Nintendo Increasing Internal Staff, Looking to Leverage Retro Studios

Nintendo has struggled mightily in their quest to attract third party developers to Wii U and 3DS, which makes it more important now than ever that they have a steady supply of solid first party content. As such, Nintendo EAD General Manager Shigeru Miyamoto has revealed that Nintendo is looking to increase their internal development staff, allowing them to work on more projects at once.

Miyamoto explained that his company has been gradually increasing the staff at Nintendo’s Tokyo Studio for some time, but they are eyeing a bigger expansion in the future. This plan includes hiring more staff, finding better ways to leverage internal studios like Retro, and fostering relationships between internal developers and outside companies that are in line with Nintendo’s expectations.

A big complaint early in the life cycles of both Wii U and 3DS was a lack of quality games. Without a strong lineup of third party exclusives, Nintendo has had to rely almost exclusively on their own IPs. While Nintendo takes exception to the idea that their franchises are getting stale, many have suggested that they outsource in order to spark creativity and create more games in a shorter time frame. According to Miyamoto, this is not the direction Nintendo plans to take.

[We've] been working on what we can do to increase our internal staff in a way that will allow us to have more projects going at the same time.

We’re doing this not by going out of house to different companies and having them develop games for us, but instead by working with partner companies and subsidiaries in a way that allows the Tokyo studio to run more projects.

Nintendo’s Tokyo Studio is its biggest and most prominent development team, but it’s certainly not the only weapon in Nintendo’s arsenal. Both Monolith Soft and Retro Studios have expanded their work force by a considerable amount. This all seems to be part of Miyamoto’s expansion plan, as he’s eyeing bigger and better things from Retro in the future.

Certainly we do feel that we want to leverage the capabilities of Retro Studios further, because as we’ve seen from the Metroid games, they’re a very capable studio.

Nintendo prefers to keep in-house studios in charge of first party content, but that doesn’t mean third party development of key titles is completely out of the question. After all, Retro’s work on Metroid Prime began in 2000 – two years before Nintendo purchased a majority of their stock and established them as a first party studio. In more recent times, Nintendo entrusted Next Level Games with the development of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. That said, Nintendo has some very specific guidelines in place for handing their games over to third party developers.

In the past, we had what we called the collaboration projects, which were sort of like an outside company almost doing a cover of our games with their own studios. The determination that we’ve come to more recently is that we prefer to have an internal Nintendo producer who’s there to oversee any outside development work that’s happening, to make sure that it’s in line with what we expect out of our games.

I guess in one sense, some of those outside companies that we worked with, they also have a tendency to continue to work on the same projects over time. They tend to look more like internal companies or internal partners than they really actually are.

What do you think of Nintendo’s strategies? Should they be less strict about looking to outside companies for help, or are they wise to keep their big titles in the hands of their trusted, in-house developers? What Nintendo studios would you like to see become more active, and what third party companies would you like to see Nintendo form closer relationships with? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: IGN

  • Tensei

    Leverage the capabilities of Retro? After E3, I will believe it when I see it.

    More internalisation? Yes retreating more into their own world is exactly what is needed.

    One thing you have to give credit to Sony and Microsoft…they have the ability learn from their competition. Why cant Nintendo learn? It is so annoying. Why cant they have 13 studios like Sony constantly pumping out software. Just why? It is like they purposely go against the grain of progression for the sake of it.

    Great empires crumble from within.

    • Erimgard

      Well they’re finally starting to acquire more studios, but not at a fast enough rate for my tastes. They’ve added Retro (although that was 11 years ago) and Monolith Soft to the list of their internal studios. I’d like to see them do the same with other companies they have a good relationship with, such as Next Level Games and Platinum Games.

      The more creative minds you bring into the fold, the more top-notch content you can create.

      • Tensei

        Buying PG is a no brainer.

        But like Andy Mcnamara said….”Anything you think is awesome, Nintendo will not do.”

    • Alex Plant

      Nintendo has something like 20 studios.

      • Bill Ginzburg Bronson

        really … wow thats a lot :S how are they still struggling?

  • KY_LOZ

    I’m glad they’re expanding, but they should’ve done so before the Wii U’s launch to avoid the situation it’s in now. Taking the opportunity with Platnum games was a great decision though.

    Outsourcing and getting more help externally wouldn’t hurt either, especially from devs who’ve got experience developing HD games since Nintendo said it’s taking a while for them to adjust to doing it.

  • Julian Delarosa

    I am all for Nintendo getting help with third party. Long as they keep a good eye on what they are doing, we shouldn’t have a repeat of the CD-i.

  • Nathan

    I’d love to see Nintendo develop relationships with more companies that make games for the “hardcore” crowd, like Platinum has with Bayonetta, or hell, even develop their own game of that ilk. Look at Capcom. They go from having Mega Man on one end of the spectrum to the Resident Evil series on the other.

    • Drazhar

      Not that Capcom is doing anything with Mega Man these days… sadly.

      • Nathan

        Well yeah….we all know Nintendo has made the best Mega Man game in years by adding him to the SSB roster….but still. Capcom does own that IP (and many other “casual”/non-Mature IPs as well), and the range of games that company puts out is rather impressive.

  • Forbsz

    Yes Monolith Soft after X should pumpout 2 new jrpgs for Wii U (I wish!) and Retro Studios working on Metroid and Star Fox at the same time that would be a dream I also wish Nintendo owned Level-5 and we got Ni No Kuni for the Wii U :(

  • Bill Ginzburg Bronson

    At a time when companies like Sony are shutting down studios, Its good to see Nintendo going the opposite direction. It seems like they are being very smart about it too and not just being quick and buying any company

    • coatlesscarl

      Sony’s business practices toward contracted PS exclusive developers have been downright predatory. Anybody recall what happened to Zipper Interactive, Incognito Entertainment, Lightbox Interactive, Psygnosis/SCE Studio Liverpool, or Superbot Entertainment? I’m sure there are more than a couple I’m forgetting.

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