Nintendo has major trust issues when it comes to their first-party franchises, so it’s a bit curious that they’d hand Super Smash Bros. over to a third-party developer. But Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada says it’s not that weird.
In a chat with Siliconera, Harada notes that his company’s consistent pace with Tekken was a key element for landing the Super Smash Bros. contract over other fighting game developers:
“I think Nintendo chose us just because Smash Brothers is a fighting game. We have over 17 years of continuously developing titles in our franchise [Tekken], I think they felt we were a choice for that,” answered Katsuhiro Harada, Tekken series producer.
Of course, it also helps when you play ball with Nintendo behind the scenes, too.
Although development for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS is anything but easy, Namco Bandai has been supporting both systems with Tekken releases despite the added production costs. That extra effort goes a long way, and both companies are pretty chummy with each other as a result.
“Also, we’ve continually developed a very good relationship with Nintendo,” Harada continued. “Maybe not necessarily in the public spotlight but kind of behind the scenes. We have established a very good working relationship with them. Not just Nintendo, but as a company, we have a very good relationship with Sakurai-san at Sora as well. I think that we are in very good position to make a great game for the Smash Brothers series.”
Namco Bandai also co-developed another Nintendo title, Mario Super Sluggers, so this isn’t the group’s first swing with Nintendo characters. That game did over a million copies in sales for North America alone, to boot.
HAL Laboratory has handled all the Super Smash Bros. titles up to this point, along with most Kirby games and the occasional Pokémon spin-off. Namco Bandai is currently doing double duty on the next installment, which will be cross-developed for both the Nintendo Wii U and the 3DS systems.