Nintendo has a great track record with its development partners, but not everyone has necessarily found it to be an easy process. Jupiter Corporation – the Japanese developer behind the Picross series on the Switch – recently revealed the difficulties of working with the video game giant.
Speaking to VGC, Jupiter’s managing director Norichika Meguro mentioned how the team was eager to work with Nintendo on a collaborative project for the 30th anniversary of the Picross series in 2025, but had been having trouble getting the Mario developer to “say yes” to a pitch. In fact, it’s apparently become “more difficult than ever” to work through Nintendo’s approval process.
As highlighted by the source, Nintendo owns the ‘Picross’ name while the “systems behind the puzzle games” are the property of Jupiter – with all the games on the Switch so far developed and published by Jupiter, with “no input” from Nintendo.
Norichika Meguro: “We’re eager to make these collaborations happen, but it’s pretty much down to Nintendo’s judgement, and the final say is on their side, not ours. We want to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Picross in 2025, and we’ve been pitching Nintendo for this, but it’s been really hard to get them to say yes.
“Going through their approval process has become more difficult than ever, so the easier way to work with Nintendo is to publish something with our own IP, not the other way round where a developer pitches Nintendo and waits for Nintendo to provide the IP to make the collaboration happen.”
Keep in mind, this is just a single developer account. Nintendo is also known for being incredibly protective of its IP. Although there have been a number of occasions where the company has allowed development teams on the outside to work with its famous franchises.
In more recent years it’s arguably improved these relations – with games like The Legend of Zelda: Cadence of Hyrule and collaborations with companies like Xbox, and even movie studios such as Illumination. Jupiter also released the The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Picross on the 3DS in 2016.
Plenty of other cases documented reveal how a partnership with Nintendo can greatly improve developers’ situations. MercurySteam – the team behind Metroid Dread – only recently reiterated how it was “heaven” working with Nintendo, even if it had to meet its “super-high standards”.