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E3 2014 Interview with Nintendo's VP of Corporate Affairs, Cindy Gordon

Cindy Gordon
Cindy Gordon

We got the opportunity to sit down and chat with Nintendo's VP of Corporate Affairs, Cindy Gordon. Nintendo seemed to truly bring the titles and announcements to this year's E3 event, with Super Smash Bros., the new Zelda reveal, and the announcement of Amiibo. Gordon had much to say about the games that Nintendo had on the show floor at this year's E3 event.

Yoshi's Woolly World is sure to melt the heart of Yoshi fans, by bringing a new feel to the environment of the world. Yoshi is now knitted into a world of yarn for a whole new look to a beloved franchise.

Yoshi's Woolly World, for me, is amazing and feels hand-made. We filmed this segment of the Digital Event at an actual yarn store in Japan. The owner of the store even made us a yarn Yoshi. The game looks like it is literally hand-sewn and stitched together. It is incredible what they've done with the game mechanics. I love the idea of exploration and not to have a time limit to just be able to enjoy the world. The fact that you now have two Yoshis is pretty neat so you can have even more fun with a friend. My friend and I were playing co-op Yoshi and we got consumed because it's so much fun to explore. I like Mario too, with the time limits, but it's nice to slow down every once in a while, like in Yoshi's Woolly World.

There is an artistry to the game that feels very special. I call it Nintendo Magic and Pixie Dust.

While we love games like Bayonetta that are making their way to the Nintendo Wii U, it is also great to slow down the pace with some great family-oriented games. Gordon touched on Mario Maker, as well.

Players love Bayonetta, which is on the mature end of the spectrum and you have Yoshi's Woolly World on the other, and Mario Maker is another special project that Mr. Miyamoto has been working on. It gives you the opportunity to make your own custom courses from the original classic and new [Mario games]. You can switch to either game you want, using the stylus on the GamePad to put in warp pipes, Goombas, and everything you need, to create a custom level and play it through. This was a rush for me, since I played it on the original SNES, but the thought of 'I can influence a course?' offers a lot of potential.

Before asking a couple of questions and in just chatting, Gordon covered that the Nintendo family likes to share the gaming experiences with the families at home, as a way to bring them together, while sharing a common hobby and passion.

Tanya: My husband and I have three sons and it is great to have games for ourselves, like Bayonetta and also be able to have games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. that are family-oriented work perfect for me.

Gordon: It sounds like you have the ideal family for Nintendo consoles because something like Mario Kart 8 allows people of all levels to play together and have a good time. I was playing with my three-year old nephew and he was sitting on my lap pressing the A button, as I steered and we played against the 14-year old, as well as my husband. So, there's great range for people of all skills and ages.

Tanya: With games, my priority is great gameplay and then we can move onto graphics. The aesthetics of a game can be absolutely gorgeous, but with no heart and soul, it is just a pretty game. Nintendo has a good reputation for releasing products that are well-polished. The quality team does a great job on working toward a finished product that has few to none glitches and the Nintendo graphics are an added bonus.

Gordon: The developers will not put out the game unless it is to our perfection. They are tweaking all the way until launch. The games do not come out until they are ready so that the fans have a great experience with them. So, I definitely agree.

The other big news for us was the reveal of amiibo. These interactive figures add extra value because they will be available for use with other titles, besides Super Smash Bros.. The players will not have to purchase additional peripherals because NFC is built into the GamePad and your amiibo is portable. You can take it to play at a friend's house and while you may both have Mario amiibo, they will play differently because they are customized with different moves. We can only imagine the imaginative things the developers can do with these figures in future titles.

Tanya: We all know that Nintendo has a very very loyal fan base, what strategies, besides amiibo, are in play to try to bring back the casual fan base that the Wii instilled in the home?

Gordon: Great question. Our DNA is 'Fun for All' and we always strive to make a wide range of games that are geared toward a wide range of people. So again, these all-age appropriate, more casual titles like Kirby, Yoshi, and Mario Kart, will help grow our installed base significantly.

You see the Luigi Death Stare taking off virally because somebody posted that to the Mario Kart TV and then other people hear about it. The next thing you know, our bundle is out of stock because of that 'I've-got-to-have-that' viral sensation happening. It takes some strong titles like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. and in between those we have a lot of both first-party and third-party titles that appeal to core and casual players. From Bayonetta and Devil's Third to Skylanders, Just Dance, Disney Infinity, and Sonic -we have a nice mix and a diverse and imaginative lineup that will pull in from a big range of players. I feel it's a great time to play Wii U and for people coming into it for the first time. The collective library for Wii U has close to 100 games and our metacritic track record is above 85, so all very high quality games. Plus, the indie games we have, like Pushmo, dial up the interest level. I feel the best times for Wii U are yet ahead. The best is yet to come.

Tanya: Why can't we have a game, for example Animal Crossing: New Leaf, on the Wii U that utilizes the Nintendo 3DS's StreetPass function to allow the players to bring home all that they have collected with the feature to the Wii U version on their big screen as well?

Gordon: I'm going to pass your request along. We love passionate fans and I will personally pass that information along to our developers who work on that game.

Tanya: Nintendo has always been special to gamers, whether it is to the older generation who has been playing Nintendo from the very beginning, or what has been stemmed down to the younger generation. Either way, Nintendo has made a mark in the heart of their fans. How does it feel to work on a team that has such an influence to provide that magical feeling with heavy-hitting titles? How has it impacted the lives of the employees?

Gordon: It's a dream come true for me. I've been working with the company just over three years and I've been a fan for over twenty years. I used to play Nintendo on date night and that evolved into marriage and children. Believe it or not, my son is a huge gamer, but then he will say his mom is the one who introduced him into video games. It was our social time together and our opportunity to bond so, for me, Nintendo has a very special place in my heart. It's a true honor to work here and I am truly humbled by this experience every day. The talents that are around me make it astounding and I am lucky and blessed to get to be part of the Nintendo magic.

Nintendo promises to please the fans, both loyal and casual alike, with what is to come. Here is a breakdown of what is coming both the Wii U and the 3DS.

For Wii U in 2014:

  • Mario Kart 8, launched May 30
  • Shovel Knight, June 26
  • Wii Sports Club, July 25
  • Guacamelee, Summer
  • Hyrule Warriors, September 26
  • Just Dance 2015, October
  • Bayonetta 2, October
  • Skylanders Trap Team, October 5
  • LEGO Batman, Fall
  • Disney Infinity, Fall
  • Sonic Boom, November
  • Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, Holiday
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Holiday

Stay tuned for games such as Splatoon, Mario Maker, a new entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Yoshi’s Woolly World and also Kirby And The Rainbow Curse, coming in 2015.

For 3DS in 2014:

  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, September 16
  • Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, October 3
  • Pokemon Art Academy, October
  • Fantasy Life, October
  • Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, November 21

Plus also, stay tuned for games like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, coming in 2015

Nintendo is bringing some hard-hitting titles to the Wii U that will please players at almost any age and bring the magic back that the company is known for.

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