Not so long ago we covered the tortured production of the Wii title Project H.A.M.M.E.R., a waggle-heavy action title in development by Nintendo Software Technology, Nintendo's famed North American studio.
Revealed early in the life of the Wii, the game would never see the light of day and, as the earlier report revealed, was dogged by poor management at NST, accusations of racism and the departure of many of its key staff.
After speaking to numerous sources close to the project, more details regarding Project H.A.M.M.E.R. have now surfaced - including details regarding the Japanese Nintendo staff tasked with bringing it to market, and the fateful contribution of none other than Shigeru Miyamoto.
The creator of Mario was apparently less than pleased with the news that NST had spent over $1 million on lavish CGI sequences which were ordered prior to the game design being nailed down - even before the game was officially announced in 2006, in fact. These sequences - created by CGI firm Silver Ant - would have carried the game's narrative, and even by modern standards they're quite impressive (you can view some of them in the video below).
Early in Hammer's development, NST created Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis for the DS. Again, a substantial amount of cash was handed over to Silver Ant for CGI cut-scenes for the game, leading to the person in charge of budgetary concerns on both H.A.M.M.E.R. and Mario vs Donkey Kong 2 getting a slapped wrist from Miyamoto. He apparently branded the massive investment in CGI "superfluous", and NST would do no further business with Silver Ant as a result. Interestingly, since the original Project H.A.M.M.E.R. video went live, all references to the Nintendo projects that Silver Ant worked on have been removed from the company's official site.
More information has surfaced regarding the senior Nintendo staff who worked on Project H.A.M.M.E.R., and - as a result - carry a large portion of the blame for its ultimate failure. Katsuhiko Kanno was the person in charge at the game's inception, and has been cited by sources as "difficult to work with", "rude" and "uncooperative." Around this time, is is thought that a large number of NST staff left the company under their own volition, with reports claiming that the staff roster dropped from around 50 employees to approximately half that number.
To steady the ship staff were moved onto the project from elsewhere in Nintendo's North American network. Metroid Prime level designer Jason Behr was brought on to bring things back on course, but found himself singled out as a scapegoat for the game's shortcomings - shortcomings he could do little to solve. He stayed on until around 2008, and would leave NST to join Monolith Productions. He would then move onto Halo studio 343 Industries before found his own studio, Sunbreak Games.
As development lurched from one disaster to the next, it appears that the senior staff at NST finally spotted the friction between Kanno and his team. He was removed from the project in 2007 and replaced by Masamichi Abe, the director of Pikmin 1 and 2, as well as Tekken 2 during his time at Namco.
Towards the end of the project, Metroid Prime producer Kensuke Tanabe joined in a supervisory role, but it is reported that he had little impact - if any - on development, only visiting NST's offices a handful of times. Project H.A.M.M.E.R. would, as we've previously reported, be re-tooled around this era as Wii Crush, a casual title aimed at the Wii Sports audience. Despite support for the Wii MotionPlus accessory being mooted at one point, the project was finally killed off in 2009.
Project H.A.M.M.E.R. was a costly misstep not only for Nintendo, but for NST. It lost much of its talented workforce thanks to disagreements between management and staff, and since the project's failure the studio hasn't been trusted with any other large-scale titles.
Kind of interesting to learn what happened to NST, though as a whole, are these "look at why this game never was released" pieces popular? I know its slow news wise, but my interest in why something didn't come out is pretty low.
@KingofSaiyans I wouldn't be too surprised.
I'm still a little bitter about all this. At the Wii's announcement, this was my most-hyped game. And then... nothing. I'm sure it actually would have turned out to be mediocre, but it was the first time I really experienced the feeling of an amticipated game cancelled since I began following gaming news.
@KingofSaiyans I'd say that's quite possible. Hopefully he won't interfere much with Aonuma's vision for Zelda U. Aonuma wanted to do cutscenes for the game and I trust him to find the optimal balance between those and gameplay. If Miyamoto starts meddling with his ideas on exclusively gameplay-driven story, however, the final product might be less stunning than we hoped for.
Also, I found this really interesting. I'm always curious as to the inner workings of the industry and the hardships studios can/do go through. Project H.A.M.M.E.R.'s looks like a particularly bumpy road. It's a shame, honestly.
I think it's interesting. It reveals more about behind the scenes, and gives an explanation as to WHY a game vanished without a trace. A look at what could have been, like you're looking into an alternate timeline.
Can we bury this game yet? Nintendo is over it. why can't Nintendolife do the same?
Well we all know that Miyamoto is way past his prime. And that he has nearly no understanding of the western market. He is still one of the best game designers ever but i think it is time for him to step aside and let others take lead.
I will never understand why he tought it would be a great idea to change Paper Mario 3DS the way he did.
There's a reason departments in a company need to work separately, so the ideals of one department doesn't conflict with the development of another.
On the other hand I think Miyamoto is probably the head of all design divisions so it's probably his job to slap down some budget issues. I too agree it's a little unusual to spend a lot of money on story before even getting gameplay design down.
I agree Miyamoto controls a little too much on Nintendo game development (removing story from Sticker Star is my least favorite thing he did) But I think I can stand behind him on this one.
Yeah, what @Spin said.
There is one constant here in all of these recent stories: Miyamoto.
For as much that he has done for Nintendo, he is now just as big a reason for their downfall. The guy just simply needs to go.
I don't know if anyone around here is a college football fan (probably not being UK based) but this is the equivalent of Bobby Bowden's last years at Florida State.
Just retire, man!
@Spin Agreed. I can understand his decision on this.
I would have been mad too if NST was spending that much on CGI without nailing down the game first.
I'm not sure why, but I'm predicting some sort of Talking Point article about Miyamoto soon... followed by (literally) hate comments.
@KingofSaiyans I read an article recently which said he tried to ruin Goldeneye by saying it should have less killing or at least you should hug all the people you shot at the end of the game. Probably why Nintendo never seem to broaden their horizons in terms of the type of games they make
@gatorboi352 agreed. He was great back in the nes snes n64, start of GameCube era, but he is stuck there where as most if not all developers have moved on and realise what their audience want in a video game, yes violence and blood and stuff, and god forbid, an actual story too!
I know this story/game is nearly 10 years ago and that goldeneye story (Miyamoto wanting characters to shake hands with bond in the credits of the game ( rolls eyes) is near 20 years ago but Miyamoto is way behind and I have a feeling most people in Nintendo can't wait for him to retire and move on with his life so new fresh young blood can make games for kids and most importantly, the real fans of Nintendo who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s now.
rant mode over
But he was right with this, them making cgi cut scenes before there is an actual game even started? But I think anyone dealing with a budget would do the same and slap them on the wrist for it.
This is a strange one to me, because you would imagine quite a lot of the game was already complete before the cancelation. You would think it would have been more economical to just get the game finished and make some money from it.
Oh great hating on Miyamoto has become the new cool thing to do. That said you probably would be pissed too if you found your studio was blowing loads on elaborate CGI at the expense of the gameplay itself
"Miyamoto's Role In The Game's Downfall"
Wow... he had nothing to do with it... his role was to be bugged at people wasting money and making costly decisions that didn't necesarily flow with nintendo's way of doing things.
Also I love how everyone is an expert at running a multi million pound video games company. Makes me laugh people making decisions on miyamoto based on a couple of web anecdotes.
Yeah......spending million/s on CGI cut scenes at an early time in development seems like a poor choice and should be a concern of the person in charge of game development. Interesting to see how poor management can destroy a project and a team though. I'm sure most of us can relate to that at one point or another in our professional lives.
This game doesn't look like it ever would've amounted to much. Very uncreative. Videogames in general should be fun, but they should also benefit the player so it's not a big waste of time. Things like puzzle solving and gameplay elements that test your ability to multi task. Or the very least a story with a valuable lesson to be learned. Sure there are great games that lack these elements (House of the Dead Overkill is pretty funny), but your not going to see tons of them every console cycle. This is one less video game in what has become a oversaturated market. And yeah, I would've been pissed if I found out $1 mil was dropped on some CGI cutscenes, for this one at least.
@Morph Exactly my thoughts. Once all that money had already been spent, why throw it down the drain?
What ashame could have been good with the right producers n developers in charge.
@KingofSaiyans it was changed to a Star Fox game so Nintendo could retain it. This was around the time Microsoft was talking with Rare. The release date of SFAdv was one day before Microsoft fully owned Rare. If it stayed as Dinosaur Planet, it would likely have been an Xbox title.
@Morph I agree 100%. It's so sad how people are so easily manipulated by articles like these. "Miyamoto needs to go!!!!!" - I'm not being a blind fanboy, but I think even in modern times Miyamoto's input is more positive than negative most of the time...I mean did everyone forget that without him Metroid Prime would have been a lame 3rd person Zelda clone?
Apparently it was over before it began. NST seriously erred in their fervent belief in the concept by ordering CG work before there was even a game on paper. That is an incredible move by a small developer working on its first large scale, original IP.
I understand that some might have felt racism played a part in Nintendo's hierarchy, but you can pretty much understand what the craftsmen at NCL thought of a bunch of young-buck western developers budgeting extravagant, superfluous (perfect word, actually) cinematic work without a solid foundation of game design.
Ok, Miyamoto this time really didn't have a role in the downfall, I would say it was pretty natural to stop an excessive expense on CGI cutscenes, especially for the case of Project H.A.M.M.E.R. whose game design was yet to be clarified.
Because it's interesting information. If you don't like it, then don't read it.
@BigBabyPeach He need not go, just to take more of a back seat.
@sketchturner Sends a message to the developers basically. Poor management on Nintendo's behalf.
@LUIGITORNADO I think that's already happened. He's said himself that he's not at all involved in the development of the NX, plus he's no longer General Producer of EAD. That said, I have no idea if his new title "Creative Fellow" really means that he has less input.
What's up with people criticizing Miyamoto on this? I don't think you're looking further past the fact he scrapped the CGI cut scenes (My god, he's a dinosaur! Everyone does CGI now!) but overlook that NST had the CGI scenes created before the actual game was even close to being finalized. It would create an albatross around the game designers necks to fashion the gameplay around the cutscenes rather than having the cut scenes reflect the gameplay and wherever that would lead. It's a bad way to create a game, pretty irresponsible and potentially wasteful.
@KingofSaiyans Is that what we Really want in games? look what happens on those "interactive movies" we have on other consoles
anyway, the game was never promising, a trainwreck to start with
What is with these commentors who don't even read the whole story and think about it before posting? It seems like they're just venting their dirty laundry on their beefs with Miyamoto. Nintendo Life isn't helping, with this misleading, click baiting title; you all should know better.
If anything, it sounds like Miyamoto was doing his job properly in this case. Who the hell would commission such an expensive entourage for a barely worked on project with a game design document/build that wasn't even close to being finished, anyways? What do fancy cinematics matter if you don't have a good game already behind it, anyways? Miyamoto was nipping a money sink in the bud.
The real problems here came from the neglectful (or even abusive) behavior of other senior Nintendo staffers, such as Katsuhiko Kanno. They failed to reign in the studio, treat their workers fairly, and keep their budget under control. This doesn't seem so much like a story of racism (more like pulling the racism card as an excuse for lawyering purposes), so much as it is a story of general incompetence, unprofessional behavior and poor planning.
The Miyamoto connection seems pretty weak. If I ordered lots of expensive materials to make something that hadnt been finalised for my job, I'd expect to be fired.
It does seem like 'Blame Miyamoto' month at the mo. I'm pretty sure he's not the person insisting on poor marketing and weak hardware. The only thing that annoys me about him is the fact his projects never seem to get made or they're not that good or successful but get sequels....
Miyamoto needs to go... Get some young new guys and gals, not the dinosaurs
And the title baits some of the same people who were all to happy to vent off against Miyamoto in that Goldeneye article, among other things.
Quite honestly, this personal crusade against this man, of all people, is distasteful to say the very least...and it's kinda sad to see NLife kinda promoting it due to it being a sure-fire way to get more clicks and comments
@KingofSaiyans Why? There's Halo and there's Metroid; If all games are the same whats the fun?
Also, Metroid Prime and Super Metroid are two of the best games ever, don't need to copy the formula from "avarege" games such as the last Halo's. MoM tried to go this route, but ended up, err...
The destruction of NST was a huge failing at Nintendo, IMO as they created some of my favorite games. So, I was glad to find out more about it.
Wow, I loved the CG scenes in Mario vs DK 2. Was technically impressive to see on the DS at the time.
@gatorboi352 “For as much that he has done for Nintendo, he is now just as big a reason for their downfall. The guy just simply needs to go.”
What?! Did you even watch the video? He was upset because they spend a huge amount of money in cutscenes for a game NTS didn't even know how would played. Gameplay first, everything else comes later.
And people shouldn't be afraid about him telling every studio not to make cutscenes, that's not what he did. If a games needs something (such as orchestrated music, cutscenes, etc) then it's fine to spend money on it, on the other hand, if a game doesn't need it, then why spend so much money in something superflous?
Gosh, now everyone want a reason to hate on Miyamoto.
@KingofSaiyans Metroid Prime storytelling is perfect, even by today's stardards. If you want something more cinematic you can play Halo and many games of that kind.
They are right, polish first the gameplay and all other is an extra to shine the game. A lot of games must follow this to be great.
@gatorboi352 "this is the equivalent of Bobby Bowden's last years at Florida State"
You're aware around the time that Miyamoto criticized the use of $1million on cutscenes before the gameplay was done(which is a pretty good call) is very shortly after coming up with Nintendogs which sold 25 million?
You lot should probably stick to the recent years you know where you can take advantage of the WiiU and 3DS's low sales to take pot shots at the guy. Saying he was out of touch anywhere before 2011(and even afterwards is a stretch) is ludicrous because he was still the most valuable mind at Nintendo.
I can't be mad or disappointed at a game that I never knew existed.
...Aaaand the Miyamoto crying begins.
You people do realise he isn't the only developer in the company, right? He isn't some Mother Brain-esque figure who exerts his influence over a horde of drones. There are other decision-makers. Takashi Tezuka. Yoshiaki Koizumi. Eiji Aonuma. Hidekki Konno. Genyo Takeda. Stockholders. Other dudes.
But hey, let's all ignore that. And let's all ignore everything Miyamoto has done for both Nintendo and the industry. Why bother appreciating what a genius he is (and he is a genius) when we could whine about Sticker Star and Wii Music for the billionth time? Or Star Fox? Or Project Guard/Robot? Or the Wii U? Or every other life-shattering travesty that is all one man's fault?
Does he make mistakes? Of course - he's human. But god forbid he should want to focus on fun gameplay over superfluous trends that 99% of the game industry is already enamoured with. God forbid he still values unique and quirky ideas that form the entire basis of gaming as a creative enterprise. God forbid that he doesn't kneel down before the inane ramblings of 'gamers' who don't know whether to p** or wind their watch.
I'm off to play Pikmin 3.
@KingofSaiyans This is exactly what I'm talking about.
Just because a game's story is presented like a movie doesn't automatically make it 'better'. In fact, it comes off as a crutch by designers who can't think of a more unique way of presenting a narrative.
Game are meant to evoke emotions in new ways, and a lack of cutscenes and voice acting isn't a bad thing.
It's the gameplay that's supposed to tell the story, not the overproduced Hollywood twaddle in between.
Of course, kids today don't know any better, and think games like Uncharted are stories 'done right'. Oh, and that Nintendo is 'out of touch' by not following such shallow trends. Mark my words, today's 'cinematic' games are tomorrow's badly-aged trash. Just like FMV games of the '90s, people will look back and laugh - because they were built as flash-in-the-pan experiences.
Why do you think Metroid was so successful in the first place? Because its minimal story evoked a sense of loneliness and mystery. Something that was 'improved' with movie tropes in Other M (a game I actually liked, but nevertheless strayed from the Metroid mantra).
Yeah I have to say I don't get the bagging on Nintendo and Miyamoto for poo-pooing CGI. I mean if that's what makes modern games "great" then you're actually saying they really suck.
Cut scenes can help tell a story if you can't be bothered building the story into the game. QTEs are anti-gaming, as is having me finish a boss fight in which the boss is destroyed only to have a cut scene showing that isn't the case and having the game continue for hours longer (looking at RE4 and many many many other games).
If you're blowing millions of your budget on movies and you don't even have something to play, then yes, you absolutely deserve to be fired/have your game canned or scaled back. This is exactly why game budgets are bloated and the games themselves have failed to improve in narrative choices or design over the past decade.
Thank goodness! Cut scenes are so distracting and really pull the player away from the gameplay they're invested in at the moment. That's a real problem a lot of modern narrative games suffer from.
I can understand with the cost at that time with cutscenes for a game for a system that may or may not do well (at that time, nobody would know how well the system would be).
Other than that, was the game ending pretty good, or was it lacking a lot of stuff that could have made it a hit???
Onto the topics about Miyamoto, I wouldn't cut the cutscenes out of every game...sometimes, they make nice addictions (Uncharted and even in Zelda games), to make players more aware of the story that is trying to be told. Somebody mentioned on here about nintendo fans that are now 30 or beyond, and yeah, it would be nice for them to go with that crowd, but nintendo is just like disney, and kid friendly is their main mission. They can still make the teen and mature games (Eternal Darkness, Spirit Camera, Dementia and more) but they're still going to make more kid-friendly titles over all. That's where different studios come in. Star Fox and Legend Of Zelda should be growing with the age groups, not continue getting kiddish (Wind Waker).
I do. I have a PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, and I play PC games.
This game always looked too repetive to be enjoyful for more than 10 minutes. Atleast those videos could have made it easier to watch.
Makes me wonder how much was spent on the CGI for "Metroid: Other M".
Haha. You ppl blame Miyamoto when he DOES allow mediocre games to be released and now you also blame him when he DOES NOT help the release of an awful game. You should blame him for keeping the video game industry alive while you're at it- 'Now I have no social skills cos Miyamoto got me addicted to these stupid games'
The game looked terrible. I think kids got excited about it because they wanted that main character to be in Smash and nothing more.
Interesting, as always!
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