List of Nintendo development teams
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (August 2010)|
|Division of Nintendo|
|Predecessor||Nintendo R&D1, R&D2, R&D3, R&D4|
|Founded||September 30, 2003|
Number of locations
|Japan, United States, Europe|
(EAD General Manager)
|Products||Various video game titles
Various game consoles
Number of employees
|Divisions||EAD, SPD, IRD, NBD|
NSD, 1-UP Studio, Monolith Soft, Nd Cube, Creatures Inc.
NST, NTD, Retro Studios
Nintendo is one of the world's biggest video game developing companies, having created multiple successful franchises. Because of its storied history, the developer employs a methodical system of software and hardware development that is mainly centralized within its offices in Kyoto and Tokyo, in cooperation with its division Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington. The company also owns several worldwide subsidiaries and funds partner affiliates that contribute technology and software for the Nintendo brand.
- 1 Main offices
- 2 Research & Development Divisions
- 3 Research & Development Subsidiaries
- 4 Software Development Subsidiaries
- 5 Partners
- 6 Former development teams
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Nintendo Co., Ltd (NCL) has a central office located in Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan ( ) and a nearby building, its pre-2000 headquarters, now serving as a research and development building, located in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan ( ). Its original Kyoto headquarters can still be found at ( ). Additionally, Nintendo has a third operation in Tokyo, Japan, where research and development, manufacturing, and clerical work are conducted. All three offices are interconnected and have video conferences often for communication and presentation purposes.
In 2009, it was revealed that Nintendo was expanding both its Redmond and Kyoto offices. The new office building complex of Nintendo of America in Redmond is 275,250 square feet (25,572 m2) and would expand its localization, development, debugging, production, and clerical teams. Nintendo Co., Ltd. announced the purchase of a 40,000 square-meter lot that would house an all new research and development (R&D) office that would make it easier for the company's two other Kyoto R&D offices to collaborate as well as expand the total work force on new upcoming console development and new software for current and future hardware.
Nintendo owns several buildings throughout Kyoto and Tokyo housing subsidiary and affiliated development studios. One of the more famous buildings is the Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo building – previously known as the Nintendo Tokyo Prefecture Building – now jokingly called The Pokémon Building, accommodates the complete Pokémon family which includes The Pokémon Company, Creatures Inc., and Genius Sonority.
|Nintendo Central Office||Kyoto, Japan||formerly Nintendo EAD, Systems Research & Development (SRD)|
|Nintendo Kyoto Research Institute||Kyoto, Japan||formerly Nintendo SPD, Intelligent Systems (moved into a new building next near Nintendo Central Offices), currently Mario Club|
|Nintendo Kyoto Development Complex (AKA Nintendo Development Center)||Kyoto, Japan||Was originally scheduled to open at the end of December 2013, it finally opened June 2014. Currently houses Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development (EAD) (including Systems Research & Development), Nintendo Software Planning & Development (SPD), Nintendo System Development (SDD), and Nintendo Integrated Research & Development (IRD)|
|Nintendo Tokyo Office||Tokyo, Japan||Nintendo EAD Tokyo|
|Nintendo Tokyo Prefecture Building||Tokyo, Japan||The Pokémon Company, Creatures Inc., Genius Sonority|
|Nintendo Osaka Office||Osaka, Japan||May soon house R&D|
|Nintendo of America Headquarters||Redmond, Washington, US||Nintendo Software Technology (NST), NOA Treehouse|
|Nintendo Technology Development||Seattle, Washington, US||Nintendo Technology Development (NTD)|
|Nintendo European Research & Development||Paris, France||Nintendo European Research & Development (NERD)|
Research & Development Divisions
Entertainment Analysis & Development (EAD)
The Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development (or EAD) division is the premier development arm at Nintendo. The group is the largest concentration of R&D, housing more than 800 engineers and designers. The division is rather large and currently broken into seven different subdivisions, each led by a designated producer and group manager. The overseeing managers are Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Currently, five divisions are located in the central Kyoto R&D building under the Software Development Department, while two divisions reside in the Tokyo offices under the Tokyo Software Development Department.
|Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development|
|Kyoto Software Development||Comprehensive Development Group||Not necessarily responsible for a specific franchise or genre.|
|Group No. 1||Mario Kart and Nintendogs series.|
|Group No. 2||Animal Crossing and Wii series.|
|Group No. 3||The Legend of Zelda series.|
|Group No. 4||New Super Mario Bros., Pikmin and Big Brain Academy series.|
|Group No. 5||Star Fox, Wii Fit and Steel Diver series.|
|Sound Group||Aids in music and sound effect creation.|
|UI Design Group||Aids in UI and special effect creation.|
|Tokyo Software Development||Group No. 1||Super Mario Galaxy series and overseeing The Legend of Zelda remakes.|
|Group No. 2||Flipnote Studio and Super Mario 3D series.|
|Technology Development||Development Environment Group||Various game engines.|
|Technology Design Group||Software Development Kits (SDK's) for Nintendo consoles.|
Software Planning & Development (SPD)
The Nintendo Software Planning & Development (or SPD) division is the development group includes several of the original development officers from the old software and hardware development sectors. While the group leaders are decade old veterans, the bulk of the development teams working alongside are mainly younger employees. The division is broken up into two departments; Software Planning & Development Department and Software Design & Development Department.
|Nintendo Software Planning & Development|
|Software Planning & Development||Group No. 1||WarioWare, Rhythm Heaven, Friend Collection and Metroid series.|
|Group No. 2||Fire Emblem, Endless Ocean, Style Savvy series|
|Group No. 3||Metroid Prime, Donkey Kong Country, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Paper Mario, Super Mario Strikers, Battalion Wars, Excite and Fluidity series.|
|Group No. 4||Donkey Kong, Mario Party and Wii Party series.|
|Software Development & Design||Software Development Group||Brain Age, Jam with the Band series, and additional Touch! Generations titles.|
|UI Design Group||Some Wii Channels, Nintendo DS/DSi General Interface and Nintendo 3DS General Interface|
|Sound Group||Manages music and sound effect creation for both internal and external projects.|
|Character Design Group||Manages character creation for both internal and external projects.|
Integrated Research & Development (IRD)
The Nintendo Integrated Research & Development (or IRD) division is Nintendo's hardware group specialized in all engineering and technological aspects of Nintendo's home console and handheld development. The division also houses industrial designers who design peripherals such as the WaveBird, Wii Zapper, and Wii steering wheel. The group was originally known as Research and Development Department 3 (R&D3), with the same primary functions, with the exception that manager Genyo Takeda enjoyed moonlighting by developing console and arcade games. On February 16, 2013, Nintendo IRD was combined with Nintendo Research & Engineering Department (or RED), the former hardware group specialized in all engineering and technological aspects of Nintendo's handheld development.
|Nintendo Integrated Research & Development|
|Integrated Research & Development||Group No. 1||Home video game consoles and respective peripherals.|
|Group No. 2|
|Group No. 3|
|Group No. 4|
|Group No. 5|
|Research & Engineering Development||Planning Design Group||Handheld video game consoles and respective peripherals.|
|Technology Design Group|
|Mechanical Design Group|
|Industrial Design Group|
Network Business & Development (NBD)
The Nintendo Network Business & Development (or NBD) division, which used to be centered in peripheral and software development, is currently a hybrid development group with several distinct duties. The development team originates from Nintendo Research & Development 2 and was mainly responsible for ports and inhouse development for low profile hardware like the Pokémon Mini and the Super Famicom Satellaview service. The department handles most Nintendo Network programming and server maintenance inside Nintendo's in-house projects and throughout various other external Nintendo software in cooperation with Nintendo Network Services. Lastly, the department also cooperates in software development. The group also created mechanical devices and peripherals like the Pokéwalker and Pokémotion. Current general manager, Masaru Shimomura described the group as a small creative unit that has a hardware and a software team working jointly together to create innovative products.
|Nintendo Network Business & Development|
|Nintendo Network Business||Nintendo Network Planning Group||Nintendo eShop, Miiverse and other Nintendo Network services.|
|Mechanical Design Group||Other hardware and peripherals.|
Research & Development Subsidiaries
Although most of the Research & Development is being done in Japan, there are some R&D facilities in the United States and Europe that are focused on developing software and hardware technologies used in Nintendo products. Although they all are subsidiaries of Nintendo (and therefore first party), they are often referred to as external resources when being involved in joint development processes with Nintendo's internal developers by the Japanese personal involved. This can be seen in a variety of "Iwata asks..." interviews.
|Nintendo Technology Development (NTD)||Redmond, Washington, USA||Video game console development and software technology.|
|Nintendo European Research & Development (NERD)||Paris, France||Formerly known as Mobiclip, doing various software technologies such as video compression and middleware, including the video player of the Wii U Internet Browser.|
|Nintendo Network Service Database (NSD)||Kyoto, Japan||Nintendo Network programming and server maintenance. Co-operates with the Nintendo Network Business & Development (NBD) division.|
Nintendo Software Technology (NST)
Nintendo Software Technology Corp. (or NST) is an American video game developer located inside of Nintendo of America main headquarters, based in Redmond, Washington. The studio was created by Nintendo as a first-party developer to create games for the North American market, though their games have also been released in other territories such as Europe and Japan, exclusively for Nintendo consoles. The development team also features several employees who were transplanted from Nintendo Co., Ltd, Rockstar Games, and Electronic Arts and Microsoft and also has a direct connection to the Nintendo-funded DigiPen Institute of Technology.
Nintendo Technology Development (NTD)
Nintendo Technology Development Inc. (or NTD) is a Washington-based hardware focused Research & Development group for Nintendo. The group focuses on the creation of various software technologies, hardware tools, and development kits for first-party use and third-party licensing across Nintendo platforms, in collaboration with the Nintendo Integrated Research & Development division lead by Genyo Takeda. Several side projects and unreleased prototypes are commonly linked to this Washington based subsidiary. NTD is also responsible for some low-level coding.
Nintendo European Research & Development (NERD)
Nintendo European Research & Development SAS (or NERD), formerly known as Mobiclip, is a Nintendo subsidiary, located in Paris, France. The team currently focuses on developing software technologies, such as video compression, and middleware for Nintendo platforms. While an independent company, Mobiclip was responsible for licensing video codecs for Sony Pictures Digital, Fisher-Price and Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Wii and Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo Network Service Database (NSD)
Nintendo Network Service Database Inc. (or NSD) was formerly known as Wii no Ma. Originally created by Nintendo to provide digital entertainment as a service for Wii owners, the company has since been renamed.
Currently, Nintendo Network Services handles all Nintendo Network operations, including programming and server maintenance inside Nintendo's in-house projects through the Nintendo Network Business & Development division and throughout various other external online software infrastructures. Lastly, the company also cooperates in developing third party online infrastructures compatible with Nintendo consoles and Nintendo Network.
Software Development Subsidiaries
Most external first-party software development is being done in Japan, since the only overseas subsidiary is Retro Studios in the United States. Although these studios are all subsidiaries of Nintendo (and therefore first party), they are often referred to as external resources when being involved in joint development processes with Nintendo's internal developers by the Nintendo Software Planning & Development (or SPD) division.
|1-UP Studio||Tokyo, Japan||Magical Vacation series, Mother 3 and A Kappa's Trail. Currently, a development co-operation studio.|
|Monolith Soft||Tokyo, Japan||Xeno and Baten Kaitos series and Disaster: Day of Crisis, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.|
|Kyoto, Japan||Development co-operation studio.|
|Nd Cube||Tokyo, Japan||Wii Party and Mario Party series.|
|Retro Studios||Austin, Texas, USA||Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country series.|
1-UP Studio Co., Ltd. (１‐UPスタジオ株式会社?), formerly Brownie Brown Inc. (ブラウニーブラウン Buraunī Buraun?), is a Japanese Nintendo-funded and owned video game development studio opened on June 30, 2000 and based in Tokyo, Japan. On February 1, 2013, Brownie Brown announced on their official website that due to their recent co-development efforts with Nintendo, Brownie Brown are undergoing a change in internal structure, which includes changing the name of their company to 1-UP Studio.
Monolith Soft, Inc. (株式会社モノリスソフト Kabushiki-Gaisha Monorisu Sofuto?) is a Japanese video game development company that has created video games for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Nintendo DS, and cell phones. The company currently has two main studios, its Tokyo Software Development Studio, which is housed in the company's headquarters, and the recently opened Kyoto Software Development Studio. The company was previously owned by Bandai Namco, until 2007 when Bandai Namco transferred 80% of its 96% stake to Nintendo. At a later date the remaining 16% was sold so the company is currently 96% Nintendo owned and 4% third parties. A majority of Monolith Soft's staff are former employees of Square Co., who transferred to the new company shortly after the creation of Chrono Cross. They were previously involved with the creation of Xenogears, from which the Xenosaga series is derived.
Monolith Soft's Tokyo Software Development Studio is usually associated with the Xeno series, the Baten Kaitos series and Disaster: Day of Crisis, while its Kyoto Software Development Studio is currently a development co-operation studio.
Nd Cube Co., Ltd (エヌディーキューブ株式会社 Enudī Kyūbu Kabushiki Gaisha) is a Nintendo subsidiary and Japanese video game developer based in Japan with offices in Tokyo and Sapporo. The company was originally founded on March 1, 2000, through a joint venture between Nintendo and advertising firm Dentsu, hence the Nd in the name. In 2010, Nintendo decided to buy out 96% of the shares, with ad partner Dentsu stepping aside. Since Nd Cube was founded, they have kept a low profile, working on various Japanese GameCube and Game Boy Advance titles. Two notable games that have reached western shores are F-Zero: Maximum Velocity and Tube Slider. As seen in the credits for Mario Party 9, Nd Cube indeed houses many ex-Hudson Soft employees, some vary between folks who have focused primarily on many other entries in the Mario Party series.
Retro Studios, Inc. is an American video game developer based in Austin, Texas. The company was founded in October 1998 by the video game veteran Jeff Spangenberg after leaving Acclaim Entertainment, as an independent studio making games exclusively for Nintendo. The studio started with four Nintendo GameCube projects which had a chaotic and unproductive development, and did not impress Nintendo producer Shigeru Miyamoto, but he suggested they create a new game in the Metroid series. Eventually the four games in development were cancelled so Retro could focus only on Metroid Prime, which was released for the GameCube in 2002, the same year Nintendo acquired the studio completely by purchasing the majority of Spangenberg's holding stock.
Since the release of the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo has built up a large group of second-party development partners, through publishing agreements and development collaboration. Most of these external Nintendo project are overseen by the Nintendo Software Planning & Development (or SPD) division.
|Hatena||Miiverse (with Nintendo Network Business & Development), Flipnote Studio series (with Nintendo EAD Tokyo Group No. 1).|
|Vidyo||Wii U Chat (with Nintendo European Research & Development).|
Creatures Inc. (株式会社クリーチャーズ Kabushiki-gaisha Kurīchāzu?) is a subsidiary of the Japanese game development company Nintendo. It was founded by Tsunekazu Ishihara in November 1995, as a successor to Shigesato Itoi's company Ape Inc. Its current president is Hirokazu Tanaka. The company has its headquarters on the second floor of the Gobancho KU Building (五番町KUビル Gobanchō KU Biru?) in Chiyoda, Tokyo, in proximity to the Japan Rail Ichigaya Station.
The company's best known project include the development of the Pokémon Ranger series, PokéPark series and the EarthBound (Mother) series (with HAL Laboratory and the former Brownie Brown, now 1-UP Studio).
Next Level Games
Next Level Games is a development studio located in Vancouver, Canada, and in January 2014 the company made the announcement that they will be working exclusively on Nintendo projects. The company stated that their past experience working with Nintendo has been so beneficial that they see no reason to want to work with anyone else.
Former development teams
|Nintendo Research & Development 1
|1970–2002||The original game development team at Nintendo. Originally created in the 1970s by Hiroshi Imanishi as the "games division" of Nintendo Co., Ltd. Gunpei Yokoi was the original engineer and inventor designated to create electronic toys and arcade coin-operated software. With the conception of the Famicom (known as the Nintendo Entertainment System in the West), and Game Boy, the group was reassigned to concentrate on developing the premier software for console and portable gaming straying away from its original toys, Game & Watch, and arcade roots.||Nintendo EAD
|Nintendo Research & Development 2
|1972–2002||This group mainly concentrated on hardware technology and system operating tools. Masayuki Uemura was hired away from Sharp Corporation where he specialized in solar cell technology. The solar technology fueled the original bean gun games which Nintendo introduced to huge success. The team would go on to develop several peripherals and eventually even some video game software. The team generally assisted Nintendo R&D1 and Nintendo R&D3 with their arcade games, but it also became the first team to specialize in software ports at Nintendo with the task of porting all the original arcade titles like Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Popeye to the Famicom.||Nintendo EAD
|Nintendo Research & Development 3
|1974–1996||Originally created as a hardware engineering division, Genyo Takeda managed to diversify his group and create software on the same arcade boards being designed for Gunpei Yokoi's R&D1 team. After developing the arcade hits like Sheriff, Punch-Out!! and Arm Wrestling, the team was involved in developing a variety of unique software for the NES that was mainly aimed at the Western market, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out and StarTropics to name a few. The team also helped create bank switching and the MMC chips in the NES cartridges.||Nintendo IRD|
|Nintendo Research & Development 4
|1983–1992||In 1984, Hiroshi Yamauchi, former president of Nintendo, rewarded Shigeru Miyamoto his own development studio after proving himself his ability to consistently produce both critically acclaimed and successful video game with the original Donkey Kong and Mario Bros.. Although the team didn't have as many resources as Nintendo R&D1, R&D4 also focused on developing NES games. It ended up creating Nintendo's two most enduring franchises: Mario and The Legend of Zelda. During the Super Nintendo development, Nintendo R&D4 was renamed Nintendo EAD. Today Nintendo EAD is the largest game development division of Nintendo. Takashi Tezuka joined Shigeru Miyamoto in developing R&D4 games, with music composition being handled by Koji Kondo. To this day, the three of them still work together in most Nintendo EAD projects.||Nintendo EAD|
|Nintendo Tokyo R&D Products||1987–1989||In the early 1980s, Nintendo planned to expand software R&D into the Tokyo manufacturing branch building to operate alongside its overcrowded Kyoto headquarters. The initial plans became delayed and shortly after the development of the original Mother, the group ceased development.||N/A|
|Nintendo of America (NOA) Special-Projects||1990–1997||The first development branch at Nintendo of America. Nintendo wanted to deliver more software based at the U.S. market following the trails of the Sega Genesis marketing blitz. Nintendo of America appointed product analysts Jeff Hutt and Don James to head the division. The group initially concentrated on sports games, which lead to the NES Play Action and Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball franchises.||N/A|
|Project Sora||2009-2012||The company was solely created to develop Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS. The president and director of the team, Masahiro Sakurai later joined forces with Bandai Namco Games to create Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with Nintendo SPD.||N/A|
|Nintendo Research & Engineering Department
|2003-2013||The original hardware development team responsible for all of Nintendo's portable and hand held systems. The manager Satoru Okada and most of the chief engineers originate from the old Nintendo R&D1 hardware division that created all the Game & Watch and hand held LCD cabinets. On February 16, 2013, Nintendo RED was combined with the Nintendo Integrated Research & Development (or IRD) division.||Nintendo IRD|
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