What Developers Want for Nintendo’s Next Generation Handheld
Recently, Dromble posed a very interesting question to a number of developers: “What would you like to see from a future next generation Nintendo handheld?”
Before you read the developers’ responses, consider your own answer to that question. Think outside the box; think next-gen – but think Nintendo. Who else could surprise us at any time by producing something completely fresh and new – but what could that be? What would you like to see?
Check out the developers’ ideas below and let us know your own ideas/wishes in the comments section.
Lorne Lanning – Oddworld Inhabitants (Creator of the “Oddworld” series)
I could see Nintendo adapting a more open platform mobile OS (I.e. Android) and improving upon its capabilities in the premium gaming specific areas. This would allow them to benefit from all of the connected, social, and service benefits (for free) while allowing their special focus to take the OS to new levels in AAA mobile gaming.
Jason Canam – Drinkbox Studios (Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition)
I think a next-gen handheld is a good place for Nintendo to improve on their network and user account systems. Having handhelds and consoles on a unified account system that eases and encourages the use of both platforms together would be a huge improvement. And the template already exists, what Sony has done with the PlayStation Network and how the Vita and the PS3/PS4 work together is a great starting point. It’s nice to see that Nintendo is “baby-stepping” their way along this path, with Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars being cross-buy for Wii U and 3DS. I’d love to see all Virtual Console games go cross-buy & cross-play, as a standard.
Nintendo is only behind in the technological sense, as they’ve been making fun handheld-console interconnected experiences for a long time. The GameCube and the GameBoy Advance had some really interesting and unique gameplay features over a decade ago. The problem was having to find connection cables… which doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but I’m sure it kept most players from trying out games like Pac-Man Vs. (one of the most fun games ever), Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles or even trying out the Tingle Tuner in Wind Waker. Removing the barrier of needing extra peripherals and cables and streamlining the network to make connecting your handheld to your console much easier will allow Nintendo to make some pretty cool stuff.I remember when Metroid Prime (GCN) and Metroid Fusion (GBA) came out on the same day. My mind can’t even handle thinking about what would happen if a next-gen console Metroid game and a next-gen handheld Metroid game launched on the same day… and the games interacted together in a really deep & meaningful way. I’d love to see (or develop!) that.
Tim Dawson – Witch Beam (Assault Android Cactus)
As a consumer I worry about battery life but as a developer what I want is improved development tools. Nintendo has made great strides opening up the eShop to small and indie developers, and the Wii U supports Unity and other game engines that small teams use. It would be great to see their next generation handheld follow this trajectory.
Expanded online integration, both in terms of the way downloadable games are discovered and played, is also something that’d be appreciated. In terms of hardware, I want to see Nintendo be bold again – they’ve already committed to hardware that prevents simple ports, so rather than standardizing control schemes and resolutions, I want them to go all in and do something that allows games that can’t be thought of yet.
Kynan Pearson – Creative Director at Bluepoint Games
I’ll be buying Nintendo’s next handheld regardless of new features or functionality because I have had great experiences with Nintendo’s portable systems and software and I can’t imagine that changing.
I would really like to see Nintendo work towards unifying their home console and handheld platforms. In the most basic terms, I hope that anything I purchase on their next handheld can be played on the console with a single purchase. (Cross play/cross buy/cross save).
I’d love to see their next handheld include a console mode option allowing you to play games on the go or push the output to your big screen TV when playing at home. Ever since I first saw the Wii U Gamepad and the Wii U hardware, I was hoping you’d be able to take the Gamepad on the go. I know there are technical limitations that may prevent this from being possible, but I would have loved to see a new Nintendo handheld take the form of a smaller, improved Wii U Gamepad with the Wii U hardware built in so you could just play Wii U games while you travel.
That being said, I think their new console needs a new iconic name and identity that doesn’t rely on the Wii or DS branding. It would be great if they chose to simply call it “the Nintendo” or something else that won’t get confused with earlier systems. Nintendo tends to incorporate radical new ideas or gimmicks in their hardware so I fully expect to be surprised by an aspect of the next handheld.
James Montagna – Director/Designer at WayForward
It’s easy to get caught up in technical aspects of what Nintendo’s next handheld could be… but that’s not really how Nintendo rolls, is it? This is a completely blind guess, but I hope I’m not far off in theorizing that Nintendo’s future is as sleek as it is playful. Picture something with the look of a slim Wii U GamePad, in a variety of bold colors. A handheld that fits into every lifestyle, made to be as ubiquitous as a phone or tablet, but filling a unique role in a way neither of those devices can.
Perhaps what sets it apart is a great emphasis on social play. People gather in circles at parties, conventions, and restaurant tables to play together. All instantly connected by their proximity! Short burst sessions, seamless switching of games. Imagine a Pokémon trade followed by a quick round of Super Smash Bros., all before the train reaches its stop. Entirely new play styles could emerge if the handhelds detect the position and motion of others nearby. Visions of a couple playing some sort of AR ball-volleying game in real space between their two devices, which function as paddles. It’s a party happening all around you, and having Nintendo’s new handheld means you’re invited.