Click here to check out part 2 of the interview
You may have seen our previous articles, where we rounded up all the facts, and credible rumors surrounding the Nintendo NX, and where we showed evidence that the Nintendo NX would be an ARM-based console.
Now, it’s time to share a little something of our own.
We’ve recently been lucky enough to come in contact with an independent Nintendo developer, and they let us in on a number of interesting details regarding the upcoming Nintendo NX, development secrets of the 3DS and Wii U, and more!
For the purposes of keeping this article short, we will only post the NX news-related portion. Stay tuned for more on development secrets about the Wii U, 3DS, and more, as we post later on.
Keep in mind, this is a real licensed Nintendo developer. They are not a random new account on Reddit claiming they’re a “AAA developer with access to the NX at their workplace”. This is a real developer who has had many independent digital Nintendo releases over ten years, dating back to the WiiWare service on the Wii. They own an NX dev kit, and are currently working on multiple upcoming titles for the system.
For the purposes of them keeping their development license, and NDA, they have requested to remain anonymous in this article, but their authenticity is 100%.
Also, keep in mind he’s from another country, so his English is not perfect; it’s his second language.
Now grab some popcorn, and sit back in your comfy chair. Onto the conversation!
On The NX Hardware
I asked my source about the games he’s working on for NX (some have already been announced, thus my question).
Here’s his response:
As he was telling me about the game, he said, “it is hard for me to optimise the game for PC… on NX it’s easy… every NX is the same… and on NX it runs the smoothest so far… Why can’t I just only release it for NX? Oh yes.. because I need to survive ’til NX”
When asked if they had a dev kit specifically, he told me, “…All devs have dev kits… but we cannot talk about it… so… : I’ve no idea ^^”
While not directly confirming it, he made it clear to me that he indeed does.
On the chips NX will have, he told me,
I don’t understand all the discussions about chip types in forums…
1. People have no idea about processing architecture and what that means for games.
2. Nintendo never ever had a chip set that was sold in other ways… they ALWAYS modified the chip types sooo much that they are much more powerful for their games and formats.
So… it does not make any sense to talk about that stuff.
And no one wants to talk about what might make NX special… no one is interested in the games anymore.
Interestingly, he also told me, “truth is that dev kits get an update in sept with final hardware… because final chips then will get produced.”
This falls in line perfectly with the recent rumor that the NX has started production, courtesy of 10K.
Additionally, as an indication of console power, he told me,
In [new IP] it is hard with quality settings when it comes to buildings… you can crush any building and it departs in an amount of different parts… You damage the building and it all falls apart… but HOW MANY PARTS … 10? 50? 100? 1000 parts?
On slow PC’s 10 are okay… 50 on my PC (around Surface Pro 3 i5 power level). On NX I would choose, I guess, 300 parts so it looks awesome.
While I would not like to mislead with possible calculation amounts, this does portray the NX having a hefty amount of power.
On The Endless NX Rumors
He says that the many rumored articles coming out look to be fake or actually fabricated, because the people reporting them, including Emily Rogers‘ sources, “cannot possibly have a devkit”.
Commenting on the unreliability of rumors (we were talking about the recent divided d-pad rumor), he had this to say:
There you have it… someone in the net says: d-pad now is just buttons…. and next day another guy says: Yes that’s true… I’ll paint you an image! But Emily did not know that, instead talking about USB ports? And no leaker before ever heard about that? And tomorrow it will be again a regular d-pad? People are totally bogus.
There is sooo much information about NX out in the net through ‘leaks’ so it could be ANYTHING … some might be more true… some less… but all in all: nobody from those people really know NX …. As I’ve told you many times:
If I would leak the NX I would not talk about those things… resolution or USB ports on devkits… I would present the real interesting things and what makes the NX recognisable.
IF they do have good sources… they would never want to hurt them… right? If they do have sources… then they just do not trust them and tell them information like ‘there are USB ports on the dev kit’ or ‘the screen has this resolution’.
But as I said… if someone really would want to leak something… it would be an INTERESTING thing… Nintendo always does have something special with their devices… but nobody… NOBODY ANYWHERE ever has talked or just hinted any of these things about NX.“
Additionally, regarding the recent swappable button rumor, he had this to say:
Yes… Miyamoto talked about that years ago… and they also showed prototypes of a Nintendo 3DS with changeable setup. They decided against it because people could easily destroy or lose the parts.
So it’s likely that Nintendo may decide to actually go against the removable parts we’ve seen in recent rumors. But regardless if they do or not, it wouldn’t matter. These removable parts weren’t the 3D of the 3DS (its biggest new innovation), so it likely won’t be the IT about the NX.
Regarding the Eurogamer articles, he told me that the Eurogamer article and every new system features article aren’t wrong, but choose to leave out the interesting details on NX. Thus, he told me that he believes Nintendo is fabricating these articles on purpose, letting details slip to get the public excited about the NX, without revealing the true features of it.
This article is well written… like taking the description of NX and just revealing every 3rd line of it or so… You understand.
He says the rumors about the dock having 2 USB ports, the resolution, or being a hybrid is interesting, but even if true, is not the exciting part about the NX. He also said calling the NX a hybrid in the first place is an interesting thing to call it, as it’s not exactly how he, as a developer, would have described the NX device itself.
On The Wii U, Unreal Engine, And Third Party Support
On UE4 Support:
He told me that the situation that the Wii U wasn’t powerful enough for Unreal Engine 4 was complete bogus.
Here’s what he had to say:
“There’s also an Unreal version on Nintendo 3DS… and on smartphones… and… UE4 definitely runs on Wii U. It has nothing to do with having more power. Most people just have no idea what’s really inside of Wii U or Nintendo 3DS… also on the internet are only wrong informations about it.
Unreal stopped supporting it as the sales numbers have been too low. If Unreal wants to support a system they will do it. It is not Nintendo’s choice or any question of hardware.
For example: Nintendo NX does not support Unreal Engine. It works in a different way: Unreal sees that there is a lot of potential to sell many licenses, so they support it. Nintendo does not have a lot to do with that. They also took back the Wii U support and the 3DS support, as they realised that there are no huge sales numbers, no money to get, so their support would cost more than it brings. So if Unreal wants to support a system, they just do so. You see, Unreal also runs on smartphones without a problem – there is no technical limitation for an engine running somewhere. Unity, for example, is as powerful and is also available for Wii U and New Nintendo 3DS.”
On Third Party Support:
Upon asking about the situation of third parties on Nintendo’s systems, he told me,
I’m sure you will enjoy it a lot. I guess the amount of indie devs releasing their stuff on NX will be enormous…
Developers COULD port/release all XBone/PS4 games on Wii U, if they wanted… but sales numbers are just too bad. And no one buys a Wii U for a killer game he already has on his XBone/PS4… and this might not change.
I expect tons of 3rd party support and even more indie dev support on NX … but 1:1 ports of games you can play on another platform? Hm… not hoping for them… NX is too innovative for that stuff.
I do remember GameCube … it had the best hardware… and awesome 3rd party support… but no one cared… did not sell.
Additionally, when asked about the lackluster third party support (which developers blamed system power for), he sheds more light on why the Wii U didn’t get great third party and indie support:
Most devs are just talking sh*t …. just because they can…. for example… so many devs are asked to release their games on Wii U…. but even if it is a 2.5D RPG game… the devs say that Wii U has not enough power/memory/whatever …. just not to say that Wii U has sold bad and that they will not sell enough games there.
Like Super Meat Boy was cancelled for WiiWare years ago… they talked about not-enough-memory … while the truth just was that the ‘Homebrew’ piracy channel totally destroyed the Wii market so no one could ever make any money with it… that is also why no more big titles have been released there but just random mini game mixes … because those people who have small kids and play those mini game mixes do not have installed that piracy channel.
I asked him:
I’m wondering what Nintendo will do to make the NX stand out this time, aside from power. I mean we’ve heard the hybrid thing, but that’s really it so far. Like a GamePad 2.0
Is that enough for it to be successful?
“People have no idea what ‘hybrid’ should mean. It is so funny seeing all the mock ups and so.
GamePad 2.0… do you know that the Wii U GamePad itself has more power than a Nintendo DS? It was planned to install and play DS and GameBoy and GBA games just on the GamePad… the update was planned together with the smaller GamePad (which everyone buys for Playing Pikmin in 2 Player Mode) … but all those plans got kicked by the low sales numbers. Together with the 2nd gamepad also another Wii U should have been released… a slim version. . . . but “Wii U” was sooo bad – everyone thought it was Wii … not a successor… no one understood that it was not just a gamepad for the old Wii … so they just stopped developing for anything and moved on to NX with all the projects… years ago =O
So Wii U is just a sad story about a FAIL through marketing. I really love my Wii U … and the games are soooo amazing!
Let’s see what resolution the NX will deliver…and which shape it will have…. 720p?”
I then ask him if the Wii U Slim GamePad could have looked like this:
Is This A Redesigned Wii U GamePad In Latest Mario Kart 8 Japanese Commercial?
Haha no… that GamePad in the commercial was just a bad made commercial.
I haven’t seen another design… but a Slim Wii U and Slim GamePad would have had another design…
Upon asking him, “So the NX will probably improve upon the GamePad right?” he would not comment, but replied with a smirk.
On What The NX Will Actually Be
Eventually, I am told that Nintendo has actually revealed the general concept of NX already:
I just can tell you… Nintendo already stated what the NX will be… for that part we are currently talking about. I cannot tell you when exactly or what they said… but the information about the direction the NX takes AND how it will be different from other products and controls… are out in the internet… spread within some interviews and news – BUT – people are forgetting.
Post some news today… 6 months later no one will remember.
They talked what their next project will be all about… what they want to do… what they are working on… and looking into too… but who knows… maybe all those sketches are right… Hm you should check if the cartridge port and the headphones are on the same locations on all the sketches out in the net… If really leaked the images should be identical, shouldn’t they? But do you remember a playstation d-pad on an earlier sketch?
This is very interesting news, as it seems odd that Nintendo is keeping so tight-lipped about the system, if in fact its concept has already been revealed!
However, there are many possibilities here. Nintendo has stated much new information about its new system already, but without revealing the “new way to play” concept the NX will likely have.
For example, in Nintendo’s 2014 investor conference, the late president Satoru Iwata stated,
Still, I am not sure if the form factor (the size and configuration of the hardware) will be integrated. In contrast, the number of form factors might increase. Currently, we can only provide two form factors because if we had three or four different architectures, we would face serious shortages of software on every platform. To cite a specific case, Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models. The point is, Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples. Whether we will ultimately need just one device will be determined by what consumers demand in the future…
Additionally, he said:
In this perspective, while we are only going to be able to start this with the next system, it will become important for us to accurately take advantage of what we have done with the Wii U architecture. It of course does not mean that we are going to use exactly the same architecture as Wii U, but we are going to create a system that can absorb the Wii U architecture adequately. When this happens, home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems.
Aside from what the system hardware could be, Iwata stated that future platforms would be account-based, rather than console based.
On Wii U, we launched Nintendo Network IDs, which are abbreviated as NNIDs. This is the first step of our efforts to transform customer relationship management from device-based to account-based, namely, consumer-based, through which we aim to establish long-term relationships with individual consumers, unaffected by the lifespans of our systems. Our future platform will connect with our consumers based on accounts, not devices.
Of course, when we do launch new hardware in the future, rather than re-creating an installed base from scratch as we did in the past, we wish to build on our existing connections with our consumers through NNIDs and continue to maintain them. Another very important point that we need to consider is how we will incorporate smart devices into Nintendo platforms, which were composed solely of Nintendo hardware in the past.
The traditional definition of a video game platform imposed a restriction in which we were unable to connect with consumers unless they purchased a Nintendo system. Given that the competition for consumers’ time and attention has become fierce, I feel that how we will take advantage of smart devices is an extremely important question to answer. However, in order to be absolutely clear, let me emphasize that this does not mean simply supplying Nintendo games on smart devices. Taking advantage of smart devices means connecting with all consumers, including those who do not own Nintendo’s video game systems, through smart devices and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, thus encouraging more people to participate in Nintendo platforms.
As I just illustrated, we will manage our relationships with our consumers through NNIDs in a uniform manner, and connecting with our consumers through NNIDs will precisely be our new definition of a Nintendo platform.
In other words, our platform will not be bound to physical hardware and, instead, will be virtualized.”
Finally, he iterates that the new platform could be the first to integrate a new pricing model:
Based on our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more. Here, we do not need to limit the condition to the number of software titles they purchase. Inviting friends to start playing a particular software title is also an example of a possible condition. If we can achieve such a sales mechanism, we can expect to increase the number of players per title, and the players will play our games with more friends. This can help maintain the high usage ratio of a platform. When one platform maintains a high active use ratio, the software titles which run on it have a higher potential to be noticed by many, which leads to more people playing with more titles. When we see our overall consumers, they generally play two or three titles per year. We aim to establish a new sales mechanism that will be beneficial to both consumers and software creators by encouraging our consumers to play more titles and increasing a platform’s active use ratio without largely increasing our consumers’ expenditures. Nintendo aims to work on this brand-new sales mechanism in the medium term
Source: Corporate Management Policy Briefing / Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing for the 74th Fiscal Term Ending March 2014 Q & A
If you look at the above, there is some solid information already on what the NX will be.
Additionally, as our source said, they said Nintendo is looking into things. What did Nintendo state they were looking into?
Nintendo stated they were looking into VR.
Regarding VR, Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo has stated that they are looking into developing VR in their game systems, however did not confirm whether the NX would be compatible or not.
However, Reggie Fils-Aime stated that Nintendo does not focus on specs with its systems, but rather on content, and that Nintendo will utilize VR once the tech is good enough for it.
My thoughts on this are that Nintendo will be adding VR compatibility to the system, and it will come out with its own VR hardware that addresses the problems it sees with VR, sometime down the line. I don’t expect it to be the initial innovation of the system, though.
With this new information, my thoughts on Nintendo’s stance on VR remain the same, however, this heightens the proposition that Nintendo will support VR in some fashion for the NX.
Finally, my source had this to say:
For Nintendo … NX is not just the systems, consoles or whatever… it is more an idea … An idea to change and save the video game industry. Trying to go in a new direction with a concept others will ‘steal’ … but that’s okay because all the thoughts are for saving the industry’s future… That’s always what I’m thinking of… and that’s why I have a problem with that when I hear that NX should be a PS4-like console… because NX stands for a concept… not only for a thing.
When asked about what saving the industry meant, he elaborated, saying,
Because we are in a videogames crisis like in the past where Nintendo saved it with the NES in the early ’80s. But it should be hidden from gamers… that so many developers are getting bankrupt daily because they wanted to survive with making games.
Selling a game under 20 bucks kills the developer.
He tells me that because, for indie devs, prices for games have gone down too much with competition (even under a dollar, or free), that developers are forced to bring their prices down, lest consumers not buy the product, so the vast majority of developers never turn a reasonable profit… unless their game is a big hit.
Nintendo always wants do to something against it. On WiiWare games should not be priced under 800 Wii Points!! Pop was the one that managed to go under that price. On the eShop it was I think $2.99 … but then there was the app (don’t remember which one) which was released everywhere for $0.99 so they wanted to release for $0.99 on eShop too… that broke the line
The problem is that many developers who have problem with piracy do not want to see it and think they just made their game too expensive… so they drop their price… and dropping the price brings more sales numbers… but not more value at all.
For example… [Game 1] costs $7.99 … [Game 2] costs $2.99 …. [Game 2] sold a lot more units… but [Game 1] makes a lot more money.
There are just too many good games out there, for too cheap.
I personally see the situation as videogames becoming harder for the indie developer to create. Smaller games become monopolized by big game companies, because they can afford to price their (even older) games lower. Because of brand recognition, and a lower price tag, gamers buy the big company’s cheap game, leaving indies out in the dust.
According to my source’s comments about Nintendo’s direction, and Iwata’s comments above, indeed, it looks like the new way of buying games will be a focus for its next platform. And it will be a win-win for developers and consumers alike.
We’ve already seen the beginnings of this in the My Nintendo system, released alongside Miitomo in March of 2016, where users can complete “Missions” inside the games, and be rewarded with coins, used to buy exclusive software, addons, or discounts on Nintendo products. I have no doubt this will come to full fruition with the release of NX within the next year.
On NX Games
While all this talk on the system’s potentials is interesting, what’s a game system without games??
While we have already posted our complete list of confirmed and rumored NX games, we had a chance to talk about NX’s potential games with our source.
Here’s what he had to say:
As a 3rd party dev I’m just told to prepare for Summer 2017 … not earlier… so if it comes in March… there will be just 1st party.
Maybe Nintendo holds its 1st party for a month or two … or maybe the big ones (EA/Ubisoft) will release a title or two with it. Ubisoft works very close to Nintendo and they are big… as I see Watch Dogs 2 was just designed for NX so… maybe it is a title for the launch.
I believe that the game fits with the tablet in the game perfectly. Our source elaborates:
As I watched the E3 presentation of it I just thought like WTF(!!!) … but no one else knows… so… Same with Zelda at one part 😄 … but… you’ll see then when you play the games on NX.
Hm Zelda… when?… Summer 2017? Autumn 2017? They just said they will show more of it at E3 2017.
Interestingly, it appears Watch Dogs 2 and Zelda Breath of the Wild both include obvious gameplay/visual elements that showcase the NX’s capabilities.
What those could be? We have no idea. But maybe you can help find out.
As I personally am very excited for the potential Luigi’s Mansion 3 game from Next Level Games, I asked him what he thought about this too. He said:
And no… that rumor is bogus… the way how it is written and what should have happened with LM3 … that’s how fans think development works… but not how it really does.
But Nintendo’s situation: They worked on every IP they have to put an awesome title on Wii U … BUT … early on realised that Wii U did not sell. So they stopped all development for Wii U … Mario Kart 8 and everything (we talked) had to be stopped. MK8 was released as last hope… but just to give it to fans.
So… Nintendo works on Metroid, Luigi, Pikmin 3 (4?), Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Animal Crossing and so on all the years…
If you ask me… NX will get all those hit games within the first year. And… it is not a rumor… it is just logic that all those titles are in development since years and must have been finished.
Beyond this, our source actually confirmed the rumor that Animal Crossing will arrive on NX as a launch title, as well as something extra.
The Brand New NX Games
In speaking to him, he told me that as a developer, when developers receive the hardware, Nintendo has to show them concepts for how the system could work, so developers have a basis on what they can do with the new hardware.
Part of these demos included a brand new Animal Crossing and a new, fully-featured version of Miitomo.
Here’s what they had to say about the Animal Crossing game:
Once we spoke about the NX’s reveal, he said,
Nintendo Direct I guess… I’m sure they will show Animal Crossing =D … THIS will be a launch title.
It definitely will! … NX is just made for Animal Crossing!
We told him, we know an Animal Crossing game is coming out this year for mobile, though. And Fire Emblem.
Yes… also September I guess?
Maybe it is the start app for NX like Miitomo is? … The games all run on NX.
Miitomo will get a huge update…. you know Tomodachi Life I guess 😉
Miitomo right now is just a shadow of it… ultra light trial edition, haha.
We have heard in the past that Nintendo’s mobile games will work on the NX. I told our source this, which means it must have a touch screen. I also told him that I eventually got a bit bored with Miitomo.
He told me:
Most people just forget to click on MY ANSWERS and RECENT (or however it is called in english) … where people start to ask you and want a conversation. But true…most are playing Pokémon GO now.
You know… Tomodachi Life also works well without WiFi… if I’m right they will upgrade it to a full game…. Unsure about the price… Unsure if you use your Miitomo Mii in Animal Crossing …. as a dev I know some things about those games… You know Nintendo always shows devs how to use a system and use screens of their own games and so on 😄 … like Café on 3DS many years ago.
It has the same WTF-Moments and the same Unique Appeal like Animal Crossing has… but in a totally different and new way. Like your own TV show… soap…telenovela but as a fully interactive game. it is not an experience you can really describe to one so he understands it…. like Animal Crossing… ^^
I told him, “I’m more excited to play it now! A new version would be awesome for NX. Especially if it has that portable element.”
Yes… I’m also very excited for NX… because of all the games we will get…. Nintendo works since more than 3 years on titles for it… so I guess we will get a great one from every Nintendo universe ^^ … and of course an advanced Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8 (where is the battle mode DLC?)
Oh and Nintendo Land should also have had DLC… Nintendo told us at first… it should add more games and more levels for the games that are in Nintendo Land… but it never happened (because of Wii U sales…) … so I’m sure we will see it again on NX at some point ^^
With Nintendo unifying the development pipeline and architecture, it seems they will have a lot more games coming out.
We told him we’d love to see Nintendo Land make a return.
Being an avid Nintendo fan himself, he said:
Yes I also love it soo much… played it not enough (like all my games)
Sadly no time to play all the games 😥
Of course. He must not have much time with all that NX development to worry about.
The Nintendo NX is shaping up to be an interesting system. Never before has there been so much hype for any console in recent history, and with this new information, the hype continues to build.
It is likely to be revealed in September, so we will eagerly wait until then until the final news breaks.
Until then, we will continue to publish new articles with any new information as it breaks.
For more info on the NX, read:
Everything We Know About the NX
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-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash