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Nintendo's Garage Project

Lord_Byron28

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Last E3, Nintendo unveiled Splatoon, Project Guard, Project Giant Robot, and Star Fox Wii U. A few months after E3 Miyamoto had an interview where he had this to say about those projects:

Splatoon and the three prototypes are the first games to emerge from Garage, a new Nintendo development programme set up last year in which developers break off into small teams and work on new ideas. There are increasing numbers of young staff at Nintendo's development studios these days, and these young guys really want to express themselves. Class time's over: they gather together and think about new projects completely apart from their everyday business assignments. When all of those projects have advanced to a certain stage, we gather together and exchange opinions on the outcome of each of them, and together we decide which ones should continue. We may have shown several software titles at E3 [that came from Garage], but there are many others in development too
Splatoon when unveiled was a pretty realized game at that point meanwhile behind closed doors Miyamoto showed off the three prototypes that were in very early stages of development. We will see them at this year's E3 in a lot more developed state. However, I'm curious how many more projects they have in development and how far Nintendo is willing to go with these projects. Splatoon is a major project and has been shown through development and advertisement of the game but I couldn't see them transforming Project Guard or Giant Robot into full fledged games/ips.

With this E3 fast approaching, I wonder if we will see more of these Garage titles and what size projects we can expect to come out of them.
 

Jintor

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I'm glad Nintendo is actively fostering younger developers. Do other companies have an active development program in this vein? Do any other companies even have the tenure and the relative freedom to do such a thing? Japanese companies especially.

I'm also wondering if there is the standard boilerplate (in the West anyway) legalese of 'we own all your ideas of anything you come up with on company time' in Japanese development, because I understand that can be a hinderence for Western companies since Devs tend to keep their hobbyist ideas to themselves and then go indie with them later.
 

Mysterious

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Oct 18, 2012
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I'm glad Nintendo is actively fostering younger developers. Do other companies have an active development program in this vein? Do any other companies even have the tenure and the relative freedom to do such a thing? Japanese companies especially.

I'm also wondering if there is the standard boilerplate (in the West anyway) legalese of 'we own all your ideas of anything you come up with on company time' in Japanese development, because I understand that can be a hinderence for Western companies since Devs tend to keep their hobbyist ideas to themselves and then go indie with them later.
Well Nintendo definitely owns the Splatoon IP.
 

oti

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Aug 5, 2012
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I hope this new initiative continues to result in fresh new ideas and new IPs.
Nintendo will alaways try to fit their existing characters into new gameplay ideas whenever possible first though. That's just how they work. Gameplay idea first, characters later.
 

watershed

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Mar 12, 2011
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Nintendo will alaways try to fit their existing characters into new gameplay ideas whenever possible first though. That's just how they work. Gameplay idea first, characters later.
Still I have been impressed with their new IPs this gen like Pushmo, Codename STEAM, and Splatoon. I think Nintendo is introducing more variety into the library in order to compensate for the loss of third parties and too avoid IP fatigue.
 

Kindekuma

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Even if those Garage Projects don't come to realization (ie full scale release), it's good that they throw out new ideas. That Project Guard looked really intense when it came to preventing those robots from invading your base. Really reminded me of the short story "Second Variety".

Maybe someday if consumers reacted really well to a garage idea, that'll push forward to a full scale release. Make it an eShop game or something!
 

jariw

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Splatoon is a major project and has been shown through development and advertisement of the game but I couldn't see them transforming Project Guard or Giant Robot into full fledged games/ips.
Since the early prototype (in late 2013) of Splatoon had very little appeal compared to what's now releasing (it didn't have transformation, swim faster in own ink, swim up on walls, etc), I think those other early game prototypes might also have changed a lot since last year.
 

RagnarokX

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Where has that been said???
In an interview Miyamoto said Star Fox, Project Guard, and Project Giant Robot were all related. Project Guard had Star Fox logos in it. He described a new mode in the new Star Fox game where helicopter is tethered to a giant robot. In another interview he said something like they want to have diverse experiences and compared the different modes to different types of television programming.


http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/37807/star-fox-logo-in-project-guard-explained
"For the Wii U version of Star Fox, Miyamoto is looking to move the series from what he calls a big dramatic adventure for a movie theater, like the previous games, to something more akin to a TV series. Miyamoto went on to say, ”So maybe Project Guard is the TV series of Star Fox that runs late at night, and the main missions of Star Fox are the TV series that runs in primetime.”"
 

Muzy72

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In an interview Miyamoto said Star Fox, Project Guard, and Project Giant Robot were all related. Project Guard had Star Fox logos in it. He described a new mode in the new Star Fox game where helicopter is tethered to a giant robot. In another interview he said something like they want to have diverse experiences and compared the different modes to different types of television programming.


http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/37807/star-fox-logo-in-project-guard-explained
"For the Wii U version of Star Fox, Miyamoto is looking to move the series from what he calls a big dramatic adventure for a movie theater, like the previous games, to something more akin to a TV series. Miyamoto went on to say, ”So maybe Project Guard is the TV series of Star Fox that runs late at night, and the main missions of Star Fox are the TV series that runs in primetime.”"
I thought only Project Guard was hinted to be part of Star Fox?
 

Jintor

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Well Nintendo definitely owns the Splatoon IP.
of course, but that's because the project was made under the auspices of Garage. But the indie game dev scene has developed differently in Japan, though to what degree I don't know, so I was wondering if what is common boilerplate in the west is the same in Japan
 

Jintor

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Since the early prototype (in late 2013) of Splatoon had very little appeal compared to what's now releasing (it didn't have transformation, swim faster in own ink, swim up on walls, etc), I think those other early game prototypes might also have changed a lot since last year.
I haven't re-read the interview in a while but that's some impressive dev time actually; if you think about it, that probably means almost everything that was shown at E3 last year was drummed up in the first 6 months of 2014. Art, music, concept, everything. Maybe even 5 months considering what the timetable for E3 must be like.
 

efyu_lemonardo

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Hopefully Starfox signifies a return to the flight genre for Nintendo.
With Splatoon covering the shooter genre, what other popular genres are we missing?

Perhaps a more conventional RTS than Pikmin, emphasizing building and research trees.
 

Lord_Byron28

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Nintendo will alaways try to fit their existing characters into new gameplay ideas whenever possible first though. That's just how they work. Gameplay idea first, characters later.
While I generally agree this isn't entirely true. From the same interview that Miyamoto discussed the Garage, he said this of Splatoon:

There were heated debates over who the main character should be [in Splatoon]. Whether it should be Mario, or the squid. When we talked about the possibility of it being Mario, of course we could think of the advantages: anybody would be willing to touch it as soon as we announced that we had a new Mario game. But at the same time, we had some worries. If it were Mario, we wouldn’t be able to create a new IP
 

jariw

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I'm glad Nintendo is actively fostering younger developers. Do other companies have an active development program in this vein? Do any other companies even have the tenure and the relative freedom to do such a thing? Japanese companies especially.

I'm also wondering if there is the standard boilerplate (in the West anyway) legalese of 'we own all your ideas of anything you come up with on company time' in Japanese development, because I understand that can be a hinderence for Western companies since Devs tend to keep their hobbyist ideas to themselves and then go indie with them later.
Aren't Nintendo (EAD) developers usually in the company until retirement? Like, all they create they do for the company, and in return they get the security of work until retirement? I think I read something about it in "Game Over" or some other book.
 

Jintor

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I think that was more generally true of Japanese companies until the bubble economy burst, but I don't know if it still applies to Nintendo. Certainly you don't hear about Nintendo laying off studios much, if at all - just marketing departments, I think.
 

jariw

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I think that was more generally true of Japanese companies until the bubble economy burst, but I don't know if it still applies to Nintendo. Certainly you don't hear about Nintendo laying off studios much, if at all - just marketing departments, I think.
Iwata (on the annual shareholder's meeting 2 years ago):
"I believe we can become profitable with the current business structure in consideration of exchange rate trends and popularization of our platforms in the future. We should of course cut unnecessary costs and pursue efficient business operations. I also know that some employers publicize their restructuring plan to improve their financial performance by letting a number of their employees go, but at Nintendo, employees make valuable contributions in their respective fields, so I believe that laying off a group of employees will not help to strengthen Nintendo's business in the long run. Our current policy is to achieve favorable results by continuously cutting unnecessary expenses and increasing business efficiency."
 

KooopaKid

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I really hope we see more from the Garage project. Let the younger staff be more creative. Splatoon is an excellent start and a breath of fresh air. That said, I couldn't see the full appeal of Project Guard and Project Giant Robot. Was it Miyamoto's ideas?
 
Aug 19, 2006
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I swear this year they're going to 'surprise' us all by showing how project guard and giant robot have been absorbed into Star Fox as mini games.
 

Zalman

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I really hope we see more from the Garage project. Let the younger staff be more creative. Splatoon is an excellent start and a breath of fresh air. That said, I couldn't see the full appeal of Project Guard and Project Giant Robot. Was it Miyamoto's ideas?
Yes, but it's clear they were still in very early stages of development. Showing them last year was a mistake.
 

Litri

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If Splatoon is any indication of where they are headed, this can only mean great things.
I have always feel that Nintendo needed to be less conservative in terms of expanding to other genres and creating new franchises.
 

Sendou

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I swear this year they're going to 'surprise' us all by showing how project guard and giant robot have been absorbed into Star Fox as mini games.
It's wouldn't be much of a surprise considering they always said that was one possibility. Although Project Giant Robo being a separate entry from Star Fox in their latest Investor Briefing would suggest at least that one is a separate game.
 
May 22, 2011
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I swear this year they're going to 'surprise' us all by showing how project guard and giant robot have been absorbed into Star Fox as mini games.
If they do... I want project robot to be a W101 power ranger type thing in starfox. Imagine all of them sitting in the megazord wrecking shit
 
Aug 19, 2006
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If Splatoon is any indication of where they are headed, this can only mean great things.
I have always feel that Nintendo needed to be less conservative in terms of expanding to other genres and creating new franchises.
Absolutely, imagine the alternative being a Sunshine themed game featuring various Mario characters riding fruit-juice-vomiting Yoshis.
 

efyu_lemonardo

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It's wouldn't be much of a surprise considering they always said that was one possibility. Although Project Giant Robo being a separate entry from Star Fox in their latest Investor Briefing would suggest at least that one is a separate game.
If they are related, I wonder if it would be fun to have a vs. mode where one player is a giant robot on the gamepad and (up to) four other players are on the TV piloting arwings tasked to take it down.

Basically a modern take on this:
 
Aug 19, 2006
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If they are related, I wonder if it would be fun to have a vs. mode where one player is a giant robot on the gamepad and (up to) four other players are on the TV piloting arwings tasked to take it down.

Basically a modern take on this:
Definitely has potential, perhaps have it indestructible but can be knocked off balance with shots.
 

efyu_lemonardo

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Definitely has potential, perhaps have it indestructible but can be knocked off balance with shots.
This is the kind of stuff I imagined when they first unveiled the concept behind the Wii U. I don't care if the graphics would have to be simplistic to pull it off. To me, something like that is so much more exciting than better graphics.
 

Sendou

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If they are related, I wonder if it would be fun to have a vs. mode where one player is a giant robot on the gamepad and (up to) four other players are on the TV piloting arwings tasked to take it down.

Basically a modern take on this:
Sounds cool. Although my guess is that Giant Robo will be a separate budget retail release and the surveillance game will be either included in Star Fox in some shape or released on eShop.
 

thefro

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It's funny that people said that Project Guard couldn't be a successful game on its own.

Then Five Nights at Freddy's 1-3 came out.
 

Terrell

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Well Nintendo has to get the next generation of producers and directors ready sooner rather than later, since the current heads of each EAD team aren't exactly spring chickens.

I think Iwata and Miyamoto likely both have the same thinking on this matter, as Miyamoto himself has been talking about this for a very long time, about finding the next generation of visionaries, the next Miyamoto, Yokoi, Eguchi, Sakamoto, etc.

I think a less successful platform combined with the passing of Mr. Yamauchi has made them more aware than ever that for Nintendo to survive, it needs a strong creative team and the right people ready to guide it at the helm when the time comes, and you can only do that while the current guard is still there. Even the loss of Yokoi (may he rest in peace) can be seen as something that hurt Nintendo badly, even if Yamauchi disagreed.
 

TheMoon

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This is why I think this e3 will be great as well. There will be more unnanouced stuff being shown.
Yup, especially looking forward to a bunch of potential spin-offs of the big franchises. Miyamoto was kind of hinting that they'd make use of spin-offs more often to fill the void between releases in their big series. #SuperRosalinaGalaxy

Also nice way of creating a spin-off thread to continue our E3 discussions after ModBot yet again closed a perfectly valid and useful thread woo!

Sounds like 90s Rare
I doubt the EAD guys are sitting in a barn or an actual garage, though. :D

Aren't Nintendo (EAD) developers usually in the company until retirement? Like, all they create they do for the company, and in return they get the security of work until retirement? I think I read something about it in "Game Over" or some other book.
That's how Japan seems to work in general. People don't tend to hop between jobs like they do in the West. At least that's what I keep hearing.
 

Xiao Hu

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Hopefully Starfox signifies a return to the flight genre for Nintendo.
With Splatoon covering the shooter genre, what other popular genres are we missing?

Perhaps a more conventional RTS than Pikmin, emphasizing building and research trees.
Well it only covers one segment of the shooter genre: third person. Still there is neither a FPS (preferably with a strong singleplayer part) nor a cinematic Action-Adventure which people love. As far as I'm concerned I would love to see them tiptoeing into first-person RPGs. That genre is too dominated by Bethesda and competition is always good.

Nevertheless I'm glad they're trying to become creatively more independent from Miyamoto because they need fresh blood to stay relevant.
 

pastrami

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May 23, 2014
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I'm glad Nintendo is actively fostering younger developers. Do other companies have an active development program in this vein? Do any other companies even have the tenure and the relative freedom to do such a thing? Japanese companies especially.
Depends on what you mean. Other companies do similar things, but differently. Sony unveiled and released Entwined last E3 from a new small World Wide Studio (meaning Sony owned) called Pixel Opus. And generally, Microsoft and Sony seem more interested in working with independent developers. How many "indie" titles has Nintendo published that weren't from internal studios? Meanwhile, Microsoft just released Ori and Sony released Helldivers and Monsterbag, all from independent developers, but platform holder published.

I think their end goals are the same (develop unique titles from creative individuals/teams). Nintendo just chooses to go about it differently, and look internally rather than externally. It's a cool idea.
 

spekkeh

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Apr 18, 2011
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It's cool. I want to say it's a big developer that embraces indie development ethics, but basically Nintendo always worked like this, creating lots of crazy little prototypes to see what sticks. It's just nice that they embraced this further and now seem to also cultivate their younger talent through this approach. Very different from the heavy production bloat of other big publishers.

See also my thread a few weeks ago:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1038388
 

TheMoon

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Depends on what you mean. Other companies do similar things, but differently. Sony unveiled and released Entwined last E3 from a new small World Wide Studio (meaning Sony owned) called Pixel Opus. And generally, Microsoft and Sony seem more interested in working with independent developers. How many "indie" titles has Nintendo published that weren't from internal studios? Meanwhile, Microsoft just released Ori and Sony released Helldivers and Monsterbag, all from independent developers, but platform holder published.

I think their end goals are the same (develop unique titles from creative individuals/teams). Nintendo just chooses to go about it differently, and look internally rather than externally. It's a cool idea.
Ninty went away from publishing games from "indie" studios for the most part unless they team up with them and it's one of their Japanese buddy companies like Vitei or Vanpool which are also small). The last western indie they did this with was Curve Studios for the Fluidity/Hydroventure games if I'm not mistaken (there was a great story about Iwata himself sending them a detailed feedback email about the first game during development, something they totally did not expect). Now they just rather focus on promoting select ones heavily without getting directly involved in publishing or funding.
 

TheMoon

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It's cool. I want to say it's a big developer that embraces indie development ethics, but basically Nintendo always worked like this, creating lots of crazy little prototypes to see what sticks. It's just nice that they embraced this further and now seem to also cultivate their younger talent through this approach. Very different from the heavy production bloat of other big publishers.

See also my thread a few weeks ago:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1038388
Yea, they've always done this. With Splatoon and the Garage Project specifically they just happen to focus on games they can push big for the platform this time. Usually their experiments came from SPD/SDD and ended up as quirky lower-budget titles (that's where Brain Age and stuff came from).
 

Sendou

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Depends on what you mean. Other companies do similar things, but differently. Sony unveiled and released Entwined last E3 from a new small World Wide Studio (meaning Sony owned) called Pixel Opus. And generally, Microsoft and Sony seem more interested in working with independent developers. How many "indie" titles has Nintendo published that weren't from internal studios? Meanwhile, Microsoft just released Ori and Sony released Helldivers and Monsterbag, all from independent developers, but platform holder published.

I think their end goals are the same (develop unique titles from creative individuals/teams). Nintendo just chooses to go about it differently, and look internally rather than externally. It's a cool idea.
That's different. It's good that Sony and Microsoft shovel money to indies. Really good. That said it's also important to give your internal teams a chance at creating something out of ordinary. Not that it isn't possible but having time dedicated to it seems like the best way to go about it instead of just developers trying to sneak in a prototype there and there.

I'm interested in seeing what shape their Garage program will take. Nintendo has so much talent working for them so my expectations are high accordingly.
 

pastrami

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That's different. It's good that Sony and Microsoft shovel money to indies. Really good. That said it's also important to give your internal teams a chance at creating something out of ordinary. Not that it isn't possible but having time dedicated to it seems like the best way to go about it instead of just developers trying to sneak in a prototype there and there.
Yes it's different and I already acknowledged that. It's nice of Nintendo to give their developers some internal freedom, but Sony got burned with SCEJ, where they had something like 40 projects in development before Allan Becker was brought in.

But the end result is that every company is looking for unique small titles and to foster talent (read the comment I responded to). Why do you think XDEV exists for Sony? Why do you think they created Pixel Opus? Where do you think Monster Bag came from? Latin America after Sony met with several indie studios and had them pitch ideas to them. What's Nintendo's equivalent to that? So the idea that only Nintendo cares about fostering young talent is misguided.
 

TrueBlue

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I hope Project Guard and Project Robo have become a bit more substantial since last year.

Excited to see what else comes out of the Garage, hope to see more along the lines of Splatoon. The Garage, along with that Mario Cram School, gives me hope that the company can continue to give us great games long after Miyamoto and co call it a day.