Donkey Kong 3D Just a rumour, boxes taken down

Well, there’s still some hope left since Nintendo are being their standard old incredibly vague selves and not commenting on any of this, but GameStop/EB Games have said they don’t know of any such game and that the displays have been taken down.  Here’s what they said:

The displays were not supplied by Nintendo and have been taken down. It’s definitely not in the system in the U.S. I’m sure it’s not elsewhere, either, but I can’t confirm that.

However, this does still leave us with some questions which haven’t been answered.  How did boxes for games that are supposedly not confirmed end up on store shelves and as available to pre order in the first place?  Seems like something deeper might be at play here.  Perhaps the store got hoaxed by some idiot messing around, or the staff were doing the same.

There’s no end to the possible reasons behind this really.  How do we know the store wasn’t deliberately trying to con people and took them down only when people reported the matter?  That wouldn’t be the first time a retail store has done something similar (although it’d be the first time GameStop/EB Games did).  Maybe Nintendo hit them with a no disclosure agreement/breach of contact type message and asked for the displays to be removed because they reflect a game to be announced at E3.

Also, GameStop weren’t the only company stocking these games, that other games website was selling not only Donkey Kong 3D but Kirby, Final Fantasy and Dragonball 3D.  What made them decide to list all those ‘unannounced’ games?

Still, it’s best to assume GameStop and co are being honest here and that this was just a mistake, so we now know there’s no evidence of a Donkey Kong 3D in development for or about to be released for the Nintendo 3DS.  Sorry if that disappointed some people, it was certainly a let down for me.


Donkey Kong and Pikmin may have had Cameos in Super Mario Galaxy 2?

The title is accurate here, there was once an intention for Donkey Kong and Pikmin (the latter referring to the tiny alien creatures, not Olimar) to show up as cameos in Super Mario Galaxy 2.  Koichi Hayashida said this about it at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, when asked by someone from Game Trailers:

One of the early proposals that we discussed for Super Mario Galaxy 2 was the possibility of including characters from other Nintendo franchises. For example, you might have Donkey Kong or Pikmin show up.

That would have been pretty interesting to be honest.  Indeed, the space theme could have theoretically led to encounters with quite a few other Nintendo heroes such as Samus, Fox or Captain Falcon.  Or some RPG villains/characters like the X-Nauts or Shroobs if Nintendo had thought about it.  Unfortunately, this was shot down by Miyamoto himself:

Mario enemies tend to be on the short and squat side and there’s a functional reason for that. They’re easier to stomp on. They’re lower so you can get above them and broader so you can land on them. In that sense, Pikmin are just not well suited for the Mario universe.

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Nintendo Not Doomed, has enough money to last the century

That’s not an understatement either.  You know how some sites and fanboys like to think Nintendo is doomed or will go third party or close down in the near future?  Well, someone found some of Nintendo’s financial data recently, and it suggests pretty much the exact opposite.

Nintendo apparently has Nintendo has £6.7 ($10.5) billion in the bank.  That’s pretty good already, but they can apparently make massive losses every year and still at least last the next 50 or so.  That money could keep them going until about 2052 with much trouble, and that’s just a worst case estimate.

Nintendo Gamer was where this info came from, and it said this:

Nintendo have 812.8 billion Yen (£6.7/$10.5 billion) in the bank – enough for it to take a 20 billion Yen loss (£163/$257 million) every year until 2052

So if all goes wrong, Nintendo could last… about 10 more generations even making a massive loss on every console/game. Far from being over after the Wii’s come and gone, they’ve got enough cash to screw up more times than there have ever been consoles.  Those figures also assume they’re making a loss every year, they’d only to need make a significant profit every now and then to have enough money to keep going for much longer, even the next 50 years.

If all went wrong, they’ve got 469 billion Yen (£3.8/$6.0 billion) held in premises, equipment and investments, which could keep them going until about 2075.  By now, many of the people who thought they’d be dead are probably at best retired or worst long gone, and the company would have likely outlasted all the analysts and pretty much anyone currently working in the video game industry.

Games Radar (who covered this story) also figure that about 189 new Mario games could be released in that time frame if about three of them are to be released a year.  Based on that, I’d guess we’d easily reach about the 20th 2D Super Mario Bros game, likely more.  That’s about 16 more Pokemon generations and likely about 20 or so more Legend of Zelda games too. Well, again assuming Nintendo was somehow to lose money on a Mario, Pokemon or Legend of Zelda game.  Which itself is kind of unlikely seeing how every mainstream Mario game ever made has sold at least 5 million copies, with every Pokemon game selling about 10 million and every 2D Mario game about the same.  They’d have to really, really screw up their most popular franchises to end with millions of dollars worth of losses a year and these series not covering most of their expenses.

All in all, don’t panic.  It’s very, very unlikely Nintendo will be doomed within the century.  Besides, until I see a 2D Mario or Pokemon game fail miserably sales wise, it’s pretty likely those franchises alone will do a fair bit at keeping Nintendo afloat.  Do you know how unlikely it is those series will fail?  It’d be a bit like everyone in the world suddenly deciding not to buy Coca Cola or not to go to McDonalds, it’d require a radical change in people’s tastes in video games.

Either that’d or they’d have to lose enough money making said games that the sales wouldn’t make up for it.  Kind of difficult really considering exactly how little Nintendo has to change for each next game, and the 2D Mario games in general are hardly the most expensive games in the world to make these days.

Still, nice to know Nintendo’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future.


Nintendo Tokyo Not Making The 2D Mario Game for 3DS

Just a minor factoid from a recent interview that’s interesting:

Hayashida on the 2D Mario that was announced for 3DS by Iwata recently…

So the team that makes the 2D Mario games is actually a different team, so I’m not involved with that project. But I do hope that you’re looking forward to the eventual announcement with more details about that game.

Yeah, I assume it’s being made by the same team as New Super Mario Bros and New Super Mario Bros Wii were, or one of those teams with Nintendo Research and Development as part of their name.  But he does know about the game, which is neat.

Do you think a different team making the 2D games and the 3D games is a good decision by Nintendo?


Mario won’t become a yearly franchise like Call of Duty says Nintendo

Along with various other interesting bits of information confirmed by an interview of Koichi Hayashida by the website Modojo.  Indeed, there’s a lot of interesting things said here which should interest people who want more Super Mario 3D Land, as well as about the Mario series in general, so read on!

They first ask:

Do you see this as a possible series? Could there be a Super Mario 3D Land 2?

To which Koichi replies:

Well I guess I have to turn around and ask, is that something you’d like to see?

Immediately this is getting interesting.  They’re not counting out direct sequels to Mario games!  Then again, is that really a surprise? First we had Super Mario Galaxy 2, then recently we had Pokémon Black and White version 2, I think a Super Mario 3D Land 2 seems like a fairly plausible choice of sequel for Nintendo to make.  I also love how naive the guy is when he asks ‘is that something you’d like to see?’  Because apparently, there are some people on the planet who would say they don’t want a sequel and would be disappointed if one was made.

Would you consider adding downloadable content to the game? How easy is it to create new levels?

This question seems pretty interesting too.  Good thing they asked how difficult it is to make new levels, my experience in the past indicates that making a new level in any video game is much a more difficult challenge than it looks.  But hey, Super Mario 3D Land has a fairly simple graphics style which relies almost on 3D tiles for making up the levels, so it can’t be that difficult, right?

It’s not something we had initially thought about. Thinking about it now, there would be some challenges, but if there was a really good opportunity to use the stereoscopic effect to create some interesting new elements to introduce to the game, I suppose it’s a possibility.

However, the response worries me.  I think Nintendo are putting far too much stock in ‘gimmicks’ with their recent titles.  Why not just make it so you make fun levels?  No one cares if you come up with ‘interesting’ new elements using the stereoscopic effect other than elitist ‘critics’ who think that games should be all art like.  The rest of us just want fun levels regardless of how technically fancy they are.

I guess if you look at the staff credits for the game, including the localization teams at NOA and NOE, it would come out to about 100 total?

When asked how many people worked on the game.  I won’t quote the full interview for legal reasons, but it comes out as about 100 people and two years of development.

What do you think of Mario becoming a yearly franchise like Call of Duty?

Yikes, talk about a difficult question to ask someone on the internet!  Have you seen how much hate Activision gets for releasing games every year with minor changes?

Well, the way we approach the Mario series is through evolving hardware. Every time we have a new piece of hardware, we look at it and say, what can we do with this? What sort of gameplay experiences can we create? Then we take that and try and match it to the world of Mario, the kind of expressions you would find in Mario games.

Unfortunately, the answer given worries me even more.  In fact, some will say that its Nintendo’s biggest problem with their recent titles, they seem to be designing them based on the hardware rather than just letting the games dictate the console.  Putting the cart before the horse or something.

Really, as much as his ideas are rather disliked, Sean Malstrom said it best with this quote:

A video games console is just a box people buy to play video games.

Paraphrased of course, but you know what he means there.  People don’t enjoy buying games consoles for their own sake, they’re just there as a means to play the games  It’s best if Nintendo realised this and just made their games just as good games first and foremost and the console ‘gimmicks’ thrown in where appropriate to the series and game design.

If we were going to come out with a Mario game every single year, the only way we could really do this is if we also came out with new hardware every single year, which starts to get a little difficult to imagine.

Well no, you could also just make some new Mario games that aren’t designed around the hardware, or just make more use of the existing hardware.  Like Super Mario Galaxy 2 was.  Or Super Mario Land 2 on Game Boy was.  Or heck, like Super Mario Bros 2 and the Lost Levels were back on NES.  The whole one Mario game a system stuff was a fairly recent invention if you look back at Mario history, it only held true of the SNES (assuming you don’t count Yoshi’s Island), Nintendo 64 and Gamecube.  Hell, if you were bored enough and wanted a change, you could even have a successful Nintendo system with no mainstream/new Mario games at all like the Game Boy Advance.

What about the possibility of a Super Mario Bros. level editor? Would it do more harm than good to the franchise to give users that sort of power?

I’d love to see some sort of level editor.  Because it’s not that hard to make one given how every Mario game to date has had an unofficial one built by fans.  Is it really that difficult a concept to release an official equivalent to Lunar Magic or Toad’s Tool?

so we’re certainly not opposed to the concept of introducing a level editor

So it’s not entirely hopeless.

but in my mind, it’s not really about the users having power or hurting the way the franchise is viewed, but rather, whether we can see the possibility to create a really unique and fun experience with that level editor. It’s not something we’ve explored in any detail yet with the Mario universe, but as with everything, if we sense a good idea and a good possibility, it’s certainly something we’d pursue.

Yet while hope for an official level editor exists, it seems Nintendo’s staff seem to have missed one key point.  See the bolded.

No one finds a level editor fun in itself.  What is fun is playing the levels others have made and sharing your work with other people.  That’s not something that can support a whole game (hence why fairly few people bought WarioWare DIY), but it should still be an optional feature or tool you can either get for free or buy seperately.  No one who would use a level editor would give a toss whether it was fun to use in a conventional sense.

You can look at this as comparable to an art set or a writing/office program.  No one thinks paint in itself is ‘fun’ in the same way a video game is fun, but they enjoy the activity in a different way.  No one thinks using Microsoft Word in itself is an entertaining activity but they might like writing a novel  Any level editor for the Mario series would be enjoyed in the same way.

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