Interview with Nintendo’s Matt Ryan

Interview with Nintendo’s Matt Ryan

I had the opportunity to set up an interview with a Nintendo rep via email.  Opportunities like this don’t come often, and I wanted to ask questions from a fan perspective whilst maintaining a journalist standpoint.  The result: an interview that touched on a number of topics, from Rare to MadWorld to the 3DS.  Hear what Nintendo of Canada’s Matt Ryan had to say about these topics.  Enjoy!

GAMERSYNDROME First, let’s talk Zelda.  Recent console Zelda games are so vast and so long-lasting that they can take anywhere between 30 and 50 hours to complete.  Will The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword be as big as those games?  Bigger?

MATT RYAN We have only shared a little bit of information about The Legend of Zelda:  Skyward Sword so far, just touching on the art style, weapons and precision controls using Wii MotionPlus.  However, I can tell you that the game is just as deep as other titles in the Legend of Zelda franchise and that there is a significant amount of content to keep you playing for hours…so put some time aside when this game hits stores. You’ll get a much better idea for scale as we get closer to launch.

Let’s talk about Donkey Kong Country Returns.  What was the general idea behind putting Donkey Kong back in a side-scrolling environment?

Nintendo and Retro Studios wanted to offer Donkey Kong fans a style that feels familiar to a point but has barrels of fresh content to enjoy.

The 2-D side-scrolling style as well as some of the design of the game are familiar, but Donkey Kong Country Returns has improved graphics and depth that adds to the gameplay.  The story and plot are original and now there is the option for Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong to be on screen together via 2-player simultaneous co-op play, which is a first for the series and is extremely fun!

Looking at Retro Studios, it seems as if they can’t do anything wrong.  It’s like everything they do with Nintendo is a success.  The Metroid Prime trilogy was proof of that, and Donkey Kong Country Returns seems like it will also be a success given the reaction it received at E3.  Many people can’t help but compare Retro to Rare back in the Nintendo 64 era.  Would you say that Retro is the new Rare?  In other words, are they that developer you trust with your licenses because you KNOW they’ll churn out something great?

Retro and Rare have had a positive impact on our business and we tend to partner with studios that are able to deliver on that.  The work that Retro has done with the Metroid Prime series recently and their work on Donkey Country Returns will stand out for years to come as great work with great franchises.  I think that it is safe to say that both companies have had a lot to offer but to compare them would be misleading as both developers have qualities that distinguish them from others.  Retro is a developer that we trust with our top properties, yes,  and we look forward to what the future may hold for them.

Since we’re on the topic, would you say you miss Rare as a developer for your systems?

There are many developers working with Nintendo on many different projects and we will continue to work with those that we feel are the best fit.  Our focus is, and always is, on the future.

If so, would you work with Rare once again if you could?

I cannot speculate or comment on something that has not come to be.

What Rare franchises would you bring back if you had the chance?

Well, we are bringing back Donkey Kong Country, and Golden Eye 007 is in our sights for 2010 which means I’m happy for now (insert happy face here) so…….

I think I’ll insert two happy faces here.  One for you, Matt, and one for the Nintendo fans reading this interview. =D    =D

MadWorld was a game that introduced elements to the Wii that had never been seen before due to its comic brutality.  (The only game I can think of that was similar in terms of comical gore is No More Heroes.)  Are there plans of bringing any more games like MadWorld to the Wii?

In reference to MadWorld, that is a great question for Sega.  Generally, though, Nintendo and 3rd party developers offer gaming experiences for every type of console gamer out there, literally, so we will have to see what the future will bring to Wii and Nintendo DS/DSi/DSi XL/3DS, etc.

People who own the Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro seem to really like the feel of the controller.  Are there plans for more future releases to be compatible with the Classic Controller?

I can confirm that more games are coming that give you the option of using the Classic Controller Pro and that the Classic Controller Pro will replace the Classic Controller.

Lastly, let’s talk Nintendo 3DS.  Rumors have run rampant on the internet about the handheld’s hardware being more advanced than the Wii’s.  How true are these rumors?

It’s not about tech specs, it’s about the experience and Nintendo 3DS will change the way that games are played…literally by offering a 3D experience without glasses.  I cannot offer my input on rumors and speculation.

Any last words you want to say to Nintendo fans regarding the upcoming lineup of games for the Wii, DS, and even the 3DS?

We have an extremely strong line up of titles for the fans coming in 2010 for Nintendo DSi and Wii (Dragon Quest IX:  Sentinels of the Starry Skies, Golden Sun:  Dark Dawn, Metroid:  Other M, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn)  and that is just this year.  Next year is a new wave of big, big launches and we have only given a  taste of 2011 so far.  So put some time aside for Nintendo.  We’ve got what you are looking for and some surprises which have not been revealed yet.

I would personally like to thank Nintendo of Canada, particularly Andrea De la Cuba for setting up this interview, Julie Gagnon for our previous interview and for walking me through the Nintendo booth at E3, Matt Ryan for taking the time to answer my questions here, and anyone else who helped make this interview possible.  Here’s hoping this isn’t the last!  I’m very glad to be able to bring an interview like this to gamers everywhere, and it wouldn’t be possible without the great folks at Nintendo.  Thanks!

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