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(1-Up) Massive Wii U Interview

September 16, 2012

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1-Up have posted a massive interview about the Wii U. The gaming website interviewed Bill Trinen, the man who translates what Iwata says at E3. This is not our interview, it is 1UP.com‘s.You can read the interview below:

1UP: From what you’ve seen, how is Nintendo adapting to the U.S. market right now, considering the state of the Japanese yen versus the dollar? How does that influence the approach?

Bill Trinen: I think we look… We really look more in terms of, what is the system that we’re offering and what is the value that we’re offering? In particular, with Wii U, we look at this and we say that this isn’t just a brand-new system with a controller. This is a brand-new system and it has a second integrated screen. That second integrated screen, obviously, has a lot of technology built into that as well in terms of the gyro motion sensor and whatnot. The way that the screens are integrated together, and the fact that you’re able to play so seamlessly between the GamePad and the TV without lag… There’s a lot that goes into making that happen. Hopefully you guys have seen here today that a lot of what the GamePad enables is stuff that you can’t do on any other system. I think that some good examples are in Nintendo Land. Obviously that shows a lot of different way to play with the GamePad. Then you’ve also got something like Call of Duty, where you’ve got dual-screen multiplayer. It’s no longer split-screen. You can play together and you each have your own screen.

Another really good example, for me, is ZombiU. What I like about what Ubisoft is doing with ZombiU is they’re taking the GamePad and they’re doing unique things with it from a gameplay perspective. They aren’t gimmicky. They actually are fun things to do with the GamePad, but simultaneously, they build on the suspense that you feel when you’re playing that zombie survival game. You’re looking at the TV, you’re looking down at the GamePad, and then you’ve got more stuff coming at you on the TV. It’s really integrated in a way that builds on the whole experience. The GamePad itself, from a gameplay standpoint, is doing a lot. And then, obviously, the GamePad is also central to things like Nintendo TVii. You’ve also got the camera built in, and that’s going to enable the video chat that’ll be available on Day One for Wii U. When you look at the system overall, there’s so much that it’s capable of and so much that it’s doing. We really feel like there’s a lot of value in that system.

1UP: I’d like to talk about the disparity of releases within the eShops and the Virtual Consoles right now, in terms of… I guess, why are they so different? We’ll see more games come out in Japan versus here. What causes that?

BT: That’s actually a really good question. We have an eShop team internally that handles 3DS and they’ll be working on the Wii U eShop. That’s transitioned from, I think, initially, the team that was handling the Virtual Console releases. So they’ve got a much broader perspective now on the overall digital offering. That’s focused primarily, going forward, on 3DS and Wii U. For Virtual Console itself, obviously there’s been… We had a lot of focus on that early on for Wii, and also at the same time we were trying to grow the original digital content for Wii. Particularly, when you look at how the digital offerings have evolved from Wii to 3DS… 3DS, I look at the stuff that’s coming out digitally, whether it’s Pushmo — I love that game, it’s so good — and Sakura Samurai, there’s a lot of really creative and unique content coming out. I think there’s certainly a focus on… Let’s really try to help these independent developers that are creating new and unique content. That may be why there’s more focus in that area.

1UP: What about from the Virtual Console perspective? We’ve seen things like Mega Man and Ninja Gaiden that recently came out on 3DS in Japan. What dictates when we see that stuff and why some of that stuff doesn’t come over?

BT: That all still, I think… The different markets… For example, Japan may launch something first. Europe may launch something first. The U.S. may launch something first. It’s all dependent on what the different markets are looking to do with the digital offerings. I personally am more involved directly in the first- and second-party retail product right now. So I don’t get terribly involved in the actual decision-making on which games come over and which ones don’t. Generally, I know that their objective is to try to bring over as much as they can, and then it’s a matter of when is the right time to do it.

1UP: What is the current transfer plan and process for moving already-purchased Wii content to the Wii U?

BT: It’s easy? [laughs] And it works? I would say, obviously, we’ve done this a couple of times now. You were able to transfer your DSi content over to 3DS, and now you’re able to do that from 3DS to 3DS XL. So because of the nature of the content in the shop, it’s going to probably be a similar process compared to 3DS to 3DS XL. Essentially you’ll have your Wii and you’ll have your Wii U. Those two will connect and the data transfer will happen and you’ll transfer the SD card over. Then you’ll have access to the digital content that you downloaded for Wii and you can play that on Wii U. And of course all the Wii software itself will be backwards compatible.

1UP: Speaking to some of the future releases… Part of the plan for Nintendo moving forward on 3DS and on Wii U is to have games launch day-and-date at retail and as downloads. Is there an incentive for publishers to do that? To release digital versions alongside whatever they already have planned for retail? Can you explain a little more about that?

BT: Yeah. Obviously we’ve just started that on 3DS, and New Super Mario Bros. 2 was the first game to do that. We’re going to be going forward doing that with the first-party titles. For Wii U, eShop is one of the things that is going to be available Day One. The plan is that the first-party games that we’re launching at retail will also be available digitally through the eShop at that time. The only exception to that is if a game requires an accessory. So, for example, Sing Party, which we revealed at E3 under the temporary name Sing — that game requires a microphone for you to be able to play. It doesn’t really make sense to try to sell that digitally, because you need the microphone anyway. From a first-party perspective, the goal is that, unless there’s an accessory required to play it, it’ll be available digitally as well. For third parties… One thing that we don’t do is try to force their hand. We don’t want to require them to do it. It’s really a decision that’s up to them, and so it comes down to what their interests are and how they want to offer it.

1UP: Will there be any way to gain access to some of the Deluxe Digital Promotion stuff that’s included in the Deluxe set outside of that? Will there be any way to do that?

BT: No, that’s tied directly to the Deluxe set. Reggie talked about this a bit in more detail today, but essentially, it amounts to… When you’re purchasing digital content, what that does is it gets you credit back that you can then build up and use to purchase additional digital content. That’s the idea behind the promotion.

1UP: Have you said yet whether the Nintendo Land pack-in is going to be a physical disc, or is it going to be already downloaded onto the unit?

BT: We actually haven’t. It’s late in the day and I’m having a hard time remembering. [laughs]

1UP: Well, a few people had asked me, and I said, you know, I don’t know.

BT: Yeah, it’s a good question. We can probably get a follow-up for you on that.

1UP: If anything, consumers are really trained now for getting games digitally, downloading content digitally…

BT: Yeah, certainly we’re seeing that trend. Some people, I think, want a physical copy, so I don’t think physical copies are going to necessarily go away any time soon. Even for me, some games I want to have right there on the system, so I can play it any time. For games like that, that I play really frequently, I’m probably going to go for the digital version. But for other games, where I’m more likely to be sitting down playing for a long stretch, and then maybe not playing as much after that, then I might go for the physical disc. I think some people like to have a physical copy. But gradually, over time, I think you’re going to start seeing more digital offerings. Even with our own internal teams, they’re looking at ways to take advantage of what can be done digitally. Even just New Super Mario Bros. 2, with them announcing add-on content for that… I think they’ll continue to look at those opportunities for the Wii U as well.

1UP: I think, during the Japanese press conference earlier this morning, they had announced a price for the GamePad if you wanted to buy an additional one. That wasn’t mentioned here.

BT: You’re right, that wasn’t mentioned, and the reason we didn’t mention it is that, in the launch window titles, none of those are going to support dual GamePads. The launch window is all going to be single-GamePad. The dual-GamePad functionality, we expect to start seeing that in games sometime next year. Our feeling is, we’re not going to sell another GamePad if you don’t have something to use it with. We’ll make that available as an additional accessory when there’s content to support it.

1UP: Which games in Japan are supporting it?

BT: That I don’t know. I don’t think that they’ve announced any that are. I think they’re just announcing that’s going to be the price when it eventually goes on sale. I don’t know that they announced a date for when it will be available.

1UP: No, I just heard they gave a price for it. Yeah. Is there a limit on the distance that you can take the GamePad away from the system?

BT: There is. And it’s… Of course, when we’re generally giving limits on things like that, and I think the same thing can be said for the Nintendo 3DS battery life… We tend to be more conservative, because we’re looking at it from a performance perspective. What, really, is the range where you’re going to get the best performance out of that? And you’re going to get the best performance within a range of about… They had a very precise number at one point. In meters it’s like eight meters. In feet it’s about 24 feet. That’s for best performance.

1UP: The guy answered all my Nintendo TVii questions downstairs… That’s like my most anticipated thing right now, that TVii. That’s really, really well-thought-out, how it works.

BT: I don’t know if you guys saw that, but I’ve got this puppy just dangling from my bag. I don’t go anywhere without that. I’m a huge college football fan. I’m pretty psycho. But especially, when you get into November and you’re talking college football, and you’re like, Where’s my team in the rankings? How does this game impact the BCS? What’s the score of this game? How do I tune into this right now? There’s so many different conferences and leagues and channels, and you’re like, How do I find this game? I want to know what’s happening right now. Nintendo TV is going to be amazing for that.

1UP: They were saying if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket, it’ll recognize it, and then it’ll let you put that game on… I thought that was good.

1UP: There’s a very smart TV kind of approach to Nintendo TVii. The idea of these apps and a lot of access to different pieces of information. That’s actually what makes it very distinct…

BT: Yeah. I’ve got devices that have media apps on them and stuff, and the thing that gets frustrating for me is… You have to go to each of those independently and find out what’s available on the app. Whether it’s a PBS app or HBO Go or whatever. The content is in there, but I’ve got so many different places I have to go and look for it that I end up not even going in there and checking what’s available. What I love about Nintendo TVii is the fact that I’m going to have this place where I can go and just search and get access to all the content I’ve decided I’m going to subscribe to. It’s all in one place, I pick it, and I launch it right from the GamePad.

It actually, I think… Nintendo TVii, to me, goes back to one of the things that Mr. Miyamoto often said at E3 this year, and I don’t think people really realized what he was getting at when he was talking about it. One of the things that he said was, “We want the GamePad to be the first screen that people go to in the living room.” What that means is, you want the device to be one that everyone in the family feels is relevant for them, and that that’s the go-to place for their entertainment. I think the games, obviously, offer that, and Nintendo TVii is going to be a huge part of that.

1UP: New Super Mario Bros. U… I think I heard you mention during the presentation, it was a launch thing. Then Reggie said it was a launch-window… Has anybody said…?

BT: So Nintendo Land, we said, is obviously part of the Deluxe set. That’s launch day. New Super Mario Bros. U, we said at E3 actually that’s going to be a launch-day title. Those are the two where we’ve absolutely said, these are coming on launch day. Those aren’t the only two games that are going to be there. You may have even, after we did the announcement today, seen announcements from third parties about games that might be coming as well.

1UP: Darksiders put out a press release.

BT: Yeah, I heard that. I heard that they’ve done it. So gradually you’re going to start seeing the third parties announcing specifically who’s there on launch day. As we get closer to launch you may get some more clarity on whether there’s some other first-party games coming on launch day, too.

1UP: So I assume sometime between now and November 17, you’ll have a finalized launch list?

BT: I can’t imagine that we would wait until November 17. [laughs] Sometime between now and then, yeah, you’ll know.

1UP: What do you think Nintendo learned from WiiConnect24, and the approach of this always-online filter or pipeline to these consoles?

BT: WiiConnect24 I think was an interesting feature. Some games used it, and I think games used it in a neat way, particularly Mario Kart, with the Mario Kart Channel and the way that worked. It was great to be able to get those updates and see that. And so I think it gave us, particularly for Wii U… It gave us some good perspective on, what are some of the experiments that we’ve done through WiiConnect24 that maybe can take on a bigger role on Wii U? I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. If anything, I think what becomes a more important thing for us is, how do we continue to leverage it over the life of the system, so that there’s a constant connection?

I think one area you’re going to see that is going to be Miiverse. Miiverse is going to be this living, breathing community. It’s going to be all about games, and the best part is that it’s going to be this community for gaming, right at the place and the time that you’re doing your gaming. It’s all built right into it. It’s not like you play a game and then you jump out later and maybe at some point you think about going and talking to somebody about it. It’s all right in there. Even when you turn on the system, you’re going to turn on the system and play a game, and you’re going to be seeing stuff popping up through Miiverse. Maybe you’re going to learn about a new game that’s coming, or maybe you’re going to learn about something amazing that somebody did in a game. You see that pop up and you’re like, “What? Wait a second, I didn’t know about that.”

I describe it as… When I was younger and I had an NES, I’d play Zelda at home and then I’d go to school the next day and be like, “Dude, I burned this tree down and there was a stairway underneath there and there was this old dude in there!” And my buddy’s like, “Dude, I did the same thing last night!” Or else he’s like, “Have you tried this yet?” “I didn’t know that.” “Did you know the sound of the warp whistle is the same as the sound…” You would have these kinds of conversations with people, and I think it’s going to be amazing as people start to realize that that’s where those conversations can happen. They can happen really quickly. And it can be between you and your friends, or it can be between you and the community members.

1UP: On the 3DS, when you use the StreetPass, there are those Accomplishments. Are they going to build those into Wii U games? Like Microsoft has Achievements and Sony has Trophies. Are they going to do that with Wii U games?

BT: Those are specific to StreetPass Mii Plaza. We’ve had stuff like that in the past, in terms of Smash Bros. Mr. Sakurai is somebody that’s been really big into that. I love the way that he handles it in Kid Icarus and the Kirby games. Or Meteos, I love that game, Meteos I still carry around…

1UP: I always called it meh-TAY-ohs, I don’t know why… [laughs] Is that how you’re supposed to say it?

BT: You say it that way in Japanese, so that’s good. I think actually, even… Wii Sports Resort, they did some similar stuff like that. We tend to do it more built into the game itself. What I think is going to be different about Wii U is that you then have the opportunity, through Miiverse, to then share that information.

1UP: Yeah. “Oh, you collected 1000 coins, you got an accomplishment.” Something.

BT: Yeah. The beauty of Miiverse is that, because it’s integrated into the Home button menu, if you’re an outside developer, you don’t necessarily have to program specifically for it. People can be playing your game, press the Home button, and be able to access Miiverse in a way that lets them post about what they’re doing in your game at that point. But at the same time, if you’re interested, you’re able to try to build more Miiverse functionality directly into your software, into the game that you’re developing. You’ll see that in New Super Mario Bros. U. We’ve seen the world map that’s got some of those Miiverse comments in there. Nintendo Land is also going to leverage Miiverse, and we’ll go into more detail on how that’s going to work as we get closer to launch. It’s great because you can do a lot with it if you want to, or you can rely on how it’s built into the system, but it’s going to give you an opportunity to leverage the unique ways that developers are getting people to do those sort of accomplishment-type things in their games.

1UP: Is that going to be a first-party thing for every Wii U title?

BT: Even internally, first-party, we obviously are hoping all our teams are going to leverage it. They’re going to make their own decisions. I would suspect that you’ll see it in a lot of first-party games, but I’m not going to promise that all our first-party developers are going to use it.

1UP: With a lot of the Nintendo Land games, they’re all multiplayer — come on over, hang out, let’s play this. Is there any chance that any of those would show up where you can play through the Nintendo Network? Like Metroid. I want to play that with somebody like Jose in California, and I’m in New York. Have you said anything? Or is that a no?

BT: Nintendo Land is not. It’s not going to be played over the network. There’s actually a logical reason for why they decided to do that. I think for… Up until now, basically, when people have said, “What does a network mean for video gaming?”, the answer has always been “online play.” We look at online play and we think that it’s important, and obviously for games where it makes sense, we’re going to leverage it. But for Wii U launch specifically, one of the things that we want people to understand is that a network connection to a game can mean a lot of different things. It can mean online gaming, but it can also mean other unique ways to connect to other people.

Miiverse is an important part of that. So for our first-party teams, particularly at launch, what they want to do is try to lead the way and show people different ways that you can use Miiverse in a meaningful way to connect the content to the Internet. They’ve put more of their focus on that Miiverse connection to Nintendo Network, rather than on online play. But I certainly anticipate that, as we’re going deeper into the life of the Wii U and we’re seeing more and more games from the first-party teams, we’re going to start to see games that do have online play and things like that.
(1-Up)

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