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Nintendo Kyoto Development Center - R&D Restructure Update

Shikamaru Ninja

任天堂 の 忍者

Kyoto Development Center

Restructure Details

Central HQ Building / Kyoto Research Office (old buildings)
- "1,000 developers" from the Central Office HQ vacated
- "100 developers" from the Kyoto Research Office vacated
- Intelligent Systems vacated from Kyoto Research Office into their new private building.
- No more development personnel in Central Office HQ?
- Only Mario Club Co., Ltd left in Kyoto Research Office?

Kyoto Development Center (new building)
- June 2014 official time of personnel transplant
- "1,000" Nintendo developers from Central HQ and "100" Nintendo developers from Kyoto Research Office merged into new Kyoto Development Center.
- Hardware and all Software personnel now in one building.
- 1,100~ / 1,500+ capacity filled thus far
- Nintendo hopes for better efficiency and expansion
- SRD is on the "8th floor" of building (Nintendo technology affiliate)
- EAD absorbed several SPD development personnel.
- SPD production units still separate. May not be in this building.
- SDD (Miiverse, System tools) and IRD (Hardware engineers) in building.
- SDD includes a Network Operations Department, with over 100 developers purely focused on network infrastructure and network based applications. (small chapter at Tokyo office as well)
- Katsuya Eguchi is department manager of all EAD groups in building. (New 90's Miyamoto)
- Slight delay of Kyoto based development of games until 2015.

Miscellaneous
- Sakamoto and his personal development team re-emerging under new identity? (Game & Wario, Kiki Trick, Tomodachi Life)
- Graphic Art staff collectively throughout Nintendo about 40-50% female.
- EAD Tokyo unaffected
- Iwata / Miyamoto establish "General Support Group" which is an alliance of small internal (1-Up Studio Inc., Monolith Soft Inc. Kyoto) and external support studios (Indies Zero, Mox, Bahaus Ent.) filling out large EAD production units.
- Nintendo has become a large client of Digitalscape Co., Ltd. (temp agency) hiring large number of contract workers, and having a high retention rate of most of them after contract is over. (Mostly for EAD Tokyo)

Divisions
(Software/Hardware)
- Entertainment Analysis & Development Division (EAD Kyoto Software Dept, EAD Tokyo Software Dept, EAD Technology Dept., SRD Co., Ltd)
- Development Administration & Support Division (General Support Group?) (New)
- Software Planning & Development Division (Software Planning & Development Department, Software Development & Design Department)
- System Development Division (Network Operations & Development Department, Environment Development Department)
- Integrated Research & Development Division (hardware staff)
(Other)
- Business Development Department (Mercedes Benz DLC, Nintendo characters in Campbell soup, toy licensing, new business deals) (New)
- Manufacturing Division
- Licensing Division
- Marketing Division
- Corporate Analysis Division
- General Affairs Division

source: nintendo.co,jp / kyoto-np.co.jp / srd.co.jp / intsys.co.jp
 

Broken Joystick

At least you can talk. Who are you?
Apr 30, 2013
11,029
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Good job/find as always.

Sakamoto and his personal development team re-emerging under new identity?

Wonder if he buckles and goes back to Metroid or completes his ambition of creating something "completely different and that brings new emotions."
 

Shikamaru Ninja

任天堂 の 忍者
Good job/find as always.

Wonder if he buckles and goes back to Metroid or completes his ambition of creating something "completely different and that brings new emotions."

Sakamoto and his development unit vacated SPD Production Group No. 1. So the next Rhythm Heaven, Tomodachi Collection 3, WarioWare, Metroid Dread will be under some new mysterious group.

His group was also the lead team behind the Vitality Sensor. It just never materialized.
 

watershed

Banned
Mar 12, 2011
19,593
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If Nintendo had done this during the Wii years their current situation might have been very different. Right now it's an interesting thing to restructure and grow at a time when the traditional gaming market may be irrevocably contracting and Nintendo remains resistant to the new market.
 

Diddy Kong

Banned
Dec 18, 2011
5,814
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Any word on Sakurai joining EAD after Smash? I recall you mentioning it was a possibility in one of the older threads. Awesome information as always.
 
Jun 10, 2004
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Sakamoto and his development unit vacated SPD Production Group No. 1. So the next Rhythm Heaven, Tomodachi Collection 3, WarioWare, Metroid Dread will be under some new mysterious group.

His group was also the lead team behind the Vitality Sensor. It just never materialized.

Hmm, I don't think he wants to develop Metroid again after the backlash of Other M.

I see his team working on QOL software honestly.

What's this?

I believe Sakurai after Brawl was asked if he wanted to join EAD Tokyo as a Producer, but he turned them down to stay in a Director role in his next project (which was Kid Icarus: Uprising or some such). Sakurai's fate after Smash 4 is unknown; he might go back to working on a new IP or leave Nintendo temporarily to work on something smaller scale. Then again, as long as Nintendo pays him the right cash, he will likely stay.
 

SwiftDeath

Member
May 31, 2013
23,626
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Iwata / Miyamoto establish "General Support Group" which is an alliance of small internal and external support studios filling out large EAD production units. (1-Up Studio, Monolith Kyoto, Indies Zero, Mox).

So is this to improve what support Nintendo offers to 3rd Party in regards to technical help and the like?

Edit: Oh upon reading it like a third time, are they meant to help out bigger Nintendo development groups?
 

James Scott

Banned
May 24, 2014
11,385
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So is this to improve what support Nintendo offers to 3rd Party in regards to technical help and the like?

Edit: Oh upon reading it like a third time, are they meant to help out bigger Nintendo development groups?
Yep, support teams for games like Zelda and Mario which had help from Monolith soft and 1-up studio respectively IIRC
 

Mpl90

Two copies sold? That's not a bomb guys, stop trolling!!!
Mar 10, 2011
22,885
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theflyingthoughtsblog.wordpress.com
So is this to improve what support Nintendo offers to 3rd Party in regards to technical help and the like?

Edit: Oh upon reading it like a third time, are they meant to help out bigger Nintendo development groups?

Well, we've already seen those teams helping other main Nintendo teams many times for recent titles, so this sounds more like a formalisation of something already happening.

Wait, Indies Zero? I don't remember them being a Nintendo team...but I could be wrong in that.
 
Jun 10, 2004
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Well, we've already seen those teams helping other main Nintendo teams many times for recent titles, so this sounds more like a formalisation of something already happening.

Wait, Indies Zero? I don't remember them being a Nintendo team...but I could be wrong in that.

Yeah, this is more a heading for all Support in the future. 1-Up helped with Super Mario 3D Land, Monolithsoft Kyoto helped with Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Huxoflux(?) helped with WWHD, etc.

As for Indieszero, they did all the development stuff for NES Remix.
 

LurkerPrime

Member
Jan 6, 2014
18,001
1
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Thanks for this thread, Shikamaru... it's very interesting. And excellent work!

I hope these changes are an improvement for Nintendo.
 

Azure J

Member
Jun 12, 2008
36,000
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Brooklyn, NY
twitter.com
Really interesting stuff here, thanks Shikamaru!

- SDD (Miiverse, System tools) and IRD (Hardware engineers) in building.
- SDD includes a Network Operations Department, with over 100 developers purely focused on network infrastructure and network based applications. (small chapter at Tokyo office as well)
- Katsuya Eguchi is department manager of all EAD groups in building. (New 90's Miyamoto)
- Slight delay of Kyoto based development of games until 2015.

Miscellaneous
- Graphic Art staff collectively throughout Nintendo about 40-50% female.
- Iwata / Miyamoto establish "General Support Group" which is an alliance of small internal and external support studios filling out large EAD production units. (1-Up Studio, Monolith Kyoto, Indies Zero, Mox).

Most interesting parts for me.

- Good to see they've finally gotten the monkey off their back and now have everyone present so all sides flow better versus moving from one group to the next on hardware design/decisions.
- That's a pretty big jump for Mr. Eguchi. Will Miyamoto still be signing off all software production from Nintendo as a higher higher power or is it all Eguchi "for reals" now?
- Delay news is simultaneously unexpected and understandable given the scope of the move.
- By graphic artists, do they only mean people in charge of their logo and iconography (both in gaming and physical/pamphlet/etc materials) or their artists overall?
- Is the GSG helmed by Iwata and Miyamoto the grunt force for their HD development or a general group of Nintendo dev specialists farmed out from HQ for all development (1st & 3rd party)?
 
Jun 10, 2004
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Hmm, so as a note, it mentions that this restructure caused the delay of EAD Kyoto titles into 2015. That implies they could have had a game ready for this year?

What games do we know EAD Kyoto as developing? I know there's Splatoon, Mario Maker, Star Fox...what else am I missing?

Also, I'm curious to see what the company structure is now. Who are the Directors and Producers and areas now? Will there ever be a EAD Group anymore, or is Nintendo seeing it all as one mass with specific lead teams for certain projects (such as the Zelda heads vs the NSMB heads)?
 

radcliff

Member
Jun 10, 2004
1,840
1
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Any word on Sakurai joining EAD after Smash? I recall you mentioning it was a possibility in one of the older threads. Awesome information as always.

Is Sakurai a full-time employee of Nintendo or just a contracted worker? I know he did work for Nintendo, but left in 2003. He has returned to work, seemingly, on a contracted game-by-game basis that has resulted in Smash Brawl, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and now the new Smash.

I know he formed Sora ltd, but that just seems to be made of a few employees- certainly not a full development team.

When thinking of what he could do after Smash (i.e. new smash for next Nintendo console, revive another IP, or create a new one), I wasn't even sure if he is technically still with Nintendo after Smash is complete. Could he possibly work with a third party, or even make a game for Sony or Microsoft? I don't think he would make an exclusive game for either Sony or Microsoft out of loyalty to Nintendo, but Hideo Kojima has expressed interest in the past of wanting Sakurai to work on the Metal Gear Solid series. Is this an option, or is he a full time employee of Nintendo?
 

Ryce

Member
Jun 28, 2012
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Is Sakurai a full-time employee of Nintendo or just a contracted worker? I know he did work for Nintendo, but left in 2003. He has returned to work, seemingly, on a contracted game-by-game basis that has resulted in Smash Brawl, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and now the new Smash.

I know he formed Sora ltd, but that just seems to be made of a few employees- certainly not a full development team.
Sakurai's never technically worked for Nintendo. He worked for HAL until 2003, and he's been an independent contractor ever since.
 

astrogamer

Member
Dec 31, 2012
4,856
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0
RPI
Hmm, so as a note, it mentions that this restructure caused the delay of EAD Kyoto titles into 2015. That implies they could have had a game ready for this year?

What games do we know EAD Kyoto as developing? I know there's Splatoon, Mario Maker, Star Fox...what else am I missing?

Also, I'm curious to see what the company structure is now. Who are the Directors and Producers and areas now? Will there ever be a EAD Group anymore, or is Nintendo seeing it all as one mass with specific lead teams for certain projects (such as the Zelda heads vs the NSMB heads)?
EAD Kyoto is developing Splatoon, Mario Maker, Star Fox, Zelda U, maybe codeveloping Yoshi's Wooly World. The only group that isn't currently making a known game is EAD Group 1 which just made Mario Kart 8
Since SPD and Intelligent Systems were affected, I'm expecting Codename STEAM to be affected a bit.
Doesn't seem that the 5 EAD groups have been merged, moreso just a new building and closer. SPD on the other hand seem to have shrunken though. I guess Sakamoto may become the leader of an EAD 6 though.
 

Bullza2o

Member
Mar 30, 2011
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This is good news indeed.

On a side note, has Iwata fully recovered yet? It would be good if so, so Nintendo can ramp things up even more soon.
 

Eolz

Member
Jun 1, 2014
10,192
21
605
Great read, thanks again for all your work and your finds!

Some really interesting stuff (Sakamoto, Eguchi, General Support Group, SPD, more about SDD...).
 
R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
This is good news indeed.

On a side note, has Iwata fully recovered yet? It would be good if so, so Nintendo can ramp things up even more soon.
Best thing to do is call them and ask:

Corporate Communications Department Investors Relations Group
11-1, Kamitoba Hokotate-cho,
Minami-ku,
Kyoto 601-8501,
Japan
Tel : 81-75-662-9600
E-mail: IR@nintendo.co.jp

I'm quite confident Mr. Iwata will host the Second Quarter Financial Results Briefing for FY 2014 on October 31 anyway.

Also, thanks for the thread, Shikamaru Ninja. Good read.
 
Sep 1, 2013
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So if you want to work for nintendo, apply for Digitalscape , get in a Nintendo project, and then work your ass off so they offer you a contract ?
 
Jun 10, 2004
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EAD Kyoto is developing Splatoon, Mario Maker, Star Fox, Zelda U, maybe codeveloping Yoshi's Wooly World. The only group that isn't currently making a known game is EAD Group 1 which just made Mario Kart 8
Since SPD and Intelligent Systems were affected, I'm expecting Codename STEAM to be affected a bit.
Doesn't seem that the 5 EAD groups have been merged, moreso just a new building and closer. SPD on the other hand seem to have shrunken though. I guess Sakamoto may become the leader of an EAD 6 though.

Yeah, I was just wondering if this is going to lead to a larger restructuring when the new systems get released (which we might see resources shift toward in the next two years, especially for the 3DS successor).

And EAD Group 1 is totally working on Mario Kart 8 DLC right now. With Amiibo additions, the free DLC, and rumored other DLC coming up, they might be busy through the end of the year and then some.
 

Effect

Member
Jun 15, 2007
21,770
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Thanks Shikamaru Ninja.

I believe Sakurai after Brawl was asked if he wanted to join EAD Tokyo as a Producer, but he turned them down to stay in a Director role in his next project (which was Kid Icarus: Uprising or some such). Sakurai's fate after Smash 4 is unknown; he might go back to working on a new IP or leave Nintendo temporarily to work on something smaller scale. Then again, as long as Nintendo pays him the right cash, he will likely stay.

There is also the issue of his health as well. The issue he's had with his arm/wrist that was talked about a lot during the development of Smash Bros for WiiU/3DS. This could be the deciding factor that takes him out of the director role and into the produce/supervisor role if he stays with Nintendo or not. I would expect Nintendo would want to keep him with them and to train/mold others within the company. They're going to want a 5th Smash Bros game. Even if Sakurai doesn't do it himself having those that make it have the right knowledge or oversight is going to be super important. I would expect Nintendo to pay out whatever money they need to in order to keep him.

Graphic Art staff collectively throughout Nintendo about 40-50% female.

Nice. Interested in knowing what the make up is like for the programming staff as well.
 

Mpl90

Two copies sold? That's not a bomb guys, stop trolling!!!
Mar 10, 2011
22,885
0
955
30
theflyingthoughtsblog.wordpress.com
Yeah, this is more a heading for all Support in the future. 1-Up helped with Super Mario 3D Land, Monolithsoft Kyoto helped with Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Huxoflux(?) helped with WWHD, etc.

As for Indieszero, they did all the development stuff for NES Remix.

I know that they were on NES Remix, but this sounds like they're actually a Nintendo team now, and not just a developer hired for some jobs.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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EAD Kyoto is developing Splatoon, Mario Maker, Star Fox, Zelda U, maybe codeveloping Yoshi's Wooly World. The only group that isn't currently making a known game is EAD Group 1 which just made Mario Kart 8
Since SPD and Intelligent Systems were affected, I'm expecting Codename STEAM to be affected a bit.
Doesn't seem that the 5 EAD groups have been merged, moreso just a new building and closer. SPD on the other hand seem to have shrunken though. I guess Sakamoto may become the leader of an EAD 6 though.

There's no indication EAD has anything to do with Yoshi outside of Tezuka... They worked with SPD on Epic Yarn. I'm most interested in what is happening with Sakamoto and the rest of SPD... They were already a pretty small group to begin with.
 

Instro

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Jan 14, 2009
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Sakamoto is still manager over all of SPD correct? I wonder if he is spinning off a dev team into a SPD Tokyo or something like that, at least that's kind of the way it sounds from Shikimaru's post. Perhaps reforming some of the people from the old R&D1?