Nintendogs + Cats producer Hideki Konno tells Famitsu that device's signature feature wasn't added to spec sheet until 2008; tilt function came last year.
3D functionality is the hallmark feature of Nintendo's latest handheld, the 3DS, but that feature was apparently a late arrival to the device's development game plan. Speaking with Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu this week (and relayed by Andria Sang), Nintendogs + Cats producer Hideki Konno said that Nintendo's initial plan for the 3DS did not include 3D functionality.
In the interview, Konno said that he began contributing to the 3DS's development in early 2008, after Nintendo luminary Shigeru Miyamoto and CEO Satoru Iwata decided that a software specialist would be useful on the project. As such, Konno came to the project quite late, as development on the device had begun shortly after the original DS was completed and a number of prototypes for the system had already been created.
According to Konno, Nintendo initially saw backward compatibility as the primary feature for the new device, which necessitated a continuation of the dual-screen format with a touch panel. Konno went on to say that 3D initially became part of the picture after he had the hardware team experiment with the technology using a copy of Mario Kart Wii on a 3D LCD panel screen. 3D imaginings of Mario and Luigi were also part of the pitch reel to include 3D in the new handheld.
3D technology wasn't the only late arrival to the 3DS's final spec sheet. Konno also said that the system's gyro sensor was only introduced to the product before the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which served as a formal coming-out party for the device. According to Konno, Miyamoto insisted on the inclusion of the gyro sensor, saying "It feels like it's missing something," and "If there were a gyro sensor, the play could change greatly."
Due out in Japan this week, the 3DS is expected to arrive in North America on March 27, carrying a $250 price tag. For a full rundown on what to expect, check out GameSpot's 3DS launch center.