Let’s Meet Mario Party 9’s Developer

Over the past decade two video game companies have been synonymous with the Mario Party franchise: Hudson Soft and Nintendo. Now, for the first time in over 13 years a new developer is handling the next iteration in the Mario Party franchise. Some fans may be worried about what this means for the future of the Mario Party franchise and some may be excited by the prospect of a new developer breathing life into a franchise that some have called stale.

The developer tasked with creating the ninth installment of the Mario Party series is Nd Cube. You might be asking yourself, “Who is Nd Cube?”, but fear not because that is exactly why this article was written. Nd Cube was founded in 2000 by F-Zero producers Takehiro Izushi and Mitoshi Yamagami. Nintendo was interested in the company and purchased 78% of its stock. Fittingly for Izushi and Yamagami, Nd Cube’s first game was a new installment of the F-Zero series. F-Zero: Maximum Velocity was released in 2001 for the Game Boy Advance and garnered very positive reviews (and will also be released on the Nintendo 3DS as part of the 3DS Ambassador Program).

Nd Cube would also release several Japan-only Game Boy Advance games throughout 2001 and 2002 including EZ-Talk Shokyuuhen (1-6) and Dokodemo Taikyoku: Yakuman Advance. In 2003, Nd Cube released their first game for a home console with Pool Edge, a billiards simulation, for the Nintendo GameCube. While Pool Edge was only released in Japan, Nd Cube’s next console game, Tube Slider, would reach stateside. Tube Slider was a futuristic racing game, much in the vein of F-Zero, sadly the game was not received well and would cause a massive restructuring within the company.

After a lukewarm reception to Tube Slider, Nd  Cube decided to stop making games and the employees went to other companies. Instead of shutting down Nd Cube, Nintendo decided to purchase all of the stock in the company and turn it into a first party subsidiary. The newly restructured Nd Cube would stay dormant for several years until Nintendo got several key members of Hudson to come to Nd Cube to develop a new game in their Wii series.

Nd Cube’s first title in six years was to be a big one, a new installment in the popular Wii series. The game took many cues from Mario Party and is really the best indication that we have of what new changes may be in store for Mario Party 9. One of the complaints about the Mario Party series is that the game can sometimes be too slow. With that in mind, Nd Cube changed up the game play and Wii Party was a faster paced game than previous Mario Party games. I believe that this might explain the new vehicle-based game play in Mario Party 9. The game garnered generally favorable reviews and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

Now that you know about Nd Cube’s past, let’s take a brief look at what they have in store for the future. As you know, Nd Cube is now working on Mario Party 9, the long awaited newest installment of the Mario Party series. What new changes will they bring to the franchise? We will have to wait to find out.

Tyler Treese is a life long Mario Party fan who owns the Mario Party Forum and can be reached on Twitter @TylerTreese.

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