Rumour Roundup: Nintendo Network, Retro 2nd Team, Wii U Final Dev Kits, and Project Cars [UPDATED]

As the slow lack of news persists, so do the rumors that take their place. We have another four tidbits to peruse and I think we should start laying down the law. At the end of the rumor, we\’ll use some common sense and decide whether we think the rumor is true or not.

Get Ready for the Nintendo Network!

A never before seen icon has appeared on the box-art of Theatrythm: Final Fantasy. Clearly written in the upper right-hand corner is a logo with the words \”Nintendo Network\”. On the back of the box it says that the game will offer DLC, which apparently will be one of the functions of the new network. According to reports around the industry, the Nintendo Network will be the new network on the 3DS and the Wii U, somehow integrating and connecting the two systems. Screenshots show that already in some places around the world, Mario Kart 7 is running on this new network. So, apparently, multiplayer online gaming is confirmed as a part of the network, not just DLC. What new features will Nintendo Network offer and how will it unify the Wii U and 3DS? All this may be announced at the conference scheduled for January 26th. Next week. Last year, Nintendo announced new details about the 3DS at the very same conference, so we can expect some new details to be revealed again this year.

A source that wished to remain anonymous has told us that Nintendo hopes to eventually launch a website accessible from any web browser that will handle configuration of your Nintendo Network account for use on the Wii U or 3DS. He also stated that Nintendo Network will include many new features that haven\’t been used before by Nintendo. According to his accounts: Nintendo Network = Sony PSN = Xbox Live.

UPDATE: Our source saw the article and wanted to make sure that people understood that he didn\’t mean necessarily that Nintendo’s service will be better or feature every single detail that Sony and Microsoft do, rather that until now Nintendo hasn\’t even tried to compete but now they are going to create a service that is in full competition with the others. But of course, each one will still have their own style. However, he had one other detail to add: \”What I can add to all this is that there is in fact one feature that is significantly ahead of one of the competitors, and I\’m not talking about the well know ability to video chat. A few users on another console will be quite upset.\”



What To Believe: The screenshots are undeniable and Nintendo has been making progress in catching up to the rest of the industry with their online framework. It makes sense that they will allow gamers to create one central identity for use on both the 3DS and Wii U. Expect more details at the conference and I\’d even wager to say some Wii U news will be hinted at. (Don\’t expect anything too exciting. Most of the surprises will be saved for E3. But Nintendo may whet our appetites with a small entree to go with E3’s main course.)

Retro Studios is Building a Second Team

On Gamasutra’s job listings, Retro Studios has opened up a vacancy, looking for new talent. They are looking for a new technical animator and when explaining the responsibilities they stated:

\”May be given team-leading responsibility for a smaller production, which could include responsibility for implementing the overall technical processes, systems and software.\”

What To Believe: Sorry, but to me this doesn\’t even warrant any interest. Of course Retro Studios has a second smaller team! Almost every big development team in Nintendo has smaller teams made up of between 2 to 15 people. All 6 teams of Nintendo’s EAD have a smaller team that work on little projects (sometimes even big ones, such as the handheld Zelda team.) All 4 teams of Nintendo’s SPD have smaller teams for the smaller projects. With a staff of 200 people (according to LinkedIn) it would be very un-Nintendo-like for Retro to not have at least one smaller team. And I think they have existed for a while. What have they been up to? Do you think all 200 members were working on the Metroid Prime Trilogy? I can assure you that as soon as development of MP3: Corruption ended, Nintendo had them working on the conception of their next project, DKCR. I doubt it took more than a handful of staff to implement the control changes necessary for the Metroid Prime Trilogy. What did they do more recently? Once again, I don\’t think that Retro stopped development of their latest project in order to help out with half the tracks in Mario Kart 7. I imagine they are full steam ahead on their latest project and a smaller team was former to help flesh out the retro tracks in MK7. I\’m sure Retro will continue to form smaller teams for little projects. It’s par for the course in the gaming industry.

Wii U Final Dev Kits Sent to Third Party Developers

A site called Industry Gamers claim:

\”Nintendo told us at CES that 3rd party developers have already received final devkits, so we would imagine that EA and other companies have a better idea about the support of multiple Wii U controllers than we do.\”

What To Believe: Probably true. Nintendo can\’t keep on distributing new dev kits forever. At some point they will have to finalize on a design and model and be done with it. They won\’t keep the development process in limbo longer than they have to. When reports went out across the industry that Nintendo’s Wii U was caught in development limbo, I doubt Nintendo was too thrilled. The moment they had things finalized they no doubt wrapped up production and sent out the final dev kits. Especially as E3 approaches from far, Nintendo will want 3rd party developers to hurry up and start projects that are on the table.

Wii U Logo Shows Up on Project Cars Screenshot

Well, they haven\’t taken it off by now, so this one is most probably true. Take a look at the screenshot:


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