The selection of sporting titles — upscaled and improved from the Wii originals — joins the ever-increasing list of Nintendo franchises to be handled by an external studio. However, as the interviewed members of Nintendo's Software & Planning Department — Kozo Makino, Ryonosuke Suzuki and Takayuki Shimamura — revealed, the company had a more hands-on role than was originally intended:
Kozo Makino: We asked Namco Bandai Studios to develop it, so I first participated as a coordinator. But in the end, I got into just about anything. I mainly worked on the network aspect of the game, but at times I made suggestions on how some features should turn out to be.
Ryonosuke Suzuki: At first, I was a coordinator too, serving as contact for Namco Bandai Studio and dealing with overseas subsidiaries in localizing the overseas versions, but eventually, like Makino-san, I was doing anything I could.
Takayuki Shimamura: From the middle of development, Makino-san and Suzuki-san were also working as full-fledged planners. We did ask Namco Bandai Studio to develop the game this time, but staff in Nintendo's Network Development & Operations Department--the Software Planning & Development Department that these two are in--and EAD also chipped in.
Interestingly, it has also been revealed that Namco Bandai has been instrumental in making the online mode in Tennis a reality:
Makino: In a typical online game, the information of the button presses are sent to your opponent, and the inputs are synchronized between the players. But for this game you have to send complex information from the gyro sensor and accelerometer of the Wii Remote Plus controllers, in addition to information from the buttons, which was a brand new challenge.
Satoru Iwata: And in Tennis, there may be four people on the court at once.
Makino: Yes. At first, we were uneasy about whether we could really do it, but we tossed around all kinds of ideas with Namco Bandai Studio.
Shimamura: We then decided to test some of the ideas, and the one we eventually adopted was an idea suggested by a communications programmer at Namco Bandai Studio. Thanks to that, we were able to pull it off.