Mere days after Disney announced it would be pulling out of first-party game development, Nintendo has revealed it is planning to diversify its own entertainment catalog, with an eye toward the big screen.
In an interview with Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun (available here in English), Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that the company was in talks with several movie production companies. While Nintendo has licensed its characters for theatrical and television adaptations in the past, this time it seeks a close partnership in order to keep a tight creative rein on the project.
“We want to do as much as we can by ourselves,” said Kimishima.
Asahi Shimbun reports that Nintendo is projecting a release for sometime between 2018 and 2019, and that the company is avoiding live action ventures in favor of animation, which is likely a good choice given Nintendo wants the film to do well abroad. The paper speculates a 3D animated film based on the Mario or Zelda franchises, but honestly I wouldn’t rule out a Star Fox film in the same vein as the short below, or even a traditional 2D anime, if it tests well.
Nintendo would not be the first entertainment company to dip its toe into cinematic waters, and it’s no doubt aware of the risks involved — movies are expensive, animation exponentially so, and require a level of expertise and business acumen different than what you need to succeed at games. On the other hand, Nintendo is almost certainly doing this because its games business has been flagging as of late. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a few years to see if this venture bears any fruit.
See also: Nintendo sells its stake in the Seattle Mariners, and our review of the recently released Star Fox Zero.