It's no secret to those that frequent these pages or that browse the 3DS and Wii U eShop stores on a regular basis, but Nintendo is now open and supportive of all kinds of developers. That's come about through a consistent loosening of its publication rules, making it easier for studios and even one-person companies to bring their games to Nintendo hardware.
Nintendo's Ed Valiente took the chance at the Italian Game Developers Summit to make clear just how accessible the stores can be. No doubt as a counterpoint to Microsoft's parity policy, he said the following to confirm that Nintendo doesn't insist on being among the first platforms for a title, which is certainly on show with various download ports making their way to Wii U, in particular.
There is no exclusivity or parity clause. We understand that small teams can’t work on multiple platforms at once. If you want to release on other platforms first, we’re happy for you to bring it to the platform when you’re ready.
Of course, we’d like it on ours at the same time but it’s not a dealbreaker.
The next section is particularly relevant for fans of The Binding of Isaac, at least from a PAL perspective. Edmund McMillen — one half of Team Meat — saw the title rejected by Nintendo, with the stated reason being that its religious content led to it being denied release. That was back in 2012, when Nintendo still accepted or rejected concepts and content based upon its own policies. Valiente, however, has stated that if you have an age rating, that's good enough.
There’s no concept approval, either. People often think ‘Nintendo’s not going to like this so they won’t let us release it’. But if you want to release your game on our platform and it gets a rating by PEGI or USK, you can do that.
Publisher Nicalis is currently bringing The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth to various platforms and is naturally obtaining ratings, so if this policy applies in North America in addition to PAL regions it could come to Wii U, for example. In actual fact, Nicalis has been teasing just that online in recent weeks.
As a final point, Valiente also explained the well-known policy change that developers can now register even when working from home, though it's still a different process for releasing games in Japan.
If you have a lockable space where you can keep your dev kit locked, you can actually work from home. That also means you can work remotely, so if you’ve got a coder in one city, an artist in another city, a sound designer in another country, you can get approved as a team.
By signing up with us you can release in Europe and America. If you want to release in Japan, you have to have an office in Japan, because you have to provide customer service in Japanese. Or you can go through local publishers there – there are three or four that will take Western games over to the Japanese eShop.
Are you pleased with these policies, and do you hope to see more titles like Binding of Isaac come to Nintendo systems? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks to Ryan Millar for the heads up.