Reggie Fils-Aime says that while Nintendo likes to announce games that are near release, there is merit in earlier announcements as well,
Nintendo usually doesn’t like to announce games that are too far off. Presumably, the debacles surrounding The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, which were both announced years before they eventually released, have taught them to be more cautious, and the company chooses to only announce games that are releasing in the near future now.
Nevertheless, it seems like Nintendo does break that rule every now and then. For instance, last year, Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 4 and Pokemon 8 at E3, and neither game is out yet (and won’t be until next year). So how, then, does the company choose when to announce a game? Is there a hard and fast rule? Or is it on a case by case basis?
Well, the answer is both, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. Speaking to IGN in an interview, he said that while Nintendo usually likes to announce games that are near release, they do realize that some cases merit an earlier announcement, and are willing to do that in those situations.
“Broadly speaking, we like to talk about games that are closer. Typically, for example, at E3, we’ll focus on content maybe extending into the first or second calendar quarter following E3. That is typically our horizon,” he said. “We believe that works because it’s close enough that the fans can be excited and look forward to it. And when we do have an exception and do something different, we’re doing it for very specific reasons.
“Maybe we have two experiences within a particular franchise, and we know that one might be maybe a nontraditional representation of that franchise. Or maybe then it’s important for us to frame that the more traditional visualization of that franchise is coming. ‘Fans, don’t worry, but here’s something different to tide you over in the meantime.’ So that’s how we think about it, and how we approach our consumer communication. We want to be near-end. We want to deliver news when it’s most meaningful. We don’t want to be so far out that the consumer either loses interest, or worse, gets frustrated.”
It’s clear that the backlash to Metroid Prime Federation Force, the first Metroid game announced in years at the time, and a very clear departure from what the series was about, with no proper Metroid game in sight for the future, really shook Nintendo, and the company realizes the value of reassuring fans where necessary as a result. Now if only some other companies would learn that lesson…