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Topic: Diddy Kong Racing Switch?

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bluedogrulez

I'd love to see a DKR for the Switch with some tracks that are basically Wave Race. Two great racing titles for the N64. What is fueling this rumor anyway? Anything more than the Kongs (save DK) being AWOL from MK8?

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NaviAndMii

@ACK Yeah, that's fair...I suppose that Diddy is conspicuous by his absence in Mario Kart - possibly a sign that the door is open It's odd to think of a DKR game without the Rare characters - but, you're right, if anyone could make some decent replacements, it's probably Nintendo!

EDIT: I wasn't really suggesting that they should add Diddy to MK and make the whole game in to some MK/DKR mash-up, more that they should just add Diddy as a playable character in MK and just add a themed course or two in his honour (flying and hovercraft perhaps?) ..but I take your point - he might not be there so as to leave the door open for a full DKR game - maybe it's not quite as cut and dried as I first thought

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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rallydefault

@Octane
Sorry, I only used the term "loyalty" to try and get at the fact that most second-party devs tend to stay with one company, that's all. Many of them do develop for other platforms, though, which is the point behind what I'm saying about Microsoft and its stable of second-party devs.

And yes, second-party devs refers only to the developer, not the publisher. So they are working for a publisher, which in many cases is a large platform holder like Nintendo or Sony, or could be something like an Ubisoft.

Basically, the term was "made-up" to describe a situation that was difficult to explain otherwise (hence why we have terms at all). "Second-party" devs are not exactly third-party (though you could argue they are just a kind of "specialized" third-party), which work at their own behest or for a high bidder, nor are they first-party, which are owned completely by a platform holder. They are in the middle, logically: many times they ARE minority-owned by the company (not always - that was Rare's case back in the day) OR they are working under a long-term "situation" with a platform holder.

Hrm... a modern example, I would say, would be a company like SkyBox Labs based in Europe for all you EU people. They are technically independent - not owned by anyone - but really only develop games for Microsoft (Age of Empires, Age of Mythology - very good games). They would be a good example of a "second-party."

If you don't like the term, that's cool. It's just used by people to simplify what they're talking about. But it's really just a dev team that mostly develops for one platform, but are not owned by said platform.

Edited on by rallydefault

rallydefault

Octane

@rallydefault SkyBox made just as many games for iOS as for Xbox One

I dunno. I'm thinking in business terms and third party makes perfectly sense to me, and I find the usage of second party a bit complicated. Part of the reason is that it only pops up in the gaming industry, and because there's no definition of the word. Sure, you just gave yours, but someone else has their own definition. Makes it a bit pointless IMO, especially since third party describes the relationship between the companies perfectly.

I think that it's only logical that third party developers tend to favour one publisher over the other. If they have a good relationship and it works, there's no reason to look for another publisher.

Octane

rallydefault

@Octane
Yea, no - I totally agree with you to a certain extent. I mean, what really is the difference between a "third-party" dev and a "second-party" dev? I get it. Like the other guy said, it's just kind of a slang term people use for devs that seem to be particularly close to one company. Like, I would currently refer to Platinum Games as a "second-party" dev for Nintendo even though they've put (and are putting) stuff out for other platforms, they seem pretty tight with Nintendo right now.

But yea, it's just splitting hairs, and like you said, especially with modern platforms that are so easy to port between it really makes no sense for an independent dev to be beholden to only one platform.

Edited on by rallydefault

rallydefault

SKTTR

A Nintendo 2nd Party is a studio separate from Nintendo that makes games exclusively for Nintendo, and often uses Nintendo IP as well.

In the N64 days it was Rareware, Left Field Productions (NBA Courtside, Excitebike 64).
In the Gamecube days it was Skip (Chibi-Robo), Retro Studios (Metroid Prime), Next Level Games (Mario Strikers).
In the Wii days it was Monster Games (Excite Truck, Excite Bots, Excitebike: World Challenge), Monolithsoft (Xenoblade Chornicles).

And then there are second parties that were turned into first parties like HAL Laboratory, GameFreak and The Pokémon Company, Monolithsoft, ND Cube, 1-UP STUDIO, and Retro Studios. Not sure about Intelligent Systems (Super Metroid, Paper Mario, Fire Emblem) and Nintendo Software Technology Corporation (Wave Race Blue Storm, Metroid Prime Hunters). Those two were always 1st Party to me.

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Octane

@Tsurii Retro Studios started out as Iguana Entertainment. Nintendo helped them found Retro Studios, this was probably a business deal involving Nintendo handing them some money and them returning the favour by developing GameCube games (all projects were later ditched and they were granted the license to create a Metroid game). In early 2002, before Metroid Prime's release, Nintendo bought all shares in the company and it became a ''first party'' studio; i.e. Nintendo owns the company. Until 2002 they were a third party, but outsourced by Nintendo.

And yeah, GameFreak is third party. The relationship between them, Nintendo and TPC is weird. GF, Nintendo and Creatures own 33% of TPC, which was formed to handle the marketing and distribution of Pokemon games (and probably to give all three companies equal control over the franchise. I'm not sure if Nintendo themselves are allowed to make a Pokemon game without consent of TPC (and in turn GF). GameFreak can't do anything Pokemon-related without Nintendo's (through TPC) consent either. Nintendo have no say over GameFreak however, and like someone else mentioned before, that's why Tembo the Badass Elephant can happen. But GameFreak would be crazy to shift their focus away from Pokemon, as I doubt any other game would sell as much. It's a weird relationship, but it works.

Octane

StuTwo

@Octane I actually think the definition of "2nd party" is pretty clear and remains important. Less so to consumers but more so to the companies themselves and to their employees.

A "2nd party" developer is one that is partially or wholly owned by Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft and bound by strong exclusivity clauses to develop only for a specific platform. They are however notionally independent from an operational perspective. They have their own management structures, their own sales targets, IP (in some cases) and can act independently of the 1st party.

Nintendo can't necessarily go in to 2nd party and just grab their staff for a Nintendo specific project for instance. In practice they would be able to (of course) but it's not as straight forwards as grabbing staff from an internal 1st party.

They also can't necessarily tell a 2nd party that they have to make a particular game - it's a negotiation with the management because Nintendo isn't the sole owner of the 2nd party. Again it's likely usually an easy negotiation because the balance of power isn't equal and the relationship is usually strong but I'd suggest it's not a formality.

@SKTTR There's some confusion as to whether HAL is even a 2nd party - I don't know if Nintendo has ever bought any of the company - but their business has been so tightly intertwined with Nintendo for such a long period of time that it's moot.

StuTwo

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Octane

@StuTwo Companies have never used the term ''second party'', since it doesn't exist (at least not in the way people around here use it). It's a made up term by fans that has no definition whatsoever. Every developer can be categorised as either owned by the console manufacturer or as a third party.

HAL Laboratory for example is actually a third party. Nintendo doesn't own the company, but they do own Kirby. It's similar to how Platinum Games developed W101 for the Wii U, except that HAL has been doing this for more than two decades. In theory, there's nothing stopping them from pulling a Tembo, but I assume they simply don't want to, because something like that could damage the relationship with Nintendo. They're making a profit, why change that? On top of that, I assume there are plenty of contracts set up that keep the companies working together. HAL and Nintendo also set up Warpstar Inc., a strategy that's often done in Japan to assure close relationship, but to prevent a complete takeover. Regardless, they're still an independent company and therefore a third party.

Octane

StuTwo

@Octane You are right that from a legal perspective there is only "1st party" and "3rd party". From a practical perspective though the term "2nd party" has a very clear meaning - it's a company owned in part by a console manufacturer and bound by exclusivity to the platforms of the console manufacturer. They aren't like other third party developers because they're not completely free and they aren't like first party developers because they are technically independent.

In thinking about it for a few moments I accept was wrong in that it's a term that shouldn't really matter to the console manufacturers or the second parties themselves because it covers such a broad range of different legal and operational relationships as to be pretty much meaningless to them. Technically Monolith are a 3rd party for instance because Nintendo only owns 96% of the company but their relationship is quite obviously not one of a 'typical' third party because of that stake.

So as a catch term to fans and the media to provide shorthand for "this is a close but not completely consumated relationship". We don't see (and wouldn't read if we had the chance) the legal contracts between Nintendo and Monolith for instance but it's important to understand that they are neither the same entity nor completely separate. Internally it's detail of the contracts between two formally independent companies that matters of course.

To get back to the point though - I have read in the past that Diddy Kong Racing was actually originally intended to be a sequel to Rare's RC Pro AM games on the NES. The use of Diddy Kong may have been Nintendo's suggestion but Rare could have said no. Of course doing so would have been counter productive because using the Diddy Kong brand obviously made the game sell more copies.

Personally I'd love to see some elements of the Diddy Kong Racing games brought into Mario Kart (at least an option to fix weapon pickups so the same weapon was consistently in the same place - i.e. removal of randomised weapons) but I wouldn't personally see the point of a full blown sequel.

StuTwo

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NaviAndMii

@Octane I take your point about it being a colloquialism created by fans - but to say it has "no definition whatsoever" is a touch extreme...

Here's a passage lifted from Wikipedia regarding Rare's partnership with Nintendo in the 90's:

"Nintendo bought a 25% stake in the company that gradually increased to 49%, making Rare a second-party developer for Nintendo."

So the loose definition would be:

  • Third-party: Independently owned (Rare: 1985-1993)
  • Second-party: Parent company has a minority stake (Rare: 1993-2001 - Stamper brothers had controlling stake, Nintendo had shares but no overall control)
  • First-party: Parent company has a majority stake (Rare: 2001-Present - Stamper brothers decided to sell to Microsoft, Microsoft took a controlling stake, Stamper brothers no longer had control of Rare's destiny)

...you provided some excellent examples of where the lines get blurred - for that reason, it's often easier to ignore 'second-party' as a term altogether as first and third party are more distinct and clearly defined - but its just a useful (albeit loose) way of describing a relationship between company A and company B.

I often think that other blanket terms in gaming have unclear definitions; 'Metroidvania', 'RPG' and even 'Platformer' aren't really super-clearly defined in my opinion (there are certainly many cross-overs between genres that muddy the waters somewhat!) - but if someone uses one of those terms, I know roughly what they mean...and that's the point really. It doesn't tell me exactly what something is - but I get a rough idea...

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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Octane

@NaviAndMii That's Wikipedia, and I can't trace the origin of the word. It wasn't mentioned in the original article. Hardly a definition in that case.

I think people misunderstand the usage of the words first, second and third party. When two companies, or people have an agreement or a deal, you can consider them ''first'' and ''second'' party (the former is rarely used, and I've never seen the latter in an official transcript). In our case that would be us, the end user, and the console manufacturer, whenever we buy a video game console. A third party is a company that is not bound by that agreement but is allowed to sell software to the end user. That's where the term third party comes from. Therefore it doesn't really make sense to start calling other companies ''second'' party, because if anything, that's either the end user or the console manufacturer.

If a company isn't owned by Nintendo, it's a third party, and everything they publish is third party software for Nintendo's consoles.

Octane

rallydefault

@NaviAndMii @Octane @StuTwo
Good posts. Business-wise, and perhaps most helpful, would be to look at the stocks: minority stakes= second-party, majority stakes=first-party. So, even if Nintendo "only" owned 51% of Monolith stock, well, they own the majority and Monolith would be considered a first-party dev from that point on. Owning minority stock in the company (like the Rare 25% or whatever it was before Microsoft bought them) swings them more toward second-party; highly likely to develop for a certain platform, but not necessarily obligated to do so.

What would be interesting would be the "true," large third parties like EA, Ubisoft, Activision: I wonder if the platform holders (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft) own stock in them, and if so - how much? If the definition of second-party that we're arriving at is accurate, I would think that the platform holders own little (perhaps zero) stock in the big third parties, but I could be totally wrong.

I also find it interesting that (if you've noticed) we typically refer to only those bigger companies like Ubi, Acti, and EA as THE "third parties," whereas smaller devs (usually indies these days) are referred to as "independent" devs. Interesting. Just seems like the terminology is in a lot of flux, and probably because, as we said, everything just gets blurred as tech specs for consoles become more and more similar.

Edited on by rallydefault

rallydefault

StuTwo

Octane wrote:

@StuTwo Monolith is owned by Nintendo, it is not a third party. The company is on the list of subsidiaries: https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2015/security_q1503.pdf It's not a secret, it's all public information.

I can't read Japanese so I'll take your word for it but all previous sources I've read state that Nintendo only actually own 96%.

StuTwo

Switch Friend Code: SW-6338-4534-2507

NaviAndMii

@Octane I wasn't trying to use the Wikipedia entry as a 'you're wrong and here's why' kind of thing - if anything, I'm with you...but at the same time, I kind of get the gist of what is meant by the loose term 'second party'. Wikipedia actually has a full definition for the term, but there aren't any citations for it because, as they say, it's more of a (flawed) colloquial term to loosely describe the relationship between A and B.

"Second-party developer

Second-party developer is a colloquial term often used by gaming enthusiasts and media to describe two different forms of game development studios:

-Independently owned studios who take development contracts from the platform holders and produce games exclusive to that platform.

-Studios that are partially or wholly owned by the platform holder (also known as a subsidiary) and produce games exclusive to that platform.

In reality, the resulting game is first party (since it is funded by the platform holder, who usually owns the resulting IP), but the term helps to distinguish independent studios from those directly owned by the platform holder. These studios may have exclusive publishing agreements (or other business relationships) with the platform holder, while maintaining independence. Examples are Insomniac Games (which previously developed games solely for Sony's PlayStation platforms as an independent studio), ADK for SNK consoles, Rareware for Nintendo, and Game Freak (which primarily develops the Nintendo-exclusive Pokémon game series)."

As I say, I feel the same about the term 'RPG' - in that, I can't clearly see where the line gets drawn...IGN recently listed their Top 100 RPGs - some of which were pretty much 'Zelda-like' games, but they didn't include any actual Zelda games in their list...and I couldn't really figure out why? It's all just mindless jargon really, I guess!

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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DTMOF84

They could do it justice with a new game. I'm surprised there was never a sequel.

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kkslider5552000

DTMOF84 wrote:

They could do it justice with a new game. I'm surprised there was never a sequel.

I think all the problems with both Donkey Kong Racing and Diddy Kong Pilot, plus having their own ideas for racing games (srsly, they released 3 different racing games on the GCN in the span of about 4 months., means they didn't have much reason to.

...or maybe the Mario Kart team never got over how much better Diddy Kong Racing was compared to Mario Kart 64 :V

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DTMOF84

It was a lot better than Mario Kart 64. I wouldn't have admitted that back in the day though.

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ThatUsername

I think nintendo could easily make another one because they have more charcters they could put in they could also just wait for the copyright claim to fall and then claim it them selves or you know ever since the switch has been out microsoft has been partnering with nintendo alot exp(rocket league) and i feel both companies could make a good profit of a once good game that could be good again and that goes for all games on the n64 i feel like a good portion of those would make for great remakes on the switch.

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