• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

Unseen 64: Nintendo's Project H.A.M.M.E.R: The Untold Story

Volotaire

Member
Oct 23, 2012
18,265
2
0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lMLRIwiB_c

Some basic tidbits from the video:

- After 1080, NST went on to start a new project ( a small team that outsourced concept art, CGI opening, etc)
- The internal name for the project was MachineX
- In 2005 it had reached 75% completion and was nearing completion
- Japanese staff were overseeing the development at the studio which posed cultural challenges
- There were continued arguments and debate between the Japanese management and the NST developers
- At late 2007, it was 4 years in development
- Towards the end, changes were demanded to the environments and then the entire visuals
- This complete change despite mechanics eventually culminated in a more 'lighter, casual' visual style that was codenamed Wii Crush
- 2008 onwards, staff left
- Nintendo of America had to carry out a review of staff conditions which recorded a low morale.
- Midway into 2009, a small number of staff still continued to work onto it until it ended
- NCL finally withdrew funding
- 'Nintendo have made some great games, but with NST it came with a price' : Former NST developer

Much more in the video! Great stuff.
 

Broken Joystick

At least you can talk. Who are you?
Apr 30, 2013
11,029
8
730
25
Can't say that I'm surprised to hear that Japanese management tried to take over.
 

Oddduck

Member
Jan 1, 2012
5,673
0
545
Yeah I saw an article about this earlier on Nintendo Life. Interesting stuff to say the least.

Snippet from Nintendo Life:

Perhaps more worrying are the accusations leveled at Nintendo's higher-ups in the report, which hints at cases of racism within the walls of NST. The project was overseen by senior Japanese staff based in NST's offices, and this created a cultural issue for the game, which was clearly aimed at a Western audience.

According to Unseen64's source, Western NST staff found their ideas repeatedly ignored, even being told that they wouldn't understand the reasoning because "they weren't Japanese". Around the time the title shifted focus and became Wii Crush, NST staffers began leaving the company in droves. The game's head designer was unceremoniously fired, and was blamed by NST's senior Japanese management for the failure of the project. They seemingly took no personal responsibility.

Departing staff would directly accuse the Japanese NST staffers of "nationalism", and this forced Nintendo of America to step in and take charge. An internal review took place - the actual content of which Unseen64 is unable to divulge - but it can say that moral survey scores came back as a record low.
 

Kathian

Banned
Jul 16, 2014
4,788
0
0
Game does not sound like it ever really took off the ground. I mean you can not claim to be 70% done but have huge quality issues to overcome. You can't just have content.

The hammer gameplay does not sound like a great sale.

One of the problem with these things is you always see the Western point of view; suspect the 'gameplay changes' would still not have recovered what looks like a poor game no where near completion based around a core concept that did not really work. A bit problem I think I have with the claims of Japanese racism is we have multiple examples with Nintendo especially working with Western developers and examples of creative freedom and also where Japan controlled it.

Doesn't even sound like there was enough of a team behind it and it sounds like the game itself was poorly conceived.
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
8,105
3
0
I sure hope the guy who does these videos doesn't get offended that we made another thread about him.
 

Ushojax

Should probably not trust the 7-11 security cameras quite so much
Nov 1, 2009
27,315
0
0
I don't think the attitude of the Japanese producers is that surprising. This is pretty much the same story as Metroid Prime, Miyamoto turned up and shat all over Retro until they shaped up.
 

Cosmonaut X

Member
Jun 5, 2006
9,604
0
0
Scotland
I don't think the attitude of the Japanese producers is that surprising. This is pretty much the same story as Metroid Prime, Miyamoto turned up and shat all over Retro until they shaped up.

The difference here - assuming you trust both this account and the account of Miyamoto's role with Retro - is that Miyamoto shat all over them for the sake of pulling the studio into shape and developing a masterpiece. This sounds more like a massive cultural clash where the Japanese team shat all over them just because.
 

NotLiquid

Member
Aug 30, 2012
17,948
5
0
Kind of sounds like a total mess on all sides - game was coming out really badly but the proposed changes and upper management made things even worse.

A real bummer, frankly.
 

Hasney

Member
Dec 6, 2012
46,467
2
0
The whole thing sounds like a condensed version of the Sega Technical Institute. It's what I feared when SquareEnix took over Eidos, but luckily that was unfounded.
 

WillyFive

Member
Sep 17, 2009
28,623
1
0
Must have been awful for NST trying to make the game fun, but the Japanese executives being obsessed in removing the good parts of it (the tone and art) because they couldn't understand it.
 
Nov 10, 2005
32,142
25
0
I think that the project wasn't as problematic as it sounds. Entirely speculative, but I'm willing to bet that since Nintendo was on a casual tear, it simply decided "we don't like the ideas you're putting into this."
 

Sendou

Member
Aug 8, 2011
15,408
1
0
Finland
That's interesting to know but ultimately it's just the view point people that left the company have. Too bad we can't have the full picture.
 

DOG3NZAKA

Banned
Feb 15, 2015
883
0
0
And this is probably happening all the time through out the industry. You just don't hear about it

:(
 

DICKS AHOY

Banned
Nov 4, 2010
9,638
0
0
I didn't realize just how far in development this game got before the casual make over and then the ultimate cancellation. It'd be neat if a late build of HAMMER ever got leaked just to see what was planned.
 

Foffy

Banned
May 14, 2009
22,560
2
0
They spent millions of dollars on that? Jeez, how wasteful..

Even when they first showed the title, it looked like shovelware. What a surprise nothing clicked with it; it looked like a very un-Nintendo title is nearly every conceivable way.
 

D_prOdigy

Member
Nov 10, 2011
5,482
0
0
Must have been awful for NST trying to make the game fun, but the Japanese executives being obsessed in removing the good parts of it (the tone and art) because they couldn't understand it.

I kind of think the morale of the video is that neither version of the project was good. The 'western' tone and art was just as uninspiring as the gameplay.

For as bad as the management comes out of it, it also seems that at least they had a coherent idea of what they wanted to the game to focus on - and an emphasis on destructible environments kind of sounds like it could have been interesting.
 

Glass Rebel

Member
Oct 12, 2010
31,641
16
910
I remember how crappy this looked. Now I'm really curious about Wii Crush, something tells me it looked even worse.
 

MLH

Member
Jul 18, 2010
1,737
0
0
It sounds like it was managed really poorly, both from NCL with their terribly narrow (and possibly racist) views and from NST who continued to work behind the backs of NCL despite their objections to the game.
From what I remember seeing of the game it look boring and tedious, how the team NST couldn't see that themselves I'll never know.
 
May 4, 2014
11,145
2
455
They spent millions of dollars on that? Jeez, how wasteful..

Even when they first showed the title, it looked like shovelware. What a surprise nothing clicked with it; it looked like a very un-Nintendo title is nearly every conceivable way.

Project HAMMER is, like, the crown jewel of Nintendo vaporware though. Lots of people don't feel the same way you do, or at least didn't at the time. I've never gone back and looked at it again, but I remember when it was revealed I couldn't stop talking about it. I was still a teenager who hadn't become disillusioned with motion controls and the thought of swinging a hammer around and smashing stuff was exhilarating.

It's definitely not a game I would play today. But back then, at that age, it was one of those "day one" trailers for me.
 
Feb 3, 2014
994
0
395
San Antonio, TX
Glad some posters are pointing out the obvious. This is a one-sided account comprised mainly of anonymous sources. It's an interesting tale, and doubtless some of it is true, but caveat lector just the same.
 

Foffy

Banned
May 14, 2009
22,560
2
0
Project HAMMER is, like, the crown jewel of Nintendo vaporware though. Lots of people don't feel the same way you do, or at least didn't at the time. I've never gone back and looked at it again, but I remember when it was revealed I couldn't stop talking about it. I was still a teenager who hadn't become disillusioned with motion controls and the thought of swinging a hammer around and smashing stuff was exhilarating.

It's definitely not a game I would play today. But back then, at that age, it was one of those "day one" trailers for me.

I know those feelings. There was a Namco game planned for Xbox 360 many years ago I was hyped for called Frame City Killer. I thought that looked interesting when they showed it, but never did with H.A.M.M.E.R. I often equated it to the Western shovelware you'd see put on handhelds at the time, but it was a first party console effort.

Nostalgia is not something I have for that game. :p
 

AGoodODST

Member
May 23, 2013
2,805
0
0
Sounds like a mess.

Though to be fair, the game looked like hot garbage anyway, I doubt there was any version of events where it was going to turn out good.
 

Simbabbad

Member
Nov 26, 2014
1,881
14
435
and this is why there's no new Metroid Prime
Not really, no. We don't have a new Metroid Prime because Nintendo asked Retro Studios what they wanted to do, and they answered: "Donkey Kong Country". And it's amazing.

Also, the reports from Next Level Games working with Nintendo are extremely positive, and it shows in their games, where they have a lot of freedom (I'm still surprised by what they did with Mario Strikers).

Even when they first showed the title, it looked like shovelware. What a surprise nothing clicked with it; it looked like a very un-Nintendo title is nearly every conceivable way.
Indeed. The game was bashed to death when announced, and labelled "casual" because the gameplay seemed shallow, and probably was. This looks typical of the early life of the Wii when motion controls were misused.
 

Volotaire

Member
Oct 23, 2012
18,265
2
0
I think that the project wasn't as problematic as it sounds. Entirely speculative, but I'm willing to bet that since Nintendo was on a casual tear, it simply decided "we don't like the ideas you're putting into this."

That's interesting to know but ultimately it's just the view point people that left the company have. Too bad we can't have the full picture.

Glad some posters are pointing out the obvious. This is a one-sided account comprised mainly of anonymous sources. It's an interesting tale, and doubtless some of it is true, but caveat lector just the same.

Hopefully in a few years, there will be more stories to tell from retired Nintendo employees on past projects. I think the 'Nintendo Western/Japanese' stories have a lot of potential because you have two sides that interpret the situation on different ends of the spectrum.
 

gabbo

Member
Jun 25, 2011
13,372
0
0
Ontario
I remember that E3, and this being the game that sold me on wanting a Wii. The koolaid was just too good at the time. It was just so 'unNintendo', and that's what I liked about it.
 

7DollarHagane

Banned
Oct 18, 2013
11,436
4
0
The game should have been canned before the 2005 reveal. It never seemed like a good idea. Management probably felt the costs were sunk and better to finish it out.
 

Weng

Member
Oct 16, 2012
1,033
0
0
Germany
So that's why we haven't really seen anything from NST for years. They were in development hell with this game from late 2003 until mid-2009, then had a huge talent drain. That's too bad.
Yeah it's really unfortunate. Maybe we would have gotten a new 1080 and/or Wave Race if they had canceled the game earlier.
 

WillyFive

Member
Sep 17, 2009
28,623
1
0
The game should have been canned before the 2005 reveal. It never seemed like a good idea. Management probably felt the costs were sunk and better to finish it out.

It was revealed in 2006, but at that point, the game was almost done; why not show it?
 

The Giant

Banned
Jan 25, 2012
3,493
114
625
I was looking forward to this game.

I wish Nintendo lets NST do a big project instead of making Mario vs DK games.
 

Borman

Member
Jul 26, 2007
5,017
10
1,050
NY
ptoponline.com
I wish this Liam guy would stop canceling all of these games. Not cool, dude.
I kid, but someone accused him of it.

Great work as always.
 

bobbychalkers

Member
Oct 11, 2010
11,682
0
0
30
I was always looking forward to this. This was one of the Wii games that made me excited to get my hands on Wiimote. Its a shame the core gameplay never shaped up. NST recognized that and actually wanted to overhaul it but NCL got in the way. I would really like to see the western teams gain some more autonomy again. They have super talented devs but they seem to be relegated to what their overseers demand. They totally dropped the games that catered to western tastes shortly before the Wii era.