Nintendo of America's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communication, George Harrison, has spoken with U.S based Game Informer magazine in May's issue, and served up some tasty starters, ahead of the E3 main meal.
Harrison talked in depth on the Revolution controller, and why Nintendo pursued the idea in the first place. After numerous focus groups, and discussions on the best way to progress with a controller, Nintendo finally decided that they should make a controller that was unique, fun, but remained simple and easy to use.
Harrison said, "I can remember a time when Killer Instinct was released and at that time Ken Lob worked for us as one of our game gurus. He came into my office and he was all excited and said,Oh I've got a great new combination for you. So he starts describing this combination that was kind of a fourteen to seventeen button combination, and I said that I can't remember fourteen numbers, let alone a fourteen button combination. But that was, I think, just an indication of the divergence of this whole thing. And at the same time we saw success with things like Mario Kart and Mario Party series that led us to believe that there are still people out there who still just want to have a little fun and don't want it to be inordinately complicated."
Harrison is first to admit that Nintendo consoles have a younger audience, but they hope that the combination of the new controller, and great games will attract a new audience, he said, "These are mostly guys under the age of thirty-five, you know 20-35; for them to put themselves into the head of a 25 or 35 or 40-year-old woman or 40-year-old man and think of what kind of entertainment they might enjoy, that's kind of a tough challenge. But that's what we have to do."
One way Nintendo hopes to do this, and they're on the right track by already issuing over 1000 development kits, is by getting third party developers involved. Nintendo have learnt their mistakes from the Gamecube launch, when things didn't quite go to plan, and they had poor third party support. Harrison said, "For Revolution, that was a clear strategy change to get them involved early and you're not talking about a large number, but a handful of the big successful publishers and developers around the world, get them involved early and let them have access to it."
This change in strategy may also see Nintendo taking a few risks on the types of games that are produced for the Revolution, they've even been talking with Rockstar games, makers of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series. Nintendo are looking to broaden their horizons in the Western market, the relaxed game ratings mean that they can afford to push the boundaries, like Rockstar have done. Harrison said, " We've got a rating system and those things would probably never appear in Japan, as the audience just isn't interested. But over here, there's a role for M-rated games as well."
Harrison talks about the 20 planned Revolution launch titles, and reveals that Nintendo's priority will initially be in appeasing the loyal Japanese gamers, and competing against Sony in that part of the World. "Clearly, for us, the Japanese market might be the most important as it's the home market, it's the chance to reset the clock to the main competitor, which is Sony, the only competitor. So they need to make a good impression," he said. This could mean that a Mario game, or another big name franchise, could be Nintendo's flagship launch game.
At E3, Harrison suggests that Nintendo Revolution will be shown not only in the Nintendo area, but also in third party developer's booths, so there may be no need to queue up for hours!
We'd expect the majorty of the launch titles to be named at E3, and a further insight into Nintendo's plans, but Harrison has suggested that the price of the console may not be revealed at the show.
The full interview can be read at the Game Informer website , where they pose some interesting questions, such as 'What does Nintendo think of the Xbox 360 launch? and 'Will there be any DS/Rev interactivity?'