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Namco and Nintendo Worked on an EarthBound Concept for the GameCube

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Namco pitched an EarthBound game to Nintendo in the early 2000s that would have released on the GameCube.

Former Namco developer Yasuyuki Honne, who now works at Monolith Soft, made the revelation on Twitter. According to Honne, the two companies discussed the possibility of a fourth EarthBound game. The discussions culminated in a meeting with both Satoru Iwata and EarthBound creator Shigesato Itoi.

Nintendo Everything translated the Tweets, which explain how the idea came about and matured. Unfortunately for fans of the franchise, Itoi seemed uninterested in pursuing the idea from the very start. Honne said:

“I’m looking forward to the forthcoming book about Iwata-san. I met both Iwata-san and Itoi-san at the same time – it was back in 2003 when there were talks between Namco and Nintendo about a GameCube version of Mother. I was happy to come up with a visual concept, and when I went to Aoyama Iwata-san was also present.

“Itoi-san didn’t seem very interested; he felt it was a little strange, and yet we continued talks. Itoi-san said, ‘I wonder if Iwata-kun has any ideas?’ He seemed flabbergasted, he had an aura of something akin to ‘Aw jeez.’ In the end nothing came of it, but Itoi-san enjoyed the felt-like recreations of 1980’s America that I had come up with.”

Honne even posted some images of the concept art his team came up with. The images show a drastically different look to the original games, with the visuals having a clay-like appearance.

Even if the new EarthBound game had been made, a global release would have been unlikely. The series has traditionally not been well supported outside of Japan. In fact, the first title in the series didn’t see an official release in the West until 2015.

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Ubisoft Discusses How Uplay Plus Will Improve Communication With Players

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Ubisoft believes that its new subscription service Uplay Plus will help the publisher improve communication with players.

Alain Corre, the executive director of EMEA at Ubisoft, spoke to GamesIndustry.biz where he outlined the vision and strategy for the company’s new subscription service. He explained that Uplay Plus will help boost communication with players, and the feedback it receives will help improve Ubisoft’s games.

“The reason behind our subscription service… it gives more possibilities for our fans to play our games and we can talk to them. We can keep them in our worlds, we can discuss with them and—thanks to what they say and the way they behave—we can feed that back into our games development. When we are in control of that within our ecosystem, we feel it’s beneficial for our fans. That’s ultimately what we want to do; we want to have more contact with them, more interaction, listening more to what they want and improve based on what they say.”

Corre highlighted that Ubisoft will not solely focus its efforts on Uplay Plus; players will still be able to pick up any of the publishers games either physically or as digital downloads. He explained that the company’s strategy moving into a subscription service is to adapt with modern consumer tends of gamers.

“We are still keeping the traditional model whether they buy our games in a store or download them. It’s really a case of offering the possibilities. Consumers are evolving really fast, and we want to adapt to what they want and propose new things to them, as well as keep the other means of distribution.”

Furthermore Ubisoft revealed that Uplay Plus and all past and future games will be available on the Google Stadia. Ubisoft was an early vocal supporter of Google’s new console, especially as the upcoming console focuses solely on streaming games.

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