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Project H.A.M.M.E.R. - What went Wrong with the Wii Title

project_h.a.m.m.e.r._2

Unseen64’s Liam Roberston has uploaded a new video into what went wrong with Project HAMMER for the Wii. This video explains what happened within Nintendo Software technology as a whole, including some apparent racism.

Here is a summary of the video provided by Nintendo Everything
– After 1080, NST went on to start a new project (a small team that outsourced concept art, CGI opening, etc)
– The internal name for the project was MachineX
– In 2005 it had reached 75% completion and was nearing completion
– Japanese staff were overseeing the development at the studio which posed cultural challenges
– There were continued arguments and debate between the Japanese management and the NST developers
– At late 2007, it was 4 years in development
– Towards the end, changes were demanded to the environments and then the entire visuals
– This complete change despite mechanics eventually culminated in a more ‘lighter, casual’ visual style that was codenamed Wii Crush
– 2008 onwards, staff left
– Nintendo of America had to carry out a review of staff conditions which recorded a low morale
– Midway into 2009, a small number of staff still continued to work onto it until it ended
– NCL finally withdrew funding
– ‘Nintendo have made some great games, but with NST it came with a price': Former NST developer


  • ednice

    This makes Nintendo look so perfect, there’s no way that maybe some shitty people work there.

  • SoccerStar9001

    This is more of a cultural conflict rather than racism.

    Cultural conflict happens all the time. Can be about food, TV, art, music, etc.

    Racism is where US show a game and people rip it apart, but Japan show the exact same game and people praise it.

  • 7thlevel JR

    Tragic

  • getagrip

    as the NX nears the HATE increases

    bu bu but its about x86 not a 30 year hatred WAKE UP

    • Travis Touchdown

      The NX isn’t relevant.

  • getagrip

    WHO CARES, NON NEWS AGAIN PRETENDING TO BE NEWS

  • metroidkong

    Just like with the SNES Play Station thing, you go on any news article about this and it’s all “Sony is so superior to Nintendo” comment crap and “Sony owns the games industry now”. Any excuse to make Nintendo look bad. Its been the same story since the N64 was in development…. People have no respect for the company that basically both saved and created the modern gaming scene and still puts its primary focus in fun. It’s unfortunate that this project ended badly, but why is this all coming out now? Could it be because of the widespread media bias against Nintendo? Of course! If this happened with Sony or Microsoft people would just sweep it under the rug. Can you tell I’m a little fed up lately? 😉

    • CapableTie

      Are you talking about this site, or all around the industry? The entire industry has had it out for them for a very long time I think, but this site doesn’t.

    • Travis Touchdown

      Sony can’t control the games industry, because they don’t make actual games.

      At the moment, the PS4 is sustaining itself by appealing to the Fifa crowd. Not that there’s anything wrong with Fifa, mind you, but personally I would prefer to actually go out and play soccer than play a video game about it.

    • Whybee

      It’s all because of that dumb E3 conference. People still think E3’s the end-all be-all of everything.

      • Travis Touchdown

        It has nothing to do with the E3 conference: That’s just the the excuse for this week.

        Try following any YouTuber, press outlet, or any other figure in the industry for any length of time and you will see them criticize Nintendo for no real reason. Video Games Awesome is an excellent example of this, in my mind. They skipped over Fire Emblem and Xenoblade Chronicles X in the Direct in order to make it look worse than it actually was, and constantly shit on their fans for wanting them to cover those games. They said Sony won both E3 2014 and 2015. I have issues with both opinions, of course, but the 2014 statement is especially laughable in hindsight, considering how Sony fans had nothing to play for the entire year.

        It’s so weird seeing these guys or Shokio criticize Nintendo for doing nothing new, and then going after them when they demonstrate cool new stuff Federation Force and Star Fox, all the while Sony is involved with all sorts of shady practices, the Shenmue Kickstarter being the most prominent.

        Youtubers are going to start pushing the ‘anti Nintendo’ angle now that they can’t exploit successful games for profit by streaming them, which is why they’ve become especially blatant about how biased they are in the past few months.

    • alex9234

      Did you read the real story behind the SNES CD fiasco? Sony was NO innocent victim.

  • CapableTie

    It sounds like they were just being stubborn when the developer wouldn’t radically change their game the way they wanted them to.

  • Travis Touchdown

    I imagine this is another Silicon Knights, Factor Five, or the Geist guys situation: In which a bunch of devs who have made great content for Nintendo systems think they know better than their management, and try to become like other western devs. Silicon Knights and Factor Five didn’t want to support the Wii’s ‘weak’ hardware, and went bankrupt for their trouble when they tried to go HD.

    I think it’s this sort of mentality that makes Nintendo so wary of utilizing western devs in general. They always go out of their way to not do what Nintendo wants them to do.

    One of the reasons Nintendo is so happy with Next Level Games is how they’re willing to make compromises for the differences between Nintendo proper and themselves, and create compelling content anyway. They somehow managed to make Mario Strikers look badass and cool, all while not compromising the fact that it’s meant to be a Mario game. Metroid Prime Federation Force is another example, where a game based around shooting things as a really unique art style and game modes that you wouldn’t expect to see in this kind of game.

    • Edith Reese!

      The difference between those developers is that NST is still developing games today. Like the Mario vs Donkey Kong series. Those were good puzzle games to play on? 😉

    • Edith Reese!

      The difference between those developers is that NST is still developing games today. Like the Mario vs Donkey Kong series. Those were good puzzle games to play on? 😉

    • Titangamecube

      It’s funny because Retro had the same problems. Delayed games, overbudget, and general full of themselves.It got so bad that they had to send Miyamoto and Tanabe (correct me on the name) to get Retro under control.

      • Travis Touchdown

        A lot of people have left Retro over the years, and I imagine that was entirely due to Nintendo weeding out the ones who weren’t being cooperative. Considering the last I heard of those people was when they announced they were working on Halo 4, I don’t think anyone really misses them.

        Nintendo has shown that they try very hard in order to salvage decaying teams. (Those guys who kept pushing out those terrible Yoshi games for the past ten years come to mind) As such, I simply don’t believe that Nintendo is the problem when it comes to dealing with western developers.

        • Titangamecube

          I always say this, if a game is cancelled by Nintendo, you know it’s bad.

          Anyway, I forgot to add one more company and they are the most infamous: Rare. Overbudgeting games, managers/developers who were full of themselves, etc. But I really can’t say that without being attacked but it’s the truth. Now about Nintendo not understanding the west, we all know that’s s a bunch of crap since they were going to allow an EA developer work on f zero but they turned it down. I think it’s the West not understanding…no not just Nintendo…but not understanding how being a good developer is like.

          • Liquid-Sunrise

            I now can understand why Nintendo is hesitant to buy more Western companies after reading this.

          • Titangamecube

            Pretty much this. There are developers who can be really good but have poor management. If the game was bad at first but Nintendo gave you a second chance and it was still garbage, you know the project is going to be killed off.

        • Edith Reese!

          Yarn Yoshi is good… Yoshi’s New Island is piece of abomination game that deserves to die! lol

          • Travis Touchdown

            Woolly World is being worked on by Good Feel, who are an AMAZING studio. I was referring to Arzhest, Artoon, or whatever they decide to call themselves when they roll out of bed in the morning.

  • Frankie4Fingers1983

    Every since e3 Nintendo is being shat on for everything haha. There’s even been websites claiming homophobia because of a bad translation by a fan on 4chan about a series of conversations in IF. Said websites didn’t do any research of course and just attacked.

    This video isn’t news, it’s one side of a story by some guy on YouTube.

    • Blackgold

      This Guy has been very accurate as far as his reporting on Nintendo has been concerned. So please don’t dismiss it outright

      • Frankie4Fingers1983

        It’s still one side to a story. If you can’t reveal your research, then you shouldn’t use it. He has reports about how bad it is, but can’t show us due to privacy, then he shouldn’t be citing them.

        How many devs have said working with Nintendo has been better than what they expected it to be? That they went in thinking it would be tough because of preconceived notions, but they had more freedom than they imagined? Then there’s this, saying they’re working in hellish working conditions, but can’t release the documents proving it.

        There are three sides to every story, both parties sides and then the truth. This report paints Nintendo into the opposite of what other developers have said.

        This isn’t news, this is one side of a story.

        • Blackgold

          Firstly there is nothing wrong with anonymous sources, every professional news agency in the world uses anonymous sources. Most people would not be willing to talk to a journalist if it was not for the ability to remain hidden. Secondly it was stated he used multiple sources in which again is the standard for journalism. The only non professional act that can be stated about this report was he didn’t contact Nintendo for a comment so that they could state their position on the accusations.
          With that said and done. Not every person has the same work experience within the same company. Not all managers behave in the same manner. You can’t definitively say that NST wasn’t beset with some bad apples. It was stated that the majority of the staff left, the only way you can contest the claim of poor work conditions is if you contest the authenticity of that statement. No worthwhile workplace will ever encounter a mass exodus of its employees. No matter where you go in the world, even the best companies have assholes working for it. Nintendo is no exception.
          You said there are three sides to every story but it seems you wish to wholly dismiss any credibility from this report, even though the person making the report has proven himself credible on multiple occasions. I’m a massive Nintendo fan but I won’t immediately dismiss any claims from a valid source pertaining to their conduct, I would hope you do the same.

          • Titangamecube

            Problem with Anonymous sources is that they are biased as all hell. Whether its good or bad, never trust them at all. Sure, I get the whole wanting to protect your identity and I understand that, but you have ways to censor the names associated with the company but can still provide the information given. But the reason why I have problem with the sources is that there are other companies and developers stating the opposite in how they work with Nintendo. They have been named and have been cited saying its a great relationship. There is a problem too in that they could just be doing this to save face but its more credible because they put their name out there. Another fault to this is other companies who also had “problems with Nintendo”. Rare had key people leaving the company before Nintendo eventually sold them but Rare employees have noted to have a positive experience with Nintendo. Factor Five and Silicon Knights didn’t want to work on the “weak hardware” of the Wii and in the Silicon Knights case, had Dennis Dyack leading the helm and let just say, he is more shady than a forest on a sunny day. And lastly, Retro studios had people leaving after Metroid Prime was complete and some of them left to make Armature Studios and they have not worked on anything big except for Halo 4. But this was due to Retro pulling a Rare with overbudgeting, delaying games, and being generally full of themselves. It got so bad that Miyamoto and Tanabe had to go over there to straighten things out. And you don’t want Miyamoto having to straighten things out

            Like Frankie4Fingers1983 said, there are sides to this story but if one side doesn’t give evidence to confirm this, then the video is nothing but fluff. The “burden of proof” as the saying goes.

          • Blackgold

            I didn’t want to reply to you but your info is all wrong. Firstly the people that left retro due to the problems at the studio and its restructuring/ purchase by Nintendo happened before the making of Metroid Prime. The former Retro staff members now at Armature, stated the reason behind their departure was they didn’t want to continue developing Metroid titles.
            Factor five and Silicon Knights have no bearing on a discussion about the treatment of employees by Nintendo because they were contractors. Those companies had their own internal management structure that Nintendo had absolutely no control over.
            Lastly key people didn’t leave Rare until after it was sold to Microsoft, many of them citing reasons similar to what was stated about NST and many doing so anonymously.
            I hope I’m not coming across as a prick. I’m not on the side of this is 100% fact. I haven’t been given any compelling reason to dispute the validity of this report, so I’m keeping an open mind. Anyway, I don’t know what more could be said about this topic so even if you reply I’m pretty much done.

          • Titangamecube

            Well thank you for being a bit of a hypocrite. You said we should be not dismissing sources outright and you did it to mine. I’ll go over the rare situation: they were delaying games, asking for more and more money and the management was being full of themselves. It got so bad that key people left rare. If they left because Nintendo were being assholes, why would some of them develop for the Wii u? Why in the hell did they get the music composer from rare to create the soundtrack for tropical freeze? That doesn’t sound like Nintendo being an asshole.
            Now like I said about anonymous sources: they are biased as all hell. No matter if it paints the company in a good or bad light, they are biased. And I said this before, you can release information while still protecting the privacy of these people but if you can’t show the information, then we must question the sources.

  • Gabe Hoffman

    I think racism is a bit much. You never saw this happen with Next Level and Retro I am guessing part of it may have been a clash of ideas. Still I don’t think its nearly as bad as the corporate infighting betwen Sega Japan and Sega America in the 90’s. Sadly I know haters will turn this into ammo with the whole Nintendo is evil deal. The demo was garbage from what I hear so I am not too surprised they canned it

    • *NormalGamer*

      “I think racism is a bit much. You never saw this happen with Next Level and Retro I am guessing part of it may have been a clash of ideas.”

      I suppose so. Still, that’s sad that this conflict between NCL and NST had to mess things up for this game; Project H.A.M.M.E.R. would’ve been a great new IP.

      • Gabe Hoffman

        Sadly people are now jumping on the Nintendo doesn’t get the west or doesn’t trust western studios bandwagon. If they really didn’t trust western devs then why did they hand Metroid over to Retro or put Punch Out in the hands of Next Level

      • Frankie4Fingers1983

        How can you say it “would’ve” been a great new IP when everyone working on it said it was boring or just plain bad?

        • *NormalGamer*

          Yes, i’m aware of the gameplay concerns; i’m just saying had the gameplay been redone from scratch things would’ve been different.

          • Frankie4Fingers1983

            They redesigned the game and it still stunk.

            New IP doesn’t mean good new IP.

            They worked on it for 5.5 years, changed the game and yet it was still boring. Should they have taken another 5 years to redo it from scratch? They tried and failed with this game.

            I’m sure in the 5.5 years they discussed changing the gameplay, but clearly didn’t find a solution to make this game good

          • *NormalGamer*

            I guess you’re right.

          • Frankie4Fingers1983

            I get sheet you’re coming from though. You see a new IP and wonder “what could have been”, I’m the same way. I think it’s a real shame that they couldn’t take this idea and make a good game out if it. I would have loved to play a game where I’m a cyborg mashing bad guys up with a massive hammer.

          • Edith Reese!

            They could’ve rework the game from the ground up for Wii U. But at that time, it was too late. :(

          • Frankie4Fingers1983

            It get that, but they already did and already spent money on an admittedly boring game. Why drop more money on something that isn’t even showing signs of progressing into something fun?

    • Saleem Rasul Abdul Aziz

      Racism is a bit much but it is undeniable that Nintendo was a bit full of themselves during the Wii era. The sales threshold for digital games was so high that some developers never saw a cent back in profits. Not too mention the general obtuseness they displayed back then.The bloody nose they have received with the Wii U has made them a lot nicer to be around and a lot more open to criticism and such.

      Despite everything though they are a lot more straight forward than MS or Sony who would get developers with double talk and lawyer speak. Quite frankly I would rather deal with an honest jerk than a friendly hypocrite.

  • Macreen Smith

    Oh Boy.