think we’ll see a similar ‘killer app’ for the system emerge from Nintendo?
I actually think, and this is something that I’ve found, that the killer app is the software that is built into the console. With the AR games, the Mii maker, the quests and the ability to swap Miis, those are the killer apps and people should take the time to have a go on those. I’m sure they’ll be surprised at the level of depth and ingenuity that is already there.
Because of the success of Wii and DS, a lot of third parties wanted to develop for those systems, but this resulted in Wii in particular being criticized for playing home to a lot of shovelware. Is there a danger of having too many ports of older games or 3D re-releases on 3DS, and how do you plan to ensure quality is retained across the software library?
It’s obviously up to each individual publisher to decide which games they want to launch and how they do that. We’re not allowed to tell people what and what not to do. We try to encourage that things like StreetPass are added and it’s quite nice to have something that is familiar with a new functionality or twist to it. It’s often those that surprise you about something you really enjoyed in the past and give you a completely new experience.
Nintendo’s previously acknowledged that it has some concerns about third party success on its platforms. Why do you think 3DS, which is a more expensive platform to develop for than DS and increasingly popular platforms like iPhone, is a good fit for third party developers?
I think we just try to make sure we’re as open with everybody as we can be. We help people, we encourage them to develop and explore new ideas and create games themselves. There’s nothing specific that we’ve done, it’s just about having those conversations. I think the developers themselves have seen something unique in it and often when they see something unique that gives them the inspiration to go on and create the games themselves.