December 26 to January 1 Nintendo News Roundup

Switch

The latest edition of Famitsu featured an ad for the upcoming Switch unveiling event in Japan, that will be running between January 14 and January 15 at Tokyo Big Sight. The ad reveals that the event will last seven hours each day, and will be held between 10 AM and 5 PM, with new visitors only being accepted after 4 PM.

Attendees will also get to experience various concerts, since a rock band put together by Nintendo will be performing twice on January 14th, and once on January 15th. They will perform a plethora of video game tunes. A big band will also perform on January 15th to cap off the event, and will (as you could probably guess) also perform video game-themed music.

Changing topics, it’s worth nothing that Takayuki Kawasaki, territory manager for Epic Games Japan, was recently interviewed by Japanese website Social VR Info, to which he mentioned that the Switch does indeed support Unreal Engine as previously stated, and that there are actually a lot of titles coming to the platform that use of the technology. This includes releases of already announced major titles and new games. His final statement was rather vague, but Kawasaki indicated that he’s hoping the Japanese console business will pick up more steam due to Switch’s arrival in the market. This is certainly a possibility, since when Dragon Quest XI was announced to be using Unreal Engine 4 back in Summer 2015, there was a slight increase in usage of the engine by Japanese titles. So maybe we will be seeing more titles that use UE4 coming to the Switch soon enough.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo has once again shared a new screenshot and a couple of artwork pieces from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Two of them focus on the guardians, while the last one is a celebratory piece. You can take a look at them below.

Pokémon Sun & Moon

The second Festival Plaza Global Mission for Pokémon Sun & Moon is now underway. Players will have to capture or defeat a total of 1 million pokémon found using the Island Scan feature of the games. The mission started at 4:00 UTC, December 27th and will end on January 9th, 23:59 UTC. The reward will be 2,017 Festival Coins if the mission is successful or 217 FC if the mission ends in failure. You will receive twice the amount of FC (4,034 or 434) if your game is tied to a Global Link account.

On another note, Game Center DX has held a second episode featuring Pokémon Sun and Moon, continuing the adventures in the Alola region. You can watch it below if you want to.

Fire Emblem

A new Fire Emblem CD is soon coming to Japan on February 22nd for the price of 3200 Yen. The “Fire Emblem Music Collection: Piano – Faith & Engagement –” CD will feature, as the name suggests, piano rearrangements of various tracks from the Fire Emblem series. All of the arrangements were performed and composed by KEIKO.

Here’s the track list of the CD:

  1. Battle Map 1 – Player Attack Phase (FE: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light)
  2. The Path to You (FE: Fates)
  3. Distant Utopia (FE: The Binding Blade)
  4. Victory is Near (FE: Path of Radiance)
  5. World Map – Chapter 3 (Liberation Battle – Each Road) (FE: Gaiden)
  6. Encounter (FE: Gaiden)
  7. Father’s Back (FE: Path of Radiance)
  8. Seliph’s Theme / Thoughts Going Around (FE: Genealogy of the Holy War)
  9. Leif’s Army, In Search of Victory – Leif (FE: Thracia 766)
  10. Id (Serenity) (FE: Awakening)
  11. Legend of the Divine Dragon (A) (FE: Mystery of the Emblem)
  12. Child of Chaos (FE: Radiant Dawn)
  13. Don’t Speak her Name! (FE: Awakening)
  14. Alight (FE: Fates)
  15. Ascent (FE: Radiant Dawn)
  16. Lost in Thoughts All Alone (FE: Fates)

Additionally, two live performances of the CD will be held on March 12th at the Science Museum Science Hall in Tokyo.

This won’t be the only Fire Emblem merchandise to release soon though, since the female Corrin Figma and Nendoroid figures are now up for pre-order on sites such as Play Asia and Ami Ami. Pre-orders will end on January 26.

You can check out the figures in the gallery below.

Momotaro Dentetsu 2017: Tachiagare Nippon!!

Momotaro Dentetsu 2017: Tachiagare Nippon!! was recently shown in the latest episode of Denjin Getcha. You can watch the episode below.

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World

Nintendo has now opened up the Japanese website for Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World, which you can access over here. The is also available for pre-load on the Japanese eShop, and takes up 7,769 blocks (which amounts to 971.125 MB).

You can also watch various new promotional videos released by Nintendo below.

Paper Mario: Color Splash

Game Informer recently interviewed Paper Mario: Color Splash producer Kensuke Tanabe about a variety of topics related to the game.

This included the painting mechanics, translation differences between the English and Japanese versions of the game, if the team ever considered ditching combat entirely, and what the team thinks fans of the series would like to see in the future, among other things.

You can give the interview a read over here.

Super Mario Run

Nintendo has issued a new update for Super Mario Run, bringing the game up to version 1.0.2. According to Nintendo it simply implemented feature improvements.

Android users can now be notified of when the game becomes available too. You can visit the Google Play store here to pre-register so you will be informed when it becomes available.

Moreover, a special event based around Friendly Run is being held in the game, which lets players earn Rally Tickets. The event will run until January 11. While this normally is more of a practice mode, participating during the event period will earn you Rally Tickets, whether you win or lose. Friendly Run can still only be played a limited number of times a day, and it requires at least one friend on your friend list.

When it comes to the business side of things, Bloomberg has reported (based on data from App Annie) that Super Mario Run is no longer the highest-grossing iOS app in any country as of December 24, which marks a big turnaround from the previous week, when it was the most profitable app in 49 territories. The game has dipped from the 138 countries mark on December 17 as the top free download, but it remains at that spot in 88 nations.

Super Mario Run also features a very different pricing structure from Pokémon GO, which is free-to-play, while Super Mario Run requires a $10 purchase to experience the large majority of the game. Apptopia believes that a lower price point would give Nintendo $50 million in revenue this month as opposed to $30 million as things stand now.

Tank Troopers

According to the latest issue of Nintendo Dream, Tank Troopers wasn’t internally developed by Nintendo as initially thought, but by Vitei, the team that created Steel Diver and Steel Diver: Sub Wars.

Nintendo contributed with director Takaya Imamura, character designer Yuki Kaneko, and composer / sound effects designer Ryo Nagamatsu, while Vitei took care of most of the project with Atsushi Obata acting as project manager and Takao Kurebayashi as the design manager. Obata later became the director, since Imamura left the project to produce Star Fox: The Battle Begins. Moreover, Vitei’s founder Giles Goddard was the program director and constructed the main system of the title. Kaneko was previously in charge of The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes’ opening sequence, while Nagamatsu worked on Tri Force Heroes, Mario Kart 8, and other titles. He composed and designed all sounds heard in Tank Troopers.

According to the magazine, the team came up with a new idea to produce a tank-based battle action title while developing updates for Steel Diver: Sub Wars. It was initially designed as a tank game with a serious mood which had a similar vibe to Sub Wars. However, since there were so many tank battle games already available, Imamura asked Nintendo to strengthen the sound and design to make it more Nintendo-esque and easy to pick up and play with others.

Since Nagamatsu wanted to feature the sound effects of firing and being shot, he thought that loud music would not be a good fit, so instead the whistle was featured as music coupled together with a quiet orchestra in the background to support it, therefore not interrupting sound effects or voices.

When it comes to voice acting, the team wanted each character to be unique and leave a lasting impression. For example, one character uses Kansai dialect (those in Kyoto also speak Kansai dialect). All voice recordings were done by Nintendo employees and their families, much like the character Death Troy got his voice acting from Imamura. In fact, the design for that character also looks pretty similar to Imamura, because Kaneko’s desk was right next to Imamura’s during development.

Finally, Goddard shared that he can’t stop playing Tank Troopers and as a result his thumb is starting to hurt. Obata also mentioned that he believes the game is really fun and has the potential to surpass Splatoon.

Miitomo

Miitomo has once again been updated with the usual new items for Miitomo Drop and Miitomo Shop.

You can find the newly added items listed below.

Wintertime bliss! Sparkling Snow Kingdom #2

– Ice tiara
– Ice princess gown (set)
– Ice princess slippers (set)
– Ice wings

Wintertime bliss! Sparkling Snow Kingdom #3

– Snowman hood (set)
– Snowman suit (set)
– Snowflake dress
– Snowflake boots

Happy New Year! Ringing in 2017

Stage #1

– Celebrate 2017 Glasses
– Celebrate 2017 Sweatshirt
– Celebrate 2017 Skirt
– Celebrate 2017 Tights

Stage #2

– Kimono wig
– Butterfly kimono
– Extra-fancy stole
– Simple kimono

Stage #3

– Festive rice-cake hood
– Festive pine-decoration hat
– Festive pine-decoration pin
– Daruma costume

Miitomo Shop Items

– Happy hearts sunglasses
– Heavy-knit sweater
– Down jacket with faux fur hood
– Leather miniskirt
– Colorful fringed ankle boots
– Patent leather ribbon pumps
– Checkered snood

Miitomo is also celebrating the new year of 2017 with a special event where you can claim several items until January 5. You can find more details about that in the official announcement below.

The 2017 New Year event has begun! Why not take this chance to grab some special items?

– All Miitomo users will receive an in-app Golden suit!

You can claim your Golden suit during the New Year event starting 1/1/2017 at 12 AM (midnight, of course) on the dot! You’ll be the center of attention all year long with this fashionable outfit.

(Available 1/1/17 12 AM – 1/5/17 23:59 PM)

– A stage full of popular items in Miitomo Drop!

We’ve selected 2016’s most popular items and gave them their own Miitomo Drop stage! There is no candy here, just pure win – so it’s even easier to get an item!

Note: This Miitomo Drop stage does not accept tickets. Only Miitomo coins can be used to play.

(Available 12/28/16 6 PM – 1/5/17 6:59 AM PT)

– Golden items now available in Miitomo Shop!

Golden items are available in Miitomo Shop during the New Year event. Why not grab some dazzling resplendent items and start 2017 with a bang?

– Golden head-wings
– Golden angelic robes
– Golden wings
– Lucky golden cat companion
– Back calligraphy (New Year)
– Back calligraphy (spring)
– Back calligrapy (sunrise)
– New Year’s kanji shirt 1
– New Year’s kanji shirt 2

(Available 12/28/16 6 PM – 1/5/17 6:59 AM PT)

– 100 daily items available in Miitomo Shop!

There are more daily items than ever before, with 100 available in Miitomo Shop! Be sure to grab your favorites before they’re gone!

(Available 12/29/16 – 1/5/17)

– During this event, you can take advantage of a special one-time offer on Miitomo coins. For a limited time, you can get 6500 coins for the price of 3150! Just in time for all those golden items in the shop!

(Available 12/28/16 6 PM – 1/5/17 6:59 AM PT)
Note: This offer is only available to users who have updated to version 2.1 of Miitomo.

Interview with former Nintendo designer Satoru Okada

The latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine features an interview with Satoru Okada, a former designer at Nintendo, which worked at the company for about 40 years and was directly involved with the creation of various hardware most Nintendo fans have likely heard about.

Some excerpts from the interview are now available, uncovering part of Okada’s involvement in developing the Game & Watch, Game Boy, and DS portables. Surprisingly, he played a big role in making the Game Boy what it became, and Nintendo’s team didn’t actually like or understand the idea of a portable with two screens at first when Yamauchi kept telling them to make the DS with them. Read up below, for these excerpts contain a few interesting details.

Game & Watch

“It is true that Yokoi wanted to create a toy when he saw a man playing with his calculator on the train But to say that this is the sole reason for the Game & Watch is not true. What this memory from the train really created was the will to create a discreet toy for adults so they could kill time while on public transport. The idea to use a calculator screen actually came much later, especially since Yokoi’s knowledge in electronics and screens was rather limited. For me, the real thing that gave birth to the Game & Watch is when we managed to get our hands on an MB Microvision. I loved this machine and played the Breakout clone a lot. But we did not understand why the machine had to be so bigl So we first tried to make a portable console that people could really carry in their pockets, Except that the screen resolution was very poor and the graphics were very abstract. Besides, we also thought that the idea of interchangeable cartridges was interesting but because of the Microvision’s limitations, all the cartridges looked the same, both with their graphics and the concept of the games. So we said to ourselves: ‘Why not have just one game per machine but with good graphics at least.’ And this is when the idea of using a calculator screen became self evident. All of this led to the birth of the Game & Watch. Yokoi would design the games and l was in charge of the technical part, the electronics and even coding the games.”

Game Boy

“When I was young, I was rather stubborn and often became angry at my superiors when was trying to defend my ideas. The best example of this was the Game Boy. The Game Boy you know today actually had nothing to do with the one Yokoi had in mind. He saw the Game Boy as a direct follow-on from the Game & Watch, which meant a rather cheap toy, without any real business model and no long-term ambition. To give you a clear comparison, Yokoi wanted a Game Boy that would have looked like the Microvision and would not have lasted more than one or two seasons. For instance, he did not care if there were third-party editors or not. Furthermore, he only wanted ‘quick games’, quickly completed and quickly forgotten. I wanted the Game Boy to have more ambition, closer to what the R&D2 had managed to with the Famicom: a machine built to last, with hardware that was good enough to play a variety of quality titles. I was the assistant director of R&D1 and we had many arguments over this. In the end, he gave in and angrily told me: ‘Okay, do what you want!’ l then asked him: ‘Fine! But are you giving me full responsibility?’ and since he said ‘yes’, I made the Game Boy project my own. Yokoi just gave his seal of approval. In the end, the Game Boy is much more similar to the Famicom than the Game & Watch. The hardware was good enough to offer a wide range of games and we were ready to welcome third-party editors, with a real development kit, instruction booklets, some real support, etc..”

Nintendo DS

“Actually, after the SP, we were working on the newest model in this range. The code name for this new Game Boy was IRIS, like the flower. The explanation for this name is simple: since it was for us the fifth generation of Game Boy, we chose the symbol of May (the fifth month of the year). In the Hanafuda playing cards, the month of May is symbolized by the iris. The project was moving forward at a good pace but during the development, something unexpected happened. President Iwata then came to see me. He was obviously bothered and he said: ‘l talked to Yamauchi-san over the phone and he thinks your console should have two screens… A bit like the multi-screen Game & Watch, you see?’ Everybody is aware of this, but what people do not know is that at the time, everybody hated this idea, even Iwata himself. We thought it did not make any sense. Back in the Game & Watch days, it was different because a second screen allowed us to double the playing area and the number of graphic elements on display. But with the modern screens, there was no point. We were free to choose the size of our screen, so why bother splitting it into two? Especially considering that it was impossible to look at both screens at the same time. This is why we did not understand his idea.”

Upcoming First 4 Figures Nintendo figures

First 4 Figures has been unveiling various projects which make use of Nintendo’s characters.

Figures based on Bowser, Majora’s Mask, Midna (in true form), and Meta Ridley are currently being made. A bust of Amaterasu from Capcom’s Okami is also being worked on.

These figures will probably be released at some point during 2017, but until then check out the gallery below for the teaser images.

Nintendo Minute

The latest episode of Nintendo Minute is now available, and features Kit and Krysta sharing their favorite 2016 Nintendo memories. Check it out below.

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