Nintendo’s president has revealed that the company is exploring creating further animated movie and television content for its game franchises, beyond the upcoming Super Mario movie.
The Super Mario movie is currently in development at Despicable Me studio Illumination, with a 2022 release window previously scheduled.
Speaking as part of a wide-ranging feature on Fast Company, Nintendo’s Shuntaro Furukawa said the company was looking into creating animation content for its other series, and suggested that this would be dependent on finding partners who “deeply understand” the source material.
“Animation, in general, is something that we are looking into, and not just this franchise,” he said.
The Super Mario movie is being produced by creator Shigeru Miyamoto, who Furukawa said is “very, very hands-on” with production. However, the exec suggested he wasn’t keen to devote too many of its employees to these sorts of side project.
“Something we really made sure to avoid was that when being engaged in this IP expansion outside of game development, that we don’t cut into the game development resources on our side,” he said.
“And to realize that, we made sure that although people who deeply understand the characters and deeply understand the game are involved, that we keep the number of people involved to a minimum.”
Nintendo has historically been very protective of its intellectual property, only greenlighting television and film projects for the Zelda animated show and Super Mario Bros. movie 30 years ago.
However, during the past decade, the company has increasingly moved to leverage its popular IP in various ways. The company’s Nintendo Tokyo store opened in November 2019, and Super Nintendo World theme parks are set to open at Universal Studios locations around the world.
In its corporate management meeting in September last year, Nintendo said it had “already embarked on multiple other visual content projects” alongside Illumination’s Mario movie.
“Visual content” initiatives may not be limited to film, it said, suggesting that it could expand its game franchises via other mediums such as television or comic books.
“The scale of our investments will vary based on the type of project, but we will continue to invest in these entertainment expansion initiatives to increase the number of people who have access to our IP.”
Nintendo reportedly cancelled plans for a live-action Legend of Zelda series and Star Fox claymation show after Netflix leaked details to the press.
That’s according to comedian and voice actor Adam Conover, who claimed that Hollywood production company CollegeHumor was set to work on the Star Fox show before Nintendo abruptly stepped away from discussions.