The mastermind behind the Switch explains a bit of Nintendo’s philosophy.
Innovation is needed to keep things fresh, but when it’s done for the sake of itself, we get games like Star Fox Zero. In a recent interview with Shinya Takahashi given to The Guardian, the general manager of Nintendo’s Entertainment Planning & Development Division revealed that Nintendo goes in with a bit of a different mindset.
In short, Takahashi explained their approach to a project to be more along the lines of “How can we pleasantly surprise players?” Instead of trying to innovate and take risks consciously as a matter of design. “We’re trying to find ways to make people happy,” said Takahashi.
“In many cases, we begin by assigning a small group to a project; not necessarily senior staff, but developers, to try and come up with ideas. Those lead to the end product. Super Mario Odyssey is a good example to explain this: we actually had several small groups and as a result we had many different ideas, which we then put together to make a single product. Naturally during the course of early development, we find the right mission for each project. I believe every game has a different mission. With [Nintendo Switch launch game] 1-2 Switch, for example, the mission was to make a party game where players would not have to look at the screen – where people would face each other,” he said.
It’s an admirable way to look at the games business, and is the exact reason Nintendo keeps coming up with things like the Switch, which blew up so much because it brought gaming in line with the player’s lifestyle by being able to move with them.